2017 Focus

Have you heard about the trend to choose one word for the year rather than make New Year’s resolutions?

I am pretty wordy (I guess you know this if you read my blog, lol) so choosing just one word is difficult for me.

The last few years I’ve had some new year’s resolutions AND tried to pick a phrase or bible verse to focus on for the year.

This year instead of a word/phrase, I’m picking a song.

Magnify” by We Are Messengers

I love the chorus:

“God, be greater than the worries in my life,

Be stronger than the weakness in my mind,

Be louder, let your glory come alive,

Be magnified.”

I’m praying that in 2017 I live so that God is magnified in my life!

What’s your word for 2017?

Happy 2016!

Merry Christmas (a few weeks late) and Happy New Year!

Here’s a picture of our family at church on Christmas Eve.  It’s been so long since we’ve actually gotten a picture together as a family and it kind of shocked me to see how tall my kids have gotten!

22

So 2016 is here, the kids have been back to school for a week now, and I guess it’s time to reflect on where I’ve been and where I feel God calling me in this new year.

Although I just posted in December about these verses having been laid upon my heart last year, I feel God continuing to tell me I need to keep these in focus for 2016.

1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18 “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

This is what I wrote in my prayer journal a few days ago – so that I could put these themes into practice in my life.

Rejoice always – find joy in being present with my people (not being distracted by to-do lists or technology), live life to the full as if today is my last day (John 10:10), focus on the positive

Pray continually – continue to spend time with God each morning, get better at seeking Him during the day before responding/reacting to situations, pray instead of worry, make a habit of praying as a couple

Give thanks – continue my thankfulness journal, search for the good that God might bring out of every situation, be content with what and to where God has brought me

Feel free to remind me of these throughout the year if you think I’ve forgotten!

Where do you feel God calling you to focus your energy in 2016?

He will make your paths straight.

It’s funny how many turns a year can take, isn’t it?  I guess that’s just part of life.  And I can’t even handle that it’s nearly mid-December.  But I am so glad that God promises us in Proverbs 3:6 that if we acknowledge him, he will make our paths straight.

If you’ve read my blog for any length of time you may know I set goals at the beginning of every year.  I never posted them, but here were my goals for 2015:

  1. After losing a paycheck and feeling like my house (and in turn my mind) were basically in chaos, one of my goals was to (daily) make sure my kitchen table and dining room table were cleaned off.  In January, I did great.  In the same vein, I wanted to reduce clutter so I joined a clutter free challenge (link here in case you’re interested) and it went really well.  With each piece of “stuff” I got rid of, I felt free-er and lighter. Then life happened.  Ha!  You should see my kitchen table this morning, piled up with papers and books and bags and mail, and whatever else my kids dropped there!!  But in between there has been what my favorite author, Lysa Terkeurst, calls “imperfect progress”.
  2. Another of the things I wanted to work on this year was being a more constant pray-er.  1 Thessalonians 5:17 says, “pray continually” and I really wanted to have a more constant connection with God in my daily life.  Again, there has been imperfect progress here.
  3. Enjoy life more.  I tend toward seriousness and I wanted to lighten up a little.  One way was to try to play more games with my kids and that has definitely added a bit of fun to our lives.  We’ve been playing backgammon a lot this year and now my two youngest usually beat me!

As 2015 wore on and I was having some health issues, I added another focus for the year – to be more content and thankful for what I have.  Laying on the couch all of July made me realize that there is so much to life that I take for granted!!

So here’s what’s so neat about the way God works.  As my kids started school in September and I was struggling to get everything in order (even the kitchen table!).  I was going to write 1 Thessalonians 5:17 on my chalkboard in the kitchen so I would be reminded to abide with God each moment during  week.  As I looked it up, I read the whole passage:

1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18 “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

Isn’t that interesting?  I started just with intentionally working on just verse 17 at the beginning of the year but what God has really been working in me has been all of verses 16-18!  Through the course of the year these themes of rejoicing, prayer, and thankfulness have just been rewritten on my heart over and over again.

“In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

Amen and amen!

 

 

 

2013

Lamentations 3:22-24

New International Version (NIV)

22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”

 

I am so thankful that God’s mercies are new every morning.  God offers me (and you) a fresh start every day – not just on January 1st of a new year!

Looking back over my goals (aka resolutions) for last year, I have to say that I didn’t do a very good job of sticking with them.  So I am going to continue on in 2013 with some of the same ones.  (if at first you don’t succeed blah, blah, blah!)

This year, I want to…

use more of my daily prayer time to listen.

be more disciplined about keeping my home.

spend more one-on-one time with each of my kids.

be more intentional about investing in our marriage (we started this last week by having a lunch date!)

and in general, live more abundantly in Christ (from John 10:10).  What does this mean?  I’m not sure yet – but I do know that I tend to set a lot of limits on myself and my loved ones – limits that are not necessary.  I’d like to do a better job of loving my family more abundantly, serving them more abundantly, and giving time & attention to them more abundantly.

This song, “Live Like That” by Sidewalk Prophets might do a better job of summing that up.

So where are you headed in 2013?

 

 

january thoughts

As you read in my last post, I determined to listen to God more this year.  In other words, continue to have my usual prayer time, but to listen instead of petitioning.  In a practical sense, this meant for me that I would spend one morning doing my usual praying (see here) and the next day I would just spend the time quiet with God. 

I tell you, He does not disappoint.  There are several things that he’s impressed upon me already this year. 

The biggest one is that I want to be more about His Kingdom this year than my own.  I was trying to explain this to a couple of friends last week and I just wasn’t explaining it well.  But when I got home later, this verse of a song went through my head and I realized it totally summed up what I’d been feeling.

“You put me here for a reason
You have a mission for me
You knew my name and You called it
Long before I learned to breathe

Sometimes I feel disappointed
By the way I spend my time
How can I further Your kingdom
When I’m so wrapped up in mine?”

~ Mercy Me “In the Blink of an Eye”

For me, as a stay at home mom, it’s so easy to focus so much on what’s going on in my own home and with my own family (and become overwhelmed by that), that I think I miss opportunities to be God’s hands and feet.

But in 2012 I want to be building His Kingdom, not my own.

Some of this thought process began back in December when I read my friend Esther’s blog post here about pleasing Jesus when we give out of our lack.  And since then, this thought has been rolling around in my head – the thought that I can only be about building God’s Kingdom when I am willing to give out of my lack.

So, I’ve been asking and listening, on alternating mornings.  This morning I knew I would be going to MOPS and I asked God that if there was someone who needed His encouragement, His love, to put them in my path.  Wouldn’t you know He did just that? 

Amazing what happens when you listen and obey.

So I’ll ask again, what do you want your 2012 to be about?

In 2012, I’m going to work on…

more listening and less talking…

to God.

more “yes”s and less “no”s…

to the people I love.

more “no”s and less “yes”s…

to unhealthy foods.

more reading and less tv.

(I got a Nook for Christmas!)

more order and less chaos.

(I need to get back to doing this.)

more exercise and less excuses.

(why is it so hard to make time to exercise?)

more face time and less Facebook.

(last fall hubby and I started to devote a Sat. morning/month for each child to have one-on-one time with Mom or Dad.  We hope to continue this in 2012.)

 

What do you want more / less of in 2012?

You CAN do it! (aka, our goals for 2011)

Every year Dave and I sit down and come up with a list of goals for the year.  (more about that here).

Last year we actually accomplished only two of them –

  1. for Dave to finish up his on-line coursework with a Master’s in Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Engineering with a 4.0 GPA.  I’m proud to say that he did it!  (what a relief, by the way, that it is over!!) 
  2. to have a date night at least once per quarter.

The one we have had on our list for several years but have so far failed miserably at is having a once/week devotion with the kids.  (Why is this so hard for us, anyways?  if you have any suggestions for what works for you, let me know!)

This year, again, we have several goals.  But there are a couple that I want to mention because I know they will be difficult for us-

  1. Losing weight.  I have posted two graphs on our bathroom mirror to track our progress.  Along with a big sign that says “You CAN do it!”.  (and I can never say that, by the way, without thinking of the movie The Waterboy).  My 20th high school reunion is in the fall – I’m hoping that will give me motivation!  But in actuality, we really need to lose weight and overall make more of an effort in the area of our physical health.  I also personally have a goal for my diabetes control to get my blood sugars under better control. 
  2. Praying together daily.  This is one we haven’t tried before.  Obviously we’ve prayed together before but not on a regular basis.  But so far we’ve been doing it – and it really is wonderful.  I know that there is something about praying together that brings you closer and I am hoping this becomes habit.
  3. For me to do a girl’s devotion with Miss L every night.  I think we need this time together and that it will be really valuable time spent.  But it will be difficult for me to set aside that time, as many nights by the kids’ bedtime all I want to do is curl up into a ball on the couch BY MYSELF.  So far it has been great – the first night we started out reading verses from a King James bible and the word “stirreth” made us both crack up uncontrollably.  I hope this continues to be as fun as it has started!

There are others, but again these are the ones that I really hope stick!! 

Philippians 4:13 “For I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength.”

What are your goals for 2011?