I promised that I'd let you know what my "word of the year" was and why I chose it, so here it is!
Before I begin, some of you have no idea what I'm talking about, this "word of the year" stuff. In summary, in lieu of or addition to your more traditional resolutions, some folks like to pick a word (or two!) that serves as an overarching theme for the year.
Intentional, focused, grace, happy, strong, balance, and commitment are all great examples. Something motivational. Overarching. Something that has meaning for you, not just defining one small area of your life, but the bigger whole.
In fact, there is an entire blog devoted to this idea called "My One Word" (I just found it this morning) where the writer explains this growing movement and offers a huge list of words and quotes to help you choose your own.
Like some of you, I can find myself discouraged by the many New Years resolutions that I set, and my seeming inability to follow through. Because of this the simplicity of choosing just one word to focus on really appealed to me.
That's not to say I didn't also jot down other resolutions.
Ahem..."Organize my house."
Yup. That one. In 2011. 2012. 2013. 2014. 2015...2016.
I must be a sucker for punishment.
(I will say, I have made slow and steady progress. The reality is that organizing a home with five people, 3 of whom are just learning what "pick up" even means, can feel like a herculean effort.
The other reality is that some people are just naturally gifted in this area. And maybe don't feel so ADD-ish in their attempts to organize...I wish I were one of those people.
My sister, Katie. My friend, Carla. Other friends too...Sarah E., Dana H., Danielle. You ladies know who you are. Can I come over for some housekeeping lessons, please?!
I always joke with Scott that those friend's houses (the gifted organizational types) always feel like "big people houses" when I visit them. Ours feels more like a dorm room most of the time. The whole house...one big messy dorm!
We like to use the phrases zoo, barn, and circus to describe it on other days.
But, I digress....)
So, I did set some goals for the year. Lots of them actually. If I get around to it I'll summarize and share some of those with you next week, but I also picked my word/theme for the year. The two words I will hinge my heart on when all of my other resolutions are going to...ahem...Honolulu in a hand basket.
My theme for 2016 is...Love Well.
Love, on it's own, sounded too...simple. Mushy, maybe? Certainly too vague.
Love well, on the other hand.
It seemed to capture everything I really want my life to be about. Even on the days when I feel like I'm failing miserably.
I want to love my children well and this means being intentional. It means listening. It means putting aside my agenda and playing with them more often than I naturally do. It means notes in lunch boxes, snuggles on the couch, words of affirmation telling them how great they are. It also means discipline...sometimes. And tough conversations at other times. It means teaching them how to be responsible and develop discipline and self-motivation in their own lives. It means being actively engaged and continuing to do these things even when I'm dog tired.
I want to love my husband well. This means a lot of things that don't always happen in the midst of our hectic days either. Telling him I'm thankful for him, that I love him, and that I'm super glad we get to do this thing called life together. Maybe an unexpected gift. Maybe a note. Maybe asking him what he'd like to do on some random day and gifting him the time to just go and do it...no questions asked or time limits given. Little things mean a lot when it comes to your relationship with your husband...I want to remember that, and more importantly I want to follow through.
Love well...my extended family, neighbors, friends, church acquaintances...the ones I know well, and the ones I could take the time to get to know better.
The reality is that "loving well" usually means slowing down. It means making relationships a priority over task lists.
I feel like I used to love well...before I had kids. At that point, especially after we had our third little one, I got so bogged down by the seeming non-ending to-do list that I stopped being intentional about things outside of our immediate family life. At some point, as parents, we often find ourselves so consumed with loving our families well (or last least meeting their needs) and figuring out how to balance "it all" that those outside our immediate family circle are forced to take a back seat. And, to some degree, that is ok, even normal- for a while. But eventually, you must re-connect, re-engage, start looking outside of your immediate circle a little bit at a time.
I want to recast my vision. I'm ready to re-engage in the wider world and try to spread a little bit of love in more places than just my home. I want to be an example of loving others well, so that my children see what that means. I want us to love others well as a family as often as possible and when the opportunity arises.
"Above all," Peter says, "love each other deeply because love covers a multitude of sins."
(1 Peter 4:8).
The mommy version might say, "love each other deeply because love covers your cranky days, impatient moments, mishaps with words, ignoring your neighbor, being angry at the DMV lady, and all other foibles as a mom."
Not that we should ever use love as an excuse, ("I can be cranky now and love them later!"), but I'm quite thankful that my love for my children is hopefully making a bigger impact that my mistakes, because, well...big confession here--I am human. I do get tired and impatient and cranky. I'm a female...ahem...with occasional (errr, monthly) PMS.
Thank heaven (literally!) that love is bigger than all of that!
So go forth and love well.
Pick a word for the year, or share the one you've already decided on.
Set some New Years resolutions, but hold them loosely with arms open wide if you are parenting little children whose needs and demands often usurp our best intentions when it comes to goals and resolutions.
And choose to be ok with it all.