My 2017 Word of the Year: Words

For the past couple of years I’ve chosen a word to guide me through the year. In 2014 I used the word Simple, in 2015 Listen, and then last year Create. In the few years that I have done this, I have seen a tremendous change in myself. 

Since choosing the word “simple”, I have become more mindful of my time, money, space, relationships and things. I came to realize that with this one life I’ve been given, I need to be more aware of how I spend my days and who and what I surround myself with. 

To concentrate on the word “listen”,  I became a better friend, wife, and mother. I’ve learned to really listen. I change the station when music or a tv show comes on that my soul knows I shouldn’t hear. I stop those voices in my head that are telling me lies. I spend time listening for God’s voice.

Last year I truly embraced the gift God gave me to create. I made bags, dolls, aprons, and lovies to sell in order to give all the proceeds to missional organizations. I honed my craft to become a better artisan. I went on an artist retreat and spent a week with others who are like me. Instead of being embarrassed about this need to create, I’ve embraced it and am using it to bring joy to others. 

This year I prayed about my word. I had no idea what it should be. Then with this election year, I realized how damaging words can be. Receiving a sweet card from a friend, I know the power of encouragement from the written word. Reading the Bible I kept coming across verses about being careful with our words, the power of words to build up and to destroy. My word of 2017 is “Words”. It isn’t very pin worthy, but it does keep me focused on what I believe is important for me this year.

I’ve been known to speak before thinking and this usually has me in a state of pulling my foot out of my mouth afterwards. What if I were to T.H.I.N.K. before speaking? What if I asked myself…Is it true, is it helpful, is it inspirational, is it needed and is it kind?
In order for me to be encouraging and truthful, I need to have my heart filled with what is true and right and filled with love. Have you ever noticed how the topics of conversation depend on who you are with. When you are with Connie Complainer, do you agree with her negative thoughts and fuel her negativity? What about your conversations with Gabby the Gossip? Or Sally Sludge-Mouth? It is so easy to fall into ugly conversations when we are around people who don’t have happy hearts. On my own devices, I fall right in there with the judging, gossipy, ugly speech. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1   The Word is active and living. Jesus said that she who abides in Him will have life. To have my heart filled with love, I must pour into my heart the only true, unfailing, everlasting love which can only come from Jesus. I plan to drink up the words in my bible.I can talk the talk, but can I walk the walk? Here are some actions I’d like to practice:
*Fill my heart, soul and mind with things of God by reading the Word of God.

*Increase my prayer time, my conversations with God.

*Practice the habit of pausing before speaking and T.H.I.N.K.

*Stop complaining. 

*With eyes that can see the good in everyone, compliment others.

*Write cards of encouragement.

*Continue to write a blog that finds joy in the ordinary, messy, beautiful thing called life.

In a world that is saturated with hate, judgements, lies, corruption, and self importance, it isn’t easy to stay joyful. In a nation that is split in two, protesting, looting and killing, I’m more and more convinced that our words mean something. I can’t change the world, but I can do my part to show people the love of God through laughter, notes, cards, sweet conversations and even through this blog. 

Do you have a word of the year? I’d love to hear about it! Let’s encourage one another to stay on track. Thank you for stopping by!

My Word of 2016: Create

  It’s already February. How did it happen?

 I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while now. It’s a quiet morning and I really want to share with you. Bear with me.
For the last few years, I’ve chosen one word to help guide me or to focus on throughout the year. One year it was:Simple. Instead of having a stack full of devotional books beside me that I thought I needed to read in order to be more spiritual, I chose one. I kept it simple. Meal times were made more simple by choosing four or five dishes that were relatively healthy and that my family enjoyed eating. I quit trying to follow the popular diets of the world and chose to focus on the foods God created…fruits, veggies, real food. I simplified my closet to have the clothes I liked, the ones that made me feel good and got rid of the ones that didn’t.

Last year, my word was Listen. I tried to do less talking and more listening. (Not sure if everyone would agree, but I tried.) I focused on more actual bible reading and less commentaries, so I could hear what God was saying to me. What were others listening to in my words when I spoke? What kind of music was I listening to? Did it make me smile? What about those voices in my head? (And let me tell you….they talk some crazy talk!)

This year my word is Create. I know, I know…really?! When thinking about my word I really prayed about it. I wanted it to have meaning and to transform my life in a good way. It needed to be a word that could translate into many areas of my life. And “create” kept coming to mind.

CREATE—verb (used with object), cre·at·ed, cre·at·ing.

1.to cause to come into being, as something unique that would not naturally evolve or that is not made by ordinary processes.

2.to evolve from one’s own thought or imagination, as a work of art or an invention.

3.to make by investing with new rank or by designating; constitute; appoint: to create a peer.

4.to be the cause or occasion of; give rise to: The announcement created confusion.

5.to cause to happen; bring about; arrange, as by intention or design: to create a revolution; to create an opportunity to ask for a raise.

First of all, I believe we are ALL creative. “So God created man in his own image.” Genesis 1:27. If we are created in God’s image like the bible says then we are creative. The God I worship created the heavens, the flowers, bugs, plants, fruits, animals that swim in the sea and fly in the air. He created each and every one of us so different and unique. No, we all can’t paint like Monet or carve like Michelangelo, but I bet we can cook or garden or photograph or sing or dance or build or write or work with numbers! 

So yeah. Create is more than arts n crafts. By looking at the definitions above, I see how I can create in all aspects of my life. 

 1. To cause to come into being, as something unique that would not naturally evolve by natural processes. This is an interesting one. I know I am naturally lazy. It’s only taken me 40 something years to figure out how to have a clean home. Believe me, I’m not talking about being OCD and having my pillows all in order. I’m talking about creating a home that is  warm, clean, organized and welcoming. I have to really step out of my ordinary self to think AND follow through with clutter and cleaning. Not only does having a clean, (not perfect), home good when friends drop by, but also for my family. Superman works so hard everyday. I want him to feel relaxed when he steps in the door. I want anyone who steps into my home to feel loved and welcomed.

  2. To evolve from ones own thought or imagination. I sew, stitch, paint, cut, glue, knit, crochet, hammer, build, draw….But what does it all mean, if I do it only for myself? As I wrote about Here, I found that I could use my talent for creating to help others! I can sell my aprons, bags, loveys and jewelry, then give the money earned to a mission or charity of my choice! So this year, I’m going to take a leap of faith and sell my stuff at a few craft fairs and maybe online. I’m excited to think that my little crafts can help someone in need.  

   3. To make by investing in new rank; creating a peer. Invest in new rank? Create a new peer? What does this mean to me? I’m thinking about how I can invest in the bible study group I host in my home on Tuesday nights. I can create cards that have that week’s focus bible verses written them. I can teach ladies how to do bible journaling art. I look forward to teaching women how to doodle and color their prayers and scripture. My prayer is that in these ways others will be able to strengthen their relationship with Christ.

  4. To be the cause or occasion of; to give rise to. How cool would it be to cause someone to  do something good. What if I could round up a bunch of knitters and sewers to create scarves and blankets for the homeless? What if I could encourage friends to bring meals to someone sick or to a momma who just had a baby? What if I could cause a riot of joy in my city? Just sayin….  What if? 
 
5.To cause to happen, to bring about. The season has come that it’s my and my siblings turn to take care of momma. At 86 years young, she has much to do and live for. It’s soon coming time for her to move from the home she’s loved for 40 years into an apartment. In doing so, there will be many decisions to be made and hurdles to jump. What can I do to get those obstacles out of the way? How can I help her make wise choices? How can I help her create a warm and inviting new home?  I’m excited about this new adventure we are on.  

 In this new year, I know that nothing can happen unless I continually ask God to create a clean heart in me. Every day I need my spirit renewed. We can do everything through His power. 

Friends, I’m going to create this year. How about you? What is the word you are focusing on? Thanks for dropping by!