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Sunday, January 1, 2017

2017 word for the year: CHANGE

Hello 2017.  You are a welcome face, and I've long anticipated your arrival.

2016 kicked my butt.  Well, I think it kicked my butt, except I can't remember much about it.  It all feels like a fog, which is why I'm pretty sure it kicked my butt.  2016 felt like survival mode times 10. Do all the things, get all the places, keep all the kids alive.

So, here we are... at the beginning again.  Praise God that beginnings come around again.  I would hate to live in a world that seems like one never-ending big loop around the sun.  Aren't we all longing for a fresh start and a clean slate and the opportunity for growth and newness at some point?  Sometimes in the midst of daily life, when we are bogged down in the grind, newness is hard to muster.

Today is no different than any other, except for the fact that it marks the completion of one circle around the sun and the beginning of a new one.  I'm so thankful for this life and that with this circling of the sun, we have a reminder to stop and reflect, to appreciate what has passed, dig into the present, and hope for the future.   Zora Neale Hurston once wrote,

"There are years that ask the questions and years that answer them."

2016 asked a lot of questions, and I'm hopeful that 2017 will begin to answer them.

And with that, my word for 2016 is CHANGE!

Every year for the past 5 years, I've chosen a word to guide me, inspire me, and focus my thoughts and actions.  I love it so much more than doing New Years resolutions.  The thing with a word is that it's simply a motivator.  You can't fail at it.  It doesn't feel limiting or like being bound by something. I usually choose my word based on what I feel I'm lacking or needing most in my life.

Change.  I desperately need change.  I need to change.  I need to be change.

"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results."   

By this definition, I live in insanity.  I want my tomorrow to look different, but my today looks the same.  My tomorrow cannot possibly look differently if I don't do anything differently today.   Thus...change.

My husband and I feel like we've been living by default for a long time.  Default is auto-pilot in survival mode.  But we long to live be more than victims or passive participants in our lives.  I want to be a catalyst for change in our lives that will have positive impact on ourselves, our kids, our family, and the world around us.  That feels like it takes effort that I don't have in my reserves, but what I do today determines my tomorrow, so I'm going to have to find it.

I've done some brainstorming and have several areas in which I'm hoping to drive change:

For too long, I've put myself last on my own priority list, and I'm reaping the repercussions of that.  It's time to care for myself, my health, my body, my skin, my teeth, my mind.

Growth (Personal, Spiritual, Professional)
Along with caring for myself, comes with creating space and opportunity for growth.  I'm working on writing and professional goals and making the pursuit of those possible, letting go of what people think and being hindered by that, and doing something creative every day that fills me up.

I love our family and our kids, but we could use way more routine and structure.  I'm focusing on more follow-through, more intentional quality time with kids, more fun, and slowing down.

We've been married 15 years now!  With 3 kids and work and life, it's easy to give each other what's left over at the end of the day (which most of the time is almost nothing - a grumpy, tired wife who just wants to watch TV and go to bed).  I'm pushing for more active support of each other's daily lives and intentional connection with each other.

Deep sigh.  I have a love/hate relationship with this little place we call home.  We are beginning what Ryan calls, "purge-atory."  Striving to purge, clear the clutter, and make our space manageable and a haven for our family.

Man, that's a long list, and because I'm a list maker, I actually have bullet action points under each category that I will spare you today.  :)   There's no way that I can tackle all of this at once, but I'm going to start to make small changes that will hopefully snowball.

And if you are looking at my list, thinking I'm crazy or feeling like I have something together, let me break this down into reality for you.

Today, my big change was to wear red lipstick.  Yep, you heard me correctly.  Red lipstick is bold and noticeable and sort of wild.  I felt scared to wear red lipstick.  Over-exposed.  Not able to blend in.  I like to blend in.   I was a bit worried what people would think or say.  You know what happened?  Nothing.  Absolutely nothing...except the fact that I gained a little confidence in change and doing and being a little different.  No one batted an eyelash or said a word, and if they were thinking anything, I tried to not let my mind imagine it.  I can wear red lipstick and be more bold.  I can make a change that takes nearly no effort, but infuses a tiny bit of personal growth in building confidence.

As I try to shock myself into change, the little things that don't take much effort are going to be important in motivating me to the big things.  So, January 1, I start with red lipstick.   There is nothing too small or insignificant for a tiny uprising.

2017.  I'm kicking your butt this year!

Can I encourage you to choose a word this year?  Write it down.  Tape it to your bathroom mirror or the dashboard of your car.  Let it inspire you to live your best life and motivate you to make tiny changes that result in a snowball of positive force.  We can do this!

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