Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Lexicon Project :: Help

I realize that this isn't my first wine photo this month but after 20 hours in the water with kids that can't float (for starters) and my sweet husband pulling the long, long days that he has, all mixed up with a little more crazy, this seems like an apt way to depict help in our house. I'm feeling a little cheeky.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Small Graces

Finding pictures, special pictures, we thought were lost
Sweet red flesh, filling the room with it's delicious aroma and hinting of warmer days to come.

Chocolate and zucchini mixed up for an afternoon treat.

Could have, should have, been my shadow picture :: the shadow of a delicious bottle of red wine shared.

Knitted gifts wrapped in anticipation of meeting a sweet babe. And coffee in red cups.

Time to savor.

Still learning but getting it, one stitch at a time.
And in capturing these moments, these gifts, one at a time, life moves forward and light pushes, even just a little, into the darkness.

Lexicon Project :: Shadow

I watch the shadows from my grandpa chair as they creep up and over the houses, counting down the hours and minutes of the day, waiting for my sweet husband to come home.

When thriving looks more like surviving

There are days, I've decided, when thriving will look more like surviving and even maybe that's a stretch. Days, well, days like today when hearts feel stretched to their limit, the shadowy darkness of sin, selfishness, entitlement, spite and hatred threatens to swallow up the light, and the very act of putting one foot in front of the other seems like a monumental act. Yes, on days like today.

In those heart crushing, bone crushing, spirit sapping days gone by, the words of His heart have brought strength and courage.

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, 
we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 
 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. 
And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 
Not only so, 
but we also glory in our sufferings, 
because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 
 perseverance, character;
 and character, hope. 
 And hope does not put us to shame, 
because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, 
who has been given to us. (Romans 5:1-5)

I hold those words dear. 

Today, though, the question that falls off my lips is if perseverance produces character and hope, what, dear friends, produces perseverance? What strengthens the weary soul? Perhaps it's a cyclical argument but what gives hope enough to step forward again and again into the very darkness that saps the will to live?  What gives one the will to persevere, moving forward into that character and hope? Doesn't one need character and hope to do so? What light is there to push away the darkness? 

In the midst of has been the words given to and penned by a writer that have continued to draw me back to His heart. Thankfulness. Gratitude. Eucharisto. And then joy. There can be joy when the darkness pushes in. There can be. There must.

"If you think of this world as a place intended simply for our happiness, you find it quite intolerable; think of it as a place of training and correction and it's not so bad." C.S. Lewis in One Thousand Gifts, Ann Voskamp, pg 55.

I redeem time from neglect and apathy and inattentiveness when I swell with thanks and weigh the moment down and it's giveng thanks to God for this moment that multiplies the moments, time made enough. Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts, pg 72.

One act of thanksgiving, when things go wrong with us, is worth a thousand thanks when things are agreeable to our inclinations. Saint John of Avila in One Thousand Gifts, Ann Voskamp, pg. 79.

What in the world, in a world of certain loss, is grace? And the more of the blessings I name, this theological problem deepens, the kind that manifest itself between the breakfast table and last light out. If I am numbering gift moments to one thousand and now beyond - what moments in my life count as blessings? If I name this moment as gift, grace, what is the next moment? Curse? How do you know how to sift through a day, a life, and rightly read the graces, rightly ascertain the curses? What is good? What counts as grace? What is the heart of God? Do  I believe in a God who rouses Himself just now and then to spill a bit of benevolence on hemorrhaging humanity? A God who breaks through the carapace of this orb only now and then, surprises us with a spared hand, a reprieve from sickness, a good job and a nice house in the burbs - and then finds Himself again too impotent to deal with all I see as suffering and evil? A God of sporadic, random, splattering, goodness - that now and then splatters across a gratitude journal? Somebody tell me: What are all the other moments? Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts, pg 85.

Count blessings and discover Who can be counted on. Isn't that what had been happening, quite unexpectedly? This living a lifestyle of intentional gratitude became and unintentional test in the trustworthiness of God - and in counting blessings I stumbled upon the way out of fear.  Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts, pg 151.  

Remembering frames up gratitude. Gratitude lays out the planks of trust. I can walk the planks - from known to unknown - and know: He holds. Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts, pg 152.

Maybe, without the context of the rest of the words, of her story, these words don't carry the weight with which they drove into my heart. And, if that is the case, then I can safetly say that once again, this was a book chosen at the perfect time to speak.

And so I hear it:

Give thanks to the Lord of Lords. 
His faithful love endures forever. 
Give thanks to him who alone does mighty miracles. 
His faithful love endures forever. 
Give thanks to him who made the heavens so skillfully. 
His faithful love endures forever. 
Give thanks to him who placed the earth among the waters. 
His faithful love endures forever. 
Give thanks to him who made the heavenly lights - 
His faithful love endures forever. 
Psalm 136:3-7

I will practice thanksgiving even when I don't feel it. When I'm angry and frustrated and ready to quit. I will look for His good gifts even when I don't see them. I will trust that He is there and He is good even when everyone and everything would try to tell me otherwise because I know that the God that I see in the good things, in every good and perfect gift, is bringing moments of eucharisto, of great thanks, into the darkness as well.  I will give thanks because I have to to survive today. To live. And perhaps, in the living, to experience joy.

Monday, January 21, 2013


I'm SO in and I think that you should be too. Post your photos on facebook, instagram, your blog or Rachel has even offered her facebook page. It'll be fun!

Bits and Pieces from the Google Machine

I'm trying to decide what to title these posts in which I share some of the posts I have read that have been significant to me in one way or another. If they were all just funny, I could say something (witty... maybe) about how they tickled my funny bone. But they're not funny, necessarily. They hit on something I'm thinking about, praying about, hurting about or perhaps am just thinking about now because I've read the words on the world wide web or, as my momma would say, on the google machine. But they don't tickle my mind bone. Its not a bone. Or a heart bone? Not a bone either. Mind muscle? Should we say they "shot to the heart?" [Insert 80's music reference here...come on, you know the one]. Hmmm...Okay, I'll work on it before the next time I'm inspired to link you up with some of the cool people I've met through these crazy blog networks.

 Having shared the experience of the community he talks about, I feel deeply so much of what he's talking about. I've actually been thinking about it a lot: how different groups of people mean different things at different times. How that can change. How that's okay. Or is it? How joy is found in community and how lonely it can be when one does not have that sort of connection. How good experiences set the bar higher for the next ones. How good friends are good for the soul. And how I'm thankful for the good people that have been - and are - in my life.

The Lexicon Project: House Full of Jays I'm going to do it. Or try to do it.
I once heard somebody say that God isn't concerned in our happiness but in our holiness and our wholeness. I would add that he's concerned about our joy...which comes from looking outward (and upward), in living a life of gratitude, in serving, in being in community and in looking at the big picture. See the problem is that what makes one person happy can actually make another person, or even many people, miserable. And happiness, my friends, is temporary where joy, holiness and wholeness are lasting. Happiness does equal meaningfulness. It can seem like a really satisfying, happy thought to, say, punch someone in the face. You might be happy...for now...but they sure won't be. And when you're arrested for assult, you probably won't be either. And did it actually solve the problem causing you to want to punch the bozo in the face? Probably not. Oh, but I digress. Love the article. Love the examples. Check this quote: 

Happiness without meaning characterizes a relatively shallow, self-absorbed or even selfish life, in which things go well, needs and desire are easily satisfied, and difficult or taxing entanglements are avoided," the authors write.

Jodi Foster’s Confession (No, Not that One) Made Her My Hero I take heart in the authenticity and genuine reflection of both the confession - loneliness is real, folks - and the article. In a society where "how are you" and "I'm fine" (said with fake smiles plastered on) have become synonymous with "Hello," "good day" and "good morning," it seems as though the value of a good facade is weighted with higher priority than honesty and true listening to the heart of another. It's brave, then, to share the truth, openly, honestly and with truth.

Because sometimes we're angry. That said, she asks some great questions to evaluate what we're really angry about.

 So good, so good, so good! 

I wrote a post a while back about what anger, bitterness and spite do to a person choosing to carry them. This post adds hate to the list and boy, is it a good thing to remember. Hate hurts. Everyone.
 Good thoughts on marriage and what the biblical references mean.

Food for thought. I'm not getting rid of my phone anytime soon - my excuse is we have no home phone. Fair, right!? - but there's some good things to think through and, if you want, I think Sarah would be okay with you learning from her experience right now.

 I know there's people out there that love vanilla. I'm not one of them. There's so many other flavors out there to savor. Like chocolate. Mint chocolate chip. Raspberry cheesecake. Flavor. Full.

And just because I like it...

Source: via Stacey on Pinterest

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Why Hockey Night In Canada Isn't Hockey Night in My House

A shot from last night's WHL game.
So they're back. Pucks dropped across North America. Fans flooded the stands to watch their teams lace up and get back into action. Broadcasters breathe a collective sigh of relief at having something new and fresh, something live, to put on the air again instead of reruns of old games and bad sitcoms. The blue lights of TV's across this great Nation display teams in all their glory.

But not in this house.

I could spout all the stats about money lost vs. money argued over vs. the average person's income in comparison to it all but the truth is it does not matter. It's gross, it's ugly and it's greedy. I suppose you could say that's the world we live in but I DON'T LIKE IT.

I don't think a shortened season makes a win of the cup any less significant. A win will be a win. For the better part of the life of the NHL, seasons were of at least close to equivalent length. Each game will matter - every point counts - and so, perhaps, we'll see some consistently well fought hockey.

I am thankful for all the "little people" affected by the lockout that will now be able to return to work or see a return to normal business. Store owners, rink staff and other businesses in the area. They were casualties in the whole mess. 

BUT I am disgusted by all the "sheep" fans who flocked to the stadiums for practice and are filling the stands to line the pockets of all (and I mean both sides) of the greedy millionaires that make up the NHL. I am disgusted that tickets sold faster than in seasons past (in Calgary the opening game sold out in six hours compared to two days last year). I am disgusted that we welcome them back with open arms after complaining for months about everything the lock out took from us, the fans, and from all that made up the lock out. 

It might mean nothing to anyone on either side but I will not be watching hockey this weekend even though my team is playing (yes, I still call them my team) and I have hopes for the young guns and the power ratings showing up make me happy (thank you, ESPN and friends, for putting Edmonton above both Vancouver and Calgary).  I complained through the lockout and now I will put my money (and my viewing hours) where my mouth is.

I am a hockey fan. I will be back. Just not yet. I'll come back when I'm ready, not when they decide to grace me with their presence. Not when they feel they have reached an agreement that is suitable for them. I'll come back on my terms. You had your chance. 

** Made a commitment with the Just Drop It Community. Check out their facebook page. They've been getting lots of publicity in other media as well. 11 Edmonton games will go by without me. We'll see if I'm back after that's up. And we'll see which one of us, my husband or myself, caves first.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Oh My Heart

These posts, written by friends near and far, resonate with my heart for one reason or another so I thought I'd share. And now, for your reading pleasure, here goes nothing:

How to Be the Parent You Want to Be: 40 Things Every Child Must Know Before they Leave Home, A Holy Experience

Dear Pastor Mark: Pontificate This; Rage Against the Mini Van  She says what so many of us are thinking but are just too chicken to say out loud. 

How to Find Purpose: Sink into the Questions; She Loves Magazine Some really good questions to ponder in this one.

No condemnation; Kathy Escobar Love this lady. There's very little she writes that doesn't touch my heart.

Jesus or Zoloft?; Jamie @ the Very Worst Missionary One of the things I wish more people were honest about.

What Not to Say to Someone Who Has Suffered Spiritual Abuse; Elizabeth Esther. Could I post these and hang them on a billboard (or many billboards) somewhere!? Seriously.

Also, I'm looking for some good online resources regarding health, fitness and nutrition, blog or otherwise. If anyone has some suggestions, I'd appreciate it!

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

To Represent Jesus Well

Here's another old one that was hiding, unposted, until today.

To represent Jesus well, we cannot live thoughtless lives.

Jesus never called us to follow him without thought or reflection. this is important because so many things have been done in Jesus' name that history has proven were not only ill-advised but even inhumane. You can't just write it off as, "Well, the church told me to do that." History would have been a much better place without the Inquisitions and the Crusades, not to mention the KKK, but all of them have used a cross to lead the way. It's a fascinating thought that Jesus would rather have us do what is right than what is "Christian."

Those are only some of the words of Erwin McManus in his book 'Soul Cravings' as he talks about our need to believe in something, in our innate search for truth -for something to believe in that is of value. He goes on to say:

Believing as an intellectual exercise is difficult enough, but our need to believe goes much deeper than that. The Enlightenment changed what it means to believe. To believe and mean nothing more than to agree with the data. When Jesus spoke of believing, he meant something very different. To believe is to wrap your soul around something. To believe in God has to do with trusting. What you believe in is what you trust in and, more important, who you trust.

He talks about who we trust and how we learn to anything, not only Jesus. How we learn to believe ANYTHING in our lives. How trusting, and therefore believing, shapes not only our intellectual view of truth but how we 'absorb' that into our lives, but who we become. And we all do it. Whether we choose to admit it or not, we all believe in something.

Quoted: Tozer

We may as well face it; the whole level of spirituality among us is low. We have measured ourselves by ourselves until the incentive to seek higher plateaus in the things of the Spirit is all but gone...[We] have imitated the world, sought popular favor, manufactured delights to substitute for the joy of the Lord and produced a cheap and synthetic power to substitute for the power of the Holy Ghost.

A. W. Tozer

Who am I?

In going through some drafts this morning, I found this one from 2006 that was never posted. I still think about the things that I learned and shared in this post, things that make up who I am and inform how I relate to the world. 

I've been spending a lot of time in self discovery lately. I was informed a while back that in Australia, the aboriginal people would take 60 days to walk the country to "find themselves." They call it a walk about. I've heard others refer to it as a spiritual pilgrimage. I didn't think this sort of thing was supposed to catch until some midlife crisis stage or something but I'm finding that more and more I am drawn to figure out who I am. I haven't had the opportunity to break away from everything else but, in my own way, have been on my own journey of discovery. It seems like much of my life has been revolving around the idea of the journey lately!

Anyway, one of the things I was encouraged to do was to do the strengths test that is put together by the Gallup Poll. It's an online test but you have to have a special code to do it. I got my code from reading "Now Discover Your Strengths."It's an interesting premise, one that seems so common sense to me and yet completely countercultural. Here it is: if someone focuses on building their strengths they will be more effective and more satisfied than if they were to focus on correcting their weaknesses. I know it's not rocket science, but let me say it again:

If someone focuses on building their strengths they will be more effective and more satisfied than if they were to focus on correction their weaknesses!

As I search through my life, I've been looking to figure out what am I good at, what do I enjoy, what are my gifts...Basically, what is it that I can do that no one else can - for the kingdom? It's about finding the place that fits for me.

Anyway, back to the Gallup Poll. Their test is based on 34 themes and the belief that everyone has strengths in these areas but that there is no right or wrong combination of the themes. You do the test and it will pump out your top 5. That's all you see. I wish I could get the whole list 'cause then, in my mind, I'd know how it all fits together (if you're paying attention, you're already getting insight into mine!) but they don't do that. See, our society is so trained to the idea of correcting weaknesses - check out the education system if you don't believe me - that people would automatically look to the bottom to find out which ones they aren't good at...and that would defeat the purpose of the whole thing.

I posted this earlier in a comment about the book, but here's what my top 5 came up as:

Achiever - need I really explain
Input - also described as inquisitive
Ideation - ideas, concepts, connections and other phenomena are fascinating...yes, they are
Learner - just let me learn, anything, all the time
Responsibility - taking psychological ownership for anything I commit to.

I've decided this makes me a scary, scary person!

Interestingly enough, I was convinced that something to do with relationships (Relator is the way it is described in the themes) would come out but it's not in my top 5. After doing this, I ended up taking a session when I was in Denver that just happened to be on the exact same thing. The facilitator pegged me as a relator right away. Maybe it's my sixth.

I can't believe how much this little bit of insight into myself has opened my eyes to my own behavior. The motivations behind so many of the things I do are revealed by these themes. Better yet, some of the things about myself that I have always held in contempt or been told are weaknesses have been revealed as strengths. For example, I have often been told that my being a high achiever is a strength and so I've always hated that about myself. Now, however, I can see that there are things to be cautious of but it is actually a strength. It's funny how putting it in a positive light makes it all seem better! I see reasons why I am frustrated in my current context and have begun to look for positive ways to make change so that I'm using my strengths and feeling more satisfied in my day to day activities.

Often we, in the church, look at spiritual gifts as the things God has given us to to work with in a specific situation but I'm able now to see my strengths, my talents, as things that God has also put in me to succeed, to find contentment, to reflect His image and to be a part of His kingdom work.


Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Current Read

One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are: Ann Voskamp

I've picked up this one to read a few times but have never made it through the first chapter. It's funny, really, since I've written often about the power of gratitude to change one's perspective on life and how God-honoring I believe the thankful life to be (likewise, living ungratefully can be destructive at each and every level) that I would have so much trouble sticking with this one. I've decided that now needs to be the time. With a renewed commitment to thrive, instead of just survive, it seems like to the time to allow the words on these pages that have inspired so many good, godly people to have some room in my meditation as well.

Already, in the little bit that I've read, she talks about the deep hurts she's experienced and how those impacted her faith. The deep sorrow of this farm-girl-Jesus-loving-Canadian-writer-sister friend have resonated deeply with me. I know that if I am to thrive this year, there will be some big healing work to be done. At least 6 years worth of deep, life altering hurts have been piled layer upon layer in my heart and, whether I like it or not, impact my day to day, darkening life with their shadow when I least expect it.  It's time for healing. Ann's story inspires me and, if the reviews are true, might just provide me with a few tools to move forward in that path.

So far, I've decided, it's nice to know I'm not alone. Not in a 'misery loves company' sort of way but in an "if she can survive - even thrive - then I can too" sort of way. The questions she ask of life and faith...did she read my mind? Has she heard my middle of the night, cry like David sort of prayers? She writes:" Where is God, really? How can He be good when babies die, and marriages implode, and dreams blow away, dust in the wind? Where is grace bestowed when cancer gnaws and loneliness aches and nameless places in us soundlessly die, break off without reason, erode away. Where is this joy of the Lord, this God who fills the earth with good things, and how do I fully live when life is full of hurt? How do I wake up to joy and grace and beauty and all that is the fullest life when I must stay numb to losses and crushed dream and all that empties me out?" (Voskamp, pg 12).

And then she talks about longing for joy, for holy joy, realizing that only then will there truly be life and life to the full. Those deep shadows of sorrow. Those questions. The hurt. THEY DO NOT HAVE TO BE THE ANSWER. She comes to this conclusion: "As long as thanks is possible, then joy is always possible. Whenever, meaning-now; wherever, meaning - here.The holy grail of joy is not in some exotic location or some emotional mountain peak experience. The joy wonder could be here! Here, in the messy, piercing ache of now, joy might be - unbelievable - possible!" (Voskamp, pg 33).

I think that's why Scripture talks over and over and over about the importance of the mind, what we think (meditate) about and what truths we believe. It can change everything. One person can live in circumstances and decide they are victimized, life owes them something and they will never be satisfied until they have all they are entitled to (have I mentioned how much I hate that word? Entitled. Eww). Another, living in the EXACT SAME circumstances can choose to look and see the victories, the gifts and the hope, however big or small, in each day. It's hard. It's terrible, painstaking, life changing, reorienting hard work and sometimes I am SO INCREDIBLY BAD AT IT. The crappy things seem so big and so all consuming...and sometimes they are. The hurt is real. The experiences of pain are valid. Sin and suffering exist in the world. But somehow, living well, living full and experiencing true joy must mean taking the power away from the past, looking forward and choosing gratitude. There has to be a way to reconcile it all and live in the freedom and fullness of life that God has promised, a way to thrive. There has to be.

Anyone that has heard a bit of my story and reads books seem to be recommending One Thousand Gifts to me so I'm diving in. If I find anything worth sharing, it will be brought here, I promise.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Current Read

It's been a while since I've posted my reads but that doesn't mean I haven't been hiding in worlds created in the imagination of another and shared on pages in black and white. I swear that books are one of the things that are saving my soul. Truthfully, I didn't think it was for anything other than for me that I kept these posts but, in their absence, there have been those of you that have actually asked what I've been reading. Who knew?! And so, we're back...

Current Read

Past Reads (in order from most recent to least)

I loved, loved, loved this book. Somehow it resonated with my church raised, Jesus loving, feminine soul. Rachel takes a look at so many of the subtle and not so subtle things that church people teach about women and call "biblical." Unlike so many other books on the topic of biblical womanhood, Rachel does it without pointing fingers, without attacking and with a good deal of tongue-in-cheek humor, poking fun at herself in the process. It is light-hearted and thoughtful. Conversational and well-educated. 

Like the first two, this one was just fun. I'd love to see a fourth! 

This one was a bit of a divergence from my typical reads but came highly recommended. It truly is a book for book-lovers. It's a story about a writer chronicling the life story of a writer. It's a story about family. It's a story about how the events of life shape and create life. It's a sad story and a hopeful story all at once. I'm glad I took the break from "the usual" to enjoy. 

This one felt like an add on. Same characters, different story line and style. Still adventure. Still a good place to "hide" for a while.

I enjoyed the first one with these characters so much I couldn't help but dive into this one. I don't know what it is about this time period and these places that entertains me so much but it does. I appreciate the way that Khoury can bring together two stories, one new and one old, in such a balanced way. Combine it with some intrigue, terrorism and plain old action/adventure and I'm good to go!

All I have to say is that the next book in this YA series just can't come fast enough. 

All of the other Robin Hobb series I've read to date have been in trilogies so imagine my surprise when I finished this one and realized the story wasn't over. At least one more to come. Sometime in 2013. Not even fair. The problem with a well written book and following characters over a number of books is that I need to know what happens to the dragons, to the dragon keepers and to the dragon city. Blood of Dragons is coming. I don't think I'll be able to wait for the soft cover.

Thrive: Step One

I wrote a while back about why I write...and about why I have been much more hesitant in my writing lately. I shared about my struggle when this place, this space on the internet no longer feels safe and criticism abounds and words are not only taken out of context but passed on, explained and interpreted without my intentions in mind. And that violence, continues. It seems that this blog, so often a tool of peace and rest for me, has become a weapon to be wielded against me. I wrote, then, that I admitted to being a big chicken, allowing the pressure and words against me to keep me from writing.

It seems that it's confession time again. I am still a big chicken. I still second guess each and every word. This place is not any safer than it was, certainly not what it once was. I wish I could shed the lies and the hostility and yet somehow they still hang over my head (and my keyboard) like a cloud. I hate that I have allowed the words of a few to overshadow the encouragement of many and to hamper my freedom...but, if my goal for the year is to thrive and if capturing my thoughts, goals, dreams and photo moments here can help me do that, then perhaps it's time to spend a little more time here, chicken or not. So here we go. Baby steps.

And, if it gets too quiet for too long, you can give me a nudge...we'll call it accountability.

Happy New Year: Thrive

Well, hello there, 2013. I must confess that 2012 was a year that we're not sad to see go. It was full, true, but not always the best kind of good kind of full. All that to say, we're happy that you're here. I know it's only the change of a day, switching of a calendar and changing the number we write in our dates but somehow, your arrival brings with it a newness that inspires hope. Your arrival brings with it a new beginning. No pressure.

I've never really been a big fan of setting a bunch of new year's resolutions. Perhaps it's years of watching people set them and fail, landing in a pool of disappointment and failure. In the spirit of looking forward and creating change, I do, however, like to set goals and evaluate directions.

Over the last several years, I've watched many bloggers come up with a defining word or concept that they want to define the coming year with. Words like fearless, rhythms, rise, explore, engage...words that inspire something, that reflect the values of the one owning it and that encompass a number of smaller, life-giving goals.

I thought about a lot of words last year but nothing truly captured the spirit of what I was hoping for in 2012. Perhaps it was a fear of truly evaluating where I was at. Perhaps, already being in a year of firsts, transitions and change (newly married, newly 'step-momed', newly sharing a house, so much new and so much adjustment), the idea of defining it was just too much, too daunting. And, perhaps, that is part of why 2012 brought what it did.

2012 could be defined, if I'm honest, by a lack of control and a lack of healthy boundaries. By sacrifice, both willing and demanded. By a lack of rhythm, routine and intentionality. By not enough time, space, energy, health, hope, faith, relationship or financial freedom. Not enough me to go around. By reacting to circumstances. By feeling like life is being done to us, instead of being participated in by us. By surviving, not exactly thriving. And, through it all, by being together. In it all, I'm thankful for my wonderful husband, with whom I still laughed, loved, and took one step after another.

With the exception of the joys of my man, 2013 cannot be defined the same way as 2012. I'm tired, too tired, to carry on that way. Some of it, I know, is my attitude. In changing my perspective, some of the things that have sucked the life and energy from me can be robbed of their power. Some of it will be discerning what I can control and what I cannot and making small changes to improve the areas I can control. Some of it will remain, will always remain, out of my control and I need to be okay with that. Some of it will have to be looking at what we, as a couple, can improve...small, manageable changes or bigger changes requiring some battle and work. All of it will require a certain level of courage, ownership, perspective and "thick-skinnedness" (if that's even a word). It will require all the help I can get.

It will be a process.

Small steps leading to bigger steps.

Oh, but I'm not good at that. I'm a fixer and I'm impatient. I want it done now. I want tomorrow to be a better day. An ALL better day. Or better yet, today. I want answers, solutions and plans. I want schedules and organized, intentional goals and directions. Wouldn't it be nice if life were like that?

At the end of the day, this year, I want to learn to thrive. I want to find the will, ability and energy to thrive. I want to find freedom from some of the shackles I feel have kept me from thriving. I want to take steps to thrive.

In my home.

In my marriage.

In my step-parenting.

In my relationships.

In my hobbies.

In my work.

In my faith.

In my own skin.

And perhaps, once I can find a way to thrive, I can help others to thrive as well. Perhaps, in taking care of myself, I can be better fit to take care of those entrusted to my sphere of influence and they, too, can thrive. 

And so I welcome you, 2013. I name you the year to thrive.

*for a good description of the one-word concept, check out this post.