Monday, January 13, 2014

Snow Go

So you know that part in Winnie the Pooh where Pooh's tummy is soooo rumbly and he can't think of anything but honey no matter how hard he tries?  And then every word coming from everyone's mouth in his mind becomes... "honey... honey, honey, honey, hoooooonnneeeyyy."  Yeah, well that was what the start of this new year was like except it wasn't as sweet as honey... it was boatloads of snow.  Snow, more snow, snowing, still snowing, snow everywhere, snow crazy, snow joke.  

Turns out, I actually like snow.  And this snow was beautiful.  The kind of snow that hangs on to each branch for dear life and lingers there for days.  The kind of snow that glistens with each ray of light.  The kind of snow that makes you feel like you are in a real-live snow globe.  I loved it.

But... it definitely put a PAUSE on life.  Our normal-ness was gone and in its place was a homebound family not use to being so... homebound.  And in my go-go-go pattern, I was itching to get this year started off in a way that was just-so and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't compete with nature.  

Looking back, I think God knew that the entire Midwest just needed one more week to catch up on sleep, take down Christmas decorations, eat extra cookies and chocolate and steal more and more snuggles with those sweet babes.  That blanket of snow was just a reminder to slow down, focus on what is important and give yourself grace.

And so, I embraced a delayed start to 2014... and savored in these special moments that would have never happened otherwise...

Here's what we did with the Blizzard of 2014... we played, my husband shoveled, there was one rescue when the snow was too deep, we went on sled rides, climbed mountains, drank lots of hot cocoa, and bundled up.

I am hoping that you are enjoying your start to your new year whether you are off and running or taking a slow start.  Cheers!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

One Little Word


It is intimidating to look at that number and see a blank page.  What to type... anything could come next.  But the impact of what does come next is truly profound.  Hopes, dreams, desires, goals... all in the form of resolutions.  What if I told you that for 2014, you could have one word?  Just one.  And it would have to sum up what you want for yourself for the entire year.


Looking back, I would say this was my word last year.  And I was fierce this time last year.  I took a good-long-hard-look in the mirror and thought about the person looking back at me.  I would say that I stripped back all the layers and got down to the bottom of myself.  I was relentless on the criticism finding so much about myself that I didn't like.  That process in and of itself was grueling... but, it ultimately lit a fire deep inside.  And so... I vowed to change.  For myself.  I started with resolutions, and then when I realized these had failed me over and over each year which led me to where I was at the time... I threw this tradition out the door because... not this time.  Not this time would I fail at change.  I then came up with what I called good ol' fashioned goals.  And these goals became my mantra for the year.  (Read last year's post Resolutions/Schmezolutions here).

My first step was to admit that I didn't have all the answers.  And with this admission, for me, came an eagerness to learn.  I wanted my mind to stretch so far that it couldn't go back.  I wanted to be so influenced that I couldn't help but to act.  I wanted to break down barriers and build foundations to new ideas in their place.  So I began to seek.  What I found was remarkable.  I found people.  Stories. Experiences. Perspectives.  And the thing is... with each one, my heart grew an ounce to make room for them.  I found myself loving.  I found myself living.  I found myself.

Thank God for 2013.  It was a tedious process... a tumultuous journey and oh-so lovely and rewarding. And the thing is... once you start changing, you never really stop.  Inspiration and determination have taken up permanent residency inside my head.  But, it is the small tidbits of wisdom I have collected over the last year that remind me that we can learn from all situations.  It is what we take away that holds the true power.  We are all walking our own journeys, what we choose to see along the way is up to us.

And knowing that I get to build from everything I have gained over the last year makes this year a lot more sweet to slip into.  But, that one-word challenge.  That was so much more difficult than I could have ever imagined.  Hundreds of words passed through my head and with each one, I stopped to try it on for size looking at it from every angle, examining it until I was left shaking my head and thinking, "No, that word will just not do." And then I found it.  My word for 2014.  And I will admit, that I tossed this word aside also.  And later when I came back to it, I realized I was afraid of this word.  It comes with big shoes... much bigger than my own.  I was worried I would fail at this word.  But, I soon decided that it was in my heart and chosen for me by Him, so it had to be right.


Everyday is a gift.  We know this.  But we forget this.  And when we are forced to remember this in the wake of a serious situation... we once again look at life as a gift, as it is meant to be viewed.  And this is when we can truly appreciate life one day at a time.  I love the saying, "Do something great today, you exchanged a day of your life for it." And so, this year I hope to add an element of giving to our everyday lives and challenge ourselves to reach beyond our comfort zone and find new opportunities to serve and give.  I want to keep this word in the forefront.  I want to give my children my full presence when I am with them.  I want to give my husband a full commitment to teamwork as we parent together.  I want to give myself forgiveness when everything goes array and remember to laugh in moments that just aren't worth fretting about. I want to give back to my community for all the grace and love they have given us over the past year.  I want to give hope to strangers and encourage wherever and whenever I can.  I have lots of little ideas and big ideas that will hopefully allow for lots and lots of giving throughout the year.

And now a fresh start.  A chance for a deep inhale of the intoxicating fumes of possibilities in the new year.  A clear mind, a focused goal and a lot of gusto... and here we go 2014.  Let's do this.

I would love to hear from you!  What's your one little word?

And how about some Christmas outtakes just for fun?!