A new year, a new word

For the last few years, through prayer and pondering, I’ve had a word for the year. This year, the word that came forward and offered itself was ‘promise’.

No specific promise came along with it, so I began to look into the word itself and it was the second verb definition that resonated with me:

with obj. ] give good grounds for expecting (a particular occurrence or situation): forthcoming concerts promise a feast of music from around the world | [ with infinitive ] :  it promised to be a night that all present would long remember.

Mmmm…a year of promise – a year full of the expectation of – I’m going to go ahead and make it a positive, as you knew I would 🙂 – good occurrences or situations. I quite like that.

The words I’ve had previously have had an application aspect to them e.g. rest – deliberately concentrating on being restful; or intention – requiring me to really think and plan. But promise, well, promise requires me to do nothing but hope and keep my eyes open for the forthcoming good things.

And I’ve also been challenged by what I define as good. As is often the case, my definition of a word isn’t always what God means by that same word. And good definitely falls into that category.

For most of us, good things are the things that make us happy or make our life easier somehow or have some reward or kickback. Yet even a cursory read of the Bible should cause us to rethink what God means by good. By God’s definition, it seems good is anything that brings me closer to Him. And we all know that those things aren’t always what makes us happy or life easier, nor do they always carry a reward we can see in the here and now.

I like the freedom that this word brings and it ties in nicely with last years’ word of rest – rest in the promise of all this year holds 🙂

And what says promise more than the dawning of a new day? This pic is from a couple of years back that I love because it captures two of my favourite things – the beach and a fresh new day rising to meet us.

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Happy new year 15 days in :)

The other day, I listed on a used furniture site a sofa bed that had become superfluous due to a change of room configurations and the change in location of my study area (bear with me, I do have a point…well, sort of) and by doing so met the beautiful soul who came to buy it. Unbeknownst to me, my listing on the site also included the link to my blog and, Donna, the buyer of aforementioned sofa bed, had read a few of the posts. To be honest, I hadn’t thought about the blog for awhile and it was kinda nice hearing someone talk about it enthusiastically. And it made me miss it.

I caught up with a friend recently who asked if I’d written any more on the book I’ve been trying to finish for the last gazillion years. And of course, my face gave her the answer. And now after talking to Donna as well, I realised I had allowed writing for work and writing for study to take away my creative writing time and that in light of a new year, I could pencil in some blog/book writing time. It might just be half an hour a week or even a month. “A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step” after all. So, although I’m not a new years resolution type person, that’s one little goal that is just for me – no benefits to anyone or anything except for keeping my inner creative pixie quiet and happy.

Some of you may remember my Grateful Book of 2016. Well, I didn’t have a special project last year, so as 2017 turned into 2018, I had an idea for a new project. Essentially, it’s a cork board specifically for polaroids of anyone who comes and spends time with us – for coffee, a meal, a swim, a wine, a night or two.

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We can’t wait to watch it fill up over the year and have a board full of all the friends and family we have had the privilege of having in our home. Tomorrow night there will be another one up there – the trick is going to be remembering to take the polaroid each time!

It’s also a great visual cue for me to be intentional about asking people to our home – aka actioning my lesson and word for the year last year (rest) by replenishing and refreshing myself by the presence of those people I love.

So, this year, while still full and somewhat uncertain, is off to a good start. And I’m excited to be back here, writing again 🙂 And thanks Donna for your encouragement even though you probably didn’t even know that’s what you were doing! 🙂

 

Getting off ‘the facebook’

So on Monday, I deactivated my Facebook account. Shocking I know! I still have an account for work purposes so I’m not fully free of it but from a personal and social point of view, it’s gone. I did it for a few reasons, the biggest being the need to simplify and to stop the incessant noise that is social media.

Keeping in mind my word for the year, I’m looking for ways to rest in all aspects of my life so that my whole being is leaning towards that rest and not just my physical body. I’ll admit, it felt foreign at first, to not have the meme’s, the satire, the cute and fluffy videos, the ‘connection’ to people I know. But oh my goodness, to not see every latest political disaster, every cause that needs my immediate attention, the spiritual posts that remind me how far short I fall (constantly!) – to just have quiet has been bliss! And to realise how often, when I had a few spare minutes, I would pick up my phone and just trawl Facebook mindlessly…well, it’s embarrassing to admit but it was A LOT. Now, instead of reaching for that button on my phone, I can just sit and think, refocus my mind on God, say a short prayer of thankfulness and allow my mind to….rest 🙂

It’s funny too, I now have more coffee dates with friends set in my diary after removing myself from Facebook. See Facebook gives us the impression of connection and community (and I do think there are circumstances in which that connection and community are very real indeed but that’s for another post!) but often comes up short. Nothing, nothing, can replace face to face connection with other people. People may not be able to tell from a status or online chat how we are really doing – put us in front of each other though and you can tell if that smile doesn’t quite reach their eyes or if their hands are shaking or their shoulders are slumped.

We need to actually see one another in order to really ‘see’ one another.

So am I advocating for everyone to get off Facebook? I guess I am! But I’m also realistic and know that the likelihood of that is pretty slim 🙂 I wasn’t disciplined enough to just cut down and limit my usage but maybe you are. All I know is that in our current world, we are generally overloaded, stressed and feeling isolated. Seek real connection. I dare you.

And now for a year of…

…rest. Apparently.

So every year I try to have a word that is my focus and after waiting on God for this years word, I pondered what the year looked like (so far): two jobs, both needing my full attention, studying, continuing in various roles within church groups and, obviously, I still have a husband and family.

And the word that God gave me? REST.

Yeah, right. I thought it would be something like focus or intention or efficiency. But no. Rest.

rest 1 |restverb [ no obj. ] cease work or movement in order to relax, refresh oneself, or recover strength.

So I’m trying to rest. I really am. And I’m discovering the true rest that only Jesus can provide – “Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

Finding rest in this life, this world, is tricky and often unsatisfactory. But I know the One who made it all and if He says that coming to Him and resting is the only way I am going to manage this year, then that is what I will do. I will relax in His presence, refresh myself by remembering Him and all He is and I will recover strength by drawing on His spirit.

And I’ve changed the photo on this blog to serve as a reminder to rest, for there is nowhere I feel more rested that amongst His creation and in particular, when I’m near the ocean.

I’m grateful for this word. Not surprisingly, it turns out it actually is the perfect word for this year 🙂

 

 

I did it!

Yesterday, I took my last photo for the Grateful 2016 book 🙂

The book is so full it won’t close. And it’s representative of the year which has been full to overflowing too! And as I flick through it’s pages, with dodgy polaroids, crossed out words and often indecipherable hand writing, I truly am grateful for 2016. It hasn’t been the easiest one, by far. It has challenged me, caused me to look at myself with stark honesty and it has shown me that, aside from God, I really am capable of nothing. He has sustained, comforted and been by my side through the adventure of this year.

And as I look down the barrel of 2017, there are things on the horizon that scare me, things that I know will bring me joy and plenty of ‘normal’ life in-between. Perfect 🙂

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Day 301

Today I’m grateful for family. And especially that one in the middle. 

My sister and her husband are currently going through their gypsy phase. They have no fixed address other than “we’re in that big green truck over there” and are enjoying seeing more of this great south land than I ever will. 

It was great to catch up and I’m looking forward to more over the next couple of weeks 🙂 

Day 297-299

Only 67 days to go of my Grateful year! 

The highlight of the last three days would be yesterday – last exam of the semester! 

And my Charli girl bought me a bunch of lilies by way of congratulations 🙂 They are still buds; lovely big pods of impending beauty and fragrance. And I kind of like the analogy…they’re not quite ‘there’ yet but they hold the promise of things to come. Just like me and my degree (if only it was only going to take a few days instead of years!). 

And the little basil plant in the bottom photo? His story will have to wait for another day 🙂 

So, yes, this week I am very grateful for the fullness of this life I get live 🙂 

Remember me?

Gosh, I can’t believe how long it’s been since I was here! I’m going to blame uni for the absence….that and some big changes for us work wise 🙂

Yesterday I sat my first and final exam for my first semester at uni *cue big sigh of relief. Whilst it has taken up my spare time, I have thoroughly enjoyed it and I’m already looking forward to March when I’ll do another two subjects.

Now that I have a little bit more time, I thought I’d get back into posting my Grateful Book entries every day. And check out the book now! It won’t even close, it’s that full 🙂14804937_10211000219778283_1388735858_n

So stay tuned for another post tonight with today’s gratefulness 🙂

Day ‘can’t remember’ to yesterday :) 

Well, the year is rocketing past at a stupid pace and while I’ve still been taking Polaroids and adding to my Grateful book, I haven’t managed to post them up here (in case you hadn’t noticed!). 

It’s been a full and lovely couple of months: some birthdays, catch ups with friends, work, chill time and the start of Uni (eeek!!) and lots of ‘normal’ days in between 🙂  

So here’s some of the past months grateful entries 🙂 Hope all is well in your world!