January 11, 2020

2020 - One Little Word

Created a new space, in my room, for all the creative things. And the natural light is perfection.
I've chosen my one little word for 2020...create. As usual, I thought about a few different words, but there was something about create that stuck. I let it sink in for a few days before ultimately deciding that it would be my one little word for the year.

As usual, I want to share some of the ways I'm hoping create will guide me throughout 2020...

Create beautiful things

I consider myself to be a fairly creative person. I've always loved photography, scrapbooking, art journaling, design, etc., but I don't spend as much time doing these things as I'd like. I rearranged some things in my apartment and created a space to create...mostly to art journal, but maybe in other ways as well. We shall see! I've already created more than usual because of having this space and all of my supplies out and ready to use! Hoping to explore some new creative skills this year too! 

Create space for my soul to breathe

Over the last few years, I've been trying to prioritize rest and balance. Working in ministry (much like many other careers/fields) means that there are always needs...something that needs to be done, someone who needs help, something to learn more about and better understand, etc. But I'm continuing to learn how important it is so create space for my soul to breathe so I can do all of those things with a full cup, ready to pour out. I'm creating space by waking up and not looking at my phone until I've read something from the Bible or a book...by drinking water with lemon essential oil first thing in the morning...by listening to worship music while I make coffee...by writing down 5 things I'm grateful for every day...by reading more words in physical books than on social media posts. We're not quite two weeks into 2020 yet, but I can already feel a difference.
My soul can feel a difference. 

Create margin for God

This is somewhat related to the last one, but I wanted to be a bit more specific. I am going to try to open (and read, obviously) my Bible every single day. I know it seems like something that I should already be really, really good at, but it's just not. I've always struggled with establishing a daily routine for reading my Bible and praying, but I'm working on it...and it's going fairly well so far! One of my favorite blog/Instagram ladies, Elise Blaha Cripe, has a free daily habit tracker that I'm using for a few of my goals this year. I'm a very visual person so I've found this to be an effective way for me to see my progress. I'm also trying to journal my prayers more often, which is something I've carried over from last year. It helps me to focus more, as it's very easy for me to get lost in my own thoughts if I just pray in my mind...and it's always helpful to go back and see how God has answered my prayers! 

Create a difference in the lives of others

I just really love people. Yes, I may be an introvert that thoroughly enjoys being home alone, but I also really love being with people. And not just people, but my people. The kiddos in the village. The teens in the It Takes Courage programs. The people I serve alongside in the different ministries. I want to find ways to serve them better this year. Even though I still feel like I'm in a season of transition and I don't know what the future holds...I want to show Jesus to them in small, every day moments. And this doesn't just apply to "my people", but also to the people I come in contact less frequently. The child begging outside of the grocery store. The person serving me coffee or food at a restaurant. I want to show Jesus to them as well, in small, every day moments. 

Found this verse and I can't stop reading it. So fitting for create and this time in my life.
There a few other ways that I'm incorporating create into my life, but I'm going to keep those private for now. If I see fit to share them later on, then I will :) Obviously, I'm sure there will be other ways in which create manifests itself in the upcoming year, and ways that I'm able to look back and see only at the end of 2020. Either way, I'm excited to see where create takes me in 2020.

Just as it was with grow in 2019 and light in 2018, I've already starting seeing the word create as I read books, listen to music and scroll on social media. It's so interesting how that works!

If you've chosen one little word for 2020, I'd love to hear what it is...and how you see it guiding your year. Feel free to leave a comment or send me an email :)

January 5, 2020

One Second Everyday in 2019

Here we are! We've reached the end of another year...a beautiful year, a messy year, the year of 2019. Like I said in my 2018 post, once we reach the last week of the year, I'm usually wishing the days away so I can make this video! While I make weekly and monthly videos, there's something special about putting it all together. Even though I recorded each clip, sometimes I forget about different moments throughout the year.

I've already watched this video a few times now, and I can't help but smile as I watch it. Sure, there were parts of 2019 that I didn't love, but this "project" always helps me to find a little good in every single day.

If you don't already have the 1 Second Everyday app, I'd strongly encourage you to try it out this year. It'll take some getting used to, but trust me when I say that you won't regret it!

January 3, 2020

Moments of GROWTH in 2019

As I did last year with light, I want to reflect on 2019 through the lens of my "one little word", GROW. If you want to go back and read the original post about how I chose grow, click here.

Looking back, I can easily see so many moments of growth in 2019. I can look back with such joy, and even pride in seeing how much I've grown.

But I can also look back at the year with extreme disappointment in my lack of growth. I'm not entirely sure what I expected of myself (and maybe of God too) when I chose the word grow, but I'll be honest and say that I don't feel like I "met the goal"...even though I wouldn't even say that I set a goal, per se. It's complicated.

Anyways, I don't feel like I grew enough. But then I have to stop myself. Do we ever, in life, feel like we've grown enough? How much growth is "enough"? And I also think that, some of the growth won't be visible until later...

From my blog post where I shared my word for 2019, I broke grow down into four parts. I'm hoping that breaking down these four parts will help me to see more growth than I can see if I think of my growth as a whole in 2019.

As you might recall, I used the four parts from Luke 2:52, which says "And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor God and man".

In wisdom
  • Read more books: So I didn't read as many books as I would have liked, but I do feel like the ones I read were exactly what I needed to be reading at the time. Here are a few of my favorites:
    • Remember God by Annie F. Downs - That ending. Bawled my little eyes out. Love me some AFD!
    • Let's All Be Brave by Annie F. Downs - Technically, I read most of this one in 2018 and finished it in 2019, but I'm still counting it!
    • Becoming by Michelle Obama - Such a good read. Loved learning more about her life story and perspective. 
    • Garden City by John Mark Comer - This one took me awhile to get through due to the content, but it was a very good read. 
    • You Are the Girl for the Job by Jess Connolly - A must-read. I just read it in October, and I already want to read it again. Such incredible encouragement and wisdom. 
    • Just Do Something by Kevin DeYoung - I read this book in two days during Christmas break. And again, I already want to re-read it at a slower pace to really take it all in. 
  • Pray regularly: I tend to go through phases where I pray a lot, and then not so much...and up and down and back and forth. I can't say that I grew a ton in this area, but I did journal a lot more of my prayers so that feels like growth to me!
  • Seek out wisdom from people: I can list a handful of people who I was a bit more vulnerable with this year, both with joys and disappointments. It can be hard for me to be vulnerable, but I feel like I grew (and continue to grow) in sharing with others and seeking wisdom from them. I'm blessed to have some very wise people in my life, and for that I am thankful. 
  • Learn more: Thankfully, I feel like I always have a desire to learn and seek out information. I wanted to learn more about a few specific topics (social work, Romania and the Enneagram) in 2019, and I did better with some than others. From best to worst, I'd say I learned the most about the Enneagram, a little about Romania, and a tiny bit about social work. I rank them in this order because I sought out a lot of information about the Enneagram...I learned more about Romania simply by continuing to live here and ask questions...and sadly, I wouldn't say that I necessarily learned specific/concrete things about social work. I guess that's why I'm thankful for continued growth. Must keep learning...
In stature
  • Work on overall health: I kind of broke this one down into four more parts: physical, emotional, relational and spiritual. Much like "Learn more", I did better with some than others.
    • Physical: I would say that I grew in my understanding of how important choices (food, water, exercise, products used) are when it comes to physical health. 
    • Emotional: This one is always ongoing...
    • Relational: I deepened some relationships this year, and for that, I am extremely grateful.
    • Spiritual: Thankfully, this is always an ongoing process. I don't feel like we can/should ever reach a point of being "fully grown" in our relationship with God. I always want to be learning more and growing in my relationship with Him. 
In favor with God
  • Grow in relationship: Again, not sure if it's possible to be "fully grown" in one's relationship with God, but I do feel like there has been growth in this area. I tried to spend more intentional time with Him, and to be obedient to what He asked me to do. 
  • Focus on being with Him vs. doing things for Him: I tried to prioritize this concept a bit more this year. It can be a bit of challenge when others have different expectations about how "productive" I should be or how I should be spending my time, but I'm slowly learning the importance of taking my directives from HIM in this area. This is an area of continued growth as even my own expectations (about productivity) get in the way sometimes too. 
  • Grow where He has placed me: I feel like I've continued to grow into my life in Romania...in my ministry, my work with Him here, my call to this place, my relationships, etc. So so so thankful that He placed me here in Romania. 
 In favor with man
  • Open my mind, circle, heart: As an introvert, a somewhat private person and an Enneagram 9, I knew this one would be hard for me. I typically like to keep things to myself and to stay in my bubble, but I do believe there was a tiny bit of growth. I opened my mind to new ideas. I tried to widen my circle and heart by letting others in a little closer. 
  • Be more aware of how I treat people: Learning more about the Enneagram definitely helped me to grow in this area. I try not to point everything to the Enneagram, but it's definitely an amazing resource and tool that helps me to understand myself and others better. 
  • Improve communication skills: Can I just say "see above"...? Yes, it's my blog post so that's what I shall say. See above. 
And there you have it, my growth in 2019. 
I grew. I didn't grow. 
I'll always be growing...and that's okay. 
I'm thankful for slow and steady growth. 

When I think about all of the ways I didn't grow this year, these last few sentences encourage me to focus on continued growth in the most beautiful way. I am thankful for Morgan Harper Nichols and the way she writes about growth. 
"...and you may not have been able to notice all the ways you're growing. But I promise you, beyond your knowing, you were blooming. Your roots were growing deeper. Your heart was growing strong, your soul, a well of life."