August 2, 2020

One Little Word: a mid-year check-in

Well, we're a little more than halfway through 2020 and I thought I'd do a mid-year check-in on my one little word for this year: create. I'm going to be super honest and say that I'm not doing very well with the "goals" that I set related to my word for this year. However, I know that I have to give myself some grace because 2020 has looked nothing like we thought it would...and there have been some major unforeseen circumstances.

I say this, not only for myself, but for you as well. Give yourself grace if your 2020 goals don't look the way you thought they would. Because, well, 2020 hasn't exactly looked the way any of us thought it would.

So, without further ado, here's my mid-year check-in for create. And might I add, that I'm actually writing this post and processing through this more for me than for you (as is true for a lot of my blog posts), but I'm glad you're along for the ride!

Create beautiful things

When I came up with this one, I was thinking almost specifically of art journaling. While I do have a few different art-focused pages in my journal (mostly all prior to March-April), I haven't done nearly as many as I would have liked. However, I feel like I've written a lot more in my journal than in years past, which, to me, feels like I've created beautiful memories to look back on. Even today, as I look back through my journal, I feel like I'm creating this beautiful "thing" that will serve me well for years to come.

Other beautiful things that I've created in the first six months of the year:
  • Spotify playlists: Music is everything. I tend to make a playlist for each season (ex. Spring 2020, Summer 2020, etc.), and I have them saved from as far back as 2015. I loooove going back and listening to each of them because they really transport me back to that time in my life. And, as you can probably imagine, I created a playlist, or five, during quarantine. 
    • A cozy apartment: While this isn't specific to the first six months of 2020, I've definitely made a few cozy changes to my apartment, specifically during quarantine, since I'm spending A LOT more time here these days. I've had a few people over in the last month or so and almost every single person has commented on how cozy and peaceful my apartment is. For an introverted homebody and enneagram 9 (if you don't know how that's relevant, ignore it), that's a high, high compliment. My apartment is really my sacred space. I feel incredibly blessed to live in such a beautiful place, which includes this apartment, whole house, medieval citadel, beautiful city, gorgeous country, etc. I am grateful that I get to create beautiful things in this beautiful space. 
    • Oils & Courage: Just this month, I created a new space on Instagram to share about my love for essential oils and toxin-free products from Young Living. I've been using oils and other YL products since 2018. I share quite often with my friends, like I'd share about a really good cup of coffee or cozy slippers, and I finally decided it was time to expand my circle and share with more people. Young Living has an optional business side that helps people to gain financial freedom, and, as a partner funded missions worker with student loans, I'm allllll about some financial freedom. I am the farthest thing from a pushy salesperson (do you even know me?!), but if you're curious about oils and toxin-free living, you know how to find me!

    Create space for my soul to breathe

    Well, this one was pretty much given to me, thanks to a mandatory lockdown from mid-March to mid-May, and even after that, as I still spend much more time at home compared to before. I could lie and tell you that I truly made the most of every second of that lockdown (and the time since then)...that I woke up early every day without checking social media first thing...that I drank coffee and read every single morning...that I wrote down 5 things I'm grateful for every day without missing a single one. NOPE. I didn't do any of those things perfectly. I mean, other than drinking coffee every know me! 

    I feel like I actually did okay up until mid-June, and then I kind of hit a wall. The wall of "is this way of living ever going to end?!" that I'm sure many of you are familiar with by now. But, I am happy to say that I gave myself a pep talk last Sunday evening. This past week, I woke up earlier than usual. I didn't check social media as soon as I woke up...or even until after I had done some reading or listened to a peaceful podcast of some kind. Small steps, people, small steps! 

    Create margin for God

    Much like that last one, I did okay with this one for awhile and then kind of veered off track. I was doing different Bible reading plans, listening to sermons, podcasts, daily worship from churches, reading books and articles, journaling my prayers and thoughts...all of the things. And then I kind of just stopped. I think I may have overwhelmed myself with too much information, which I have a tendency to do.

    In the last few weeks, I've tried to narrow it down a bit. One of the things I've really been wanting to focus on is reading and better understanding the Bible. I started Angie Smith's Seamless study with a friend, and we have one more week to go. Honestly, I've put off starting this last week because I don't want to be done with the study! Silly, but that's what I do! Anyways, I'd highly recommend this study to anyone who is wanting to better "understand the Bible as one complete study", which is the subtitle!

    Create a difference in the lives of others

    This one is hard for me to measure. I would love to say that I've been creating huge differences in the lives of those around me, but I really don't know if that's true. I definitely feel like some connections with various teens and young adults have deepened in the first half of the year, which is incredibly exciting. I've been able to have some serious conversations about life and relationships...and even a few conversations about God! I often feel extremely unqualified in these types of conversations because I surely don't have life, relationships or God all figured out, but it's definitely a humbling privilege to know that the teens/young adults feel comfortable talking to me about these big issues.

    In addition to these conversations, I was able to have a small group of girls from the village over to my apartment a few weeks ago, along with Roxana (leader of the children's program in the village). The children's program still isn't meeting, but Roxana has started meeting with her smaller preteen girls' group again. During a conversation with Roxana, I told her that I'd love to have her and the girls over to my apartment sometime, and a week later, they were here!

    While there weren't any monumental moments during this fun "girls' day out", it felt like Roxana and I were able to invest in them in a new way. We talked about life. We talked about their hopes and dreams. We talked about their futures. Roxana and I both felt like this day, a day out of the village and their normal routine, opened their eyes up to new possibilities...and to hope. After returning to the village, Roxana and I chatted for a few hours about the day (and lots of other things). We both felt like this day was one neither of us would forget...and we were pretty sure the girls would never forget it either!

    There are so many unknowns that lie ahead related to programs. But, regardless of what official programs look like in September, I know there will always be opportunities to invest in the lives of others, and I'm excited about that.

    And there we have it! A mid-year check-in on my one little word for the year: create. It's so hard to know what the rest of the year will look like, but I feel like I can definitely move forward in each of these areas whether we return to how things were before (ha ha ha) or go back to a more restricted season (please, no!). It's interesting how I chose this word (or it chose me) at the start of the year, before any of us knew what 2020 would bring, and yet it feels like the perfect word. 

    Here's to the second half of 2020... creating more beautiful things
    ...more space for my soul to breathe
    ...more margin for God
    ...and more of a difference in the lives of others!