Awww Monday: Springuary

It’s January  in middle Missouri….and 65F! Unbelievable. Mom and I have walked two days this week without her having to wear a winter coat. Afterwards, we rewarded ourselves with time on the patio with a magazine and a game of “incessantly throw the Kong ball.” A bit of day drinking on her part may or may not have been involved as well. I can’t really be sure of what was in her glass. 🙂

The cold doesn’t really bother me, but I can tell Mom is really enjoying this unseasonably warm weather. However, I have heard her mention the words “groomer” and “trimmed up” so I’m not sure my winter coat will stay as wooly and warm as it is today.

Santa brought me a new toy. We call him Foxy. Mom has successfully sewn him up about four times already. Unfortunately, my play time with Foxy is now limited and supervised.

Blog hopping this sunny Springuary day with Comedy Plus and Awww Monday. Hope everyone is having a spectacular  start to the new year. Say hello to all your fur babies for me

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My One Word for 2019 is……

Yesterday, I recapped my One Word selections since 2015 with a summary of how well it worked for 2018. Now that the gifts are opened, holiday get togethers are finished and we enter into a new year, it’s time for me to focus on another word.

Resolutions, while made with good intentions, inevitably are forgotten by March. I’ve found by choosing one word to focus on for the year gives me a fighting chance to make lasting changes in my life.

It may sound odd, but I spend a lot of time thinking about this one word. It always relates to what’s been going on in my life and what direction I’d like to steer it for the future. Lots of words float through my head, but one eventually rises to the top.

This year, my One Word is:

Mindful = Mind-Full

mind·ful / mīn(d)fəl / adjective
conscious or aware of something; aware, conscious, sensible, alive, alert, acquainted, heedful

2018 One Word Wrap Up

My post today is doing double duty. My Awwww Monday photo is so cute and you’ll surely think it’s an awwww-worthy selection for today.

The second is because it’s New Year’s Eve. For quite a few years, I’ve ditched the New Year’s resolutions in favor or picking one word to focus on for the year. Some years are successful, some…not so much. Here’s a recap since 2015 when our lives were thrown a major curve ball.

One Word for 2015: Fearless: In late 2014, Entrepreneur was diagnosed with renal cell cancer. I believe I’m stronger now by focusing on trying to be less fearful of the future.

One Word for 2016: Present:  I wanted to focus on being present without the distraction of social media. Despite mixed results, I’m more conscious now of how much time my eyes are focused downward instead of outward or upward.

One Word for 2017: Joy:  This one was a spectacular FAIL. Joy was elusive to me. Entrepreneur’s cancer revisited us as a brain tumor in February, so setting the tone for the rest of the year. Post surgery physical and mental deficits, radiation, a 9-month bout with Bells Palsy, and oral chemotherapy pretty much sucked the joy out of life. While 2017 did have some happy moments, I’m afraid I lost my Joy in the middle of the muck.

One Word for 2018: Shalom: A word I desperately needed to focus upon given Joy’s disappearance in 2017. Daily, oral chemo was still a regime for Entrepreneur and I watched my husband of 38 years lose 20+ pounds and continue to suffer chemo fog and related, devastating side effects. But, in the middle of it all, beautiful, loving, caring prayer partners came alongside us both physically and emotionally to help navigate the challenges. The result was a sense of calm that enveloped me in the middle of the chaos. I did a couple of women’s bible studies and read two especially helpful books. I highly recommend both of these books for anyone facing the hostilities of life.
1. Not by Sight by Jon Bloom: a book about trusting in the promises of Jesus, and following him into the unseen and unknown.
2. Be Still My Soul by Nancy Guthrie: a book with short commentaries exploring the age old question of why God allows pain in our lives. And, how to trust the promises of Jesus in the middle of pain and suffering.

Peace is dependent on the absence of something and is always fragmented. Shalom is more all-encompassing. It’s a positive force, not dependent on the absence of anything. It’s the gold standard of contentment in the middle of chaos, anger and despair. This kind of lasting peace, or shalom…wholeness, completeness and harmony…can only come from Jesus.

While I’m not completely there yet, I think my state of mind has more shalom than before. I still get anxious about what the future holds, but can feel a sense of calm in my soul. Am I giving up and giving in? Hardly. We will fight the good fight, but realize the outcome is ultimately up to God’s plan for our lives. I have a specific scenario of what that outcome should be, but surrender the final decision to the One to whose life I belong.

Check back on January 1st to find out what word I’m choosing for 2019. 🙂 Until then,  hope your 2018 was filled with good memories with family and friends.

Blog hopping today (after too long a hiatus) for Awww Monday with Sandee at Comedy Plus.

 

My One Word for 2018

In 2015, I began choosing My One Word for the year as a replacement for coming up with New Year’s resolutions. The goal is to help my attitude and attention focus on an aspect for my life moving forward into the new year. Doing it this way, instead of focusing on changing past behaviors, allows me to grow as a person and, hopefully, be better for the effort.

One Word for 2015: Fearless: This was the year after Entrepreneur was diagnosed with renal cell cancer. Overall, I think I’m stronger in the face of this challenge by focusing on trying to be less fearful of the future.

One Word for 2016: Present:  This was the year I wanted to focus more on being present with my grandbabykins and family without the distraction of social media. There were mixed results, but I’m more conscious now of how much time my eyes are focused downward instead of outward.

One Word for 2017: Joy:  I would have to chalk this one up to a FAIL. I tried. I really did. But Joy was elusive to me last year. Similar to 2014, Entrepreneur’s cancer manifested itself as a brain tumor in February. After surgery on Valentine’s Day, the rest of the year was spent trying to overcome the deficits that come along with brain surgery. Bells Palsy set in around April after radiation treatments. He started oral chemotherapy and the side effects have been rough. I did try to be open to moments where I felt a sense of Joy but they were few and far between…and maybe somewhat nonexistent. While 2017 did have some happy moments, I’m afraid I lost my Joy in the middle of the muck.

So, here I am…going into 2018 ready to focus my attention and attitude on another word. It’s a word I desperately need to focus upon in order to find last year’s lost Joy. And that word is:

Shalom

To many, Shalom simply means peace….or an absence of hostility. Honestly, I’d be good with less life hostilities.

But, what is peace? To those governing countries, it’s no other country trying to wage war against them. To parents, it’s the quiet that happens when children are not actively destroying the house. To others, it’s an absence of anxiety and worry. And still to others, it’s simply having peace of mind about a situation or circumstance.

Lasting peace is fleeting. There will always be war between countries somewhere in the world, The quiet, family household will always, once again, erupt in the noises of children. Worry and anxiety will always creep into our minds, destroying any “peace” of mind that might have been present.

True peace is fleeting when it’s dependent on us. Shalom has a much deeper meaning. Biblical Shalom is a deep sense of completeness or wholeness that settles our souls. It’s a feeling of contentment and harmony that transcends the circumstances of our lives. This kind of lasting peace, or shalom…wholeness, completeness and harmony…can only come from God.

The LORD said to Moses, “Tell Aaron and his sons, ‘This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them: “The LORD bless you, and keep you; The LORD make His face shine on you, And be gracious to you; The LORD lift up His countenance on you, and give you peace.” ‘
~Numbers 6:22-26

When God spoke these words to Moses, he wanted him to understand there would be an inner peace and completeness only when they trusted in God’s protection, and had an understanding that He was in control, regardless of the circumstances.

Peace is dependent on the absence of something and is always fragmented. Shalom is more all-encompassing and lasting. It’s a positive force, not dependent on the absence of anything. It’s the gold standard of contentment in the middle of chaos, anger and despair.

For me, there is only one way to true shalom in my life. And, sadly, I tend to forget to trust in the One who is able to provide that for me. I tend to worry and be anxious about situations beyond my control. I run worst-case scenarios in my head when circumstances get dicey. My state of mind is as far from shalom as one can get.

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.
~Isaiah 26:3-4

This is my focus for 2018. Shalom is my goal through trust in the Prince of Peace, Jesus.

For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation…
~Ephesians 2:14

I wish nothing but the best for each and every one of you in 2018. Prosperity, good fortune and blessings, but most of all….Shalom!

Out with the old, in with the new

quotography-new year72

Year’s end is nether an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us.
~Hal Borland

Can you believe the new year will begin in just three days?! Wow. Where did the last 12 months go? How do you approach the passing of one year into the next? Are you one to make resolutions to break for the new year? Do you spend time obsessing reflecting on life over the past 12 months? Do you look forward to a fresh start each January 1st?

I’ve never been one to make resolutions…probably because I’m just lazy. I’ve never made the beginning of a new year into a huge event. So when I came across this quote, I thought it summed up my thoughts about the new year perfectly. There is nothing magical about January 1st. It will feel the same as December 31st (except for that headache from last night’s party). The only difference is when we begin each “new” year, we do so carrying our cumulative past experiences with us….and hopefully we’re brining added wisdom because of those experiences. This gained wisdom will, consciously or unconsciously, affect every decision we make moving forward.

Last year, instead of those pesky resolutions, I started selecting a Word for the Year. I’d seen this done by others and thought it was a brilliant alternative to empty resolutions. Stay tuned for that big reveal in a few more days.

I hope you all enjoy the rest of 2015….and approach 2016 with greater wisdom and renewed energy.

Participating in Quotography and LTTL

Precious Privileges

sunrise and clouds

When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive
—to breath, to think, to enjoy, to love.

~Marcus Aurelius

Many people enter the new year with delusions of keeping by making resolutions with good intentions. I gave up on that a long time ago when my expectations routinely exceeded my realities. Now, I’ve more or less adopted the mantra of just being thankful when I wake up in the morning and am still breathing. Everything after that is a bonus. Like this glorious winter sunrise that recently surprised me!

So, I have no extraordinary insights heading into 2014. The closest thing I have is my Random 5 Friday thoughts for this week.

1. I want to be a better wife/mom/daughter/sister/nana/friend than I was in 2013. Vague, I know, but there’s lots of room for improvement so I should be okay with this one.

2. I want to enjoy life and not dwell so much on the negative. This one will be more difficult. Sometimes I think if I expect the worst, then I’ll never be disappointed. The trouble with that is that many times I probably miss out on being happy.

3. I hope to learn how to appreciate what I’ve been given and not be distracted by what I’ve not been given. In our culture, this is hard. But as I get older, there’s less and less material stuff I just can’t live without.

4. I gained a few pounds over the holidays. I wish I could blame it on someone or something else, but it’s 100% totally my fault. No.Self.Control when it comes to holiday eating. Nope. Nada. Zip.

5. I begin my 8th year as an adjunct instructor for the local J-school in a few weeks. Eighteen college seniors await my seasoned insight. 🙂

That’s about it.

Here’s to a year of hope and promise. Let’s make it the best one yet!

Linking up with Quotography, Friday Finds, Random 5 Friday
Quotography  fridayfindsbutton2  8616512946_a8c5cf857d_o

Quotography: A New Year

Whatever you do, or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius and power and magic in it.
~Goethe

Kelly at Living Life in Pennsylvania has graciously taken over hosting Qutotgraphy in Nicolasa’s absence. We very much thank her for keeping this meme alive for us! This week’s theme is A New Year. What are your hopes and dreams for 2012?

Submitted for Quotography.