Tuesday, 1 January 2013


Sometimes, as the holidays are ending, I feel like I'm returning to the "real world". I'm emerging from the days of family, feasting, laughter, gift-giving, all the excitement and magic of this time of year, and returning to the realities of responsibility and mundane.

But you know what? The holidays were all just as real as the plain everyday of the week to come. I need the ebb and flow of both, excitement and quiet, together and apart, frivolity and responsibility, magical and ordinary.

Right now, I'm ready to put some things away and enjoy the quiet ordinary again.

* * *

It's a new year. That in itself feels a bit magical, a clean slate, a new start. I'm not so good with resolutions, but this journey towards intentional living demands something of me.

For the past three years, I have responded to that demand with a yearly theme.

It began with grace and intention. It was a quiet year, that one, settling into our new home with our new baby, the sweet boy who is now three years old. It was the perfect year to allow those two themes to flourish in our lives. I learned better how to extend grace to my children, extend grace to others, extend grace to myself, and receive grace myself. I practiced intentional living, making our choices with purpose and deliberation. It was a good year. I left it feeling satisfied.

Grace and intention became joy and rhythm in the following year. Building on grace, I wanted it to be a year of enjoying and rejoicing in that grace. Building on intention, I wanted it to be a year of building a comforting rhythm into our lives. A new year building on the work of the last.

Joy and rhythm led to presence and habit in this past year. I sought presence, both mine and God's, through steady communion and immersing myself in the moment. I sought to develop positive habits in order to bring about sustainable change in my life. Habit leading to presence, presence leading to habit, a satisfying cycle on this journey towards a more intentional life.

I feel content with this past year. While the challenges of pregnancy and a new baby were not particularly conducive to developing sustainable habits, it was helpful to have those ideas in mind throughout the year. I soaked up every moment of baby girl's first few months. We strengthened some daily rhythms and found some new routines to shape our days and weeks.

It was a good year.

* * *

A new year needs a new theme.

For weeks I have been considering, discarding word after word. I came close last week: what better word for this year of mystery than "faith"? It was almost perfect, but somehow it didn't quite encompass all of my hopes for these next twelve months.

Then, yesterday, there it was.

My word for 2013 is simply this:


I want to be open to all the possibilities this year holds. I want to be open to new adventures, new connections, unexpected changes. I want to be open to my children's leading, so full of fun and playfulness and curiosity. I want to be open to God's love, His streams of endless mercies and grace, His promptings and desires for my life.

Eyes open to beauty. Hands open to serve. Heart open to both give and receive love. Whole self open to the moment, ever more present and joyful.

Intentional is good, but sometimes I can get bogged down in the details and decisions. This year I want to balance that with openness, the sort of hopeful faith that says I don't know what's going to happen, but I trust that it will be good.

Our family is starting this year with a whole slew of changes, truly a clean slate. The daycare child, after two and a half years, is beginning his own new year back at home with his mom and his new baby brother. Our other weekly get-togethers are changing as well, if they will continue at all, and suddenly our days are wide open and I want to be too.

Whatever I do, this year is going to be filled the unexpected. I can fight that, holding firm to what I know, grasping for old rhythms and the safety of the familiar. Or I can embrace it. That is what I choose for this year: embracing the unknown, the mystery, the adventure of it all. I want to be open to this life, to faith, to newness, and perhaps to another step closer to wholeness.

Open. My word for 2013.

Happy New Year.

Photo credit: Mattox


  1. Open - so inspiring. Hoping you find just the right mix of intention and trust to be open.

  2. What a fantastic word to choose for your focus.

  3. Love your writing. Happy New Year!