Life

A Word for 2017.

January 6, 2017

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Happy New Year!

January is one of my favorite months of the year – the prospect of the new year holds so much promise and hope and excitement. One tradition that I’ve kept over the past several years is that of picking a word early in the year and reflecting on it as the year moves on.

In 2013, my word was SAVOR. (There are no posts to link to about this, but here’s a somewhat related post about savoring moments.)

In 2015, my word was CREATE.

In 2016, it was FLOURISH.

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It’s been so fun to set goals and a vision for a year around a chose theme and then to look back over the years through the lens of that particular word.

For 2017, my word is STORY.

Part of this is my exhaustion with our sound-bite, tweet-infested, 10-second availability-infused world. We are meant for deeper, richer, longer stories and I want my year to be about the long game, both in stories I consume and tell.

With littles (mostly, a toddler!) this becomes especially apparent. Sometimes the thing that buys me five minutes of peace or my toddler 2 minutes of attention isn’t what’s best for our hearts and homes over the long haul. As a mom, I want to focus on the big picture and do the hard work that writes a bigger story of contentment and peace and simplicity and togetherness rather than just jumping from distraction to distraction and immediate solution to immediate solution.

We’re in our home for the forseeable future, which is eternally longer than we’ve ever been in any home together. We’re generally settled, but I want to focus on truly building the story of our home and our family this year, building the traditions, the rituals, and the memories that will carry us far beyond 2017.

For as long as I can remember, my aspirations and education and career have pivoted on words. And social media, driven by words and images, has been a fun source of inspiration and creativity for me. But at some point last year, it began to feel a little endless, a little cyclical, and little hopeless. I felt, as Cal Newport puts is so succinctly, like I was trying to run “a one-person media operation”, the exact end-game of which was fuzzy at best. I need, I’ve realized, to be creating stories, not just sound-bites, to survive and thrive, and I need some time and space to create and build those stories, time and space that requires stepping away from the onslaught of every other story the internet has to tell.

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I especially want to dedicate time this year to telling our family stories through albums – my children’s baby books, our family albums, the memories Mark and I have of advenures before babies, and a few other projects that I haven’t prioritized – and more regular journaling.

Finally, the word STORY serves as a reminder for me to incoporate more stories and story-time into my children’s play (as opposed to just more books and isolated words and vocabulary). Stories are a crucial part of a young child’s development and intentionally incoporating it into our playtime and conversation is one of my goals for 2017.

Do you pick a word for your year? What is yours? I’d love to know!

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Life

My Word for 2016.

January 3, 2016

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Happy 2016! The turning of the year makes me positively giddy – the possibilities of a new year, a fresh slate, an empty calendar all stretching as far as the heart can hold.

Over the last few years, I’ve picked words for my year. 2013’s word was SAVOR. I even scribbled a bucket list to go along with it. Last year’s word was CREATE. I had lots of optimistic aspirations that Miles and job-searching and move-planning and first-trimester-second-pregnancy sent crashing, but somehow the word still helped to define my year.

I shook off the post-partum-what-is-this-parenting-thing fog and started to figure out how to create time to craft and cook and read again. We created so many wonderful memories as a family of three. Even in the perpetually temporary throes of grad school, we forged a priceless community of friends. WE ARE HAVING BABY #2. I made progress creating memory-preserving projects and figured out systems to help me stay on track in the future.

So what about next year? Next year I want to FLOURISH. Last year found me still in the throes of baby survival-mode. Mark’s school and work demands meant that there were a lot of long days of solo parenting. Days and weeks of toddler-parenting boot-camp and and the juggle of our work and school schedules and a lot of travel apart and big decisions about our future all added up to a year that felt like perpetually holding my breath.

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It was good rich year, but it involved a lot of just surviving. And I’m tired of surviving. One definition of flourish that I love is “to grow luxuriantly”. In 2016, I’m determined to do just that. No more holding my breath, no more waiting for the next break from the pressure. 2016 will be a year of flourishing, of enjoying, of embracing whatever is in store.

A new city, a new job for one of us, and a new little family member all hold the promise of so much – I want to relish every gift that the coming year holds.

Are you choosing a word for 2016? I’d love to know!

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Career

My One Word and a New Year’s Resolution for 2015

January 1, 2015

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It’s the first day of 2015! Don’t you just love the fresh new start that the turning of the year brings?

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing a number of 2015 goals and projects, but first I want to talk about the My One Word project. Have you heard about it? The idea is to pick a theme for the year, a word to tie goals, plans, and action steps together.

I knew as early as November what I wanted my word for 2015 to be. Ready? My word for 2015 is CREATE. In 2015, I’m especially determined to:

~ Create craft projects (and bring them to completion).

~ Create relationships (or improve existing relationships).

~ Create memories (and record them!). 

~Create words (and read them!).

I’m the kind of person who needs a structure and a checklist to accomplish my goals. So to help motivate myself towards my goals, I’m making a plan.

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CREATE CRAFT PROJECTS.

I’m giving my plan for craft projects a name. It’s called CREATE2015. Every month, I’m going to create some kind of craft project (or finish something that’s been sitting unfinished in a box for too long!).

To keep myself motivated (and to motivate you to work towards your resolutions), I’ll share my monthly project on here on the 1st day of every month and then progress on the 15th, 16th, or 17th of the month.

So what’s my project for January?

4 mixed paper journals. 

Ever since I saw these mixed paper books from Elise Joy and this mini-book from A Beautiful Mess, I’ve wanted to try to create an mini mixed-paper journal. (Another example is here.)

I started two back in November and am thrilled with the project and the process so far.

CREATE RELATIONSHIPS (and improve existing ones!).

This item is an umbrella that encompasses a number of goals that I want to work towards. I want to be better about keeping up with old friends. I want to network professionally more intentionally. I want to work towards building deeper friendships in our new home. I’m still figuring out how to create a productive tangible plan for myself, but I love Anne Runyan’s 4 x 4 networking challenge.

CREATE MEMORIES (and record them).

I am determined to catch up on my memory-keping this year (leaning heavily on Becky Higgin’s Project Life system). I’ll share more on this in a few days, but I’m excited to start January by organizing my pictures, backing them up safely (thanks to a practical Christmas gift from my husband!), and creating an action plan for 2015 memory-keeping.

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CREATE WORDS (and read them).

Words have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember, but the adventures of 2014 (having a baby, moving, changing jobs) meant that I read (and wrote) less than is normal for me in 2014. In 2015, I’m determined to get back on track, writing and reading regularly, both professionally and personally.

I’m so grateful for everything that 2014 brought to me and my family. But I can’t wait to see what 2015 has in store!

So what is your One Word for 2015? Goals? Projects? I want to know! Let’s chat about goal-setting in the comments.

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