family life / life aspirations / philosophy

2017: new words for a new year

Since I was a reading child, I enjoyed stealing clever quotes into a quote journal. I owned two large books of quotes on various topics, and I read them like a novel. Many years later they became handy for college writing.

Henry Thoreau might have been my first educator in clever thoughts, and certainly the first quote I memorized. He said, though I didn’t quite understand it when I memorized it, “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation”. My adult self gets that.

There have been many quotes and deep thoughts since, including the entire book of Proverbs, the book of Ecclesiastes, oh and tons of other books, podcasts, and people.

Brendon Burchard from his podcast, The Charged Life, encourages the daily meditation of  three words. These focus words help us to, well, focus ourselves on particular intentions. Kinda like a prayer. I’ve used alliteration to remember those words some years: feminine, focused, fearless.

My words for this year, pour moi: ‘be’ & ‘myself’. Oh, and ‘yield’. Yield to what life actually is, instead of what I think it should be. And don’t expend energy being something other than me.

Over my parenting years, you can find these mantras at the top of my journal:

1. Harsh words make hurt feelings, not healthy habits.

2. Orderliness is not our calling, relationships are.

3. Give them grace.

4. Sometimes I will even get hurt by the ones that I love; I can still forgive.

5. Life does not have to go fast to be meaningful. One has to live, rather than exist.

6. Too much thinking–not enough living.

7. Collect before direct (a Gordon Neufeld direction).

8. I choose to be an encourager.

I’ve also prayed specific words for each of my children each year: gentleness, courage, confidence. I’ve chosen relational & empathic (two words required), develop & expand, self-nurturing & boundaries, and cool & self-soothing. The more I pay attention to these words, the more I attend to the needs of these words manifesting in each of my children. (And the less likely I’m going to get in the way of them.)

Words have a powerful effect on our lives.

And after you’ve seen my long list of words, words, words, you know that I am …thorough, intentional, oh and…wordy.

“Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in your sight, O God, my strength, and my redeemer.” Psalm 19:14


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