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2012: the year in focus

I chose “focus” for my word of the year last year.  I felt that I was being pulled in many different directions and had no clear idea of what I had accomplished, what I needed to accomplish, and where I was going with it all.  I wanted to focus on my priorities and what really mattered, letting the other stuff go and learning to say no when I was overwhelmed.

Did it work?

Yes and no.

I had gotten out of the habit of making lists and working through them over the past three years.  I was once a Type A perfectionist, bound to my daily planner and wristwatch.  Somewhere around the time Lil Sis turned 2 and Baby Girl was born, we realized that Lil Sis was not typically developing, especially in speech.  Coincidentally, it was also the time that Big Sis reached the age that I had to formally begin reporting to the state for homeschooling.  It was also the time that my health really bottomed out and I was diagnosed with lupus in addition to my other autoimmune diseases.  Then Lil Sis’ diagnosis of autism came shortly after.  Amidst all of that, I had ditched my watch and planner and began my long day’s journey into chaos.  (Maybe that’s what I should’ve named my blog?)  Just getting through the day with everyone fed, clean, clothed, and reasonably happy was about all I could manage.

Now that Big Sis has just turned 11 and is capable of some more independent work, Lil Sis is becoming more verbal, and Baby Girl is 3, I would like to gain some semblance of organization again.  I have found that abandoning lists and schedules altogether has only led to stress.  So much of my work as a mom is stuff that needs to be done over and over again, daily, so there isn’t a real sense of accomplishment or “job well done.”  Dishes, laundry, cooking, cleaning, and all the necessities don’t stay done.  I’d like to have a list again to refer to so that I can visualize that progress, just for my own mental health.  There is a balance to be found between rigid scheduling and the flexibility to enjoy the moment.

I have been thinking about the major roles in my life and what is truly important to me.  I broke it down into categories so that I can clearly see where I’m spending my time and what I would like to change/improve.

Faith ~ this must be the center.  When I fall away from praying and Bible reading, it shows in my attitude.  If I’m to increase in patience, perseverance, and even health, then I must make time for Jesus.  My mom has a poem hanging up at their house which serves as a great reminder:

No Time To Pray

I got up early one morning and rushed right into the day;
I had so much to accomplish that I didn’t have time to pray.

Problems just tumbled about me,
and heavier came each task,
“Why doesn’t God help me?” I wondered.
He answered, “You didn’t ask.”
I wanted to see joy and beauty,
but the day toiled on gray and bleak;
I wondered why God didn’t show me;
He said, “But you didn’t seek.”
I tried to come into God’s presence;
I used all my keys at the lock;
God gently and lovingly chided,
“My child you didn’t knock.”
I woke up early this morning,
and paused before entering the day;
I had so much to accomplish that I had to take time to pray.

Author: Grace L. Naessens

Family ~ my family means everything to me.  For so many years, I thought I’d never be a mom, but the Lord blessed us with three beautiful daughters.  My responsibility to teach them and guide them is something I take very seriously.  Besides that, they’re lots of fun!  It’s impossible to stay in a bad mood around them.  I find myself laughing until my sides hurt many times over the things they do and say.  My marriage is also at the top of my priority list.  We’re going on 18 years of marriage now and I can’t imagine my life without DH.

Homeschooling ~ we’re relaxed homeschoolers by nature, but I do want to be more intentional about lesson planning and following through with those plans.  I feel like we’re beginning to get our stride back after the hectic newborn/toddler years.  Reading quality literature and living books is a big focus for us and will continue to be.

Writing ~ my writing plans have been on the back burner for years now.  I feel that it’s time to revive some of that and work for publication again as I once did.  I have some projects in the works, along with blogging, and I hope to carve out the time to do this as I feel it’s part of my personal calling and ministry.

Household ~ aka housework, cleaning, organizing, chores.  I’ve never been one to be too domestic or enjoy cleaning.  I like the results of my efforts, but my efforts don’t last and I get really discouraged by that.  I admit this is an area that was much easier before children.  Now it just falls behind everything else.  However, I have been reading FlyLady techniques and I believe there is a connection between mind/body health and having a healthy environment.  My key word is going to be de-clutter and I will work toward that.  If I view it as blessing my family and serving the Lord, my attitude automatically changes and my work becomes more purposeful.

I still have the tendency to get distracted or sidetracked, but I think a certain amount of that is just par for the course with a young family to tend.  You can’t plan for every mess that’s going to be made or every moment that needs to just be enjoyed together.

I’ve been contemplating these focal points of my life as the year ends.  I hope they will give me direction in the new year so that I may have a closer walk with Jesus and be purposeful in everything I do.


For more blog posts on the subject of “A Look Back at 2012,” visit the Crew blog.
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  1. I love how the Lord uses time to teach us. Sanctification. It’s hard, but so worth it! I’m stopping by along the Crew hop. Happy New Year!!

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