Monday, December 13, 2010

And the Word for the year is.....

"You have stayed long enough at this mountain. Break camp and advance into the hill country..." Deuteronomy 1:6-7

If you've read my previous post, you will know that I am in the process of choosing a word for 2011- a word to aspire to, to inform my decisions and challenge me out of my comfort zone.
Honestly, I found it terribly hard to pick just one word for the year. So many of the words listed on yesterday's post struck a chord with me, and I've been particularly conflicted by the seemingly opposite concepts of making space- for God, for meaningful relationships, for renewal and reflection, and advancing; an action word- 'don't just be- get up off your butt and do!'  After much thought though, I've ended up deciding on the word ADVANCE as my word for 2011.

For far too long, I've been hindered by the scary  mountain of "I should lose weight", which appears impassable. ('Shoulds' nearly always do!).  In some ways I've been living in the future- in some fantasy land called "One Day When I've Got It All Together", and neglecting to uncover my true potential now.  But even God reached the point where he'd had enough of this small thinking! Look at what he said to the Israelites in Deuteronomy:

           The LORD our God said to us at Horeb, “You have stayed long enough at this mountain. Break camp and advance into the hill country of the Amorites; go to all the neighboring peoples in the Arabah, in the mountains, in the western foothills, in the Negev and along the coast, to the land of the Canaanites and to Lebanon, as far as the great river, the Euphrates. See, I have given you this land. Go in and take possession of the land the LORD swore he would give to your fathers—to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—and to their descendants after them.” (Deut. 1:6-8)

A modern paraphrase could read "Dudes! Stop sitting around in your tents at the base of this mountain. If the mountain's too hard, just get up off your scared butts and advance by another way! Ignore the mountain- go via the foothills and around the coast, and as you overcome the smaller obstacles, you will find that the big old scary mountain has been left behind too. Go in and take possession of everything I've promised you!"

So that's my charge for 2011- 'Get up off your scared butt and advance!'
What are some ways I can advance and leave my mountain behind in 2011?
I can:
  • keep getting rid of stuff! Clutter = overwhelmed = immobilized, still stuck in the tent at the bottom of the mountain!
  • if we have to move house in 2011, choose somewhere smaller, simpler, and make it home
  • stop making financial excuses and take a dance class. I love to dance, what am I waiting for??
  • stop buying stuff to make my life happier, but rather make the effort to truly appreciate what I have, and relish time with the awesome people who populate my life.
  • slowly reduce my debt (by saying no to the consumer lifestyle that always calls us to upgrade, upsize, etc.) Re-learn to utilize the things I already own.
  • keep reading God's word- the Bible. He's good, and he's promised me a lot of good things. But I tend to forget!
  • jettison the processed foods in my daily diet and live off natural, healthy foods.
  • maintain a healthy work/life/study/ministry balance. Continue to be selective in what I say yes to!
How about you? In what ways can you advance in 2011? Hit me up in the comments- I'd love to hear from you!

Where are you going?

It has long been a belief of mine that "words create". I've been mindful of the words I speak over other peoples' lives, and for the most part managed to use my words to build up and not tear down my children. I understand the negative power words can have if  spoken thoughtlessly. But today I stumbled across this post from Kim Klassen which presented the idea of embracing a 'word for the year', which embodies your hopes and aspirations for the coming year. It's about harnessing a word's positive power, and using it to challenge you to a better way of living throughout the year. Ali Edwards' blog, is also a great resource on the concept.

I loved the idea, but at the same time felt a bit boggled by the multitude of possibilities, until I found this wonderful list which kick-started the process. I copied the the list into a 4-column word document, and culled the 374 words down to just 33, highlighting the ones that really resonated with me. Here's my short-list.

Selah (holy pause)

Out of this list, there's one that really stood out at me, but I'm going to think on it for a bit (something to do with the fact that it's now 1 a.m.!). I'll be back tomorrow with the announcement. Until then, what's your word for 2011? What do you want to grow into, find more of, or experience for the first time in the coming year? I'd love to hear your thoughts and aspirations in the comments.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Diary of a Revolution

To be honest, today I'm battling terrible writer's block- possibly something to do with the fact that I'm sitting in a messy study and ignoring numerous household tasks that I should have done by now.
But I'm glad to say I have had some quick wins today! I did indeed tackle the ensuite, and threw out a whole garbage bag full of half used toiletries and rubbish. A whole garbage bag!!! I'm happy to report that the ensuite is now a nice peaceful uncluttered place... perhaps I should be blogging in there! :)

It's tempting to not blog on the days when you're struggling to have a good perspective. But in reality all of us have high days and low days, especially when we're at the beginning of a mountainous task, trying to make our little inroads. But even as I write, I'm reminding myself of the title of this blog- A Million Small Steps, and that it is persistence in the small steps, even when we feel we are getting nowhere, that will eventually get us to the top of our mountain.

Some quotes on persistence: to cheer myself on!

The road to success is dotted with many tempting parking places.  ~Author Unknown

Don't be afraid to give your best to what seemingly are small jobs.  Every time you conquer one it makes you that much stronger.  If you do the little jobs well, the big ones will tend to take care of themselves.  ~Dale Carnegie

The greatest oak was once a little nut who held its ground.  ~Author Unknown

Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did.  ~Newt Gingrich  I like that one! Thanks Newt!

There is no telling how many miles you will have to run while chasing a dream.  ~Author Unknown

The race is not to the swift
   or the battle to the strong,
nor does food come to the wise
   or wealth to the brilliant
   or favor to the learned;
but time and chance happen to them all.  Ecclesiastes 9:11

I'm pressing on!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Your mountain is waiting... (P74, Day 2)

be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O'Shea,
you're off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So...get on your way!"
— Dr. Seuss (Oh, the Places You'll Go!)

Your mountain is waiting. What does this phrase mean to you? Does it speak of  amazing new vistas to see? A grand adventure waiting to be taken? Or does it remind you of that arduous chore you've been putting off, or the scary task that seems just too hard to get through. Well what's ahead is a bit of both: it's time to let go of some stuff!

Lately, I've been reading a lot about culling, simplifying and living a simpler life with less, and I've decided that it's for me. But I have a problem: a mountain, if you will. The task ahead seems more than a little daunting, with time, emotional ties and bad hoarding habits all compounding the job. And so I've done a little reading of Peter Walsh's book "It's All Too Much", to gain some much needed strategy and moral support!

The premise of Peter's teaching is that the 'stuff' is not really the problem- it's our relationship with the stuff. If we deal with our stuff- if we organize it,categorize it, but still hang onto it, we have not really fixed our problem. To be really free of the hoarding habit, we need to reach a point where we can let go of all the things which we are not using now. Wow, for me that means a lot of stuff! Of course, there are a few things we might want to take exception with, such as photographs and maybe a few small mementos of our children's early years, but in general we need to grow up and let go. Wow, I'm already getting queasy at the thought of getting rid of that designer kitchen faucet I paid $73 for on Ebay 5 years ago. I'll get to use it someday, I just know I will!

See what I mean? This project is going to be far from easy! But I'll save sorting that particular cupboard for a few weeks away, when I'm hopefully toughened up a bit!
Nevertheless, cull I must, and as Dr Seuss said, "Today is your day". At one room per week (plus outside, minus my girls' rooms), I'll be done in 11 weeks- right on target for my birthday. Hey, after all that culling, perhaps I'll ask for different kinds of presents this year!

So for this week, I think I'll begin by culling my ensuite. It shouldn't be too hard to start there, right? I'll let you know how I go, but stick with me; I'll blog about other things too. After all, there's much more to living a simple life than just culling and being thankful!
Gotta go: my mountain is waiting!

Things I'm thankful for:
Being able to write my thoughts and have them read across the world without having to go through a publisher! That I'm part of a fantastic church that loves and supports its people! That I'm free, not bound by the bad insecurities that used to plague me. That I have an awesome husband who loves me so much that he's even taking me to a dancing class tonight (woot!). I really am blessed! Thank you God!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Thankful, Day 1

What am I thankful for today?
The feeling of walking barefoot on my cool slate floor on this warm day. A day off, to spend in a flowy dress, writing and reflecting . A cup of tea and a laptop. The clean water I have to drink, shower and cook with. My home, that shelters me from the sun's rays. Thank you, Lord, I am truly blessed!