In a Word
Last year instead of making a list of resolutions for the new year, I joined with a group of people who were choosing one word to focus on for the year ahead. My word was live. It was time for me to delve fully into life again after a long, painful season of losses in my life that included a loss of triplets three months into my pregnancy followed the very next year by giving birth to my stillborn son, Sammy.
And so this last year that is what I’ve done. I’ve lived…fully and wholly and completely. And I am equal parts grateful, satisfied, exhausted, and overwhelmed by it all.
Part of the reason I became overwhelmed last year was the constant challenge of trying to juggle my writing with homeschooling my children and nursing a little one and taking care of a household and being a wife and daughter and mother and business manager, etc.
I felt torn all the time, writing books and articles in my head while homeschooling and then planning homeschool projects in my head while I was writing, and on and on. I didn’t feel like I was giving anything my full attention, and the juggling was keeping me on the brink of exhaustion and overload on a daily basis.
So as 2012 was ending and 2013 was beginning with all of its promise and newness, I prayed about what my one word focus for the year would be, and the word that flashed into my mind immediately was intentionality.
I spent some time savoring and dissecting the word, feeling it out and examining it, and I liked it. I liked it a lot. So I sat down and drafted a provisional daily schedule for myself, setting aside specific blocks of time for writing and blocks of time for homeschooling and blocks of time for family, etc.
I’m not a schedule person normally, and I’ll be very flexible with myself in keeping to this timetable, but it has been incredibly freeing to know I have alloted time for each of the priorities in my life. When I’m homeschooling, I can focus my full attention on my little ones because I know I’ve set aside time for my writing, and when I’m writing I don’t feel guilty because I know I’ve alloted time for homeschooling and all of the other important people and things in my life.
It’s a beautiful synchronicity of freedom and order that is making my life easier, more productive, and far more relaxing than it’s been in a long, long time.
Intentionality~What a lovely new year’s gift to myself! (And a timely one, as well. I’ve got several books slated to be released this year including children’s books and Little Hearts parenting handbooks, and I’m working on another novel which looks to be a one to two-year project. Oh my!)
My older children are thinking about their word for the year, but with my littler ones, I’ve given them the word ‘grateful.’ We have a Happy Jar, and when they start complaining about things (as children will do 🙂 ), I listen to them until they’ve fully expressed their feelings (so they feel heard), then we process through those feelings together, and, finally, I ask them to share two things they are happy about which I then write down and put in the Happy Jar. We’ll all be adding to the Happy Jar throughout they year and, at the end of the year, we’ll pull out the notes and read them to remember to be grateful for the good things in our lives.
The idea of sharing this with my little people is to equip them with the ability to cope with the inevitable disappointments and troubles they will encounter in life and to work their way back to happiness through the gateway of gratitude. It’s a healthy life lesson that builds our relationship in the present because they know they can trust me with their feelings, and will serve them well throughout life, too!
L.R.Knost is a best-selling parenting and children’s book author and founder and director of Little Hearts/Gentle Parenting Resources, an online resource for gentle parenting education, articles, and research. Books by L.R.Knost include Whispers Through Time: Communication Through the Ages and Stages of Childhood ; Two Thousand Kisses a Day: Gentle Parenting Through the Ages and Stages ; The Gentle Parent: Positive, Practical, Effective Discipline ; and Jesus, the Gentle Parent: Gentle Christian Parenting (Release date: May 2014) the first four books in the Little Hearts Handbook gentle parenting series, as well as her children’s picture books Petey’s Listening Ears and the soon-to-be-released Grumpykins series available from Amazon and other major retailers.