My One Word: Diligence

Some years I have taken the time to select a word I want to delve into a bit more. I want to grow personally, and having a word for the year has proven to bring my mind back to the “theme” fairly often in that year. Last year, I tried to spend time thinking about what life might look like with a heart of humility. This year I’ve settled on diligence.

I’ve got to be completely honest. This year’s word feels more challenging than the last. You see, I have a creative mind, and one of the beauties of that creativity is it’s paired with a “lively mental nature” (read: a wee bit of a focus and follow through problem). Some call it the “Oooooh, shiny!” part of life. Others call it the “Squirrel!” life.

If you’ve followed along, you know I’ve got projects going behind the scenes. I’m beginning the year with a speaking-teaching engagement mid-January. I have the honor of writing at a beautiful collaborative site with my friends (facetsoffaith.com). The writing ideas I have for my own blog clamor for attention. A little draft of an ebook waits in the wings closer to finished than I want to admit (admitting how close it is would probably mean it should’ve been done by now). I have another deeply-personal behemoth of a project that cries for attention (this one’s like eating an elephant one bite at a time). I’m negotiating another large editing project (that I’m really excited about!). I’ve been developing some new online educational course content in the Moodle-Collaborate environment (more slowly than I’d really like). My son needs to finish high school coursework. And then there’s this other little thing I wonder if my husband and I will pursue in the future.

*D-ee-ee-ee-ee-ee-eep breath!*

Truthfully, I’m a little overwhelmed at that paragraph up there. I think my heart rate just quickened by 15 bpm. Those are just the spinning plates that I know about right now. As 2018 rolls along new ideas, projects, and responsibilities will appear on the horizon more than a few times.

I think that’s why my word is diligence.

Sometimes I’d like to have more hours in the day. Isn’t that what most of us would say? What I think I really need is better use of the time in a day. I don’t know if this is true for you, but I’m a little surprised every time I tally my time. I don’t really want to know how much time I’m using on social media, but I need to be honest about it. I don’t really want to count the time spent on Celebrities: Where are They Now? and Royal Family Members Doing Royal Things and Dogs Doing Dog Things slideshows. (I’m not the only one that gets sucked in by those clicks, right?) And so—I thought diligence would be a great focus this year!

I took the time to create a “reminder” for me in my social media accounts. I’m pretty sure this is about the same as a sticky note. What do you think?

2018 TW Diligence

When distraction comes knocking, I’ll be the one refusing to answer the door! I’ll be trying different things to streamline my focus (by eliminating any distractions I can manage).

Do you take the time to select a word for the year? If so, I’d love to know what yours is. Share away!

~jennifer

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Hidden Gems in Unlikely Places

If we sat down for coffee and got to know one another, you’d learn something about me very quickly. I love a bargain when I can get one. Much to my husband’s chagrin, this leads to rifling through the racks, stacks, and shelves at my favorite spot: the thrift store. (Somebody tell me I’m not alone!)

And if we shopped together, at some point you’d see me moving at a snail’s pace by the book shelves. Treasures are just waiting to be found on those shelves, I’m convinced. I’ve found wonderful reads for a buck or two, and since writers read, I’ve got a good excuse to peruse the shelves very carefully.

As it happened, my last trip ended as most do—with a book shelf “crawl”—and a book caught my attention. The title was interesting, but then a cute little card boasting an adorable kitten and puppy photo op fell from the inside and drifted to the floor. Filling the inside and spilling to the back was a personal note from one woman to another. And yes, you guessed it. I chose to eavesdrop on the half of the conversation that had been passed along. (You would have done it, too, right?)

I immediately knew I wanted to take the book and the card home with me. I purchased a book I will definitely read, but I really purchased the beautiful, cursive encouragement that overflowed the card. It was perfect for me to read, and I was a little thankful the woman who first received it lost track of it. Then I thought, “Maybe this is something I could share…” 

We are stepping into an example of correspondence the way it used to be. So, from my anonymous friend to you all—puppy20kitten20card_zpsyws0ztte

Dear [friend]:

I am praying God will show you how to have victory in your present family conflicts + show you how to be an overcomer, even if no one else changes.

Remember [in] Eph 6:12, that these are spiritual battles + they will not be mastered by fleshly means. Also your victory or progress in the Lord is not dependent on what others do.

In Matt 6:33 we are told to seek first the Kingdom of God + its righteousness + all the rest we need will be given.

We know we cannot force people to fulfill our ideas of right + wrong. We can only hope to influence them by our Godly example + let God do the rest. I found the scripture I was mentioning to you the other day—I think it is God’s way for us to have influence, in your particular case Godly. I read it in the amplified Bible + it reads as follows

1 Pet 3:1
“In like manner, you married women, be submissive to your own husbands, subordinate yourselves as being secondary to + dependent on them, + adapt yourselves to them so that even if any do not obey the word, they may be won over, not by discussion but by godly lives of their wives.”

But of course all people have free will so we are not sure of any outcome but I think God’s advice for any problem will be the best chance for a victory.

I pray for you + your family always for Godly wisdom to know how best to deal with all situations we find our self in. But take heart in what God will do for you as you keep working on the person he wants you to be no matter what others around you are doing
(over)

Because in the end God knows the only person we can control is ourself + that is the one we will be accountable for some day. In the meantime have faith that God will do his work in others lives also—doing all He can to bring them to a sanctified end.

Love,
R

So here we all sit, eavesdropping on the conversation between two women, and I want to imagine what their friendship looks like in real life. Do they sit at a kitchen table with tea or coffee? Maybe they stand in the lobby chatting just a little longer than the rest of the busy people shuffling in and out on a Sunday. Are they joined in heart and separated by generations?

We’ll never know, but I love the idea of imagining these two women doing life together. The good, the bad, and the ugly are all part of the package. Sitting patiently with one another during tough times is the real deal. Tears and a box of kleenex seems to be woven into this season of friendship between these two women. Providing encouragement and tangible resources is, too. One lends hope to the other with her words. I love that!

I said we needed to find our tribe in a previous post, and we sure do. But we need to find our real friends, too, whether they are part of our “creative clique” or not. More importantly, I wonder if it’s not crucial for us to find someone near us and pass the tissues to her when she needs them….

What do you think about this little half-conversation we’ve overheard in this card? I’m curious to hear what you think.

Thanks for reading!

~j