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I know that most people are saying good-bye and good riddance to 2020, but as the year ended and I started reflecting on how we filled our days, I realized that despite the fear, confusion, and division that rocked the world in 2020, we were extremely blessed.
2020 started with me on maternity leave with a one-month-old Henry. I went back to work for about a week in March before the world shut down and I ended up staying home with the boys until school started again in August. That time at home with my boys will forever be my favorite time – and I am extremely grateful to have been given that time to stay home with them and get to experience Henry’s firsts and get to watch Jack grow into his role as a big brother.
Other fun moments in 2020 included a family trip to Lake Fort Smith in Arkansas with my parents, celebrating Jack’s birthday (and Papaw Hoot’s, which is just two days after Jack’s) with a small family dinner and a trip to Chattanooga to go to the aquarium, a new job that I started in August at a school that is much closer to home and cut my commute in half, celebrating Henry’s baby dedication and first birthday with family and friends, our annual beach trip the week of Thanksgiving, and a sweet holiday season with our two boys.
I know 2020 was hard for a lot of people – and there were parts of it that were hard for us, too – but when I look back through the pictures on my phone, I see so many happy memories of simple moments spent with family and for that I am grateful. I think a lot of people are giving the new year way too much power, insisting that things have to be better or believing that something is going to change just because the calendar flipped over to a new page. I love a fresh start, and always love this time of year for setting goals and making resolutions and reflecting on how far I’ve come in past goals, but I don’t have any hope in the year 2021 itself. Instead, my hope comes from the Lord – I can definitely testify that He was with our family in 2020, and I believe that He is the one who will continue to be with us and give us hope and joy in the new year.
With that said, I do have some big goals and plans for this new year. I typically pick a word for the year to kind of guide me (last year’s word was strong, and I succeeded in getting stronger in lots of ways in 2020). This year, my word is FOCUS.
I was having a hard time choosing a word and thought about not even having one this year, but then I found a devotion book by Cleere Cheery Reaves (@cleerelystated on Instagram). The title of the book is Focus, and the book takes a deep look at one word a week to grow spiritually. I really like the idea of reflecting on one specific word or idea each week, and I feel like since this book is set up as a weekly devotion instead of a daily one, I will be much more likely to stick with it and complete it. I like that I can just read the devotion in the book on busy weeks, and on weeks where I want to study more or go more in depth, there are extra Scriptures included for me to explore. I am really looking forward to reading this little book and spending time meditating on the theme word each week.
Another way I want to apply the word FOCUS in my life is by being super selective in what I say “yes” to. One thing I learned about myself from 2020 is that I am so much happier when I don’t have a full calendar. I love slow days when there is nowhere to go and nothing to do but just be with my boys at home and see what we can get into. I am planning on focusing my time and energy on the things that bring me joy this year: my family, my faith, and this space. I want to spend less time just filling my days with things other people need me to do or say I should do and I want to make more time for creating and writing and doing the things that fill my cup. I also want to focus on spending quality time with my boys – less time in front of the TV and more time outside, for example.
One thing I accomplished in 2020 was making working out a more consistent part of my routine. I want to continue to focus on my health and continue getting stronger and healthier in 2021.
Here are a few other random goals I have for the coming year:
- Read one book a month that is not school related.
- Never go to bed with a dirty kitchen (because waking up to a mess stresses me out and is not a good way to start my day).
- Create routines that work for the boys and STICK TO THEM (I am so bad at routines…but I know that we need them and that it would really help ward off meltdowns with the boys, which have been happening on the regular lately).
- Be more mindful about the stuff that I buy and what I bring into my home.
Here are a few of the books I am planning to read this year to help me reach my goals:
- Focus by Cleere Cherry Reaves
- Simply Clean by Becky Rapinchuk
- There’s No Such Thing as Bad Weather by Linda Akeson McGurk
Do you make New Year’s Resolutions? If so, what are yours? I’d love for you to share in the comments!
Happy New Year!