I wouldn’t say that last year was a total failure. After all, it got off to a great start. I just don’t feel like ended well, and I don’t “FEEL” like I exactly “passed” either. So after brooding over not getting enough done around the house, spending too much time on the internet, not doing well enough with school, and kinda going crazy — I finally decided that I’d focus on what I DID like. How’s that?

My word for 2013 was “Purposeful.” I went into 2013 with the realization that I had become, quite frankly, Boring Mom. No, it’s true. Our low (or basically non-existent) budget for fun stuff, our rapidly deteriorating tiny home, and our frequent one car situation with only one reliable vehicle, put a serious crimp in my style.

I was boring.

And often cranky to boot.

At the beginning of the year I felt God leading me toward doing things more purposefully, more intentionally, rather than just being Boring Mom. I also felt Him leading me to become purposeful for HIM, to listen and find the purposes he had for me, to serve and give as He wanted, because for a while I had been “on leave” so to speak.

So I went into 2013 look for God’s purpose for me, and trying to live purposefully in the mean time.

I had no idea how quickly that would actually happen.

  • Right off the bat my husband was asked to lead worship at church and he asked me to sing with him, which eventually led to my serving on a worship team again.
  • I signed up to chaperon a youth trip to Rock the Flags, a Christian Rock concert at Six Flags, so that my 13 year old go (even though I despise roller coasters)
  • I flew to Baltimore, alone, to attend the Apologia Real Refreshment Retreat (even though I despise flying – and despise being alone – and learned that I really DESPISE FLYING ALONE.)
  • I took on the homeschooling and babysitting of a little girl for two months to help out a mom in need, a blessing for both of us.
  • I let my oldest daughter paint her room, with SEVEN of her friends. Paint?! Who’s afraid of a little paint? Not this momma!
  • We had almost 40 people over for a fun, outdoor, joint birthday party for two of my kids – for which I had fun making creative directions, games, and activities (something I had gotten out of the habit of doing many years ago.)
  • We had a very fun, movie themed, “Red Carpet” 13th birthday for my oldest, complete with a sleepover with almost a dozen of her friends.
  • The family and I road-tripped to Tennessee, got to visit some family we hadn’t seen in way too long, I got to meet an online BFF and we went to the Teach Them Diligently Homeschool convention in Nashville– that was fun!
  • The beginning of the Summer found me following God’s prompting to lead a Summer Bible study for our ladies’ group.
  • By the end of the Summer I was also taking on the Children’s Ministry at church when God put that on my heart, too.
  • At the beginning of the school year I started trading a friend guitar lessons for her kids for piano lessons for mine.
  • We threw a huge “BFF” Slumber party, for both girls, simultaneously, and all their friends – just because. (It was huge and awesome.)
  • We actually made it to almost all of the homeschool skate days at the nearby roller skating rink. – something the kids look forward to and I had trouble remembering to plan for.
  • My husband, and then son, took up fishing – and the girls also just received their own fishing poles to join in sometimes. (I’m not crazy about fishing but I love family hobbies.)
  • We got a new car! Well, not a NEW new car. But a pretty new one that was new to us and is perfect and was a really good deal. It has been a blessing in many ways, one of which being that we now have room to carry and extra person or two with us and serve others that way.
  • We got a puppy! (Who woulda ever thunk?) The kids have been wanting a dog for a while, but my husband wasn’t on board. Then one day at the end of October, he came home with a puppy in his arms and made their day.
  • I re-released my ebook, and have decided to write four more in 2014.
  • I took up painting again.
  • I learned some new songs on guitar and played during worship several times.

What a full, fun year. So instead of focusing on what didn’t get done and or wasn’t done well, I should focus on everything we did accomplish. I can tackle those things that still need to be done and get them taken care of. I can take the things that weren’t done well, and learn from them, and do better next time. I do think we can say that God has given me more purpose. I think I can also safely say, I’m no longer completely boring.

But still, I can’t overlook how out of balance the last two months of the year were for me. I had become a little overwhelmed and overbooked and so I began to cut things out. Oddly, the feeling only increased as I removed a myriad of little things from my to do list. I still felt like I was spinning, and I felt like I needed to find my center.

As I pondered and prayed, I realized that I HAD lost my center. I had gotten to a place where I was trying to run through my day on my own strength, that I had stopped seeking the Lord in my day, in my tasks, in my everything.

God reminded me that HE is the vine, I am a branch, and if I abide, REMAIN, in Him, it is then that I will bear fruit. He reminded me that it is HIM who gives me strength and through Him that I can do all the things He has called me to do. God reminded me that HE is my center, my portion, my everything.

 Remain.

Remain

Kind of an odd word when you look at it long enough. I could have just as easily chosen “Abide,” but I felt like “Remain” was the word I needed to choose for 2014. Remain, to me, doesn’t just say “live here,” but also “STAY here.” Stop wondering off. Stop getting distracted. Stop forgetting and doing it on my own. “Live here. Stay Here. In Me. Your Everything.”

I know that is going to be key for 2014. With all of the new tasks and purposes that God has brought me to – Children’s Ministry Coordinator, worship team, High School homeschooler, guitar teacher, author, painter, WIFE, MOM, homemaker, daughter of the King.

It’s going to be a busy year!

So what do you do when you feel like you flunked out of last year?

I say: Learn from it. Take a step back, analyze it, make some notes, make some changes, and tackle the new year. After all, there’s nothing you can do to change last year. But you can alter your habits for the new one.

Some things I’ve noted: 

  • Reclaim my morning quiet time.
  • Return to consistent bed and wake times (for the whole family.)
  • Cutting back on time spent online.
  • Set writing hours for blogging.
  • Healthier eating.
  • Diligence with school start time.
  • Raising the bar for high school work.

For starters.

I also usually make a big “bucket list” of sorts for the year. I’m not going to put too much effort into that this year. In fact, I considered leaving it blank and letting whatever happens happen. But I love lists. And I need goals. So I suppose I’ll go ahead and do that — in another post. After all, one of my goals for 2014 is not spending too much time online.

Reflecting on the past year is something that I do at the end of each year. Instead of making resolutions, I go into the new year armed with plans and goals. You can find all of those posts, and look through my previous “word” and bucket lists here.

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Amber

Hey, y’all! I'm Amber, and I wear many hats: Pastor's wife, marriage advocate, eclectic homeschooler, mother of three, and domestically challenged homemaker--lovin’ life and livin’ deep in the heart of Texas.
I love to write and I hope to use that wisely, to encourage others, and for God’s glory. I seek purpose in the mundane. I want my kids to see God’s fingerprints throughout all of creation, learning, and life. As I teach our children, God is teaching me through this homeschool journey, too. I love Jesus, family, coffee, words, and the color teal.
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