Saturday, January 2, 2010

My word.

I've never been big on resolutions. We all know how that story tends to play out...

But for the past 6 months or so I've latched on to my own, personal, 3-word mantra:

Patience - Kindness - Joy

They are words I want to live by and attitudes I want to instill in my children. Some days, I wanted to Sharpie them on my walls. My walls. Other days, the under-five set struggled most.

I've found myself thinking more and more about goals, for lack of a better word. I've been thinking about how I really want to live my life. What I want my days (and nights) to look like. What I want my kids to learn from us. What matters most to me and how to translate that into my everyday life.

I was getting all Franklin Covey - Mommy style.

Leading up to the new year, I was more inclined than ever to resolve to do something. Then I stumbled on the idea of choosing just one word. And when I say "stumble", I mean it. I couldn't take two consecutive steps in any direction without stubbing my toe on "one word".

I liked it.

So, for the next three or four days, I pondered. I stewed. I looked for a sign.

I couldn't decide.

I take these kinds of things far too seriously, because here's a little something about me: I can't stand to fail. There are loads of things I never decide to do. But when I really do decide to do - I want to accomplish. It has its downsides (fear of trying new things, anyone?) but it also has its perks. It's my personal, pocket-sized, goes-anywhere-and-everywhere kick in the rear.

Stir that into my mile-wide streak of procrastination, and you'll find me here, on January 1st, wordless.

I tossed around "serve", because it's something I've felt called to do more. To serve my husband, my children, people I don't even know.

I contemplated "joy", because I have learned that joy is a choice that changes every other aspect of life.

Still, I wasn't satisfied.

So, I talked to my Mama tonight while she sewed up some curtains for Silas'/Silas's room. She chose "seek". As soon as I raised the topic, she knew. It didn't surprise me and it made me love her even more.

Then, I talked to Cory. He picked "Canon" first, then I sent him to time-out, then he came back with his new attitude adjustment and picked "content". I loved it. I like knowing that we are both thinking about the same sorts of things and gearing up for the same sort of year.

Talking about it with two of the people who know me best in this world helped. I told them about my three options and they helped me see that the choice was clear.

My word is Intentional.

It's not cute and pithy. It wouldn't look as charming stitched onto a pillow. But those probably aren't good enough reasons.

I want to be intentional about the direction in which my life proceeds in 2010, even amidst big changes. I want to be intentional with my relationships, my time, my money. I don't want life to just happen to me. I don't want my days to all just slip away. Some of them can, but not all of them. Not most of them.

I have full confidence that my word will not transform me into someone more productive, more creative, more organized. But I know that my head cannot argue with my heart. When I say that something is important to me, my word will help to connect my mouth and my head to my heart and my hands.

Here's to 2010. I'll meet you back here in 364 days with an update. In the meantime, I'm anxious to see how it all shakes out.


  1. You are amazing. I am so glad for "knowing" you. I love your word, but more importantly I love how you evolved into your word.

    I am a better person for having crossed your path :)

    Happy New Year-

  2. You've got me thinking "bigger" about the year ahead. I like the idea of having a "word".
    It's been a difficult year for me and my family and I'm looking forward to a fresh start. I'll let you know when I "stumble" across mine!

  3. oh i really love intentional. this is a nice post to wake up to! you should read the happiness project by gretchen rubin. non-fiction. :)

  4. Okay, you may or not believe this but I've been journaling about these very words myself since November-Joy and Intentional. And you are so right about how choosing joy changes everything.It's like we were born to be sisters, huh?

  5. I just went back to my blog to a post I had started on this very topic and this is what was there:
    Let go

    Live Deliberately

    Be Joyful

    I'm not even kidding. I know I sound like a bit 'ol copy cat.

  6. I'm not a resolution type person either now you got me thinking with this "one word" thing though and I really like your word but am thinking it might be to lazy to use your word so I might find a thesaurus and use an alternative version of your word you are so inspiring.

    You're right. Stream of conscious blog comments are FUN!

  7. Love the new header and your word. I like that idea too! Happy New Year!

  8. I've been reading your blog sometime now, on the sidelines. I hope you don't mind, but when I read your post I wanted to give you a hi-5. My goal for 2010 is also being intentional. I love reading your blog.

  9. I first read about the one word concept on another blog just last night and have been contemplating my word. I'm so glad to read your thoughts on the subject. The fact that you talked it over with your mom and husband, I tend to keep things like this inside, and contemplate them quietly in my own mind- something I want to change. I want to be more open in my communication with those I love and reading this has helped me to narrow my focus in choosing my word. Thank You!

  10. I love your word. I chose APPRECIATE as my word for this year. I want to appreciate all that goes on- notice it, embrace it, enjoy it.
    I want the smallest things - like kids racing popsicle sticks down the street in a rain storm to be appreciated. These are the things that will mean the most to me - not the planned things but the everyday moments.

  11. I love your word Shannan. I think that if we live intentionally all the other things we want to "do" will fall into place. Here's to an awesome 2010 for both of us:) BTW love your new header!

  12. i was just telling someone that my new mantra is "everything's better with bacon", but yours has so much more class;)

    and i think maybe there's something about the age/where you are in life, because it was probably around 5-6 years ago when i was thinking the exact same thing, that i have to live with intention rather than just letting life happen.

    so good luck on your goals - i'm still chasing after that one!

  13. You now have me thinking...I am not sure but I would probably pick Devoted as my word. I want to be devoted to God and to the reading and learning of His Word, devoted to loving and respecting my husband, devoted to teaching and training my children to love the Lord and to make their faith their own, devoted to being a better teacher to my three children as we homeschool...I will stop now as I continue to ponder the ways in my life I need to be more devoted. Thanks for making me think.

  14. What a wonderful resolution for 2010. I really like the one word method because it appplies to your entire life. I can't wait to check in all year - I love your blog!

  15. i love your word!! i am such a fly by the seat of it.... i really might have to follow your lead with being intentional.. my husband lost his job & i've never had a this word brings on a whole new meaning for me! thank you for the beautiful post!

  16. What a wonderful word for the year Shannan. I've chosen 'conscious'. So often I feel that I turn my brain off. I could go on and on, but I won't...:-D.

    Beautiful post. So nice to find other people that have the same heart. To live deliberately, intentionally, consciously and with purpose.

    Apryl, bacon DOES make everything better!

  17. Good, unique word!! (yes, I'm baaaaaacckkkk...and sorry I couldn't come up with a better comment than this

  18. It looks like your deep thinking, stewing, pondering.....worked. I like your word and look forward to hearing how it plays a daily roll in your life. Happy New Year!

  19. One of my favorite words. When I am intentional so many things fall in place. Happy New Year!!!

  20. Great minds, as they say. The word raging in my head for weeks has been discipline. My time and days slip away before I know what has happened, and that is going to change this year. Here's to living life with purpose, and stopping to smell the roses on the way.

  21. good word choice...with "intentional" guiding you through 2010, you will probably slow down, think things through and be more concise. i like it....happy new year, jules

  22. It sounds like a great word to start the New year with. I love the word serendipity but within the confines of my intentional days. I love to plan out how my time and money and energy go and to be surprised along the way from time to time with serendipity.

  23. I love your word. It says so much...that is what I was striving for. Something that sets the tone for the year. I want mine to remind me that I have the power to change my day, my attitude and my choosing to do so. I hope and pray that 2010 is a blessed year for your family.

    You asked about the age of my children when they came home. Dmitry was 25 months when we arrived home and Sophia was 18 months.

  24. great word.

    i don't know how i found you, but you have a darling blog.

    my word would be "story." i read a great book this (last) year (by donald miller) that said "living a life without a story would be like reading a book about nothing."

    i want to live a good story, EVERYDAY.. tell a good story with my life.

  25. Love it. That is a fabulous word for how to live life. My life is driven by post-it notes...and I have writen that word down in hot pink and stuck it to my computer so I can see it each and every day. ~mary~

  26. I saw a post about that word back in the fall. It is such a strong word and it is how I have been choosing to live the last few months. Doing everything with intention puts a lot more stock in what you accomplish. I hope your word helps you as much as it has helped me! Intentional, what a great choice!

  27. My family loathes my word....definitly wouldn't look good stiched on a pillow either. Your's may be a bit more eloquently put then mine but mine is as honest as I can be. I love going from blog to blog reading everyones word. What an amazing idea. Happy New Year Girl.

  28. Good morning, Dear One! 301,Wow!! I am still thinking of my word..SEEK. of course the verse came to my mind "Seek first the kingdom of God" But I think my goal will to be Seek first what God would do in whatever situation I find myself in. I want to really know Him this year. And REALLY put Him first. I have wasted enough time on goofy worldly things. How do my brothers and sisters live around the world when all they have is Jesus?? Here is to a new year and a wonderful experience with my best friend.

  29. Wonderful, wonderful---------
    I need ALL those words- bless you for sharing. You may never know how you have touched someone simply by sharing your thoughts. I so appreciate your words and heart.
    May 2010 be full of delight for you!
    annie g.

  30. I just found your blog a couple of weeks ago and I immediately liked you. After this post I like you even more! My New Year's resolution is to live my life with intention. I decided on that because everything I'm not happy about in my life is because I tend to live more reactively. So this will be an interesting journey and wish you well on yours! I'm looking forward to seeing where this year takes you. Thank you for letting us into your life!