I woke before daylight for the first time in three weeks. Joints aching, muscles protesting, I rose slowly in the quiet chill of the morning to begin the daily routine again. Back from vacation; back to work; back into the routine that I measure my days by. The calendars have flipped and another year begins anew.
wrote about my Desert Journey.
It was our first year out of the Desert – not a full year, but pretty close. I landed a new day-job after a long stretch; one that I love so completely (and yet never imagined doing); that allows me to work with my left-brained, problem solving hemisphere in the office while freeing up my right-brained creative hemisphere to write and design while at home. This may sound like a statement of the obvious, but in the middle of the job that nearly tore me apart, I didn’t make the connection between my lack of personal writing and the fact that I was pouring out all my creative energies into speeches, presentations, brochures, and more for everyone else. Imagine that. And did I mention that I love my team? That makes all the difference in the world.
When I began committing to my blog at the end of 2012, I wrote about wanting to be transparent, honest, and vulnerable in my writing; largely in response to several readers who talked about committing to me and my writing because of just that. Staking my claim to vulnerability with words was simple enough. Putting it into practice; being willing to, as an old professor would say, “write into the teeth of things and floss them,” that was another thing all together.
Writing about my issues with anger – and specifically with my anger and struggles with my daughter’s school was hard. This Five Minute Friday: Jump – about the desert (again), and my free fall into God’s grace was hard. Being willing to share about living with chronic illness and the limitations it puts on me (and my horrendous struggle with having limitations put on me) was hard. Being vulnerable is excruciatingly hard. It’s being willing to peel back some of your theoretical safety, security, and masks and stand up in all your mess and say, “this is all there is, this is me.”
Thank heavens that the “this is all there is” includes incredible grace from heaven and a Savior who gave it all so that our mess is seen through the veil of His sacrifice. And let me tell you this too – people respond to vulnerability. It resonates with them. I know this – because when I read about struggle, and grief, and tears, and pain that another writer friend, mentor, or someone I admire has wrapped in the gift of their own words, it resonates with me.
As I welcomed the New Year yesterday and prepared for what was ahead, I went through my traditional activities of cleaning my desk (Right, you say, this is more than an annual activity. Right I nod, it truly is), organizing the books on my desk (these are the ones I reach for most often on a daily basis), and preparing calendars and organizers.
|What I'm counting days with, reading, and organizing with this year.|
My word is Return. There are many ways that the umbrella of Return will spread over my life this year.
Spiritually, I am always in need of returning to my God. My spirit wanders – whether I want it to or not – and He is continually calling me to come back; come home; be near. In the past several months, our family has not physically been to church because of my chronic illness. There have been complications, and we have been away. It’s wonderful that sermons are available online, but we’ve missed the fellowship of the body and the life that comes from being part of the active church. We will be returning. As a family, we are recommitting to a deeper spiritual connection and prioritization this year. A family verse of the year and statements defining who we are will sit at the head of our table as a reminder of where our focus lies.
Physically, this is my year to return to health. It has already begun through new medical care, but I am moving beyond the confines of traditional, western medicine to things like better eating, movement where I can move, and a better understanding of how my body works – even with the chronic conditions that I wrestle with (maybe especially with the chronic conditions) – and how to make the most of the health that I have and carve out more. I am taking it back. This is the first time that my goal is not a number on a scale or a size on a rack. It is health pure and simple. That, and the ability to walk freely again.
In my life, there are many things that I want to return to. Connected with my return to health, is my desire to return to the earth – the desire to return to my garden. I always found such peace and fulfillment in sinking hands into soil; planning and sketching out the layout of the gardens every year; planting the seeds, watching them grow, and harvesting the bounty. I’m looking forward to returning to the discipline of writing – not just the link ups (though, I love those – like this Three Word Wednesday) – but organizing my thoughts and moving ahead with themes and series of my own. I’m looking forward to returning to creating things. Whether photography (got to get that camera fixed), knitting, scrapping, canning, or something new, I want to see things unfold under my fingers have a product of my own making to share and give.
With things fresh, there is so much to look forward to. I hope you will join me here as I discover these new things and return to new places. It will be a joy to have you with me as it begins again.