Monday, January 2, 2012


"What we must bear in mind is that all these trials and tribulations that pop up in our lives, well, they serve a very useful purpose: They build character, as long as we can hold on to the lessons we've learned from our mistakes. 
Remember, we can always start everything fresh tomorrow."

- Anne Shirley's beloved teacher Miss Stacy, Anne of Green Gables


This year is bright and fresh and shiny and new, with no mistakes in it just yet. Give me 365 more days, of course, and the story will be different; the year will be marred and marked and battered, just like the years before it. But for now, for today, it is a blank page, and I couldn't be happier.

2011 was a year to celebrate. That word encompassed so much of who I was and what I did during the past 12 months. I celebrated with every fiber of my being, and now? Well, now I am exhausted. I still want to fill my days with joy and celebration, but I know: This year requires something a little different. 

My word for 2012 is awaken.
It is time to awake my soul, to delight in the Father and in my home and in my marriage. To find refuge and retreat. To set boundaries in my relationships and to reconnect with those who bring me peace. 

This year, I want to go to bed earlier. I function better with eight hours of sleep, and that hasn't been happening on a regular basis for quite some time. For a girl who doesn't drink coffee, that's bad news. It's time to go to bed at a decent hour, to get up each morning in time for a shower and for breakfast, to start and end my days in peace instead of chaos. 

It's time to establish boundaries. Not one, not two, but three people have recommended the book Boundaries to me, and I'm going to guess it's not because I'm so awesome at setting them. I think too often I confuse being Jesus with saying yes. Yes, I will do that for you. Yes, I will answer that phone call. Yes, I will exhaust myself to listen and to fix and to problem solve. As a result, I am so, so tired. I come home, and I work on graphic design projects when I should be enjoying my husband. I turn on my computer when I should be reading a book. I provide advice and counsel to friends when I should be directing them to licensed therapists. I've got to become better at setting boundaries in all areas of my life, particularly in my relationships with others and with the church. 

I want to delight in God this year. Church clouded my relationship with the Father in 2011, and I'm sorry for it. I decided a few weeks ago to sign up for a Bible Study Fellowship class in my area, hoping that the accountability and a different group of believers might be what I need to reset my focus and renew my vision. For Christmas, Jordan bought me the book Praying in Color, and I can't wait to see what this imaginative form of prayer might do to my walk with Christ. I'm actually excited to sit down and commune with the Father, and I can't tell you how much that brings me hope.
This year, I plan to retreat. I want to retreat to my home at the end of the day. I want to plan a weekend of silence and rest and communion with God (maybe here?). I've got a beach weekend with dear friends planned toward the middle of this month, and another reunion of college friends scheduled for Labor Day. I want to get away into the quiet places this year; my soul desperately needs it.
In 2011, I chose to focus on celebration; I hosted baby showers and parties over and over again, and I loved it. But I also noticed that I gave a lot of myself. I missed conversations with friends who bring me peace and comfort. I want to make more time for that this year. I want to schedule Skype chats and phone calls with those who I know want the best for me. By saying no to some things, I want to be able to say yes to relationships that I know are mutually beneficial and uplifting.
I want to embrace my creative side. Sometimes, that's going to mean making a mess. Maybe it's going to look like praying with colored pencils and a pad of paper. Maybe I get home on Tuesday afternoons and keep the television off while I try my hand at writing poetry again. The tasks I perform at my job on a daily basis are not always creative, but they are time and energy-consuming, so much so that I don't always make time for what I love: reading and paper-cutting and gluing and creating. I'd like to see that change this year.

Exercise is the bane of my existence. I cannot find something I want to do and stick with it. Of all the resolutions I have made and tried to keep, this is the one that consistently eludes me. But as Jordan tries to make some lifestyle changes for the sake of his health, I want to join him. A couple of friends and I are attempting a 28-day challenge: 28 straight days of exercise of 30 minutes or longer. We start this Saturday. I get bored easily, so I'm hoping to fill my 28 days with walks and jogs around the block and maybe, just maybe, some Bar Method routines (oh gracious me). Stephen Covey says it takes 28 days to make a habit, so we're all crossing our fingers that the 28 days project will result in consistent exercise routines all year long. 

2011 was a good year. I'm happy with the resolutions I made and the overarching theme that shaped my days. But this year, I'm hoping to restore a little bit of the me that got lost in the shuffle. I'm hoping to find God and His love. I'm hoping for refreshment and renewal. 

I'm hoping for an awakening. 

What are you hoping for in 2012?


Anonymous said...

Anne Shirley is almost always, right?
I think so.

Natalie said...

I love this. "Awaken" is the perfect word to choose.

Megan Elizabeth said...

this year is my go getter year. i think i've come up with a word...not sure yet though. this is really great annie. i love the work awakening. so beautiful and means so much.

on a separate note, i use the biggest loser dvd work outs and its amazing. keeps me from getting bored working out.

Sabrina said...

Great word choice. I like how awakening is this beautiful, multi-faceted word! Of all your goals, enjoy the Retreat the most. It literally re-energizes and exfoliates my weary soul sometimes! I am hoping for Positive Growth in 2012..and though sometimes I know it will be so hard/difficult...well this year I plan on fighting for it. Because I know it will make my life better. Just like your time of awakening.

Rachael L. Anderson said...

My mom and I are going to sign up for Bible Study Fellowship as well!

Erin said...

I love your word, Annie. Sounds like God has some good things in store for 2012!