On Coming Back and My One Word for 2014

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We tried to take one picture each month. In September, our only picture was blurry, but at least it works in collage form.

 

I don’t really know how to come back from an unplanned blogging hiatus. I kept writing posts and never feeling ready to hit “publish.” It never seemed the right time for any of them (except for the one my browser deleted). I didn’t write anything at all holiday-related until the very end, and so I felt like I wasn’t keeping up with the blogosphere.

So what did I do during this unintentional break?

I cleaned. I am deep in the trenches of working through the KonMari method described in The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I can’t wait to share my thoughts with you.

I rested. I spent time napping and hanging out with family and friends.

I read. I have been whisked away in the story of Outlander. I’m also rereading one of my Montessori books for this new phase of motherhood.

I listened. Christmas music and Serial and sermons and quiet and voices.

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Liam’s favorite Christmas gift: blocks and matchbox cars

 

I lit candles. All through our home to welcome friends to dinner on chilly nights. At church on Christmas Eve. Simply so Liam could practice blowing them out.

I worked. I bought Christmas presents and cooked dinner and worked on our photo book and cared for a nearly eighteen-month-old. I cleaned up my computer hard drive just a bit and planned for some 2015 projects.

I celebrated. Without much preparation or consistent Advent readings or over-the-top decorations, Christmas still comes. I was all about the music and the tree and the festivity, but I felt less prepared for Christmas mentally and spiritually than I usually do. However, this in itself taught me that Christmas still comes, that Hope still comes. Through the abundance of lights and the people that whirl out of the cold and into our home and the presents that stack up and the tree that we turn on each night, I found new lessons and new peace. Not everything has to be analyzed and talked about and prepared for.

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We decorated my dad’s Christmas tree right after Thanksgiving.

 

And I thought a lot. I thought about what I want for this blog. As cliche as it is to come back from a break with new intentions, I’ve got them! I missed writing here. But I think I’ve made it cumbersome because every post has been so long and takes so much work. So I want to get back to shorter, slightly more spontaneous posts. I want to be able to post what I’m thinking before I can necessarily boil it down to three main points. I want my posts to still be substantive, but I also hope they will have a bit more real life, a bit more humor, and be a bit more open to commenting and discussing.

Here we are at the new year, and just as with Christmas, I find that I’ve been preparing mentally a little less than I would like. But maybe it’s because of the theme that has driven my past year: play.

I’ve meant to write an update about my one word for 2014 all year. Defining my year in a theme has been very helpful, though 2014 was the first year I did it in advance.

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How did play define my year?

In most areas of life, I want rules. I want structure and planning and to govern my unruly self above all else. I nearly ruined my relationship with Jon because of this and early on as a mother, saw how quickly this rules-oriented life could steal the joy of parenting.

So this year, I was all about play. This means that if Liam tugged at me to play (or just seemed to need some mama time) I dropped what I was doing and played. It was about throwing out those books that harp too much on toddler behavior and obedience. It was about being willing to see things from his point of view. Because this word governed my mothering, I was ultimately a better, more relaxed mother this year even in the midst of little sleep and some rough patches.

But I kept play in mind all through the year in other areas too. I let there be play in my life. We were surprised to buy a house in April and then move in May right after I had finished spring cleaning and decorating our apartment. I learned not to try to be the perfect wife. I learned that I can host get-togethers without having everything totally planned because it all falls into place. I learned that it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful. I learned to keep a better sense of humor about the unimportant things and not get sucked into stress. I’ve been able to change plans and release expectations better.

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His new thing is making all sorts of funny faces more or less on command.

 

But I also worked on playing to my strengths and playing my role. Right now, my main role is a wife and mom. Writing is on up there too, and I don’t want to neglect my passion for writing. I used PowerSheets at the beginning of the year to think through all of my roles and hopes for the year. It changed the way I planned tremendously!

Of course I’m not a totally new human. At all. But play did keep me mindful throughout the year and unified all my goals. So what’s next?

I’m working through my review of the past year and my goals for the next one. I am waiting for the perfect word, and I may just have it.

But mostly I’m enjoying time with my family, a chilly, calm day, and my last days as a twenty-five-year old.

Thanks for reading in 2014 and for your comments and encouragement. I hope you’ll think it’s okay if I jump right back into blogging where we left off.

What did you learn in 2014? What were your favorite moments? 

P.S. Here’s the link to Lara Casey’s blog where she’s working through 2015 goals. I love doing this work with her and plan to do it again this year. It starts with thinking through the good things from 2014, which is a perfect place to begin. I also loved these New Year’s Eve questions from The Art of Simple. Jon and I talked through them last night as we drove Liam to sleep.

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