Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2013::Walk


Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit; Happy New Year; Start as You Mean to Go On... and all that!

Oh, gosh I love this day. I love, love, love the first day of the new year! Maybe it's the planner in me. I wonder... do those who are naturally more inclined to planning enjoy this day of goal-setting, resolutions, and new ideas more than those who like to live life a bit more spontaneously?

So, here I am, having not been here a while. But I can't be late to the party on the first day of the year, now can I? So, one thing I hope to do (not resolve, but hope) is to at least show up here once-a-week. I'll likely only accomplish that through planning ahead and making time for it on my trusty calendar, but it's something I'd really like to do.

I actually have a bit of a list of things I'd like to do today and most of them seem to involve just sitting, which is somewhat ironic considering my word of the year.

But more about that in a minute.

So, one of the things I'm doing is joining in with so many others in taking The Joy Dare over at A Holy Experience.  I am re-reading Ann's book (it's only $3.79 in the e-reader edition right now!) and while I often write in my journal my thanksgivings, I plan to participate more intentionally this year and... is it possible... do. it. every. day?  Oh, I'm usually so bad at that. Hence, my hoping for one blog post a week here. But. I always look to see how a new habit... a new good habit... a new, brilliant habit just might make a new impression on my life and open my eyes even more to the wonder that is this God-gift.

Next, I'll be over at Goodreads.com making some new reading plans, thinking about and maybe rearranging my "to-read" list, and creating my "Read-in-2013" bookshelf for the year. I think I read about 43 in 2012. It's always surprising and fun to look back and see what I read and thought about in the past year. Maybe you'll join me?? I'd love to have you as a reading friend! I love seeing what my friends are reading; you all are so smart and give me such great ideas!

Maybe I'll have time to clean up some of my favorites list. Does yours grow to the enormous proportions mine does? And I rarely have time to re-visit so many.

I've got a teeeeeny bit of school planning left, but generally, we are ready to start up again tomorrow.

Finally, my word of the year this year is WALK.

We had such a very busy first semester, but with the end of a few activities, have re-claimed a couple of days for this new year. It would be lovely to leave the car parked and spend more time getting to know the community in which we have planted ourselves. You know, before our sweet dog, Lucy, died a couple of years ago, we walked with her every day. You have to, you know. You just have to walk your dog. And we are still a family that loves to walk. But we don't do it every day. And certainly when the temps begin to read in the single digits, it is hard.

I'm not promising to walk somewhere every day, but when the opportunity arrises, I want to choose to walk instead. We live about a mile from a little grocery and a mile -and-a-half in each direction from two, wonderful libraries. Those paths take us into our little town and so, I hope to take those paths more often. It will take even more planning to accomodate the extra time needed, but I intend to make the effort.

This past Sunday we had a time of sharing at church in which we shared some of the things God has done for us this past year. I shared some thoughts on a little bit more about why I am choosing the word WALK for this year:

While 2012 has been the long-time answer to so many prayers and questions, new questions always arise and so the conversation with my God continues. Most recently, in the light of the New Town, CT shootings, beyond the questions we are all asking about what we need to do as citizens, I continue to ask, when tempted to respond with fear, "God, how can I continue to be Your joy and Your hope? When everything in me wants to recoil in a posture of self-defence, how can I, instead, expand and reach out and advance Your kingdom?"

I don't have one, complete answer yet, but every year for the past six years or so, I have made it a practice to choose a word for the year; something to set the tone and  serve as a direction I'd like to take. In the past I have had words like: "create," "imagine," "kingdom," and "discover". This year, I feel very strongly that my word is "WALK".

My daughter and I got practice in this the other day when we walked to the grocery store for a few, needed items. We met a new neighbor out shoveling her walk. We saw other people out and about, had a conversation with an employee at the store, and looked people in the eye and said "hello".

To know and to be known.

I know walking isn't the answer to this problem. But maybe it is an answer for me.

I was so homesick in Florida. I longed to be with "my people" - to be understood and really known. Jesus tells us in John 10 that we are His sheep and He calls us by name. We are known.

I wonder if the people who do these random acts of violence feel known? And I wonder if we might begin to change that...

Again, I believe that there are things we need to address, as a nation, concerning gun-violence, mental illness and the things that, thankfully, we do seem to have begun talking about. And I plan to lend my voice to that discussion. But as a Christian, in my everyday life, I want to continue to be practicing the phrase, "love reaches," which is a phrase I have remembered and have tried to live by since a good friend mentioned it to me years ago. One way I hope to do this is to be intentionally present in and around my community - the community beyond my church and beyond my family and friends. I'll start by taking a walk.



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