My One Word

It's January 1st. The day of New Year's Resolutions. People will have failed at their new diet, gym routine, change in behavior, or attempts to stop some activity by the end of the week. High achievers may make it to the end of the month, others won't even make it through the end of the day. Today is the day that people all around the world will set goals for themselves, and then either beat themselves up trying to achieve those goals, or hate themselves for failing. Maybe both. Regardless, you can rest assured that they are all completely forgotten no later than February. 

Why do we do this to ourselves? Sure it's a clean slate, a new year, a chance to start afresh...but we set difficult, unattainable goals, or goals we know we will struggle to achieve, all in the name of bettering ourselves. I'm all about being better, trust me, there are an abundance of ways I need to change and improve, but I refuse to set myself up for failure. Why commit to changing 20 things, even 5 things, and do it half-heartedly, when I could really excel at changing just one thing?

In comes My One Word. When I first met my husband, we attended Port City Community Church. Mike Ashcraft, the pastor there, changed my entire perspective on how I view resolutions. Mike started a movement called "My One Word", which I have taken part in for several years now. The premise behind My One Word is that rather than setting lofty goals at the start of a new year and trying to achieve them, you simply pray through the ways in which you feel God is calling you to be different or better. Then you choose one of those things (because if you're like me, there are many, many to choose from), and a single word that describes it. For the whole year, you focus on changing or being better at that one word, that one trait. The idea is to change one thing. To move toward the future rather than living in a past full of disappointments and self regret. "When you choose a single word, you have a single focus."..."The goal is to see His work in one area of your life."

So this year, through prayer and obvious reason, I have decided that My One Word is CONSISTENT. I struggle so much with being consistent. Whether it be in my quiet time, my prayer life, my workout routine, my eating habits, my parenting, my blogging, my business....you name it, I probably struggle with being consistent in it. And that sucks. I hate that about myself. I want that to change. My prayer is that God would work and change me this year...that with His help, I would come to the end of 2013 a better me. That I would "stand firm" in my relationship with Him, and in all aspects of my life. 

"Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain." 
- 1 Corinthians 15:58


An Update In Photographs...With A Surprise Ending!

Our  sweet little guy will be celebrating his birthday this Wednesday. Over the weekend, we had all of our family over to celebrate the little life God blessed us with almost three years ago.

To kick the party off, my awesome husband created this amazing slideshow to recap the last three years, and so that Jonah could share his biggest secret yet...



We are so very thankful and feel so blessed to have such an amazing son, and to be expecting another child. God is so good. Thank you so much for your prayers for this little life and our family as I enter my second trimester of pregnancy (13 weeks this week!). In case you missed it, we have a due date of 5.28.12!

"I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him."
-1 Samuel 1:27

Praise the Lord for his goodness.



I Wanna Remember This...

"I want to remember this, 
I want to remember this, 
every smile, 
every kiss, 
every moment's like a promise, 
and I want to remember this...

  (You're gonna want to mute this...)
  video 

...I want to remember this, 
I want to remember this, 
every tear, 
every touch, 
I just can't believe I love you this much, 
and I want to remember, 
I want to remember, I want to remember this."
(Lyrics from Beth Champion Mason) 


Sunrise at Neptune Beach...

C is for Car

I didn't realize it had been so long since I posted about preschool. Don't let my lack of posting make you think it's from lack of schooling. It's the opposite, actually. We've been working just about every day through a "school time". At first, I tried the three-day-a-week method...thinking that wouldn't exasperate Jonah, or bore him of school. I was wrong. In fact, having school for an extended amount of time three days a week frustrated him, and me. He got bored, wouldn't pay attention, and I realized my plan was.not.working. So now, we're doing shorter periods of dedicated school time every day. Or that's the plan. Some days it's fifteen minutes, some days it's thirty, and some days it's three and half. I sort of leave it up to Jonah and his attention span. I figured out really, really quickly that if it didn't work that way, we were both frustrated. And let me be transparent, there are totally days that he just isn't feeling it, and we paint something or do a project in the kitchen floor instead of even attempting school time. Or go to the pool. In my mind, he's still learning. I think most people would agree with that. And if you don't, that's okay. Sure I get behind on my plans, but there are worse things.

Now, when I say dedicated school time, that definitely isn't the only period of learning Jonah has during the day. Like I said, some days our school time doesn't happen. Not directly, and in a planned way, anyway. I consider school time the time where he sits at his little table in his room*, and I teach him very specific things in a planned way.  I have lesson plans, he does worksheets, traces letters, practices colors, and learns shapes, letters, numbers, days of the week, etc. I like to think the bulk of his learning comes from the various other activities that may not be sit-down-at-your-desk-learning, but are (probably, likely) more beneficial to him. We do lots of those. Ya know, helping around the house, exploring outside, imaginary play, cooking with mama, play dough, building towers, and crashing trains. Everything pretty much gets related to whatever I'm teaching him that week. And he helps with that...few seconds go by that I'm not answering (or asking) "What color is that one?" or "What does dat start with?"...it's fun and makes his school and learning more of a lifestyle.

*For now, Jonah just has a small table and chair dedicated to school time in his bedroom. I'll post about that soon. Eventually, I would love to have an entire room dedicated to school. Eventually.

Okay...on to how it works for us. My plans go that we do a letter, number, shape, and color each week. Initially, I planned to keep up with that pattern, but decided to extend colors a little more than one per week. We are sticking with just the primary colors until I can see that Jonah has really grasped those, then we'll adjust from there. Letters are still one a week, as are the rest. Shapes may extend soon, too. I don't want to overload him, so I adjust according to how he's grasping something. Oh, we're doing days of the week, too. Basically just telling him each day what day and date it is, then asking him throughout the day if he can tell me those same things.

Here are a couple of the worksheets we've used recently...feel free to use them as well. All I ask is that you not share them as your own. If you would like to share them, just link back to my blog!




I have a certain toddler who is totally unhappy with this hotel room and is begging to go to the pool. I think I'll oblige, and squeeze a little school time in after he's gotten some energy out! Have a lovely day!




Devotion

When we lived in Wilmington, we went to a church called PC3. This church had a huge impact on both mine and Andrew's lives, spiritual and otherwise, and both of us continue to listen to messages from the church. Mike, the pastor, is gifted with the ability to deliver the word of God unlike anyone I've ever heard speak before.

In my quiet time, I've been supplementing my regular reading with reading through the devotionals on the PC3 website. The recent series, The Art of Practice, focuses on spiritual disciplines and Proverbs 3:1-8. I know lots of people aren't big on devotionals, but these are encouraging, convicting, and thought provoking. If you follow me on Twitter, you've probably seen at least one tweet a day with some quote from the PC3 devos. I really enjoy reading them. And, because my word for the year, again, is discipline, having something to keep up with daily does actually help me be just that.

I sound like an ad. I should be paid for that. Really just a heartfelt sharing, though. Maybe somebody else will be encouraged, too! :)

"My son, do not forget my teaching,
But let your heart keep my commandments;
For length of days and years of life
And peace they will add to you.
Do not let kindness and truth leave you;
Bind them around your neck,
Write them on the tablet of your heart.
So you will find favor and good repute
In the sight of God and man.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.
Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the Lord and turn away from evil.
It will be healing to your body
And refreshment to your bones."
-Proverbs 3:1-8