Connecting

Today, I’m excited to offer thoughts on settling into your One Word this year over at OneWord365.com.

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On our first anniversary, Frank and I hiked the West Highland Way, a 95-mile trail through Scotland’s highlands. It was (and still is) the longest distance I’ve hiked, with days ranging from 8 to 14 miles. A service picked up our bags each day and transported them to the next quaint B&B, so all we had to carry were our daypacks with lunches, water, snacks, and rain gear. It was an amazing trip, one of my favorite vacations. We hiked through small villages, along the shores of entire lochs, through Rob Roy’s hideouts, and traversed many sheep pastures. We stayed each night in amazing places, some family-run, others dating back to the days of Bonnie Prince Charlie.

It was an incredible way to end our first year of marriage. We were able to reflect on that crazy year, dream about the future, and really take time out to reconnect…. Read the rest over at OneWord365.

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Identity

“I did not get a Master’s degree in housekeeping!” I stormed at Frank as we argued over how precious weekend time would be spent. I don’t mind doing daily and weekly housecleaning myself, but sometimes it’s a two-person job. I wanted to spend Saturday morning doing some post-Christmas chores as well as some neglected-during-the-holidays household items. Frank, after a long week at work and a post-holiday cold, wanted to hang out, drink coffee, and go to the park with Bea.

This has been one of the hardest parts of staying home. I love hanging out with Bea, reading with her, coloring, and having tea parties. Even on the mundane days, I can see the big picture and realize that we have made the best decision for our family. Frank does a good amount of cooking and, with our new Crock-Pot, I don’t mind preparing a meal during naptime and having it ready for dinner. The cleaning, however, was not something I anticipated being so difficult.

It’s an area where I allow my insecurities about choosing to stay home to flourish. When life is good and I’m confident in my title as “mom,” cleaning the house, doing the laundry, those all somehow fit easily into our weekly routine. When I am feeling unsure about my decision, when I feel that I need a grander title, suddenly having to dust seems like the most demeaning task.

Obviously, this isn’t just about cleaning – we had had similar squabbles before I had Bea, except gender equality was the underlying theme rather than motherhood. The past year and a half, I’ve had to settle in and be comfortable with my role as mother, and to realize that, for this season, it is enough. I know this, but often I don’t feel it, which is when the insecurities arise.

Remembering my One Word for this year, I need to rest in Grace. Grace for myself, when my list of things to do is pushed aside for Lego building and endless tea parties; Grace for Frank as he works hard, struggles to balance life as a husband and father; Grace for my identity as I embrace “just” being a mom.

What parts of your identity do you need Grace? And, more practically: How do you divide household chores with your spouse/partner?

One Word: Grace

My name means “grace” and I’ve always thought this was inaccurate. Growing up, I perpetually had bruises from playing and, as an adult, from working among the shin-height desks and chairs of second graders. When I was 8 months pregnant, we were walking around our neighborhood park. I was looking at a newly constructed house and missed the curb. Normally, I would have stumbled, but since my center of gravity was so skewed, I tumbled down onto the sidewalk, skinning my knee and elbow in the process. Last summer, I had Bea in the Ergo and missed the first step of a flight of stairs, again tumbling down. Fortunately, Bea was tucked in tightly and I just hit my elbow and hip. All that to say, I’ve never viewed myself as a graceful person.

The word grace has about 15 definitions – from elegance of motion to mercy to honor. Grace has always been a struggle for me. I tend to hold myself and others to high standards and get frustrated when they are not met. In thinking about the New Year, I wanted to have One Word to define my year; one to meditate on, to strive to be better at, and to underlie my experiences.

As we move into our next year of parenting, I want Grace to define how I treat myself and Bea as we learn together. I want Grace to encompass my marriage as we navigate a relationship with a toddler in its midst. I need Grace for those moments when parenting is the last thing I want to do and for those moments when it is a taste of heaven.

I need Grace for my community. For my friends, both with and without kids; single and married. For people I see weekly and for those who live across the world. I need Grace for my church, for my neighbors, for the people in the grocery store parking lot. I need Grace for how I compare myself to other moms; for how I compare my life to those around me.

Mostly, I need Grace in ways I can’t even imagine. This year, I want to be open to the amazing power of Grace.

If you could choose One Word for your coming year, what would it be?