A Workout for 2015

Luke

Happy New Year! I pray 2015 finds you healthy, happy, and thankful that you’re seeing the beginning of another year.

I’d like to open this new year with a story of murder…well, not really, but it’s in the midst of this type of passage that I found a beautiful nugget of wisdom the Lord showed me as I was reading last night.

When they grew up, Abel became a shepherd, while Cain cultivated the ground. When it was time for the harvest, Cain presented some of his crops as a gift to the Lord. Abel also brought a gift—the best portions of the firstborn lambs from his flock. The Lord accepted Abel and his gift, but he did not accept Cain and his gift. This made Cain very angry, and he looked dejected. “Why are you so angry?” the Lord asked Cain. “Why do you look so dejected? You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.” Genesis 4:2-7

Now, we know that Cain killed his brother. It’s the very next part of the story, that I just didn’t feel the need to include since that’s not the lesson I wish to teach in this blog post (although please don’t murder, it’s a terrible thing). However, notice that just before Cain killed Abel, the Lord spoke to him, “…But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.” (Genesis 4:7, NLT)

The New King James version reads a bit differently, saying “Its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.”  In other words, there will be a ruler…either sin will win or you will win.

The word “rule” is interesting to me because it implies an ongoing action. This is not a one-time occurrence. God doesn’t say, “Sin is knocking at your door, and you should beat it this one time.” He says to rule over it and become its master!

Several words jumped out at me when I looked up the definition of “rule”: control, conduct, and practice. Practicing the right conduct over and over again until we gain control over sin.

I love this warning from God. I love it because I saw something a bit different here as I was reading it last night. In this passage, God is pleading with Cain to exercise the practice…the fruit of the Spirit…of self-discipline.

I can almost hear God here saying to Cain…or to me, in the difficult times…Come on, you can do this! I know it will be hard, but you have the ability to control this. Just push yourself.

[Clears throat] Ok, you know what time of year it is. You know I’m about to relate this passage to that horrible thing everyone’s been swearing off altogether, and very publicly on social media. [Insert dreadful horror movie music] New Year’s resolutions! [Horror movie music gets louder….]

But seriously. Isn’t that the reason we stop making New Year’s resolutions? It’s not because they’re stupid. I can promise you resolving to do the dishes every night before going to bed is not stupid. Determining to finish an important project you started years ago or committing to lose twenty pounds is not ridiculous

We stop making resolutions in the new year because we have failed too many times in the past and, quite frankly, just don’t want to disappoint ourselves with failure again. Honestly, who wants to say as the year draws to a close, “Nope, I totally missed the mark. My kitchen is a wreck most of the week, and I actually gained thirty pounds!” Talk about admitting defeat.

And I do agree we sometimes get a little carried away. Making a list of ten giant goals you’d like to accomplish – that you haven’t even touched in the past year – might be a bit overwhelming. There’s no way I’m going to paint a mural, write a book, read 47 books written by other people, learn sign language, and exercise 4 days a week. And that’s only five things that I wouldn’t even come close to doing.

But to swear them off altogether? I think we should give ourselves a little more credit than that.

I have often read that willpower is like a muscle. When you exercise it to do something you’ve been putting off, it becomes stronger. (Remember the feelings of joy you got because you finally did that thing you’d been putting off? And you just want to bottle those feelings of joy? So you post it all over Facebook because you want everyone to see that thing you finally did! 🙂 ) And the more you exercise it, the stronger it becomes.

This is how you gain control over sin. By exercising your willpower muscle over and over and over again. Until you look like SNL’s Hans or Franz inside. And sin doesn’t want to mess with you anymore because you’re ready to pump it up (you have to read that in a thick Austrian accent because trust me, it’s way funnier).

Making resolutions is a noble way to become the master over sin. So might I suggest one resolution we could all benefit from? I think it’s safe to say we all need more self-discipline – and what a worthy practice to develop since it’s a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). What if we just aspired to practice exercising that muscle? What if your resolution for 2015 is to practice more self-control?

What’s great about this is God says you can do it, according to the verse above. He is urging you to do it!

And if you need to attach one or two specific, intentional things to help you practice (reading a book of the Bible each month, adding more green vegetables to your diet, etc.), more power to ya!

When you fail to exercise the muscle one night – or one week – don’t be discouraged. Just practice again the next week. Remember, you’re building a muscle. It doesn’t disappear altogether if you stop using it once or twice.

Now fast forward in your mind to New Year’s Eve next year for just a minute…If I could end this year by saying that I am much more self-disciplined, I’d be ecstatic, and I think you would be, too. And if that were the case, look out 2016 resolutions! There’s no telling what we could do!

The picture I chose for this post is of my son, who is a swimmer – and we all know the self-discipline required to be good at any sport. He is up at 5:30 every morning of the week conditioning his body in the water, even throughout the winter (it’s an outdoor pool!). So this is your mental image when you want to give in and let sin win…take the plunge and rule! 🙂

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Two Women…A Little Boy…And A Light So Bright!

October 1st just might be a life-changing day. It could change generations. And it’s only 2 days away.

As many of you know, my family returned to the country of Zambia this past summer to work with underprivileged, and in many cases orphaned, children. Beautiful children full of hope. Joyful children who love life and Jesus.

Even though Satan and their circumstances tell them to do otherwise.

I’d like to introduce you to Samson. I ADORE this precious boy. He’s been in my group both years I’ve served at Camp Life. He has a smile that lights up a room. Just look at the pictures below – it is impossible not to smile back when this giant grin is right in front of your face. He is happy and healthy, and he loves His God more than many kids I’ve met in my life.

These are my sunglasses, by the way! 🙂

How do I know this?

I know this because he is kind and compassionate, and because when he’s sitting in a session listening to a Bible lesson, he’s writing the Scriptures taught all over his pants…probably the only pair of pants he has (he wore them to camp every day)…and on the sides of his shoes, and sometimes on his skin.

I know this because when we pray as a group, he is the last one to say Amen and lift his head.

I know this because when the children were asked to pray over their leaders, he stood and placed both of his hands on my head and prayed longer than anyone else.

Samson. Loves. His. God.

And just last week, I had the privilege of meeting (on Facebook 🙂 ) the lovely person who probably saved his life. This gracious person pays a small monthly amount to send Samson to school. Because of her, he has attended Bible classes to learn more about Jesus and develop his relationship with God. Because of her, he receives healthy meals and special gifts of food for his family. Because of her, he gets a quality education and will very likely go on to college.

Because of her, Samson is happy. But this wasn’t always the case.

What I never knew about Samson is that he has an awful, bleak past. This beautiful woman got to know Samson personally because he was one of her boys before he was one of mine. She also had traveled to Zambia and had the privilege of loving on Samson when he was placed in her group. But in the beginning, he was distant and quiet and not as joyful about receiving the hugs and blessings poured on these kiddos throughout the week.

What she wrote to me brought me to tears:

“I went to camp 3 years in a row. Samson was in my first group of kids (and every year after). He didn’t smile or talk to anyone the first/second day. Clearly something was wrong. I pulled him aside for quiet time one day and asked him about his life/family etc. He said his scar on his face was from his brother who continually tried to kill him. His family life was bad, he was abused. Slowly over the days/years I saw the smile return. By the end of camp my first year he was a new man.. and every camp after that… I am so encouraged to see that his growth in the Lord has continued….. THANK YOU SO MUCH! I miss him so so so much!! Thank you for loving him!”

I was heartbroken for Samson – I knew the exact scar she was describing but had no idea where he had gotten it.  But I was overjoyed in the hope and happiness he now has!  He told me just months ago that he lives in a loving home.  His dad often works long hours, and he even cried about not seeing his father enough.  Oh, how things can change with prayer and when you trust the Lord to take care of you!

Samson is living proof of God’s promise in Jeremiah 29:11, For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Such strength to overcome adversity and win his battles. I’d say he was named appropriately – We learn in the Bible that the man of the same name was granted exceptional strength by God. And the meaning of the name Samson? Bright sun. Did I not tell you he has a smile that lights up the room?!

Samson Baby

If only Samson knew what he has done for a couple of privileged American women. 🙂 What a connection we have, and God has given us the opportunity to continue praying for Samson and to watch him grow and see what he will do with his life. He shared with me just two months ago that he wants to be work for God by ministering to children like him through the Family Legacy organization. I wouldn’t have expected anything else!

Honestly, we are all called to make this kind of difference in the lives of the poor and lost. She and I haven’t done anything special – just obeying the command in Matthew 25:31-46 to take care of the least of these. Samson is one of the least of these.

And there are so many!  In fact, let me show you just a couple of others who are in need of this same kind of love…

Meet Reuben.  He is quiet and has a sweet spirit about him.

Reuben's mom and baby sister (one of his siblings)
Reuben’s mom and baby sister (one of his siblings)

Reuben lives with his mother and three younger siblings, no mention of a father.  I was honored to meet his sweet mom, who told me that Reuben is a gift to her from God.  But she can’t work because she is taking care of young children, so she often has to send Reuben to his uncle to ask for money.  Certainly not enough money to pay for school supplies and uniforms.

This is Staford.

Staford was the quietest of the bunch.  He was new to camp this year and didn’t say much.  But he smiled and laughed often.  Staford’s grandmother takes care of him because his mother is sick (honestly, my first thought when I hear this is often that the parent has AIDS – it is the most common answer). His grandmother sells ice blocks for a living – which, of course, barely provides enough money to make ends meet for Staford’s family of 5 siblings.  Even still, Staford wants to become a pilot one day.

Neither of these boys are currently receiving an education or the benefits that come with that. They are wandering the streets with so many others, desperately wanting to be in school because they know the difference it can make for their future. Without an education, they will likely end up being fathers before the age of fourteen, unable to provide for their families, diseased and miserable, and probably deceased before they reach thirty years of age.

And there are others on the road to this same fate. So many others.

But you can end this cycle of poverty. You have the opportunity to change a life, physically and Spiritually – and to affect generations to come.

The great doctor Luke, who was also in the business of saving lives both physically and Spiritually, penned these words: “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” (Luke 12:48)

By clicking one of the links below, you can see the children we have left to get sponsored, and you can sign up right there to sponsor Reuben, Staford, or another child my family had the great pleasure of loving this summer. It takes two minutes to claim these children as your own, and it costs less than a tank of gas each month.

https://web.familylegacy.com/give/ambassadors/51694

https://web.familylegacy.com/give/ambassadors/53436

https://web.familylegacy.com/give/ambassadors/53431

October 1st is the last day to get these children signed up for school, and it could be the greatest day of their lives…the day that marks the beginning of their hopeful future.  As this deadline is quickly approaching, so are the holidays that remind us every year to be so thankful for the blessings we have received from God.  I cannot think of a more beautiful way to honor God than to take the blessings you have received and pour them over His children!

Joyful Reunion

Guess who I got to see this past week??1 MomIsaac3

You might remember this precious little boy I told you about in my last post (A New Mission).  🙂  Isaac and I were reunited for a couple of short visits during our mission trip to Zambia, and he got to meet Mykal and Emma this year.  I thought I’d give you an update and some new pics from our visit.

Isaac showed me his beautiful new home, where he has his own comfy bed for the first time ever.  He lives with eleven other little boys and a house mom, who cooks and cares for them (the dinner she was making that day smelled amazing!).

Sitting in Isaac’s new room

He thanked me over and over for what we had given him.  If only he knew I am the one who is so thankful.  I am so blessed and honored that God led me to Isaac and called us to sponsor him so he could live in his new home.

As we walked hand-in-hand around the grounds, he took me into his classrooms, introduced me to teachers, and showed me his artwork hanging on the walls.

Shhh...this backpack is our gift to him, but he thinks he's carrying it for me!
Shhh…this backpack is our gift to him, but he thinks he’s carrying it for me!
This precious teacher praised Isaac up and down to us. No surprise that he does so well in school!
This precious teacher praised Isaac up and down to us. No surprise that he does so well in school!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And we sat together for the program designed specially for us that day.  It was just like we were parents at open house.

4 Clapping 3 Laughing

After the program, we got to go back to his house and give him some gifts — it was like every Christmas he had missed for the past twelve years.  He had no idea the backpack he offered to carry for me was his…and full of goodies for him to keep.  I will always treasure the look on his face when he set the bag down and I told him it belonged to him.  The perfect combination of awe, joy, and surprise!

He just stared at the backpack until I began opening it for him.
He just stared at the backpack until I began opening it for him.
We thought he looked adorable in his new Aggie baseball cap. :)
We thought he looked adorable in his new Aggie baseball cap. 🙂
I guess well with this puzzle - turns out he loves them.
I guessed well with this puzzle – turns out he loves them.

 

This gift was the most special to me - his own Bible with notes inside from me.
This gift was the most special to me – his own Bible with notes inside from me.
It was most special to him, too - he immediately opened it and began reading.
It was most special to him, too – he immediately opened it and began reading.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When he had seen all of the gifts we brought him, he put his face in his hands and wept. And then he put his hands out and grabbed mine and asked me to pray for him. Have I mentioned that I LOVE this kid??

Isaac asked us that day if he could called us Mommy Traci and Daddy Mykal.  I do believe we have a child on another continent!  While we can’t see each other often, we can pray for one another, write to each other, and provide for him financially until he is the successful doctor he dreams of becoming.

Isaac and Daddy Mykal
Blessed.

My heart leaped with joy when I saw his beautiful face, and it was ripped out of my chest when I had to tell him goodbye again.  But this time, I told him goodbye knowing that he is safe and cared for.  And he is happy.  And I know there will be many more visits in our future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Father to the fatherless, defender of widows – this is God, whose dwelling is holy.  God places the lonely in families; he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy. – Psalm 68:5-6  Thank you, Lord, for placing Isaac in the Jones family.

 

A New Mission

IsaacTraci

Last summer, I went to another continent…for the first time, a little freaked out, not at all knowing what to expect. But Family Legacy International is an awesome organization, and they have their act together. They had everything for my first mission trip to Africa timed perfectly, gave me instructions when I needed them, provided shelter and food, and even told me what to expect when I met the kids we’d be working with.

Only my expectations were nothing compared to reality. Nothing could have prepared me for the heart-wrenching love I would feel.

When Isaac Sakala ran up to me on the first day of camp, along with the other nine boys with whom I would spend five wonderful days, my life changed forever. Isaac was wearing a tattered green shirt, and he had the biggest dimples I’ve ever seen in a kid’s cheeks and eyes that immediately connected with mine. From the moment I hugged him, my heart was his. He was the first to grab my hand when we walked places as a group, and any time our eyes met he would break out into the biggest smile with those giant precious pits in his cheeks! I joked to my friends and family back home that I would’ve put him in my suitcase if it hadn’t been illegal – and a few who know me well (including my husband) know I wasn’t really joking at all. And when I had to hug this little one on the last day – in the same green tattered shirt from the previous days – and tell him goodbye, my heart just broke into pieces.

So it was no surprise to my husband when I asked to “sponsor” this sweet boy who stole my heart, the little boy whose adorable dimples and green tattered shirt I see every day in the frame that occupies desk space right next to my own kiddos’ pictures. And although they had never met, my husband didn’t hesitate to say yes to sponsorship. For the past ten months, we’ve agree to a monthly withdrawal from our bank account to send Isaac to a school that provides him with a first-class education, priceless discipleship training, and a guaranteed hot meal every day. I consider it an honor and a blessing that our family can provide this for Isaac, and what a blessing it has been to pray for him!

But the story continues… during one of our special one-on-one times together at camp, Isaac shared with me that he had no parents and that he missed so badly not having a mother. I could not keep it together as this beautiful child laid in my arms and sobbed for the mom he no longer had. He told me how he and his younger brother (12 and 9 years of age) lived with their grandmother in a house that had no electricity and no beds. Keep in mind that this is common in Zambia – millions of children have lost one or both parents – but Isaac’s eyes told me there was more sadness to his story, and they told me how he longed for joy and a better life.

So I completed a sheet of paper recommending that someone investigate his home life. I saw potential there for Isaac to be considered as a candidate to live in one of Family Legacy’s homes (at the beautiful Tree of Life Village) for those in the most destitute situations, dedicated to providing a life full of love, hope, and opportunity. I had no specifics; he wasn’t begging for a better life – I just took a chance and wondered if maybe he was one of those kids living in the worst of the worst conditions, one of the blessed ones who could escape the poverty into which he was born.

I am thrilled – overjoyed – ecstatic – at a loss for words – to tell you that today, nearly ten months later, I got the call that Isaac and his younger brother will be moving into a home in the Tree of Life Village. As it turns out, he was living in a home where his grandmother struggled to feed them at all…a home with no floor…and no roof.

But now………just imagine what awaits him!

Why do I tell you this? Because let’s imagine the exact opposite for just a minute. Let’s visualize Isaac’s life in ten years if I hadn’t filled out that paper. If I hadn’t met him. If I hadn’t gone to Africa at all. I can almost guarantee he would have numerous kids, would struggle to feed any of the mouths in his home, and would very likely be HIV positive….if he was alive at all.

And quite honestly, I don’t want to imagine my life without this blessing. Knowing I’m providing for Isaac (yes, we will now pay for him to live in his new home) is one of the best ways I can think of to spend our money and to further God’s Kingdom.

But if I hadn’t said yes to going on that mission trip…

Over the coming months, Image2Hope will be undergoing a lot of changes. God, Who gave me the name and idea for this company, continues to reveal His vision for the future of Image2Hope. I’m proud (thrilled – overjoyed – ecstatic – at a loss for words) to reveal that I will soon be submitting the paperwork to make this a non-profit organization – and photography will be just one of its facets!

The new mission of Image2Hope is to raise awareness about the importance of short-term missions and to provide financially for those who are planning mission trips.

I traveled. I met a little boy. I laughed and played and cried with him for a week. Mission trip ended.

But the results of my travel didn’t end there. God is using our family to change his life for years and years and generations to come. That’s an impact you could make somewhere in this world. And God can use that impact to change your life for years and years to come. What if you said yes to going?

To keep this post shorter, I did not fully explain the fantastic programs Family Legacy has to offer (camp, sponsorship, Tree of Life).   You will be truly BLESSED by watching this video (grab your tissues first!): http://vimeo.com/72690663

 

Century Celebration!

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Today is a celebration of life in our family.  Well, every day is a celebration of life.  But today we celebrate a century of living…my grandmother is 100!

My family got to spend a little time with her this past weekend, and she and I stayed up late watching Hallmark movies and talking about her life.  I asked her to share with me some of her memories and how things had changed over the years.  A few highlights from our     conversation that I couldn’t even relate to, but so enjoyed hearing about:

  • She had a covered wagon growing up!  Can you imagine?  The oldest method of transportation I remember is my dad’s ugly El Camino (ok, I never actually saw it      because my mom made him sell it before I was born, but I’ve seen pictures! Haha).   “I remember riding in the wagon to the other side of the river to see my grandparents       every Sunday.”
  • I learned that my great grandfather was a farmer (he died when she was 14, so I never knew much about him).  Granny said he could grow anything, and she remembers fields and fields of cotton.  He built a little house on their farm that made her backyard what is now Interstate 35.  “So I played on I35 when I was little…”       (and she giggled like a little girl as she said it).
  • One night, her family was out riding around in the car (they had traded in the wagon for a newly-invented automobile), and her dad pulled over because they noticed something strange through the window of a house – a television!  She said it was glowing so bright, and they were fascinated… “It was the first tv I’d ever seen!”

And my favorite, the story of how she met my PaPa…

“I worked at a movie theater for thirteen years as a cashier.  Your PaPa would come in often to watch a movie, but he never introduced himself to me.  I would walk home when I got off work, and one night he stopped and asked if I wanted a ride.  Didn’t think anything of it back then – it wasn’t a big deal to get in his car, so I said yes.” 

Oh, how times have changed.

Not many living species ever make to see 100 years….trees, some plants, a few animals…but none with the ability to think, reason, create, and love like mankind.  This       precious woman has done all of these things in different ways over the decades.  She has been a daughter, a sister, a mother, a grandmother, and a great grandmother.  She has been a friend and a neighbor, a wife and a widow. What a blessing to have shared life with so many people over so many years, even so many who have come and gone.

My Granny is still living in her house by herself, still driving (though not far and not to too many places), and she’s on the Internet and uses email!  My husband jokingly asked her what the secret was to living forever, and she responded with, “good moral living…and crossword puzzles.”  Something to strive for.  🙂

Happy birthday, Granny.  I’ve loved being a part of the last 39 years of your century.

Four generations of hands..IMG_2798

Beyer Family Shoot: Enjoy the Littles While They’re Little

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I’ve worked with the same company for over fifteen years and have been blessed to work with some really great people.  And they’ve been so supportive of my photography ministry!  Many (maybe most) of my photo shoot clients have been co-workers.  My most recent shoot was for a special co-worker…he was probably the first person I met when I started my job and was assigned to be my mentor to teach me and help me get a good start into my career (boy, did he have his work cut out for him!).

At the time, he had a toddler and a newborn…the very same two you’re seeing in these pictures!

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My, how time flies, as we all know.  I remember often walking into his office and asking how old his girls were – because the pictures in his office certainly weren’t evidence of their aging!  He always had pictures of these tiny little angels, and even though I knew one was in college now, I still had an image of his itty bitty fourth grader in my mind.  Imagine my surprise when I saw these beautiful young ladies walking toward my camera!

I think we all have that one friend whose life reminds us that it passes quickly (I’m really not trying to make an “old” joke here :).  I think Keith is that friend for me.  Over the years, I’ve loved listening to stories about his girls – dance recitals, church retreats, mission trips, and most recently, choosing a college, etc.  I’ve literally “watched” them grow up over the years.

So I think it’s safe to say that I was overjoyed and consider it a privilege that I was able to photograph the apples of his eye (including his sweet wife) – and give him some updated photos to add to his collection in his office. 😉

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I’ve read a lot of articles lately about “putting down the smart phones” – and this is the reason why.  Life passes too fast, and although it brings us great joy to see our kiddos grow up (I love having intelligent conversations with my teenager and pre-teen), I’d like to hit rewind every time I hear my littlest pronounce a new big word correctly (I remember my daughter saying “wafibawayta” instead of refrigerator – good luck sounding that one out!).  I remember wanting them to walk so badly and then wishing they’d go back to crawling once they were running around the house.

I get a chuckle out of those commercials that advertise learning cd’s to teach babies how to read while they’re still in diapers.  I saw one yesterday with the tiniest baby actor that promised to teach your child math at the age of three!  Why?  I’m pretty sure my kid will be reading and doing math faster than I know it – no need to rush him.

Why is it that we look forward to the future so much?  Why can’t we just be satisfied with today?  Maybe it’s just me, but I’m the worst about looking ahead and anticipating what’s coming next.  And while I’m excitedly looking forward to tomorrow, I’m missing His lesson for me today and probably something really great I could’ve done for His Kingdom…like noticing a co-worker who seemed extra stressed and might need encouragement, spending a few minutes reading a Bible passage with my kids before they went to bed (instead of, “Oh, we’ll start that next Monday when things settle down.”), or sitting with my husband and asking about his day – and really listening and showing concern.

All this to say, I’m seconding the nomination to lay the phones down and wrap your arms around your loved ones, whether it’s kids, your wife, or even your pets.

This is the day which the Lord hath made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.” – Psalm 118:24

And thank goodness for photos!  They give us proof of the old days, when they were in diapers and we caught them on camera making silly faces and eating bugs.  And someday – still quite a ways off – the Beyers will pull these images out of an album and show them to their grandchildren (sorry Keith, you know it will happen!).  🙂

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Resolving To Not Resolve

BeStill

My 2014 resolution is to keep up with this blog!

“Resolution”…a word that strikes inspiration and fear in a person at the same time.  I love a good challenge, but will I fail again as I always do?  The answer: yes.

Why?  Because I’m human.  Life gets busy.  And quite frankly, priorities and desires change.  What I want today may not be what I want nine months from now!

And also, because what I want may not be what God wants for me.  If we’re getting technical, it really isn’t Biblical (hey, it’s a good excuse for not making resolutions! :).  Proverbs 27:1 and James 4:14 are Old and New Testament examples that tell us why resolutions aren’t the smartest idea.  I dare not presume to be bigger than God (“But God, I know I will save $4500 this year and take my family on a trip through Arizona and California before the end of the summer…”) and argue with those verses!

Honestly, resolutions just make me busier anyway:

  • I’m going to finally do real spring cleaning this year and tackle every closet and shelf in the house.
  • I promise to paint that mural on the wall
  • I will attempt to make 25% of the pins I’ve pinned on Pinterest
  • I’m going to read ten books off the list I’ve been keeping for five years

Should I keep going?  Great intentions, and I’d still love to do some of those things, but #3 alone would keep me busy until September!

I think it’s because I’m such a goal-oriented person that I’ve always loved having resolutions – they’re inspiring and challenging.  But this year, I’m resolving to NOT resolve.  I will not set so many goals that keep me from my true loves: God and my precious family.

So I plan to live out those Proverbs and James verses, to not get so far ahead with promises and commitments.  As I write this, it is January 4th, and my current resolutions are to be thankful for this day and all that comes with it, to spend more time with God and my family while I am awake, and to open my eyes and ears to see what He plans to teach me today…that will prepare me for tomorrow, should it come.

I think this shall be my resolution every day this year.  And if that frees up time and brings inspiration to write and photograph, then so be it.  🙂

What are you resolving to do (or not do) in 2014?