Word of the Year

As you probably noticed (or maybe didn’t notice), I didn’t quite make it through my 30 Days of Thanksgiving. I felt like I was doing so well, and then life happened. There was a big, huge misunderstanding between a new family I am teaching and myself. It’s always tough to teach “transfer” students – students who have transferred from another teacher – because teachers do things differently. It just takes time to get to know students and the ways they and their parents are used to doing things. Anyway, the issue was resolved, and I learned valuable lessons about communication! 
I sent out a little note in our Christmas cards to let family and friends know what we had been up to the past year. The note included the blog address and encouraged everyone to check it out for updates on our family. Realizing I hadn’t posted anything since November, I decided I better get busy. I don’t really make resolutions, so I’m not making a resolution to blog more, but I do feel a bit of responsibility to keep to my promise and share our stories with those who are curious! 
A lot has happened since November, which is typical. December is always a busy time of the year for us. But, for now, I’m going to skip past Thanksgiving and Christmas and even New Years to the present. I may catch back up later, but I may not….we’ll just see! 
I noticed several people choosing a word or theme for the new year rather than making resolutions. I liked that idea a lot. Those of you who know me know that I’m a bit of a perfectionist. So, I debated for days about what I wanted my word to be and worried and worried that I would choose the wrong word for my year or that my word wouldn’t be good enough. I had actually kind of given up on my idea of having a word for my year. However, a few days ago, I realized my word of the year couldn’t be clearer. 
The past year, I have felt that something is missing in my life. Sure, I have joy from the normal things that would cause joy…my wonderful husband, my fun and unpredictable little guy, my amazing family and all the fabulous events we have had…but I have been missing the abundant joy I should be experiencing. I think I have been holding a lot of bitterness in my heart over things that I just need to let go of. I came to the realization that I can’t have bitterness and joy at the same time. So, if I want my abundant joy back, I need to let go of all my bitter thoughts and feelings that have developed and stuck around for the past year. I’m sure it will be a process. It will take some work and continuous prayer to rid myself of these negative feelings and to achieve joy. 
This has all been very much a “God-thing.” I started reading Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts a week ago, not knowing exactly what to expect.  I’m only about a fourth of the way through the book, but, put very simply, it is her account of her discovery that thanksgiving leads to joy. She was challenged to record one thousand gifts….the little things in day to day life that she was thankful for. There was my answer, as clear as can be and right in front of me. To rid myself of my bitter feelings and regain my abundant joy, I need to find the gifts in my daily life. I decided to take Ann’s Joy Dare and count 1,000 gifts in 2012. I am still undecided about whether to share my list or keep it to myself. I may do a little of both! Stay tuned to see how it goes! 🙂 
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