Oh yes, I am reflecting. Last year was a big year. Too big, in hindsight, perhaps. The ups and downs were huge and exhausting. The obstacles seemed constant. The milestones were boulder-sized. Even the victories were pretty draining. {Pictured: Us on the last night of Branson GMC 2010…oh, what a week! }

I need a  s l o w d o w n.

It seems odd to say that I want this year to be smaller, but I mean that in every way. I don’t want a bunch of big changes. I don’t want to try a bunch of new things. Instead, I want to weed, and I want to take stuff that is working for us and hone in on it. I want fewer adventures (did I just say that)?

Don’t get me wrong. If someone were to call tomorrow and say, “Hey! We want to send you on a blogging missions trip to [insert foreign country here]!” or “Your family just won a trip to EuroDisney” or something equally enthralling that I wouldn’t be jumping up and down. And I certainly still hope our house sells. And I wouldn’t mind trying, for real really trying, to finally get The Book written, but mostly, this year, here is what I am working for:

a healthier me.
That is a must. It involves sacrifices and focus changes, but the bottom line is that serious weight needs to be dropped. Period. Enough said.

a stealthier me
Last year my “2010 prayer” was for wisdom and peace. Well, they both came to me.. but they were hard fought for. Peace came not through inexplicable  truces or changes of others’ hearts, but most often through letting go of people and relationships and even desires that caused stress and tension in our lives. For me, that is still the hardest thing to do, next to… restraining myself. And, through another marvel of how God works, I learned this year that wisdom is nearly synonymous with restraint. (If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all). We don’t always have to stick up for ourselves. We don’t always have to explain ourselves. Sometimes, the best wisdom of all is to be quiet. And by God’s grace, the encouragement (and sometimes duct tape) of my husband and a trusted circle, and yes, through my own growth, I learned to shut my mouth this past year.

Now, in the next year, it is my thoughts I hope to quiet. Because not saying/texting/tweeting anything out loud at times didn’t stop me from inner anguish or sleepless nights, and I don’t believe that is the plan for me. SO… I am stepping back a lot from “social networking,” – not entirely – but by intentionally removing FB & Twitter shortcuts and bookmarks from my phone and computer, by immersing myself in WordFeud (yep – it’s like substituting mints for cigarettes or something. I need a vice, and at least this one stretching my brain instead of cluttering it), by reading more books (my first love anyway!), I am removing the need for constant communication, mainly because it invites worry and drama. Worry is already in my genes; I don’t need an IV hook-up of more. And drama is something I have come to deplore, and many times FB just seems to be a hotbed for it. I’m going to use the phone over email and texting when I can. I am going to continue sending cards and letters regularly (one of last year’s resolutions that worked nicely). And when I have “something” to share, be it a random life-as-a-mom anecdote or something a bit deeper, it will go here, to  my blog, because I want to share it. I will not sit in hopes that some blogging conglomerate or Important Social Media Person will take notice. God gave me words. I pay them forward. No need to change that.

a wealthier me
OK…cute rhyme, but a bit of a misnomer. No, I am not playing the lotto in hopes of big riches. We’re continuing to shape what our careers look like. We are cutting our consumption of things to allow us to “consume” more experiences. And most importantly to me, I want to increase my wealth of knowledge this year by regular studying. I MISS SCHOOL, so much, but now is not the time for me to return to a traditional classroom as a student or a teacher…so through teaching my girls, I am going to become a regular learner myself. I am currently force feeding my way through American history and working on my vocabulary. Maybe something fancier like a foreign language will follow. Additionally, I will read the Bible in a more “study-like” way…not trying to plow through pages but to get deeper meanings. This year some wonderful teachings at my local church and great discussions with friends have shed new light on scriptures I’ve known forever. I want more of that!

Additionally, I am embracing the belief that less is more. This is an outgrowth of my “SIMPLIFY!” goal from last year. I chased a lot of rainbows this year, be it endeavors or people. I am done with that. There is a precious group of people which fills my days and thoughts and message boxes and I need to spend my emotions on them. There are some things I have been doing for years (namely: writing and giving my time) that God has blessed. I will keep doing that, in the circle where I live. If God calls me to something wider, I think the call will be clear. Until then, I’m sticking with what I know. I know there are people around me who need a little boost, a call, a hug, a meal, a card. I know there is a little boy in Colombia and a little girl in Peru who wait for our letters and are enriched for eternity by the little we send. I know there are people blessed by my husband’s singing, and so I will continue to serve him in his ministry. {Pictured:  A letter being sent to our Compassion child, who does not care what chart, stage or association we are on! }

And, though sometimes it bewilders me, I know there is a week in Branson that we will work all year to make happen. And I no longer care about who doesn’t accept it, who thinks it’s a competition, who thinks it’s not good enough. God gave that dream to my husband, who passed it on to me. We’re doing it until HE says stop. And we’re not doing it for acceptance or esteem in a genre, we’re not doing it to make a living, we’re not doing it to elevate anyone but the Lord. I have struggled and struggled and wrestled with the future of Branson GMR…only because I have struggled so much about what people think and say it should or shouldn’t be. And the bottom line there is…we want to celebrate, make music, and worship together in a great town with wonderful people. Rod and I will work to make it excellent, enjoyable, entertaining, and above all, anointed. That’s all I have to say about that.

The end of 2010 is welcome for me. I think I have wrung everything out of this year that I can. We closed the books on having babies in the house ( no more cribs or diapers or boosters, though I still add a “for now” on the end of that statement). In a lot of ways, we no longer have “teenagers,” since Josh moved out and Paige functions so much like an adult (PS lurkers: We are still their parents…it’s just different). We closed the books on some things we thought would be, and we are looking forward to mining and reaping and enjoying what actually is. I pray the same for you this year…along with good health, peace,togetherness, and a daily dose of God’s amazing grace.