Christmas · one little word · Tennessee

2015: One Little Word

Happy New Year!

We have just spent the weekend recovering and catching up from the holidays. We spent two weeks in Tennessee with our families, and it was awesome! Sharing meals and games and gifts and time together is a great way to end the old year and ring in the new.

And, while we were there, Husband and I took an End-of-the-Year Getaway – something I hope becomes a yearly tradition. We booked a night at The Martha Washington Inn, just across the border in Abingdon, Virginia.

me at the martha

Abingdon in a charming little town that was fun to explore, even in freezing temperatures, and the inn, even lovelier. The history of The Martha is fascinating, and the halls of the inn are adorned with many relics from its earlier days – old photos, students’ letters, programs from performances at the college. In addition to wandering the halls, enjoying great meals, taking a dip in the saltwater pool, and relaxing at the spa, we also took some time to set goals for our year. There were a lot of little ones (drink more water!) and a few bigger ones, and I’m excited about all of them. (I’m an ENFP, so I found this to be pretty funny and also true.)

So as I started thinking about my One Little Word for this year (see past years here and here), I wanted it to reflect the goals we set and the plans we made.

For some reason, the first word that popped into my head was “refine”. Not at all what I was expecting – in fact, I even looked up past years to try to get other ideas. I thought I might just choose “practice, because it feels like an easy one. But then I looked up the definition of refine (italics mine):

re·fine /rəˈfīn/ verb

  1. remove impurities or unwanted elements from (a substance), typically as part of an industrial process.
  2. improve (something) by making small changes, in particular make (an idea, theory or method) more subtle and accurate.

In my journal, I wrote that I want to:

  • reset priorities
  • clear out the junk (not just physical stuff, but that’s part of it)
  • create processes that simplify
  • focus on our goals
  • redefine purposes
  • make choices that line up with these priorities and purposes

These feel a lot like refining to me – clearing out the unwanted elements and making small changes to make our lives a more accurate reflection of our goals. So there it is. Not the most glamorous word for the year, but it seems like a good fit.


What about you? Do you choose a word for your year or set other goals or resolutions? I would love to hear if you do and what your approach is. (I didn’t do it for years – one year, when asked at the checkout if I had any resolutions, I said, “Eat more chocolate!”) Whatever your plans for the new year, I hope 2015 is full of peace and joy for you. Looking forward to diving into the year!

five things · Kids · one little word · slow

Five Things

Happy Friday!

How’s your week been? It’s been a pretty good week here – much better than the last time Husband was out of town. We met up with friends at the park, visited artBEAST for the first time (SO FUN!), had swim lessons, picnicked in the backyard, visited a classic car show, and did lots of random creating and building. We’re trying to soak up the last few days of summer vacation. Here are a few things on my mind this week:


1. School. BB starts Kindergarten next week. I am so excited for him and this new adventure. He is excited, too, although I think he has some confusion about what it’s all about. Last week, he brought a book to me, and I told him I would read it when I finished the dishes.

BB: But, Mama, I have to know how to read before I can go to Kindergarten!

Me: No, buddy, you LEARN to read in Kindergarten or maybe even 1st grade. (No pressure!)

BB: That’s not true, Mama.

Me: Did someone tell you that?

BB: No, I just KNOW, Mama. You have to read before Kindergarten.

Um, well, I have taught Kindergarten AND 1st grade, so I might know a LITTLE bit more about it than you. (I didn’t say that last part.) (But I really wanted to.)

It has been fun to see him learning and growing. He can already read some words, and as a result of his journaling this summer, he’s getting pretty good at sounding out words and writing them down. I can’t wait to see what this year brings!


2. Fall. The weather this week has been milder, with nice breezes and cool nights that hint at fall. I’m sure we’ve got at least one more hot spell until fall is really here, but just that little something in the air has me excited for apple cider, changing leaves, and college football Saturdays. It can’t get here fast enough.


3. Work. I am so excited about “The Work We Do” series over at Hither and Thither (read the first post of the series here). I keep thinking about what one of the commenters on this post had to say:

“I can see myself loving architecture, being a painter, publishing, etc.- I think it’s a lot more productive…to espouse the attitude that there is no singular “right” path – there are many of them – and that while it may be tough to transition between them, it’s still very possible to make changes.”

What a gift to live in a time where we have so many choices. Not that having an array of choices necessarily makes us happier – some studies show the opposite is true (this book is on my To-Read list) – but even 100 years ago, we didn’t have so many options. I think about Southern Appalachia, where I’m from. Historically, I don’t think the majority of people there worried about finding their “dream job” – they just did something and worked hard at it to provide for their families. And I think there is still something very noble in that – in finding fulfillment in whatever place you are, knowing you are serving people, helping your community, supporting your family. But it is also refreshing to have that freedom – to be able to seek out work that moves you, empowers you, makes you come alive – and then, if the work doesn’t do that anymore, having the freedom to change it.

img001-0024. Beautiful Objects. I’m getting ready to launch my Etsy shop! I’m busy finishing up little details here and there and trying to keep it simple, remembering my One Little Word: SLOW. I’ll have more details next week and a few little giveaways, too!

5. Sleep! I’m typing this on Thursday, and Husband will be returning home late tonight after another work trip. I know I’ll wake up when I hear his keys at the door, so I’m going to bed early. This week, I’ve been trying to turn off technology sooner, read a couple of chapters in my book, and keep the room cold (I sleep better that way, but I found this article about sleeping cold interesting). I feel like these small shifts have really improved my quality of sleep.

Do you have fun plans for the weekend? We’ve got the normal weekend catch-up, a birthday party, and a preschool board work party, but I’m hoping to squeeze in a date night, too. Hope you have a wonderful weekend – thanks for reading!

good life · one little word · slow

One Little Word

We’re two weeks into January. Last year at this time, I was two weeks into another 31 Days adventure related to my Word for 2013 – PURPOSEFUL.

This year, I’m starting slow. Our holiday guests just recently flew the coop, preschool has started back, and while I’m knee-deep in other responsibilities, I’m not trying to push myself in ALL areas of life just yet.

So I’ve been mulling over my choice for my word for 2014. Throughout December (and really, most of 2013), I was sure it would be “practice“. I loved the way it made me think last year when I decided to “practice” things. But I feel like I dropped “purpose” and adopted “practice” starting in February. And while I know there is more to be found in that word, “practice” just doesn’t seem to fit this year.

So I started looking for a new word.

I thought I had it. I even started a blog post all about it. But then, as seems to happen more and more, I thought I had picked something entirely different. I pondered my “faux” word for a whole day, and it felt right. I sat down to create a graphic for it, but when I went to upload it to the blog post, I realized it wasn’t the word I written about or planned to use at all. Oops.

But it still felt right.

So after a couple of false starts, I’ve found my word for 2014 – SLOW.

Last summer, as we moved into our new house the day before Husband started his intensive studying for The Big Test, as boxes sat unopened for weeks, as I became overwhelmed by all the projects I wanted to accomplish, Husband said:

marathon sprint

I have thought of this phrase almost daily – when I want parenting to be easy and for behavior to be changed right this very second, when I want to know all the answers, when I want to see results in every area of all the things in the history of everything.

This year, I want to take things slowly. I want to take in the moments, to enjoy what’s happening right this very second.

I don’t want to miss being home with BB and BG, of enjoying them when they are still so little.

I don’t want to be rushing everywhere all the time.

I don’t want to keep forgetting things because I’m so busy.

I don’t want the focus of my days to be checking things off my lists.

And I don’t want to force things.

I want to let things happen in their own time.

I want to choose to stay home instead of running one more errand.

I want to actually read instead of saying I don’t have time to read.

I want to prepare meals slowly.

I want to take time to gather people around our table.

I don’t want to live faster and pretend that it’s better. I want to live more slowly and notice what is truly good.

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What about you? Do you make resolutions? Have you jumped on the One Little Word bandwagon? What are your goals or ideas for 2014? I’d love to hear.