My Three Words for 2016

My 3 Words for 2016

Image by geralt (2012) via Pixabay, CCO Public Domain

For the last couple of years, to go along with my goals, I have been using three words to stay focused and centered on what I want to accomplish. I got this idea from Chris Brogan and although it hasn’t been perfect, it has been revolutionary for me. In 2014, my words were “intentional, love and brave” and in 2015, my words were “relationships, prayer, and grace.”

This year, I want to be more action-oriented and as I prayed the following words came to me:

authentic, focused, mercy

On this blog, I have made it my mission to “encourage busy women in their walk with the Lord.” But when I look back at previous blog posts, I get the impression that it looks like I “have it all together” or that my life is perfect. It’s not. Life is messy – for me and probably for most people. In 2016, I am going to try to get out of my comfort zone and be more “real” and vulnerable and authentic. I am going to try and share my struggles and how I overcome them (when I can). It is scary but I am who I am and I feel like the Lord wants me to show that side of me.

One thing I noticed last year is that I had a tendency to be all over the place, be it online or off. This year, I am going to do my best to stay focused and work on one thing at a time. For example, one of my goals this year is to write at least one book or journal per month. However, when I sit down to the computer to write, I often get sidetracked because I start checking email or go on Facebook or do any other task first. This year, I am going to make an effort to do what I plan to do when I planned to do it. 🙂

My final word is mercy. This year, the Pope has declared an extraordinary jubilee year of mercy. It extends from December 8, 2015 through November 20, 2016. Devotion to the Divine Mercy is something I take to heart because it is very important to me. Therefore, this year I want to completely entrust myself to Jesus and be an instrument of His Mercy to others.

My hope is that these three words will enable me to be all that God wants me to be. For the last couple of weeks, I’ve had a feeling, an intuition if you will, that 2016 is going to be a great year. I don’t know what that means or what it will look like but I am truly looking forward to finding out!

Now, tell me, what is your word, or words, for 2016? Please share in the comments!

3 Take-Away Life Lessons from the Olympic Athletes

Olympic Life Lessons

(Since the winter Olympics have taken center stage, I have updated this post and republishing it. These are good lesson we could all use a refresher in, especially me. 🙂 )

The Sochi Olympics are here! Have you been watching? I’ve watched some: snow boarding, a little of the sking, and my favorite, figure skating.

I am always amazed at the level of talent and effort put in by the Olympic athletes, and all serious athletes, really. There’s a reason St. Paul often used the analogy of athletes for the spiritual life. They are a great example of what we need to succeed in the spiritual life and in life in general. Here’s three of them:

Lesson One: Consistency

Serious athletes, like those participating in the Olympics, practice rigorously, on an ongoing basis. They set up a schedule and follow through. If they are serious about getting a metal, they are going to practice almost everyday without fail – often several hours a day. They don’t flip-flop, procrastinate or take days off because they feel like it.

If we are going to be successful in our spiritual life, or business or whatever else, we must be consistent. And I suck at it…I’ll go a week where I’ll pray everyday and make it to daily mass and then I’ll have an “off” day where I’m “too busy” or for whatever reason I skip and then the next thing I know, I’ll realize that I haven’t said my rosary in 4 days. Being consistent is a definite battle for me.

How consistent are you?

Lesson Two: Perseverance

One of the things I love about watching the Olympics is the background stories of many of the athletes. So many of them have had difficulties and obstacles to overcome just to practice and succeed in their sports. Whether it’s financial difficulties, or injuries or opposition from family or friends, these athletes have gone against the odds and conquered.

If we are going to succeed, be it in our spiritual life or business, we, too, need to persevere. Times are hard. We are all struggling, some more than others, but we all have our crosses to bear. Starting or building a business isn’t always easy, but to succeed, you have to be persistent and work through the hard times. And don’t forget, God will give us the grace we need – if we ask!

How persistent are you?

Lesson Three: Focus

Most serious athletes focus all their attention and effort on one sport; and with good reason. By focusing on just one sport, the athlete can put all his or her time, resources, attention and physical abilities into being the best he or she can be. And it shows. When I am watching the Olympic athletes perform, it looks as if nothing exists except them and their sport. The athlete blocks out everything that can potentially get between them and achieving their goals.

For us to succeed in our spiritual life we need to focus – on GOD. Does that mean we sit and pray all day? Of course not. But like the athletes who think about their sport or talk about their sport even when they are doing other things, we can train ourselves to think about God and talk about God no matter what we are doing. We can train ourselves to be a living prayer, if we focus and practice.

For bloggers, or those building a business, a lot of times when reading or listening about business advice we are often told how important it is to have a niche. It took me a long time to understand why. Having a focus, or a niche, doesn’t hinder a person from being successful, but rather, helps a person succeed.

Are you focused?

Now it’s your turn. What life lessons have you garnered (or are garnering) from watching the Olympics? Do share in the comments.

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(Olympics Rings Image in Public Domain)

What Does it Mean to Trust God? (A Little Random Thought)

That’s a hard question and I don’t have an easy answer to it. It is something that I struggle with which is why I think the Lord lead me to make “trust” as my focus word for 2013.  I clearly need the practice!

The scripture that stands out most to  me in regards to trust is Proverbs 3: 5-6:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, on your own intelligence rely not; in all your ways be mindful of Him, and He will make straight your paths.”

(Saint Joseph Personal Size Edition of The New American Bible)

This quote convicts me and encourages me in my faith and trust in the Lord. I don’t know about you but I prefer to rely on myself a lot of time rather than on God, thank you very much! I want things to happen on my timetable and my way. I don’t want “wait” for an answer, either, I want what I want when I want it! This makes me sound like a two-year-old or something doesn’t it?

Right now we have a lot going on. We are looking for a place to live (after staying with my in-laws for a while), we need to get an extra car for me so I can get to school. I have to figure out who will watch Andrew every Tuesday for my early morning class that is starting in two weeks. Finances are tight. I’m homeschooling and have projects piling up. I’m feeling a little stressed to say the least.

For me, this is where trust comes in. I need to have the faith to trust that God will bring us to the right apartment that we can afford, that he will provide a car or transportation for me to get to my class and he will arrange for a sitter for Andrew. Yes, I have to do my part, and calmly look for that new apartment and car, but I have to quit stressing over it and trust in the Lord. That’s not easy.

Trust means that we rely on God and believe that He is invested in our lives. It means giving up our illusion of control and allow God to work in our lives – even in the details of our lives like finding a place to live. To me, trust means letting go of anxiety and knowing God is God.

Do you remember the 1980s sitcom, Charles in Charge starring Scott Baio? (You can see free episodes on Hulu.) Sometimes when my IRL friend Anne and I talk about stuff and remind each other to trust God we say, “God’s in charge, NOT Charles!”

That’s what I am going to try to remember for 2013 – to let God be in charge and not try not to interfere with God’s plan for me.

What about you? What does trusting God mean to you? I’d love to get a conversation about this going, so leave your thoughts and reflections on trust and what it means for you in the combox.