It’s that time of year again. A time when I put pen to paper and make plans for the new year and meditate on my one-word. A word that I try to carry with me through the entire year.
In looking back and reflecting on 2017, especially during the time of my Mami’s diagnosis and soon passing, optimism was all I had. I clung to it, with fists clenched tight. Although the Lord had other plans, He kept reassuring me that with an optimistic heart, fueled by faith, one can find peace and weather a storm.
Through the pain and heartache of caring for my Mami through her passing, my eyes were opened to how temporal this life really is. When you face death so closely, so intimately, being present for the day is all that matters.
Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. – James 4:14
While caring for my Mami, every morning upon gathering as a family, we would praise God for giving us one more day to spend with her. It became our mantra, “we just have today.”
That’s when I knew that my one-word for the new year would be present. I want to be present, truly present to those around me and in the tasks given to me for the day. After all, today is what I have.
Just today, tomorrow is a gift.
To Be Present
I think of being present as being aware of your physical surroundings – being mentally present and intentional with the people you find yourself with or the tasks you are responsible to complete.
It sounds so simple, right?
I’ll be honest with you, for me, it’s difficult to be present. With homeschooling, running a part-time business, and being a homemaker all rolled into one, well, you can see my mind can easily whirl in a million different directions. It makes being present, being mindful, difficult.
While I’m being honest, social media and the enticing pictures, diy’s, and informative articles streaming down my timeline have kept me distracted on more than one occasion. I was recently listening to the Charlotte Mason Poetry podcast (one of my favorites!) when Brittany McGann shared some words from Charlotte Mason that convicted me.
It is a bad thing to think that time is our own to do what we like with. We are all employed; we all have duties, and a certain share of our time must be given to those duties. It is astonishing how much time there is in a day, and how many things we can get in if we have a mind. It is also astonishing how a day, a week, or a year may slip through our fingers, and nothing done. We say we have done no harm, that we have not meant to do wrong. We have simply let ourselves drift. (Book I, pg. 173)
I resonated with a lot of her words, especially that for someone like me, I need systems in place to keep me from being distracted and present to those around me and in my tasks for the day.
In Being Present
Below are some of the ways I plan to be present.
- No More Facebook For Funsies. I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. I love being involved in groups and managing the My Humble Kitchen Facebook Page. Educating and being active in community with people is my jam! Apart from that, it’s a distraction to me that takes my energy. It’s not life-giving so I know for me, it’s something I need to actively step away from. I’ll still be able to be in community with all of you through the pages and groups I manage and of course, there’s Instagram!
- Instagram. Instagram to me is life-giving. I love seeing pictures of friends and family I love most and seeing stories from those I follow and admire. To be present in my day, I’m only posting to Instagram within my working business hours and after all of my tasks are completed for the day. We’ll see how this goes!
- Reading to Know. I’m currently reading, Oswald Chambers: Abandoned to God: The Life Story of the Author of My Utmost for His Highest. I’ve really been impacted by reading about the life of Oswald Chambers. I’ve been taking my time with this book. I seriously googled if Oswald Chambers was educated in an Ambleside school! His love of reading literature, poetry, being an artist, and his general love of learning made me think he had to of known Charlotte Mason. LOL! I couldn’t find that answer but I realized in reading this book that I want to read with more intention this year.Instead of making a goal of how many books I want to read this year, I want to follow Charlotte Mason’s example and instead dedicate specific time to read. If it takes me longer to ponder a passage, so be it, as long as I’m reading, I don’t want to worry about how many books I get through in a year.I want to digest the books I read to know them.So, I plan on dedicating 10 minutes in the morning to a book on poetry, 15 minutes a day in the afternoon to one of Charlotte Mason’s Volumes (Volume 2 and 6), and 20-30 minutes to a book of my choice before bed. This should help me be present in my reading.
- Make my Bed Every Day. It’s amazing how present and alive one can feel when making a bed in the morning. For some reason, it makes me feel accomplished and ready to tackle my other tasks for the day. Simple, I can do it!
- Stay Dedicated to Planning My Days. I bought a planner, a super cute planner (use this link and get $10 off!). For me, it’s important, no pertinent, to write down the plans for my day. That includes jotting down school hours, work hours, appointments, to-do’s, chores, and more. It takes the whirling away from my mind as I put it down in writing. It allows me to be present for the task and people at hand without the worrying of, “what’s next.”
- No More, “What’s Next.” This one is so important for me. If it’s my school time, that’s my time with my kids at school. I force myself to not think about, “what’s next.”There is no next, there is only now. When we finish, then I can open my calendar to see what’s next. If everything on my list doesn’t get done in its time, then I move it to the next day. This has made a huge impact on being able to be present for my people. It allows me to be there with them mentally and not think about the next thing. It brings about joy!
So That’s my one-word for 2018: Present.