Thursday, January 12, 2017

Happy 2017!... My Year Word and Bible Verse (and their inspiration)

Happy fresh, lovely new year, dears!
I hope that you have been well and blessed this year thus far.
A smile is definitely on my face  as I write here for the first time in 2017,
twelve days into this bright, new year.

.          .          .

Ahh, the exhilaration of a new year!
The few moments ringing in the new year were full of both
relaxation as we sat cozied up and drinking tea, watching old classics,
 and listening to the pops and crackles of celebration
outside all around us as it turned midnight.
And with each crackle, the sheer excitement for the blank slate ahead
 grew inside me!

What a miraculously refreshing feeling for the soul and heart to begin anew
in a "shiny, brand new year", with the hope and joy of new delights, things to learn,
adventures to be had, faith to be strengthened, and to experience the ever-
continuing love and mercies of our Lord as He grows us in new ways than before.
The feeling of that last aspect of a new year is most exciting to me...
to think of the new proportions and reaches of my relationship with my Father
in heaven as he speaks to my heart and mind and the ways He'll reach my
heart or speak to me through means of His word. 
I feel that each year I learn so much more about God and His glory and
 wonder how I never realized or knew those things before! 

Just before the new year, I had the privilege of visiting and walking the trails
of the gloriously beautiful state park a couple of towns away.  What a heavenly time 
spent among the winter landscape there, a palette before us of mostly gray, taupe, and 
faded out hues of a monochromatic forest scene... while in a few spots down
the trails and throughout the woods, there were pops of amber, bronze, 
and umber shooting forth in the form of autumn's remnants.

What a magical sight to behold the sigh of fall transitioning to winter.
This experience of a walk through natural beauty showing God's handiwork is always
one of my greatest delights...

...and reflecting on the time I spent out among those trees and the landscape
 is what inspired me to realize both my word and scripture for 2017.

As I walked among the trees and gazed up at a powdery winter
sky through a canopy of branches, and looked deep into the woods to see
those pops of firey, leafy wonder, I realized that it had been so long it seemed
since I had just been quieted by nature, IN a quiet moment with just
the serenity of nature and my thoughts... and I realized that that calm I felt
so relieved by in those moments as I walked was indeed a result of finally
being one thing.


After I got home from our state park trip, of the photographs I'd captured,
this photo just below is one that I stopped and looked at the longest.
I noticed just how absolutely, resplendently, irrevocably beautiful that little leaf was!
The detail on it is something I admired as I stared at it and even zoomed
 in more, and I thought about how this was one of my favorite-
 if not my favorite- photos I took out in those woods that day,
and that photo was of something so seemingly simple- even boring to some.
It was such a "small" part of the view, and I only came upon
it to admire its beauty as I walked that day for the reason that I was
not distracted.

I was undistracted because my mind was relaxed and free of the everyday
rush and because the leaf stood out to me, being the only bright spot in
a sea of gray tones of twigs and branches in a newly winter scene.
And I thought from there about how that is so much like life, and especially like
our walk with the Lord- I constantly feel so distracted, both by things I
maybe need to back away from because I willingly do them and they
take up too much of my attention and time and then things that I have 
to do that keep me busy and constantly focused on them.

Just like that exquisite piece of the view, so small and unassuming,
my walk with God and my relationship with Him is the ABSOLUTE most
important part of my life and the part that keeps me going...
yet sometimes I'm so distracted by the scenery all around me that is
easy to focus on, that I miss out on spending time with my Savior.

When I really think about it, God laid it on my heart that a lot of those
things that I think are so important or even things that take up
my time because they seem to be fulfilling or joy-bringing are largely
not fulfilling at all, but actually empty.  I want to be no part of this world
or the things it loves and I want to not be distracted by anything
this world has to offer...
because there is no way it could ever compare with God and Jesus.

In the past few years, although I make the effort to seek the Lord,
if I'm being totally honest with myself and with Him, I do let those little
distractions get in the way.  And as I ponder my thoughts above,
it becomes more evident to me than ever that I don't want to miss out on God
because of distraction- 
I don't want to miss out on the REAL view, the most beautiful one that
can be missed if we walk by it and are not careful.

And part of that best "view" of the important things are those that matter most-
being UNDISTRACTED means letting the trivial things go and
in turn growing ever closer in my relationship with my parents and loved ones,
and taking better care of myself, and most importantly serving others.

In looking it up for a Webster's definition, curious as to what the finite definition read,
it appears that "undistracted" may not technically be a used word, but it serves
best the purpose for meaning that is in my thoughts as this year begins.

And along with a word for this year, I also enjoyed choosing a bible verse!
My verse for this year is one that, you could say, found me when I came upon it,
and it transcended the things on my heart that I had been praying over 
for sometime:

Lead me by your truth
and teach me,
for you are the God 
of my salvation.
All day long I put
my hope in you.
-Psalm 25:5

It has been my fervent prayer that any of my confusions or worries
about certain aspects of my faith would be cleared away by true understanding
of God, and that I would see and know Him for who he TRULY is... to be led
by His TRUTH only, and nothing false- again, not being distracted
by falsities that cause me to miss out on God's truth. 
So this was glaring to me as I read the first few words of verse five.

The second part of it that resonated with my heart and mind
is that this beautiful verse convicts me to put my hope in the Lord ALWAYS.
This is something I struggle with- to shed my worry and give my problems,
quandaries, fears, and struggles all to God.  I often innately feel
like I have to handle everything on my shoulders, and I so quickly forget that
the Lord is where my hope can truly lie, where I can rest and 
where my burden is lightened.  I want to aim to live by this verse, to
show God I trust Him with my whole life and every facet of it,
that I put my hope in him all day, every day!

I have such fervor in my heart for seeking the Lord with all my being,
as well as enjoying the things that bring a smile to my heart this year.
I suppose my intent as I pray to be undistracted also lies in doing things
that really bring me fulfillment inside; Of course nothing is more fulfilling
than THE source of greatest fulfillment, but how loving He is
 to provide us here on Earth with things that delight and bring us enjoyment,
like working with our hands, taking on fun projects,and learning...
and I seek to find those things that are not empty, but bring real joy,
and to keep doing those things that already do.

I have thrill inside me for the these things I hope to do this year:

Wander, travel, and explore nature more
Hone and learn new skills: sewing & embroidery, especially
Improve and expand my nature photography
Start a real nature journal
Achieve a writing goal I've had for awhile
Complete a landscape painting
Take part in ministry opportunities

Does the moment a new year comes in bring elation and goal-making
and certain hopes to your heart,  mind, and soul, too?☺

I am so thankful for the joy of beginning a new year with a new word
and bible verse to pray over and aim with all I have to live by, and these that have
 been laid on my heart leave me confident and stronger in my relationship with God
and looking forward to how they will change and strengthen my faith.

Each January brings with it what feels like so many"new beginnings"-
 starting anew in a fresh calendar year, a fresh new year of life,
and of new hope and looking forward with joyous  anticipation at what may lie ahead.
I have to say that 2017 more than ever has this feeling that came in along
with it that there is so much to look forward to, and I know with my focus
on my Savior, it can be the best year yet.

It's a warm, splendid feeling to feel so grateful for the place where God has me
 and has brought me to at this time and year in my life.

Prayers and wishes that you may have a year ahead of great blessing!

HAPPY 2017, friends!

What motto, phrase, word, or verse are you focusing
on in this year? 

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