I’ve been feeling the itch for awhile. The itch to write again, to get back to this space. And January the first just seemed like an appropriate day to do it. After all, I began this blog on January the first two years ago.

Every year, I go back and forth… to make New Year’s resolutions or not? This year was going to be a NOT, but then I decided to blog, and somehow I found myself making them.

I therefore resolve —

To take my vitamins every day. To drink more water and less soda. To move a little each day, even if it’s just a walk in the sunshine or splashing in the pool with my kids.

To pick up my YouVersion daily Bible reading plan again. And stick with it this time.

To set an alarm clock for the same time each morning, at least a half hour before my children wake up. To go to bed on time each night (by 11:00) so I’m not tempted to just turn it off and go back to sleep.

To be intentional about time spent with my children. To participate in the things they are interested in. (This will probably mean I have to learn to play Skylanders.) To yell less. To listen more. To encourage and celebrate creativity even if it means I have to grit my teeth and put up with messes.

To start the practice of daily writing again. I may not will not blog every day, but I want to at least write every day. Maybe some of what I write will later turn into a blog post. Maybe not. Maybe it will end up on my other blog. Or maybe it will stay tucked away in my private, pen and paper journal. Whatever happens to the words, I want to write.

January first is a good day to begin again. But really, any day is a good day to begin again with God. I want to remember that the first day I fail to follow through with one of the above!


Taking the Stay Awake Challenge

When I first started this little experiment a month ago, I really wasn’t sure the direction it would take. I didn’t want to assign myself a topic to write about for the entire year because I thought that would be too restrictive. I didn’t want to follow a series of writing prompts for the same reason. I wanted the freedom to follow my heart in choosing what to write about each day, and while I enjoy that freedom for the most part, there are also days when I sit down to write and have no idea what I’m going to write about.

But a few weeks ago, I discovered the Stay Awake Challenge on Awesomely Awake, one of the blogs I read. You can go read all the details about the challenge here and join in if you would like. Basically, it is a once-a-week thing. (I can do a prompt once a week… that still leaves six days for free-writing.) Each week, a writing prompt is posted along with some photography tips and suggestions. (Cool! Combines two things I want to get better at this year!) But beyond that, I love the whole idea of the challenge, which is to be mindful, to be present, in short to stay awake!

I have been ruminating a lot on the concept of choosing a word or a theme for my life for the year. There is a website, My One Word, and even a book by the same name, which detail the process of choosing your word and then living it for the year. I am intrigued. Since I have foregone New Year’s resolutions for several years now, this seems a viable alternative that would still give my life focus and direction.

And I already know what I want my word to be for 2013: Be Present (Yes, I know, it’s really two words. Get over it.)

I spend a lot of time either feeling sad and regretful and guilty about the past or worried and fearful about the future. I feel like I’m missing a lot of my life right now because I’m not fully present in it. It’s like living underwater. I look at my kids and I think, I want to be here for them, I want to enjoy them right now, at whatever both-frustrating-and-delightful stage they happen to be in. I don’t want to look back when they’re 18 and realize, I missed it. I missed it all because I wasn’t fully present in the days as they were happening. I want to wake up and really experience my life, the joy and the pain together, because I think I’m starting to realize that you can’t anesthetize yourself against the one and still expect to feel the other.

So. Be Present. My word (okay, two) for 2013. And it fits pretty well with the Stay Awake Challenge, which is one reason I decided to give it a go. Since I’m a little late to the party, I’ll be using the next few days to catch up.

Goals vs. Resolutions

Well, I knew this day was coming. The day when I, for the first time, did not get in my daily writing practice. It happened yesterday. After going to church in the morning, we ate lunch and then spent the best afternoon just hanging out as a family. The little boys took naps… Rusty and I laid on our bed for a long time just talking and cuddling… then Rusty and Alex played Star Wars on the Xbox. For dinner, we built a fire in the fireplace and roasted hot dogs and marshmallows. And after putting the kids to bed, we decided a movie was in order. Josh and Julie started Rusty on a collection of all the James Bond movies for Christmas this year. So far, we have all the Sean Connery, Timothy Dalton, and Daniel Craig movies. So we started at the beginning with Dr. No.

And by the time it was over, it was late and I was tired and the last thing I wanted to do was sit down and write.

I knew the day was coming, but now that it has come and gone, the question is how I am going to respond. I am a perfectionist, which means that when I don’t do something perfectly, I have a tendency to beat myself up over it. Do I tell myself I’m a miserable failure and just give up on the whole project? Or, do I give myself permission to miss a day now and then and take the attitude that tomorrow is another day and I can start afresh?

I think, because I made it a goal to write a little bit every day this year, it is easier for me to take the second approach. This is the difference between goals and resolutions. I don’t make New Year’s resolutions anymore. You fail at a New Year’s resolution the first day you don’t keep it. And then you just want to give up entirely. And who needs more feelings of failure and guilt? I have enough of those just as a mom, thanks very much. But a goal gives you something to strive towards. So what if you mess up one day? The goal is still there. Pick yourself up and keep going.

This is what I’m telling myself. 26 days of daily writing… 1 missed day. Pretty good track record so far, nothing to be ashamed of. “Tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it,” as one of my favorite literary characters, Anne Shirley, once said.

New Year. New Blog.

The new year is a time for goal-setting and resolutions. The idea for this new blog has been percolating in my mind for some time now, and the New Year seemed like the perfect time to begin. It’s true I already blog at The Campbell Chronicles, so why the need for this second blog?

I have increasingly felt a little stifled when it comes to writing on our family blog. It certainly serves its purpose. It keeps us connected to family and friends all over the world, and now that we are on the mission field, it serves as a window into our world for our supporters and churches back in the U.S. On a personal level, it serves as a sort of online family scrapbook, a record of the places we’ve been and the things we’ve done. But, as I alluded to in this recent post, I often find myself engaged in an internal censoring process when I write because you just never know who will be reading!

It’s true that the same holds true for this space — I don’t really know who (if anyone) will be reading! But I don’t come here as a missionary to report on our work, or even a proud mama to post pictures of her kids. I just come here as a person with doubts and fears, longings and dreams, opinions and ideas. Don’t come expecting to find someone who has it all together — I most definitely don’t! This blog will give you a glimpse of life as I see and experience it… the good, the bad, the beautiful, and the ugly.

What I want most of all when I write here is to be real. To write unmasked. Vulnerably. This is something I feel like I haven’t been able to do for a long time now. But I’m ready to try. I want to try.

I really hope I’m up to this challenge!