I chose two words this year to define what I'm trying to achieve: principled and joy.
In search of JOY, I read Ann's book 1000 Gifts and started listing my daily gratitudes (again!). I sought Scripture on joy to meditate on. The children and I are intentionally spending time outside looking for glory in creation, glory that draws us in thankfulness to the Creator. When I recognize Him in all things, I have joy for all things.
The word "principled" stood out to me when I read Stephen Covey's book First Things First. There are principles in place in life that I just can't override (if I don't sleep I will not be able to think clearly, et. cetera); therefore, I can choose my actions based on principles and know what the outcome will be. If I am generous, I will be blessed. If I take care of my health now I will enjoy better health in the future. This basic thought grounded me and sobered me- I have limited time and energy and wishing that things would be different won't change them and doing something that feels good now "because I want to" will have consequences somewhere down the road. This thought has also brought me great freedom and satisfaction- because I have the power to choose! And it feels so good to choose right things. Somewhere along the road I became more indulgent and less disciplined. "Disciplined" sounds hard to me right now but "principled" inspires me. Once I read, "Do something necessary but unpleasant every day" (but I can't find who said it; sorry!). I'm embracing this.
The choices we make now largely determine the choices we will have later. This is often seen with our health. Covey says:
"Most of us realize that a good percentage of the health problems we have are lifestyle-related. Without an extreme "wake-up call," such as a heart attack, many of us live in a rescue fantasy. We live the way we want to live- little or no exercise, poor nutrition, burning the candle at both ends- and when we have a problem we expect the medical profession to pick up the pieces. While we may be able to diminish the pain with prescriptions and Band-Aids, if we're really going to make a difference, we need to go to the underlying root cause of the pain. We need to attend to prevention in a profound way." Stephen R. Covey on "The Urgency Addiction" in First Things First
I love this; it is what I aim to inspire other families to do: choose to attend to prevention. In that spirit, here is a great video of Bear Grylls. If you like this, check out his other clips (I especially like the one on children's health!)