I wrote here about my intentions for, and here about my results with, “my word” for 2015: Put yourself in the way of beauty.

As 2015 came to a close, I reflected on the fact that my word had truly stuck with me and changed the way I lived. And so I asked myself, what’s next?

The word leaped to mind like a leopard that had been lying in wait:create

I have some creative projects I’d like to kick into high gear, projects for which I set goals I later let slip away. Beyond work, I’d like to be more creative in regular life, in play, relationships, and frame of mind. When I shared the word with others they responded with an impressed, “Oooh…!” It’s the right word at the right time for the right person: me.

Our creative instinct gives testimony to our having been created in the image of a creative God who has given us the privilege and responsibility of co-creating this world we inhabit. We mirror God to others through our creative acts, and I’m convinced we also tickle God pink with joy as we indulge the gifts He has given us.

I’m excited about living into “create” this year as it has so much potential. It is SO much bigger than we typically define it. We can create…

…art, atmosphere, beauty, community, compassion, design, experience, family, friendship, growth, health, home, hope, innovation, joy, laughter, legacy, love, marriage, meals, memories, music, peace, poetry, rituals, service, space, stories, traditions…

Just some of the things I have created so far this year…

rest – I continue to indulge my bedtime ritual, hand and foot massage, tea and book;
space – Tween and I cleaned out his closet;
play – swinging from the big tree in our front yard resets perspective;
stories – I have collected and edited such great stories for church publications;
health – always a work in progress as I try to move more and eat well;
peace – I have reveled in my love of reading, on my own and with Tween;
prayer – our family has prayed for loved ones using Christmas cards as a prompt;
balance – I am prayerfully considering open doors, allowing myself permission to say no as necessary;
healthy and delicious meals to nourish my family (some of which I will share on this blog);
friendship – I invest time in walks and evenings out with special people;
memories – Guy and I stayed up until the wee hours working with Teen on a school project, and I let Tween have ice cream for breakfast while we read in bed on a Sunday morning.

Have you noticed that interesting ideas spark during ordinary activities? My brother-in-law and I discussed creativity while we washed the Christmas china. Also a creative-type, he asked about my writing and goals for this year, and when I mentioned I had chosen “create” as my word for 2016, that I would attempt to structure my daily life and goals around that word, we hatched an idea about which I am beyond excited.

Throughout this year my blog will feature writers, painters, photographers, musicians, parents, teachers, missionaries, activists, philosophers, church leaders and more, all sharing perspectives on and experiences of creating. Together we are going to blow the roof of this word, “create.” We are going to see that it is so everyday true-to-life and still so crazy-spectacular. I can’t wait to learn from each guest post, and I’m so grateful for those who will join me in this creative adventure.

I am thrilled to be able to create a platform and community for people from all arenas of my life, living out their calling in such marvelous ways, to share about creative expression. The Create Challenge guest posts begin next Wednesday, friends!

Ready, set, CREATE!

A Beauty-Filled Year

Never big on resolutions, last year I kicked that concept to the curb and instead chose a word. Truly, a phrase:

Put yourself in the way of beauty.

As I explained here, the phrase came from Cheryl Strayed’s book, Wild. She received the advice from her mother and lived into it as she trekked the Pacific Crest Trail on her way out of destructive behavior and into a healthier version of herself.

Often content to be a spectator of my own life, choosing this phrase as a guide required me to be intentional, to participate. I had to stop looking out the window and Be There. I made decisions to put aside my occasionally cranky and often complacent attitude and look for the most beautiful choice I could make right now.

Unlike most resolutions I’ve made and abandoned, this phrase changed my actions throughout the year. It stuck in the best way.

I took a lot more walks – by myself, with the dog, with friends, with my Guy.
I spent more time at the gym and found joy in movement.
I painted, not because I’m good at it but because playful meditation is good for me.
I bought myself flowers.
I looked up and down and all around to notice the beauty in my own surroundings.
I prayed.
I took uncomfortable risks.
I served.
I wrote, and in developing a regular writing routine stretched myself in new ways.
I set healthy boundaries.
I pushed myself into social situations in search of beautiful personal encounters – and I found them.
I engaged in familiar experiences as if for the last time, thereby changing the experience.
I gave myself permission to stop reading books that didn’t elicit a beautiful response in me.
I implemented a new bedtime routine that includes a cup of sleepy tea, a good book, and a hand and foot massage – it’s become one of my favorite times of day.
I danced (and I can’t dance worth a lick) and I laughed loudly.

I don’t look any different, but I feel healthier having made good choices for my physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional well-being. And like most things, I found what I was looking for.

"Survive Rough Times"

“Survive Rough Times”

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