How is it possible that it will be mid-January next week? Wasn’t Christmas just a few days ago?
It’s been a while since I’ve posted to Always Orange. I started a post several times, but never made any progress. But here it is. 2018. And I’m determined to post with more regularity in the new year. I’m sure all the life-coach experts just rolled their eyes at my last sentence. Don’t make vague promises. Set realistic, attainable goals for yourself. Well, the truth is I know my writing record is a bit spotty and I’m afraid to commit to a plan. So for now, the promise of more posts is as specific as I’m getting.
Anna returned to England last weekend for the second half of her gap-year experience. Saying goodbye is so hard. Thankfully, Brad and I will see her in February, making this stretch a little easier. Fortunately, Jake didn’t leave at the same time. He had an extra week of break before he returns this weekend. I’m still wrapping my mind around the fact that this is the new normal in our household—the saying of hellos and goodbyes to our kids as they move into adulthood and independence.
Despite the sadness of an empty nest, I find myself hopeful at this time of year. What will the new year hold? The cold winter months make it easier to be reflective. Sitting by the fire, curled up on the couch, puts me in a thinking mood. Some years I’ve been more intentional about making New Year’s Resolutions. I write them down. I name them. One year, I picked a “word” for the year. At other times, I wait until the start of a new school year, using the rhythm of the school calendar to define my “new year.”
This year, I have some guiding thoughts or ideas rather than specific goals that I’m calling my New Year’s resolutions (see above about posting more). Last summer, I wrote a piece I called “A Writer’s Manifesto.” I talked about the kind of writer I want to be. Writing that post was hugely helpful. In fact, I would recommend this activity to anyone who wants a bit more clarity or definition to his or her life. Putting words on a page to voice dreams and goals forces you to think more deeply and carefully about them. When I am tempted to compare myself to other writers, which is often, I especially see the benefit of this practice. I’ve reread the piece several times to remind myself why I write and to move myself in the right direction.
Speaking of writing things down, I moved away from a pen and paper planner a number of years ago. Like many, I made the shift to keeping track of my calendar on my phone. A part of me, though, still loves a weekly calendar—something I can write in.
Last summer, I met Jenn Giles Kemper, the creator of Sacred Ordinary Days. She came to my book reading in Waco, TX, and immediately I knew I found a kindred spirit. Even if you do use your phone as your primary calendar, the planner is more than an appointment book to keep track of your commitments. Each week begins with a “Weekly Examen.” A number of prompts are provided to help you think about the past week and the week ahead. Space is provided to jot down any thoughts or prayers. In addition to providing a week-at-a-glance, the weekly planner also follows the lectionary for that particular year. Even though I didn’t carry the planner around, I kept it open on my desk so I could follow the week’s lectionary. Special pages are devoted to the church calendar, explaining the significance of each season. If you are looking for something a bit more from your calendar, check out this helpful resource.
I’ll leave you with a book recommendation for the new year because that’s something else I want to do more of this year, read. While poking around on modernmrsdarcy.com, I found the YA book The War That Saved my Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. All I can say is, WOW! I read the book in two days and my husband, sneaking the book whenever I wasn’t reading it, read it in one day. The book is set during WWII in England. Ada and her brother leave London to avoid the bombings and go to live with Susan Smith, a middle-aged single woman. Immediately, I was swept along by the riveting storytelling and the compelling characters. What’s even better, there is a sequel. Read this book for yourself and then pass it along to a young reader in your life. Everyone will enjoy it.
Thanks for reading. Looking forward to another year of percolating on the everyday.