You may remember my plans for 2016: Be more awake. And guess what? I've decided that I'm not going to limit such a heart-centric projects to 365 days. Sometimes, a word-of-the-year deserves to be a word-of-the-two-years. My heart could use another year to dwell and find freedom in truly being awake. So awake is my word for 2017, too.

That is, 2017 is to be devoted to the practice of choosing to be awake to and aware of the Lord's work in my life, not slogging through each day as though it were all some gradient of grey. 

The end of 2016 brought with it a general drowsiness for me. I wrote in my journal, "I feel sleepy—fatigued from overdoing it with desserts and desires for possessions and to-do lists that hog my attention. This is not a recipe for rest or joy. It [...] leaves me feeling blurry-eyed and in a stupor. So I'm coming to You now—to wake up—to feel alive—and to look for joy in the only place I will find it, Jesus."

Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. Look carefully how you walk, not as unwise, but wise.

Ephesians 5.13-15

For an actual application of this, I need to identify the things that stand between me and being truly "awake" and address those first:

  • Senseless scrolling: limiting IG and facebook time. I'm not sure of the specifics of this, but I want to shy away from legalism, as that's not my intent. What I can say is there is no freedom or joy in mindless scrolling (scrolling doesn't produce joy in my heart, and it distracts me from being a source of joy to those around me)
  • Senseless clutter: leads to distraction for me and the inability to finish tasks or truly focus on the important ones. I don't plan on any spending "fasts" this year, but I want to be thoughtful about what I allow into our home. Also, I want to maintain my digital space too, by keeping my phone less cluttered. If I've already uploaded more than 1,000 pictures to my computer, I really don't need to store them on my phone. 
  • Senseless noise: I'm in the habit of automatically turning on music in the car. This isn't altogether bad, but driving could be an outlet of solace and prayer and reflection in an otherwise busy day. If I choose to make it that. Also? Less Netflix. If I want to watch a TV show, I should actually watch it, not put it on to dull my senses or to qwell the discomfort I have with silence.
  • Senseless inactivity: Purposeful resting is essential, absolutely. But the less I move around (especially for days on end) the more my mind feels foggy. It all comes back to the wonderful effects of just getting outside

Spiritual drowsiness leads to not noticing His work in my life leads to impatience because "I can't see God moving, so He must not be."

Instead, I need to replace the senseless pieces with sensible ones:

  • Mindful scrolling: for edifying purposes and in (very) small doses
  • On that same note^^, Instead of skimming photo captions, reading and journaling my way through more scripture on a daily basis, whenever possible.
  • Tidiness: make only thoughtful purchases (and make less of them). We have so much nice stuff. And the closet is bursting again (time for another round of paring down, I think). Invest in a good scrubbing brush for the shower 
  • Embracing silence (and the listening and reflection that accompanies it)--seeing pockets of time as opportunities for intimacy with our living God
  • Happy activity: more walks with Nicholas, because those are my absolute favorite (good for the body, heart, and soul)

I talked with a friend on the phone yesterday and at the end we offered up prayer requests for each other. Our lives look a bit different right now, but in some ways, all of us are in anticipation or in the waiting room of life for something. So her words seemed perfect. I'm praying for graciousness in waiting and confidence in God's perfect timing.

Being more awake leads to seeing each season for the growth and hope it offers leads to more confidence in God leads to more gracious waiting 

I love that. I want to be a gracious person who is AWAKE to His grace so I can better extend it to those around me and be patient as I expect to see God move in 2017.

On that note, so far 2017 has looked like:

  • vest-wearing, specifically this one, (well, actually two of them, long story) as super generous Christmas presents and I LOVE these vests) P.S.this is the perfect layer-under-everything vest, since it's not too puffy. I can even wear it as a extra layer under a dressy coat). And I've been borrowing Nicholas' hats and jacket, just because.
  • coffee drinking
  • smoothie-making. I'm not a smoothie person, generally, but since I started out the year with some kind of "bug," I needed all the healthy foods I could get, and now I'm on a smoothie kick. Let's see how long it lasts ;) I posted my favorite "recipe" on this IG post + I've been adding spinach too
  • crockpot meals: chicken tacos (he makes them while I'm at work), and this chili (I make it chickpeas and lentils rather than the beans, because we're not huge "bean" people around here)
  • wearing a knit sweater while knitting a cabled cowl
  • book reading
  • Saturday lunch dates with Nicholas
  • loving my (blonder) hair
  • admiring pre-supper sunsets
  • layering extra quilts on our bed
  • filling out our pretty kitchen calendar with my work schedule/birthdays, etc.
  • foot baths with some new aromatherapy Christmas gifts
  • receiving packages and finding homemade fudge and thoughtful/useful/innovative gifts from my brother
  • using homemade, cold-process soaps we made at the farm (they're lovely! Currently using one that has clove and cinnamon essential oils and dried grapefruit peels....yum!)
  • Isaiah reading + discussing
  • bundling up for weather in the the thirties: freezing, by Austin's standards
  • sticking to meal plans and on that note, apart from our intentional lunch date today, we haven't gone out to eat yet this year
  • Moleskin devotion (okay, that might be a bit of an early and dramatic proclamation). But my to-do lists and meal planning and general organization took a pleasant turn several weeks ago when I started using a simple Moleskin journal for all of it. It checks all the boxes: pocket-sized, bring anywhere, write with a pen on real paper, perfect-for-Andrea. 
  • Eating good-ole rice krispie bars
  • And as soon as I hit "publish," Nicholas and I are going to have some fika together

As Nicholas prayed over our supper last night, "Let us bring You glory with this year." Amen.