January always bums me out a little. With Christmas over, the snow suddenly seems a little less magical, Christmas songs are getting a little annoying, and the cold is settling in for another four months. I’m ready for tulips and sunshine, but instead we are stuck with snow heavy clouds, icy streets, and bitter winds. It’s safe to say that I catch a bit of the winter blues in January!
I figure this is the perfect time to start looking ahead to all the good that 2014 has to offer. I’m not a big fan of New Year’s Resolutions, simply because I haven’t had much luck following through with them in the past. A few years ago I discovered something I like much better—it’s called “My One Word.”
The idea behind “My One Word” is to pick one word that centers on your character and creates a vision for your future. Instead of making a long list of resolutions that will most likely fall of the radar by February, you pick a word that helps you narrow down your focus and provide some clarity. You can learn more here: http://myoneword.org/
For 2014, I have chosen the word “Abide.” It comes from the passage of scripture found in John 15:4, which says, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.”
This passage was read at our wedding in June, and it’s how we prepared ourselves for marriage. We refer back to this passage often to remind ourselves that whatever plans we make for ourselves better include the Lord, with the goal of glorifying his name. Without Christ, all of our well-intended plans will be meaningless. So while this is a passage that will continue to guide and shape the rest of our life together, I have chosen it for 2014 to remind myself to make plans for the future that include the Lord. Here are some things I have planned for 2014:
1. Cherish life’s daily joys. Big and small.
Every day is worth celebrating, simply because God has granted us another day to live out his love. It can be difficult to appreciate his little blessings in the business of life, so we now have a visual reminder to help us slow down and take not of what God is doing for us. At the end of 2014 we’ll go back through the notes we threw into this little jar and remember all that God did for us—all the good, bad, and in between.
2. Learn. Reach out. Speak.
We have a lot to learn! 2013 was a year of learning, especially when it comes to our book business. We took some big risks, trusted that God would provide for us, and then took some big steps. We want to keep learning all we can about how to market my writing, all the while keeping in mind that things might continue to go slowly for a few more years. We are having fun, though, and are grateful that for now we are in control over my writing. I am not currently under a contract to write, which means we can take a break while we figure out how we want to move forward with my publishing adventure. You can read more about the fears and doubts I have struggled with recently on my author blog: http://sarawhitley.wordpress.com/
With this in mind, we are striving to reach out and speak in 2014. We are researching events to go to sell books, and I’m also working very hard to set up some speaking events. I am excited to speak to the Sioux Falls Kiwanis club in February, and I’m contacting quite a few teachers with the hopes that I can get into many classrooms in 2014. I’m hoping to get into more libraries, shops, and bookstores in the coming year. Keep checking out my Facebook fanpage for all of those details!
Running has always been a passion of mine, but I pushed it to the backburner when the opportunity to write presented itself. A pretty nasty IT Band injury didn’t help either, and the fact that I had to drop out of the cross country and track program at USF to begin working. I wasn’t running on a scholarship and things were getting a bit tight in the money department, so I made the choice to take a break with the hopes that after my injury healed I could just run on my own. Life got busy, however, and I simply didn’t make the time to schedule running back into my life. I want to change that in 2014! With these snazzy pink shoes and an injury prevention program in place, I am looking forward to getting back on the trail. If all goes according to plan, I’ll be heading up to the Twin Cities in October for my first marathon.
January is looking a little brighter as I look forward to all the things that 2014 has to offer! As always, I appreciate all the prayers and encouraging words from you, my family and friends. I find so much joy knowing that because I belong to the body of Christ, I am never alone—no matter how dark and cold this journey can get, I have a warm and loving support system to help me through.
Happy New Year!