Sunday, January 2, 2011

A New Year

At this time of year, the question seems to be on everybody's lips:
 "Did you make any resolutions for 2011?"

It makes me stop and seriously contemplate what I really want to focus on this year. Sure, it would be nice to get more organized. I would like to read more, to start writing my own book. Planting a huge vegetable garden would be a great thing to do. There are some home improvement projects that I would like to tackle. Maybe also increasing the level of my daily work out?

Those things look great on paper, and sound even better actually saying them in response to the resolution question. There is nothing wrong with having any or all of them as  goals for this year.

But, let's say that I didn't attain even one of them.

Life would still go on, with all the ups and downs, ebbs and flows. I would not be any less valuable as a person if I was not able to cross off every "to-do" item, if there were still things that I was not able to achieve and master by the year's end.
That is because personal worth is not determined by what you do, but rather by who you are inside and how you live your life. 
This train of thought made me think of my own children and my hopes for them. I could care less if they grow up to earn a master's degree, if they gain fame and fortune, if they have a prestigous place in society. Those things certainly will not make me love them more or think more highly of them. I care most about who my children are inside, more specifically the shape of their heart,what their values are, how they treat those around them, rather than how much higher learning they have or what their income level is. If they reach adult hood and are decent human beings, I will feel like I have done my job well as their mother. I want them to have a genuine appreciation for the gift of life and to live with integrity and a deep sense of thankfulness for all their blessings. I want them to put more importance on people rather than possesions or position.

Of course, I must first lead by example and demonstrate those principles through these formative years when they are young. In 2009 I watched my Dad fight cancer and eventually pass away when he was only 47 years old, and now this year I know of a 5 year old who is fighting that same battle. These are things you don't expect to happen, and when they do, it is a jolt back to the reality that life is is such a gift.  I don't want to waste time worrying about the future or be continually focused on what I need to accomplish next. I want to live in the present, this moment here and now.
 I never want to look back and regret that I myself took too many things for granted.
So, I ripped up my first list and made a second one which include things like: making sure that my children feel loved every day (and making sure they know that it is unconditional love!), working on having a thankful attitude,slowing down my pace a little so that I can treasure more of the simple joys of life, carving out more time for my husband and I, and not being afraid to say "no" when I need to.
I am looking forward to 2011, a fresh start on my way to living a life full of joy and gratitude.

This morning my son came down for breakfast, gave me an unprompted hug and said,
"I'm glad you're here today, Mom."
I am, too.

Image courtesty of

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