Monday, December 30, 2013

One Word ~ 2013 (A Look Back)

My One Word for 2013 was Less. You can read all about my reasons behind choosing that word by going to that post.

How did I do? I would say I did well, but still left room for improvement. I started strong and ended strong. That is what is most important.

Financially/Materially Less. We continued to live in our little, old house this year without any major improvements. In fact, our HVAC went out this year. As there was no money to replace it, save another payment plan, we found ways to do without. We purchased a couple of window air conditioners to get us through the summer. We had a few hot days, but we survived. For winter we purchased several different heaters, an infrared quartz and some electric heaters with thermostats. We have had some negative temperatures, but have stayed cozy warm in the main part of our house by shutting the bedroom doors and blocking off the entryway to the kitchen. We only heat the bedrooms at night, and the kids sleeping in the basement have warm electric blankets. It is not ideal, but it is good enough.

In fact, I have learned that central air conditioning and heat are a total luxury, not a need. I am not even stressed about getting a new system. We certainly won't be replacing it unless we can do it with cash.

We have made do with a stove with only three burners and a refrigerator without an ice maker and water in the door (gads!). Again, those are luxuries that we can, obviously, do without.

All of our extra money, which is minimal at best, goes to paying for things we can do as a family. We have grown so much closer this year … probably because of the things we do not have. We have all learned some valuable lessons in want vs. need, and I wouldn't trade those lessons for anything!

Contentment is a wonderful thing!

Less Stress. We still have stress. Some of it is beyond our control. Most of it is because of the poor choices in our past. We are still suffering the consequences of some bad decisions. The majority of the stressors are financial. But it does help to just keep the attitude that "It's Just Money." Money comes and goes (and goes fast). But does it really matter? No, we are not getting things paid off as quickly as we would like, and we are not saving as much as we would like, and we are not getting ourselves secure for our future. But, we have all we need. And we are slowly chipping away at the financial stresses. And our stress level is equal to the amount of power we give it over our lives.

Again, contentment is a wonderful thing!

Less Worry. I worry about very little these days. Maybe it's age. Maybe it's lack of really caring. But I just don't worry about things. I have had little instances of God showing Himself in my life this year, showing me His ultimate protection and provision. He has shown up at just the right time with just what I need multiple times. With God, I can do all things.

Less Greed. I can honestly not think of one thing I want, unless it's just some new comfy clothes. But, I do not need them. I do not sit and think of the things I want, want, want. I really do not even sit and think about the things I really need. I am content with what I have and know that God will provide me with exactly what I need.

Less Pride. This is a big one! My life in Oklahoma was one full of Pride! What I wore, ate, how I kept my house and decorated it, what activities I did, how my kids dressed, how I parented … it all was dependent on what someone else thought I should be doing. I have NONE of that anymore! I have an old house with lots of problems that is full of warmth and love. I have a car with even more issues, but could care less because it gets me where I want/need to go. In this town where we live, one filled with people living primarily on government assistance, going to the store in anything other than my pj's is a step up. There is not one person in this town that I think about comparing myself to, and I hope no one feels the need to compare him or herself to me. I am free to be exactly me, the me that God created and wants me to be. And I do not judge others here either. We live across the street from a drug dealer, our neighbors are homosexuals raising two precious little girls, and crazy things go on in all the other houses around us. But I let them live their lives and they let me live mine without judgment or condemnation. We wave and are friendly. I will let God handle my neighbors if they let God handle me.

Joy, Contentment and Love. These things are definitely the cornerstone of my life. I feel them in my bones. I know that they are from God, for being obedient to Him.

I have found myself taking on a few more activities here toward the end of the year than I would have liked, and it has caused me some additional stress. So, as a family, and especially as an individual, we are fading back again. This requires me to say "No". But, that is okay, because I am saying "Yes" to Joy, Contentment and Love. And these are what really matters.

So, in 2013 I believe I did a good job living up to my One Word of Less. What is my One Word for 2014? Check back tomorrow to find out!

1 comment:

  1. Nicole,
    I really enjoyed reading this post. It's a thrill to see how much good has happened in your life for 2013. I've also been working on contentment for 2013. When one starts to focus more on time spent instead money spent we are rich.

    Happy New Year to you and your family.


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