• My One Word: 2014 {Gypsy Magpie}

    My One Word: 2014

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    When I was growing up a family friend named MaryAnn, would pick one skill or aspect of her life that she wanted to work on and then she would devote that year to becoming better at it. One year she took up painting, another year she learned about herbs and essential oils, another was food storage, and yet another year I think I remember her even writing a book. I really looked up to this incredibly talented woman and remember how much I wanted to be like her. I loved the thought of focusing on one aspect of my life each year, but as a typical teenager, I’d forget and growing up got in the way.

    A couple years ago, I found THIS post by MIQUE of Thirty Handmade Days and once again fell in love with the idea of choosing one talent or in this case, “One Word”, to focus on. {MaryAnn would have been a kick butt blogger if there had been blogs back in the day!} That FIRST YEAR I went crazy overboard making goals to go along with my word, Order. I worked so hard the first few months to reach those goals and hopefully accomplish organization in my new home, but quickly I started to burn out. I felt down and frustrated with myself for not keeping my goals but then realized I’d set the bar too high. With a traveling husband and little kids, I wasn’t going to have my proverbial house in order that way. But, in the end, I felt good about the things I actually did accomplish. I didn’t get through all the moving boxes that year, but at least by December I knew where my keys were…most of the time.

    In 2013, I chose the word LISTEN after being involved in a snowmobiling accident on New Year’s. With my collarbone snapped in several places and my shoulder one big tangled mess, I felt completely inadequate for the tasks set in front of me that year. Having only one usable arm for months taught me a lot about my need to slow down and be kinder to myself. I could only do what I could do, no more. That was a hard lesson for a girl like me. After allowing myself to be miserable for a while, I decided to take what felt was a massive mess and learn from it. As I learned to listen, answers came faster than I could have ever imagined. Problems I’d worked on, stressed about, and prayed over for months seemed to solve themselves. I won’t lie, listening wasn’t always easy. Some things are very hard to hear and cut right to the core. And, sometimes the things we are told to do take some serious humbling to do them. I had some major triumphs and some major struggles with my word but, I can honestly say that I don’t think I have grown so much in one year of my life as I have grown the past 12 months. It has been the most tremendous blessing, and from something so small as closing my mouth.

    Over the past 2 years I’ve learned something about goals and New Year’s Resolutions, keep them simple. Remember, the goal is to be better, not perfect. Perfection will never come in this life. But, through small and simple things we can become better with every passing day.

    This year my One Word is…

    Exhale: My One Word for 2014 {Gypsy Magpie}

    Exhale: To breathe out in a deliberate manner.


    Several weeks ago I had an experience that left me with a huge heartache and I’ve really struggled with what happened and the bitterness I have felt. It’s hard to be Christ-like, but it’s even harder to be Christ-like when pain is involved. I’ve been working hard on forgiveness. Not for the other person’s sake, but for mine. I’m not one who functions well with anger inside. I get sick to my stomach and fall apart. It’s just not me. I’m not good at handling the hard stuff, you know, the disappointment, fear, anxiety, hurt, anger, defeat, belittlement, resentment, betrayal stuff. Sadly, I’m a bottler. I stuff everything down deep inside somewhere, put the lid on it tight, and then hope with everything I have that it goes away. Most of the time the bottle finally blows it’s top like Mentos in Diet Coke and I end up either coming out swinging or becoming a complete emotional basket case.

    Let me give you a little analogy. Think of life as a small town park. I’ve always been one of those kids who has a blast in the sandbox and wants everyone else to have fun, too. But, fact is, not everyone plays nicely in the sandbox. We’ve all got our issues and when problems arise, sometimes throwing sand is all we can think to do. Up to this point in my life when someone starts throwing sand I sit there and eat it until the point that I can’t stand it anymore and then either burst into tears or I burst into tears and shove the other kid’s face in the sand. Neither outcome is very pretty or effective.

    I’ve been really getting into yoga the last little while. It is interesting, as I hold the poses and feel the stretch, I find myself holding my breath. I fight against the movement. I have to constantly remind myself to exhale. The more I focus on my breathing, the easier it becomes to flow in and out of the movements and allow myself to move deeper. I’ve realized that I do this in my life, too. When things get hard, I hold my breath instead of letting it out. When someone hurts me, I hold it. When I fail, I hold it. When stress rears it’s ugly head at me, I hold that, too.

    This year I’m going to exhale. I’m going to breathe with the movement. I’m going to allow the acid of the hard stuff to flow out so there is room for the sweetness of the good stuff to flow in. When my daughter prods me looking for a fight, as she is prone to do, I’m going to be the adult and remain calm. When someone doesn’t think I am enough or tries to hurt me, I’m going to exhale and brush off the sand because I’m finally learning that I don’t have to eat it. When stress comes, as it inevitably will, I’m not going to hold my breath. Take it in, then let it go.

    I want to learn to breathe with the movement. I want to learn to allow myself to flow in the Lord’s current.

    I’m going to live and breathe deliberately.

    Judging from last year, I know it is not going to be easy. But, I’m ready for the stretch. After all, I won’t become any better crying in the sandbox.

    **What’s your word for 2014 and what does it mean to you?**


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  • JackiePedersen
    10 January 2014

    Mine is an adjective, not a verb: it’s Purposeful. I need to work on being purposeful in my actions, my spare time, and my goals. Thanks for helping me think about it!

  • Bottles - Gypsy MagpieGypsy Magpie
    8 January 2015

    […] a loved one, and I surprised myself with what I said. It really bothered me. Like I said before, I’m a bottler and I’m trying to learn to overcome that this year. Well, I finally opened the lid on a bottle, […]