01 January 2016

One Little Word 2016

Hello 2016.

This year is going to be BIG. There are many changes coming to our family very soon: Baby Boy will be arriving within the month, and we will be returning to our life in Mexico as a complete family.

Every year since 2009, I have followed the lead of blogger Ali Edwards and picked a word that I try to live throughout the year. It is similar to a New Year's resolution, but without all of the pressure. Sometimes, the word stays with me throughout the year, and sometimes, I let it go and just live the way that I need to live to survive.

My past words include:

Downsize- in 2009, I was all about "downsizing". I wanted to get rid of a lot of extra baggage I was carrying around, both physically (I was carrying around a lot of weight and was taking an insane amount of work out classes), and emotionally. Hector and I were in a rough spot, even though we stuck it out and got married that year. It was a really difficult and dark period of my life.

Pray- In 2010, I was searching for God. I was away from the Church, and I was trying to find him. Praying became my lifeline. I prayed for a son, and I received him.

Learn- I dropped out of college in 2011. I really felt sad about this, and was trying to find other ways to keep my brain from going nuts. My goal was to start reading again. I managed a few books this year, but instead I became a CNA, got a job, and Hector got deported. I had to learn, very quickly, how to be alone, how to survive, and how to parent and work. 2011 was the year I began to really become an adult.

Shine- in 2012, I wanted to improve myself. I had realized that all of those years of fighting with Hector, raising babies, and being exhausted, I hadn't taken time to polish myself. I began to make friends at work, networking and reaching out to the people around me. Some people might find this strange, but I was on a path of self-discovery that turned out to be somewhat self-destructive and selfish. However, I learned a lot about myself.

Adventure- in 2013, I was going to move to Mexico. I had it all planned out. I was ready to go, packing up, and even turned in my two weeks at work, and then I backed out at the last moment. I let fear take ahold of me, and that fear ended up hurting the people I love the most.

Brave- in 2014, I was ready. I was not going to make the same mistakes as before. I was going to move to Mexico even if it killed me. I missed out on a year of Adventures because I let fear control me. So in 2014, I took that step, I put my trust in God, and I took the leap to move to Mexico, even if the process wasn't ideal.

My word for 2015, was humble. After putting myself up on a really high pedestal back in 2012 and 2013, I fell down. HARD. Mexico was a slap in the face. Everything that could go wrong really did. I felt like my life was over. We were poor (not as poor as some, but poorer than I had ever been in my entire life). I didn't know how to survive, or cook, or even live with my husband because we had been apart for so long. If I hadn't spent a year practicing being brave, I don't honestly think I would have made it through that first year. I had learned to live without most amenities that people in TJ and the US have. I learned what was necessary in life, and what wasn't. And I learned to depend entirely on Christ's mercy, forgiveness, and faithfulness.

I learned to like to be humble. When I returned to the US, my main goal was NOT returning to be the person I was before Mexico. The spoiled child could never return- I am 27 years old, not 17. I managed to keep a rather low profile upon returning. I worked and came home. I prepared to have a baby. I go to church. I come home and homeschool my son. I grocery shop, comparing prices and thinking about Hector and Cecilia and what they are eating the entire time. It is not about me, I am not the main focus of this world. I am but a tiny, miniscule part of a larger human story.

I am a little sad to see humble go; learning to embrace humility has brought me so much closer to Jesus and has allowed me to receive graces that I didn't know I could have ever needed. But, a new year is upon us, and it has been difficult to find another life-changing word that would keep me going on the course that I am already upon. I have learned to embrace the uncomfortableness that humility brings, and I want to continue in the uncomfortable feelings. Usually, a word pops into my head in September or October, and I let it mull around in my brain for awhile. However, that did not happen to me this year. It wasn't until almost Christmas that a word finally showed itself to me.

My word for 2016 is Small.

When I think of small, I think of two things: First is the Bible verse, John 3:30. It really wouldn't leave me alone during the process of choosing a word, so I've decided to go with it. The verse says:

"He must increase, but I must decrease."  (John 3:30, Douay-Rheims Bible)
I must decrease. I must become smaller, like a small child, and let Christ really take center stage this year. The second thing that I think of when I think of the word small is of St. Therese de Liseux and "The Little Way". I honestly don't know much about this great saint that so many people have a devotion to. Her feast day is my birthday, so I figure I should learn something about her. That is my goal this year, to learn about St. Therese and all that she had to say about being small and doing small things. I hope to get a couple of books about her, and start my journey there.
What are your goals for 2016? What is your word? What are some ways that you could benefit from becoming smaller? Let me know in the comments below! 

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