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Each January I read the posts about choosing one word for the year. And each year I think, how could I begin to sum up my hopes for the year in one word? How could I guess what my year will hold? But this year, I kept wondering–what if I were to choose a word this year? What if it was more about the word God wanted to show me than about me choosing a word for myself? What might God have to teach me in this coming year?
I’m part of a Bible study group going through Beth Moore’s study of the book of Esther, It’s Tough Being a Woman. It’s been fascinating to delve into the historical account and see how very human the characters appear when you study them closely. But their very humanity makes the evidence of God throughout the story even more apparent, even though His name is never mentioned in its pages. Hadassah, Esther–she was born for such a time as this. She had a destiny to fulfill, a purpose she didn’t always feel adequate to.
Between the pages of Esther and the pages of the thesaurus, I knew my #OneWord365: purpose. I want to live life on purpose, with purpose. I need to be purposeful about the choices I make. And most of all, I want His purposes to be my purpose.
It sounded so good in theory. I could put it into words that made me excited with their very purpose. But what was that to look like in real life?
And then I picked up Notes from a Blue Bike: The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World. And I had the answer. Not necessarily “my” answer for exactly how it was going to look like for me, for my family. But I had an example of what it could look like, how it worked for one family.
Tsh doesn’t pretend it’s been easy. She’s as honest as she is humorous in her look at their journey from Turkey to Texas to Oregon and the choices they’ve had to make along the way.
The section on food might have been my favorite. I love a book that talks about the slow food movement in the same sentences as chocolate and coffee. I appreciated the realistic approach to menu planning that took budgets and time into account, while casting a vision of cooking as art and meals an experience to be enjoyed.
“Chocolate is truly one of life’s simpler pleasures.”
-Tsh on Food
When Tsh talks about work, it’s real and applicable to me. Not every author knows the ins and outs of a blogger’s schedule, or what it’s like to have your husband at home on and off throughout the day. I loved getting a peek into how Tsh makes her blog The Art of Simple (formerly Simple Mom) work without sacrificing her own personal writing time or her family.
“Sometimes not being caught up is okay, especially if it means raising my head in order to breathe in the world uncapturable on a pocket computer.”
-Tsh on Work
I’ve never read a more grace-filled discussion of education than that in the pages of Notes from a Blue Bike. Tsh’s children are still only in the early grades, but she’s learning the lessons I had to learn once as a homeschool student and am learning again as a homeschool mom: education choices are as personal as they are powerful. And “never say never”.
“I’m convinced that parents are the most essential key to unlocking the next generation’s curiosity, creativity, and innovation.”
-Tsh on Education
It’s fascinating for me to listen in on the tales of someone who loves to travel. I’m a homebody. Our three-weeks-and-three-thousand-mile-trip last year was enough to make me feel well traveled for a decade at least. But hearing Tsh talk about the way their family views travel gave me new perspective, and made me a little more inclined to just pack light and enjoy the ride–and maybe even make last-minute plans to do something.
“Keep your vision intact and experience the slow, deep pleasure from seeing the new as a family.”
-Tsh on Travel
In a world full of screens and devices, Tsh brings a third-world view to the discussion of entertainment. I loved the honesty and humility with which she discussed the ebb and flow of her family’s entertainment choices. Not to mention the fact that Tsh cherishes the rhythm of hanging out laundry as much as I do:
The lesson that comes through loud and clear between the lines of Notes from a Blue Bike is that living intentionally is not easy–in fact, it’s hard. But sometimes, doing hard things bring the greatest rewards. Especially when we do them with a purpose in mind.
Just ask Tsh. And Esther.
Did you choose a word for the year? What is one choice you’ve made this year to be more intentional about your life?
P.S. Notes from a Blue Bike comes out next week. Pre-order your copy now to get in on lots of awesome pre-order gifts and giveaways! And don’t miss the blog tour of Notes from a Blue Bike at Kindred Grace next week (we’ll have a giveaway, too!).