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Challenge: Parenting Resolutions

Look at All the Life: Thoughts on a New Year

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I’m sitting in a quiet house, a rare occurrence these days. Our children, still small, are both finally asleep, for now, before we begin a night of what we jokingly refer to as “musical beds.” My husband started a fire in the fireplace before he went to check on an issue at work, and here I sit—in almost absolute silence, except for the sound of a crackling fire on this cold January night. As I sit here, my thoughts have drifted to the ending of one year and the beginning of another. In the spirit of the New Year, here are a few things I’m going to pay attention to this year.

This year, I want my motto to be “Look at all the life!” and LIVE and LOVE:

With Arms Wide Open. As I reflected on the last year, and how I want to approach a new one, this came to mind: ARMS WIDE OPEN. There were times this past year when my arms weren’t as open as they should have been. Instead of extending the hand or truly practicing forgiveness, I kept my arms closed. I kept them closed because I felt like I needed to hear “I’m sorry.” And I waited. And I said it first, but the people I felt like I needed to hear it from simply never said it. “I’m sorry” are two words—two very powerful ones—and even if we didn’t do something “wrong,” saying “I’m sorry things didn’t work out” or I’m sorry I hurt you” can be the words someone needs to hear and ones we must say. But, even if someone can’t utter those words, I want to try harder this year to practice grace. Moving onward in 2016 with arms wide open and hoping to show my children how to approach life and look at it with an open spirit.

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With Full Hands. This year, I want look at all the life around me but I want to honor my full hands. I’ve been thinking a lot about being busy and how people sometimes proudly wear that as a badge. "I'm so busy" is often our excuse, or other times, it's "I wish I weren't so busy," said in a disdainful tone. I've filled my life with so much and it's overflowing, in mostly good ways, but in some ways that require evaluation because my hands are FULL, wonderfully but sometimes exasperatingly full. From now on, I'm going to do my very best to say "My hands are full" when I can't add another thing. They're full with all I've been lucky enough to gather. I'm not busy; my hands are full of things I've chosen to hold. And maybe I need to be more selective about what I choose to hold onto. So this year, I’m going to remember I have a choice with what I choose to hold-- maybe not in all ways, but certainly in some.

By Answering the Call. As a new year unfolds, I want to listen for the call, the gentle nudge as I go about the day, the quiet whisper when no one is around and all is quiet in the house. How often do we hear a call only to ignore it because it seems impossible or it doesn’t make sense? I’ve done that for a long time and in this past year, I answered a call and a dream was realized. As this year unfolds, let’s all pay more attention to the call to see the life we're meant to lead—whatever it might be and in whatever way it manifests for you.

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By Reaching for the Sun. I mother my children and while I don't do a perfect job, they are my focus. I mother them and I try to do my best, but I want to try harder to mother my own spirit while I mother my children. I want to mother my spirit and follow its lead. Because after all, if I don’t teach my children and show them to reach for the sun, who will? My children have actually called me to remember who I was long ago, way before they were even a thought in my mind. They’ve provided clarity to me in ways I never imagined and called me to question and re-remember my own dreams, buried from long ago. That farm I always wanted—at the end of a tree-lined drive? Those children’s books sitting on my computer? Ireland, so green? I’m reaching, reaching, reaching. Reach with me and let’s show our kids the way.

No matter what your resolutions are this year, I hope you join me with open arms and full hands. Let’s answer the call and reach for the sun. All the while, let's remember to look at all the life around us. Look at all the life, my friends, waiting for us.

This post originally appeared on Kara's blog.. Come, be in here tribe on Facebook or on Mothering the Divide.

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