One thing is certain, 2013 has not been the year of Lea the Blogger! I had such good intentions last January, but I seldom took the time to sit down and write. Maybe 2014 will bring a little more inspiration from me.
As for now, it is New Year's Eve, and it promises to be a quiet one save for me neighbors and their fireworks (which gets Max the dog quite excited). I don't mind a quiet New Year's Eve. This time of year, I find myself feeling a little nostalgic, a little hopeful, and a little reflective - thinking back on the high points and low points of 2013 and wondering what 2014 has in store. I also wonder when December 31st rolls around next year, what kind of person do I hope to be? What growth do I want to have occurred during the past year?
I am still thinking on these things, but two areas jump to mind almost immediately. I want to be less anxious and more trusting of God. Who doesn't? I am not unique in this hope! But, one thing that I plan to do towards this end is practice meditation a little more often...like each morning. I think I can do it. I think it will give me a little peace and quiet to start the day, and perhaps that will give me a little more peace and quiet to deal with the day! I've found a lot of resources to guide this endeavor - lots of books on centering prayer, breath prayer, and all that jazz.
I've experimented with this the past two mornings - I set the alarm on my phone at 10 minutes. I've found that it takes almost that entire time to settle down...even first thing in the morning. Everything that I hope not to forget to do during the day comes rushing to the front of my mind, and once that all floats away, I hear the alarm. I might be upping it to 15 minutes tomorrow.
I've also committed to a study with two of my local minister buddies. We are taking on a beautiful commentary of Philippians - it's got scripture, poetry, art, prayers - it really is lovely, and I am very excited to be a part of this group. Spiritual friendships sometimes feel few and far between, and I am looking forward to getting to know these friends a little better.
The second spiritual intention I have is to add some kind of 'examen' to the end of the day. Every day. Seriously. I do this only sometimes now, but for me, it must be a daily thing. Sometimes, I think I stray away from it simply because I don't want to facilitate a faith that concentrates on everything we do wrong. But, at the same time, I want to keep growing and keep improving, and I can't do that without an honest look at my thoughts, words, actions, motivations, conversations....faith takes practice, and if faith practice is like piano practice, you need to be aware when you miss a note, so that you can figure out how to get it right the next go round.
So, that's what I'm thinking so far for 2014...and one other little tidbit, but that's a surprise for Sunday - no publishing early!
Other things for 2014 - finish dissertation and GRADUATE!!!!!, Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, learn Debussy's Clair de lune, learn the theme to Charlie Brown Christmas, successfully bake a layer cake, snorkel and maybe work towards diver certification, acquire taste for hot tea, work crossword puzzles...