The Year of IntentionalityToday, my little baby boy turned one month old. I’m kind of in denial over here! It’s truly amazing to think about how quickly these first days have sped by. Part of me wants time to slow down. The other part is excited for the day when Benj and I will get to sleep more than 2 1/2 hours at a time!

These days are just so sweet and hard and magical and fleeting all at once. I’ve never been so sleep deprived, yet never so happy! The more I think about how quickly Jack is growing, the more I realize that I’ll miss so much if I’m not careful.

My One Word: Intentionality

The past several weeks, I had been thinking about which word I wanted to pick as my theme word for this year, but it’s only been in the past several days that one finally stood out to me and fit what I wanted my 2017 to be about.

Intentionality.

Something done with intention is done on purpose. Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines intention as, “the fixed direction of the mind to a particular object, or a determination to act in a particular manner.” I want to live this year on purpose. I want to thrive this year, rather than just feeling as though I’m surviving.

A quote that kept coming to mind again and again was one from Jim Elliot.

“Wherever you are, be all there.”

I’ve heard that quote many times throughout my life, but it’s hitting home harder than ever right now. What I didn’t realize, is that there’s a second part to that quote.

“Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.”

Thinking about my sweet Jack turning one by the end of this year makes me further realize how short babyhood is. So many things happen incredibly close together! I want to be fully present as our boy grows and learns and changes, not chronically distracted by things that have little to no lasting value. I want to say, “Yes!” to good things more often- even when those things seem inconvenient or aren’t on my list. I want to take every opportunity to slow down and pay attention to what matters most.

The Year of Intentionality

When I started thinking about which parts of my life I wanted to center my intentionality around this year, I came up with 7 areas.

My Marriage

Benj is my best friend. He’s most certainly my better half, and the person I love being with most. We share a very close, tender relationship that I treasure, and I want it to always be that way. Adding Jack to our little family has shown me that we will have to be more intentional than ever about keeping our relationship strong and sweet through the challenges of parenting. It’s no secret that babies take up lots of time and attention. While Benj and I only had one another to focus on before, we now have another (awfully cute) little person to care for who has constant needs.

This year, as we continue to transition into life as a family of 3, I want to be intentional about encouraging Benj, growing together as a couple, continuing to adventure and have fun together, and having regular date nights, for starters.

Jack

We love our little Jack more than words can say— even if he’s still somewhat of a mystery to us. ;) The year will have flown by in the blink of an eye if I’m not careful! I love the special times of connecting while he nurses and the sweet coos and smiles he gives. Watching him grow and change before my eyes is incredible!

We’re only a month in, and there have been plenty of challenges and hard moments along the way, but this journey of motherhood has been so rewarding thus far.

I plan to document the adventure of Jack’s first year along with our family life, both through photography and journaling. Creating boundaries around the time I spend with him is another goal. Limiting the time I spend on my phone and social media is key. Distractions are everywhere, and I want to work on being fully present.

Taking Care of Myself

Last year was a difficult year for me, health-wise. When it began, I was feeling worse than I ever had. I saw 5 different doctors over the course of the year, tried all manner of herbs, homeopathic remedies, and supplements, experienced several different treatments (from acupuncture to hydrotherapy), had my blood drawn way too many times, and had more appointments and traveled more miles than I’d care to remember (Benj drove me to every appointment— even when I had 3 in a week). Of course, I was also pregnant most of the year, which is physically taxing in and of itself (considering everything from morning sickness all the way through giving birth).

The continual ups and downs were more than puzzling, and most of the time I wondered if I was even making any progress. Crazily enough, 2016 ended with me starting to feel better than I had since I got sick a few years ago, even though I’m still recovering from Jack’s birth. God has proven Himself to be faithful again and again, and I’m so thankful that my health seems to be on an upward trend! This road has been such a long, hard, emotional one to walk, but I’ve learned so much along the way. I’m really hopeful that I’m nearing the end of it.

In light of my health struggles and postpartum recovery, I want to be intentional about continuing to improve my health. I’ve been unable to work out and exercise much the past 3 years because getting my heart rate up always made me nauseas (so frustrating!). When you can’t exercise, it’s pretty difficult to build muscle, so I’ve become pretty weak, physically. Being able to care for Jack— and eventually chase him around— will be a lot easier once I’m in better shape!

This year, I want to focus on building strength and stamina. I want to tire less easily and have the energy to do more. I would love to end this year in the best shape of my life. That’s definitely an ambitious goal, considering where I’m starting out. Once I get the green light to begin exercising again, I’ll start slowly and work my way up from there.

I’m also planning to work my way down to my pre-pregnancy weight. I gained almost 40 pounds with Jack and lost the first 20 in the first 2 weeks. I’ve somewhat stabilized, though, and only lost a few of pounds in the second 2 weeks. I’ll just blame it on Christmas and New Years and all of the sugar surrounding the season. ;) But now it’s time to get serious about dropping the weight and getting back to eating well.

One last goal I’m setting for myself this year is to read 12 books. It’s not a huge number, but I’m hoping it will help get me back into the habit of reading. More time reading, less time on social media!

The Year of Intentionality

Our Home

With my health being what it was last year, it was difficult to keep up with everything. The day to day chores, the cleaning, the meal prep, and the laundry all suffered. Benj helped me a lot even after working all day, especially with the day to day chores and meal prep. This year, however, I’m hoping to be able to manage much more myself. I want to be more intentional about things like meal planning, trying new recipes, and sticking to my cleaning routine. Yet another reason why being in better shape and having more energy will be so helpful!

Family and Friends

Benj and I want to be even more intentional in our relationships with our family and friends, praying more consistently, blessing others when we’re able, and practicing hospitality more often! We love having people over, and hope to do so regularly this year.

Blogging

Blogging is something I really love to do. It relaxes me, helps me process my jumbled thoughts, and gives me a space to share my heart and photography. It also helps faraway family and friends keep up with us better. Unfortunately, blogging falls into the “important but not urgent” category, and ends up being pushed to the back burner.

After several attempts to be consistent the past year and a half, I’m realizing that if I don’t make it a priority, it simply won’t happen. I have too many other things vying for my attention, especially now that Jack’s here! I’m going to have to be intentional about blogging if I want it to happen, so that’s what I plan to do.

Saving

Even with the numerous medical and health-related expenses we had last year, we’re still on track to meet our long-term savings goal to be able to own our little cottage outright! The flip-side, is that we realized we really need to be targeting a higher savings goal than we’d originally thought. So this year is going to be all about pinching pennies wherever we can. It will be a fun challenge and I’m looking forward to blogging about it as we go. Speaking of which, I’d also love to bring in a little money from blogging— yet another motivation to make it a priority!

Intentionality, Here We Come

I’m looking forward to living with more intentionality this year and seeing what the Lord has in store for our little family! I hope your new year is off to a wonderful start.

Did you pick a word for 2017? If so, I’d love to know which word you picked and why! :)

The Year of Intentionality