New Year Word

Friday, December 08, 2006

I just finished beating my daughter and her friend in Scrabble, and I have no guilt or shame that I won by over 100 points. I know....a "good" mom would have let someone else win or at least tried to keep the game close. It's just that when it comes to Scrabble, I have no mercy. That's probably because I LOVE words! I love to read them, write them, and obviously, spell them. However, there seem to be certain words that stick with me more than others for some reason. Transformation has been a favorite for quite awhile now (if you read my earlier blog you know why). Steadfastness, excellence, and discipline have also been words that have had special meaning to me. I really don't know why I am attracted to these particular words, maybe God just lays them on my heart. Whatever the reason, it has become a tradition for me to choose a word at the beginning of each new year to define what I want the upcoming days and months to be characterized by. I guess it's similar to the Chinese tradition of naming a calendar year after an animal (Year of the dog, Year of the bull), or when God commanded the Israelites to mark certain years like the Sabbath Year and the Year of the Jubilee for rememberance, restitution, and rest. Rather than having a long list of resolutions that rarely come to fruition, I have one word that I will strive to maintain all year long in everything I do. My word for 2007 came to me this morning, so I thought I would share it with you. I want this new year to be my Year of Significance. I spent most of 2006 "floating" from day to day (probably because we moved so much), but this year I want to bring meaning to the things I do and the people I influence. I want to live a life of significance - one that makes the world a better place because I lived. I want God to use my ordinary life to accomplish extraordinary purposes in 2007. How all that will come about I have no clue. I just have eager anticipation for the 365 days that lie ahead (okay, a little more since it's still December) and know that God will not disappoint! So stay tuned -- I pray it will be a year to remember.

Inspired by others

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

There are tons of people who inspire us...people who have overcome suffering and tragedy, people who have paved the way that no one else was willing to go, people who have successfully walked down the same road we are travelling, or people who have accomplished amazing feats. It is wonderful for us to be able to "look up" to these types of people and let their stories encourage us. But what about those people who have yet to do anything, who are in the midst of trying? Can they inspire us? I believe so.

I am blessed to have met and become friends with two Chinese college students. They happen to be two of my teachers here. Although they are both 11 years younger than me and have yet to "accomplish" much in life, they truly inspire me. Both of these friends have a strong desire to reach a simple goal....they want to speak fluent English. They have no grand dreams of success or wealth, they just want to accomplish a task that most people in the world take for granted. It is not simply their ambition that inspires me, but their effort. They are so dedicated and determined to reach their goal, regardless of the difficulties. When I ask them what they are doing or have been doing, they always respond, "Studying!". They read dictionaries, test booklets, and other English materials. They find ways to practice their English with others at home, at school, and at work. In humility they are willing to be corrected and taught. And NOTHING distracts them from their ultimate purpose. That inspires me. It is not about what they have done already, but what they are trying to do.

I think too many times we look at people who have already accomplished something to spur us on towards our own goals, and we miss those who are on the journey as our true motivation. I pray you will open your eyes to those around you who are working and striving whole-heartedly towards a dream and let them be your inspiration today.