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During the past week, I have been pondering the idea of choosing ONE WORD to ground me and propel me into 2015.  I discussed the idea with my family.  One of my children chose “Persevere” and the other child chose “Lead”.  These words have

Making cookies with my children on January 2.2015

Making cookies with my children on January 2.2015

helped me to help my children look for opportunities to persevere and lead in the coming year.  I have mulled over many words that would inspire me at the start of the new year.  I have made a decision.  My chosen word is “EMBRACE”.

My One Little Word will guide me as I seek to EMBRACE my role as Wife, Mother, Friend, Cook, Teacher and Exerciser.

As a Wife, I have so many opportunities to embrace the life that God has given to me.  After 17 years of marriage, I can say that I have not always embraced my role as wife.  I have allowed, at times, my other responsibilities to distract me from the man I love.  Just being in the same room with him while we watch TV is a way to embrace our time together.  Considering his words as ones to consider and reflect on will help me to embrace his point of view.  In the coming year, I will look for opportunities to exercise together, play games with our children, make memories on Family Movie night, read the Bible and reflect on its richness, apply Biblical truths to our lives and laugh to lighten stress which will generate a path toward continual renewal.  Having regular Date Nights is also a goal of mine to allow me special time with my amazing husband!

As a Mother, I love my children and would do anything for them.  As soon as I say that I would do anything for them, I realize that doing things requires effort.  After exhausting school days, I do not always feel like giving the effort to cook, wash clothes, dry clothes, cook healthful meals, vacuum, dust, and go through mail.  I have to listen to my body and know when I need to sit down before starting my wife/mother duties.  I love that I have the opportunity to embrace times with my children.  These past two weeks off from school have provided us from some fabulous down time.  Celebrating Christmas with my kids provided a welcome time to just enjoy each other.  They bring me so much joy and help lighten my load through their laughter and enlightening conversations.  I know though, that January is here and it is time to look to the new year.  I want to embrace times to guide my kids toward healthful food choices as I help them pack their lunches and they learn to pack it too.  Instead of dreading the cleaning that is a part of a normal evening, I want to embrace the fact that I can do my children’s clothes for them in the laundry room, while also teaching them to fold clothes.  I can tell you that it has been easy for me to feel exhausted and nothing more than a maid in the past.  I am ready to share the responsibility of chores with my growing kids.  When I remind them to practice their piano lessons or to do exercises, I want to praise their effort and the time that they are taking to develop their minds and bodies.  I have so many times that allow me to bless my children instead of showing them my tiredness.  Life is not a chore.  It is a gift.

After having lunch with a lifelong friend last week, I realized how much I had missed her.  God has always placed special people in my life to inspire me and mentor me.  Even though a dear friend of mine moved 45 minutes away and had a baby, we were able to get together at my house during Winter Break.  This friend is an amazing teacher who has always given so much to her students in her thoughtful lessons.  I am so glad that she and I, although no longer at the same school, will always be friends.  I also saw old friends at my parent’s church two weeks ago when we visited their town.  God has been helping me consider a way to bless some children at an orphanage in India where an old friend visits a couple of times a year.  It was so nice to talk about some ideas with her about making my ideas become a reality.  After having dinner with some friends a few nights ago, one of them reminded me of an unexpected moment that had happened to me years ago.  I had forgotten the moment, but my friend helped me relive the joy of how God provided.  I want to nurture my friendships and embrace them more than ever.  As old friends have gotten sick or a friend’s father passed away recently, it reminded me of how precious our time on earth is with our friends and family.  I want to look for times to reach out and embrace my old friends as well as look for moments to develop new friendship in the coming year.

It is necessary to find time to unwind and relax while also, as a teacher, preparing for future lessons, checking emails and participating in Professional and Personal Learning Communities on Facebook and Twitter.  I am focused on completing tasks that will fulfill my work projects and plans.  I enjoy embracing ideas online from other teachers.  In many ways, as I have transitioned out of the classroom after 20 years as a 3rd and 4th Grade teacher, into a K-5 Technology Teacher with 1,200 students, I realize that I am always in a state of remaking myself.  I have found comfort in knowing that I like to explore new teaching methods especially ones that use technology.  During 2015, I will be analyzing data that I have collected as a part of Action Research in my role as a teacher in North Carolina’s Governor’s Teacher Network and preparing to share my findings at the NCTIES Conference in March.  The project will also require me to design a website to help other teachers replicate the types of lessons that I designed for my targeted third grade class.  I will continue to embrace my work during the school day and opportunities to develop students’ reading and writing skills through technology projects.  In the evenings and weekends, I will look to embrace time to work on my GTN project and NCTIES presentation.

Balancing my roles as wife and mother will take place as I choose to not allow anything to cause unhealthy patterns in my life.  I love to work hard and rejoice in the love that surrounds me, however, I must also embrace God to truly ground me.  It could be that as I embrace my God given roles, I will be inspired to have a new ONE WORD for the next day or month.  As I pray and embrace God’s Word, the Holy Spirit opens truths to me that comfort, encourage and deliver me from trouble.  I will also feel healthier if I can embrace exercising with my children and husband or alone.  As I make food choices, I believe I can lean into health and wholeness for my body.  As I know all too well, I can either embrace busyness and fast food or choose to plan meals in advance.  I love to already have the ingredients for healthful meals from my Weight Watchers cookbooks and magazines.  Choosing portions and choosing to not overeat will be another way to embrace my goal of a healthier me in 2015.

For now, my one word “EMBRACE” is the one that will help me to balance my life.  I can choose to embrace time wasters and dwell on past hurts, but why?  I love that God has given me a renewed energy and joy to start 2015.   As I have choices to make as to feel anxious or not, to love deeply or not and to spend time with God and my family or not, I pray that I will make the choice to embrace the best choices for each day.  The opposite of “embrace” is to “repel”.  I don’t want to push away the people whom God put in my path on a certain day and miss His blessing.  Choosing to embrace God, my spouse, my kids, my job, my friends and my health will help me and give me more joy.   I am so excited about the future and following the path on which God shines His light.

What word might guide you into 2015?  I am thankful for Ruth Ayers in her Jan.2 blog post at for providing examples of her “One Words” during the past decade, Todd Nelsony as his vision to inspire and impact the world is found at and Rosie Molinary, whose life coaching blog launched me into developing my One Word by providing thought provoking questions at

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