Sunday, January 25, 2015

Looking Back - Looking Ahead

I've been thinking back over these last few weeks.  Have I been focusing better?  What have I been focusing on?  I will answer those questions, but for me, right now I'm happy that the word has not left me.  It's still been part of my days.  Not every day, to be sure.  But the word has continued to swirl through my thoughts.  Swirling as I seek to figure out just what it means for me to focus and what I should be focusing on.

Have I been focusing better?  Sometimes.  Sometimes not.  I still find myself trying to multi-task at night.  And failing quite miserably.  I think I just need to turn off the iPad or the computer rather than having them sitting ready - where they are easy to hop onto for just a minute.  But I have managed to finish some projects.  Well, maybe not totally finish, but make progress at least.  Focus has to be flexible, though.  My plan for today had been to do lots of sewing/quilting work.  But then I had an invitation to join family for dinner.  I chose to put the family time in the foreground and focus on that, keeping the sewing in the background for later.  And I'm glad I did.  Part of my plan/hope for the day was also to spend some time outside.  In keeping with the need to focus on enjoying the moment and getting some exercise.  I decided to walk to the family event as a way to maintain that focus.  

One of the ways I want to work on my focus is to work on reading some more "serious" types of books.  I really prefer to read novels.  And I think that is okay!  But I can learn from other books as well as from novels.  Here is a quote from the book I am currently reading.  A Million Little Ways by Emily Freeman.  

"I don't believe there is one great thing I was made to do in this world.  I believe there is one great God I was made to glorify.  And there will be many ways, even a million little ways, I will declare His glory with my life."  (p.40)  While I can't focus on a million little ways, I can focus on working on glorifying Him with my life.  I may not always succeed.  But I can always try.

And one last quote that can help me with where to focus.  This one is from The Story Keeper by Lisa Wingate.  "So often it is our narrow focus that limits us.  When we look only at our own plans, we miss the infinite possibilities of a greater plan."  (p.410)  (This is from a novel, just to remind me that reading novels is not a bad thing.  Not that I really need reminding.)

Sunday, January 4, 2015


So, it's another new year.  2015.  I'm not one to get into lots of hoopla over a new year.  And yet, thoughts have been swirling around my head this last week.  I've had lots of quiet down time this last 2 weeks, doing the things that I love.  Sewing/Quilting.  Reading.  Watching a few movies.  Spending time with friends (including time with a good friend from high school!).  Spending time with family (not always quiet as some members of my family are not always so quiet - but it was good).  And the thoughts about a new year have been percolating.

I have, in the past, chosen a word for the year.  As I looked back on my blog I saw that I didn't do so last year.  Not sure why not.  But no matter.  Without consciously thinking about it, the word for 2015 has floated in and through my mind.  Lodging itself quite securely I think.  And maybe, just maybe, it will stay there for longer than January.  Which would be a good thing.  Especially given the word that has come to me.  FOCUS.  FOCUS in 2015.

What does that mean for me?  Currently I have a few concepts of what it can mean.  And these go beyond the dictionary definition of focus.

  1. 1.
    the center of interest or activity.
    "this generation has made the environment a focus of attention"
    synonyms:centerfocal point, central point, center of attentionhubpivot,nucleusheartcorecornerstonelinchpincynosure
    "schools are a focus of community life"
  2. 2.
    the state or quality of having or producing clear visual definition.
    "his face is rather out of focus"
    synonyms:focal point, point of convergence More
  1. 1.
    (of a person or their eyes) adapt to the prevailing level of light and become able to see clearly.
    "try to focus on a stationary object"
  2. 2.
    pay particular attention to.
    "the study will focus on a number of areas in Wales"

I think focus as a verb is, right now, the point for me to begin with.  Becoming able to see clearly and paying particular attention to.  But even that has so many interpretations.  

I've been thinking about focus in terms of photography.  It is possible to focus on what is in the foreground and blur the background.  Which means deliberately choosing what you want to focus on.  It's possible to go in close and focus on the small details.  Which I love to do.  And it is important to see the beauty and majesty of God in the small details.  And to see His hand at work in these.  But I don't think it is great to only look at the small details.  Sometimes I have to step back and see the big picture, see the grandeur of the place.  To see where the pieces fit in the whole.  So, really focus in photography is choosing what to see and how to look.  I guess that fits with life, too.  Choosing what to see and how to interpret it.  Seeing the gifts of God in different circumstances.  That can be tough at times.  And maybe we need to use different filters to help us see more clearly.

The idea of focus when driving has also been on my mind.  The driver must have the focus on what lies ahead, but also needs to be aware of what lies behind and to the sides.  I can't just look to the future.  I must also use what I've experienced in the past and and the experiences that impact the future.  A broader focus than simply the future.

Here's to a year of learning what it means to focus more intentionally. And of seeing what I can learn about God and about myself.