Hello friends! It is a New Year! I suppose now that we are almost two weeks into the year, I am fairly reconciled to Christmas being over. We left our decorations up until last weekend, and honestly, the house seems a little forlorn without the lights and tree. I did make a fun wintery ragIMG_7498.JPG wreath for my front door, and it didn’t take too long to get used to writing 2016, so I suppose you could say I am settled into January. This is my birthday month… with six people in my immediate family, there is always some new celebration to look forward to, between holidays, birthdays, and summer vacation. One of the biggest things for me in this new year is new ministry focus. In the fall, I felt led to take over the leadership of the women’s ministry at my church. My amazing mom has been leading that ministry for several years and she will still be on the team (thank God! And thanks mom!), but after a fall transition season, I am now leading the team. I am teaching our weekly Bible Study this spring, and planning what I hope will be a really great one-day “Mini-Retreat” for the ladies next month. This I add to leading my daughter’s Daisy Girl Scouts group (it’s cookie season!), and some writing/editing work I am doing, along with the never-a-dull-moment life of a mother of four kids under age 10. (I could say never-a-clean-house moment just as easily… but I like to focus on the excitement of parenting rather than the ceaseless chores!)

All this to say, I am pretty busy. But I am also excited. I have always been at my best when I am very active, though I do need to make a conscious effort to remain in balance in my relationships, and not focus too much on tasks and too little on people. Some of you will think I am incredibly weird for that, but it’s okay, I have accepted who I am, and now just try to be the best version of myself. I am particularly excited about the focus of our Bible study these next few months, which is a study called Pure Love, which was developed by my friend Beth Barone, and which she has taught in several different countries. It is incredibly simple… however, do not confuse “simple” with “easy.” The lesson is simple, but living it is definitely not easy. I have a new reading plan to go along with the study, so even if you aren’t in Eugene, Oregon to participate with us, I’d love to have you join in the reading and reflection, if you are looking for a new Bible reading plan for your personal time in the Word of God.

What is Pure Love? The Pure Love teaching is about how we were designed by God to live in an atmosphere of healthy relationship. When we lack a healthy environment, we begin to malfunction. This teaching addresses the issue of what truly motivates people, and the powerful influence our relationships have on our behavior and sense of personal identity. The world’s environment is one of performance to gain value. God’s perspective is that you are valuable because of who you are. We are given a choice: would you rather live from God’s perspective or the world’s performance mantra? Pure Love helps you get into an environment of health; it is all about this process of having a healthy soul.

I won’t be blogging any of the lessons for this study, because it is not my material to distribute, but I believe if you read the scriptures for yourself, God can help put the picture together for you. I will be blogging my own reflections on the scriptures in the reading list, which are tied to the lessons. New Year, New Focus.

If my focus is on love, God, and having healthy relationships, it is definitely going to be a good year! What about you? What is your focus this year?