Do you have a plan for the year?

Every week a group of writers get together online, centered on a word prompt by Kate Motaung, to help us write free-style for five minutes. There’s more to it than that, but you get the gist of it. So, welcome (or welcome back) to Five Minute Friday.

Prompt:  Plan.


I love the smell of a new year. A blank year planner is one of the most exciting things. The year could contain anything. When January 1 hit, many of us made resolutions, and some, wishing to avoid resolution failure, chose words for the year instead. Others, attempting to completely side-step that trend, just considered a rough outline of what it would be great to accomplish in 2015.

I’ve been a fan of the one word concept for a couple years now. God’s been working on my heart in certain ways and I came up with a word rather easily. But I never blogged about it. I never took the time to put it to words and cement it in the stone of the interwebs. I had a plan, but not a very concrete one.

This my fifth year of blogging. It’s high time I revise my About page and one thing I’ve been wanting to do is let my readers know how often I plan to blog. This helps you know what to expect of me and gives me a target to shoot for. Once a month or less isn’t exactly what I had in mind when I began blogging four years ago. It’s time to update my plan.

I help my church with communications and it’s been a learn-by-the-seat-of-your-pants experience, which I mostly love. Thanks to the aforementioned internet, there are more experienced communicators who I get to learn from. The buzzword in communications, church or otherwise, is to have a communications strategy. To know what, when and why you want to accomplish when sharing about your organization. A fancy word for a plan.

So, we’re nearly to the “ides of March” and if you haven’t begun to implement your plan, it’s high time to get going. I speak mostly to myself. It’s time to declare that one word for the year and get moving with a plan for 2015 before it’s half over.

So, here’s my plan. I want to blog at least once a week, so you can expect to see me more regularly. If you like my blog and don’t want to miss a post, you can subscribe to get emailed each time I post. If I did it right, the form is here, but if not, look to your right, under my picture to see where you can sign up.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Is there a plan that you have for 2015 that you need to get started on? Would you share that in the comments below?

Since it’s now my plan, see you in less than a week!

Do you like this Five Minute Friday idea? Read all the posts for this prompt here.


On Being Content with my Writing

Content2013This was not the post I expected to write for contentment. However, being content includes having satisfaction in who I am, warts and all as it were. So, in an exercise of contentment with my writing, I present my first foray into Five Minute Friday (FMF).

FMF is a collection of bloggers who join in a Twitter chat on Thursday evenings to get the writing prompt for Friday. The rules are to set a timer and write for 5 minutes only, no extreme editing or rewriting – and then share it with the world. Gulp.

Not to reread and rewrite and tweak and fix and make everything perfect – do you see why this is a lesson in being content?

And so, without further ado, I’m setting my timer…

FMF prompt: Fall.

My neighbor just started up her mower. It’s loud at first, but then settles into white noise while I think about fall. What a contrast to the heat of summer about to come. Fall, with that crispness in the air and the colors of the leaves. I think what I love about fall is the change.

You know, most of the time we fight change. We don’t want people to leave us or us to leave them. We resist starting something new.

But sometimes change is what we need. That fresh start to begin again or to give us a new outlook on whatever problem we’re facing.

Fall signals that change is coming. It’s winter and death, but that too will change in time. Spring, rebirth, new life is ahead. We can be glad for the changes because as believers they are merely seasons leading us to eternal spring.

Fall Leaves

Well, there you have it. I’m content for now, but I do prefer cleaning up and rewriting posts. That’s for another day.

I’m linking up to FMF. There’s a slew of other bloggers who wrote about fall in many different ways, including different definitions of the word. Check ‘em out!
Five Minute Friday

It’s Time to Call a Do-Over

Do you ever find yourself heading in one direction and, while it’s just not working out, you are reluctant to switch courses?

As kids, we had a word for that. You need a do-over.

The sun got in my eyes; I call do-over!
I was laughing too hard at her joke; do-over!
I wasn’t ready! Do-over!

It seems as adults, we feel the weight of failure if we realize the pinterest project isn’t going right or plans we made aren’t falling into place. For some reason, it’s harder, now that we’re grown up, to admit we sometimes need to call a do-over.

I’ve come to realize I need a do-over as June begins. I chose a One Word 365 in January. And it was good great! But the things God is teaching me this year have taken a different direction. I have wanted to blog about my One Word, but it’s taken a backseat to other lessons that hit closer to home.

So, I’m changing my word:

I’ve been trying to cultivate more grace in my life, to recognize grace when it’s given and to accept it as a gift from others and from God. Some days are more successful than others. Recently, I was flipping through a new devotional book on the subject, when something completely different smacked me upside the head.

The first chapter talked about Psalm 23 and there it was, in question #7 – Content. Are you content with what God has given you? Is what you have enough to be satisfied?


I have learned the secret of being content.
No, not me. Paul said that.
I have so far to go.

But I realized that he figured it out. This is it. This is the secret, if I can get a hold of it. This is the key. So, I’m going to spend the rest of the year with Content as my One Word 365.

I’m not even sure yet what I’m going to say on contentment.  Even as I read that devotional, I thought to myself, “I’ll probably forget it tomorrow, but this – right now – this is it. This is the secret. I need to remember this.”

Will you walk with me through the latter half of the year as we discuss being content?

What have you learned about being content in your life?

Is there a direction you’ve been heading that you need to change? Is it time for you to call a do-over?


You Have So Much More To Offer

I am in my 40’s and I am still painfully insecure. I ought to have grown out of that by now, right?

At a conference in early 2012, the opportunity presented itself for me to meet a young female entrepreneur who I admired online.

“Hi Maggie! I love your work and sense of style!”

Did I say this? No. I was too shy to introduce myself afraid of being rejected, so all I said was a timid “hello” and moved on.

Warm fire

A short while later I sat morosely kicking myself by this lovely fire. All my insecurities piled on me with a weight that grew heavier by the second. Instead of dealing with a mere moment of bashfulness, I was suddenly flooded with memories of a lifetime of missed encounters.

Do you ever do that?

I really never thought much about it until I saw how bothered my husband gets when I’m negative about myself. He loves me as I am and it’s insulting to his love for me when I insist that I’m unworthy of it.

I’m not alone here. I see other women I respect who don’t feel that they have much to offer and, while it’s easy for me to perceive the lie of satan in their lives, I’m blind to it in my own.

But we are women made in the image of God.

We are chosen by God for eternity.

Jesus gave up his life for us on the cross.

We are his Beloved.

I don’t have an answer to fix my own insecurities or yours. But I know that we should not dwell on them or let them drag us down and keep us from becoming all we can be in Christ. I know that God uses our weaknesses as opportunities for his strength to shine through. As Paul says, in 2 Corinthians 12:

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

I hope to offer you some encouragement tonight. Whatever it may be that you are beating yourself up about, stop. See that God is at work through you. That where you feel like you fail is where he steps in and shows his strength and power through you. And if you’re struggling and just can’t see that, then know. Know that his grace is sufficient for you and that he is with you. Trust his word. Believe it.

You, and I, have so much more to offer. Our insecurities and weaknesses are shining the light of God’s strength to a darkened world.

I’m continuing to count the gifts God is giving me:

  • Jewel-toned colors through a stained glass window.
  • The warmth of a purring cat.
  • Sunshine and warmer than average days in January.
  • A peace that descends as notes reverberate through a piano.
  • Chocolate. 🙂
  • Sunset darkening the sky a little later each day as winter ebbs slowly into spring.

I’m linking up with:

The Scenic Route

What I’m Grateful for Today

Thus far, 2013 is turning out to be a great! year! Here’s a quick recap of a few things I’m grateful for this week. Seriously, this is just the tip of the iceberg!

  • Sparkling sunshine on snow-covered grass.
  • Chapter Ten of Beyond Ordinary by Justin & Trisha Davis. I can’t wait to share more about this book with you! However, my designated day on the blog tour is the 16th, so we’ll all just have to hold our collective breath until then.
  • The best kind of blizzard – one swirled with chocolate.
  • Simply, grace.
  • My husband’s smell – cuz he smells good!


Avoiding a Case of the Mondays

First Monday of the new year! Hurray! Hoping to avoid getting a case of the Mondays this year…

…I’m linking up with Ann Voskamp and the 1000 gifts community.

The building momentum has been so interesting to watch:

An autumn conversation with a beloved sister. How can we live lives of gratitude. A mention of a book.

Secret journals begun.

A dinner table tradition of a dad pulling out a blessings book and each child and parent calling out an addition to their blessings.

A Christmas present spreads the call to count our gifts.

Familial conversations continue the reminders of all that God has given us.

A teary-eyed husband shares his own new journal and first entry to his wife.

One word for 2013.

A gentle reminder from a friend.

So, to start off my list, I can’t help but think of the holiday we just shared:

A special present

It’s Sander’s Fudge!

I’m so grateful that we could spend Christmas with Mom, my sister and her family, and my brother and his girlfriend.

We enjoyed a special gift of Sander’s Dark Chocolate Hot Fudge, hand-delivered from Michigan.

I keep reminding myself how lovely it was to spend a week in the warmer climate of Florida.

How lovely the Christmas lights looked when covered with a (thankfully light) layer of snow.

Surprises from Tom to welcome me home.

I keep thinking back on how delightful it is to share Christmas with a child (or in my case, three). Their enjoyment of every present, the older ones’ excitement to have their gifts opened by others, and the joy of experiencing the simple delights of the season anew.

The littlest one, not yet three, clapped in wonder when they made it snow (in Florida!) at a Christmas light show. And this precious moment, captured after placing Baby Jesus before Mary and Joseph on Christmas Day…

Worship the Christ Child

…may we, with awe, worship Christ throughout this year and look for the gifts that God gives us everyday.


I’m not just fine; I’m great!

It’s One Word 365 time again! As an alternative to resolutions that quickly fall by the wayside, Alece and the One Word 365 community challenge us to select a word to focus on for the next year.


Do you ever feel like there’s always something that’s not going well? That’s how my life often seems.

I always pick the wrong line at the store.

It’s my theater seat that’s broken or uncomfortable.

Sure, someone gave me a gift, but it was too big, the wrong color, or not my style.

My neck/back/stomach/foot hurts.

And how am I? Oh, fine. That sneaky four letter word.


For 2013, I resolve to change that answer.

OneWord2013 (400x278)


  • Hi, I'm Janice. I'm part bookworm and part creative. I love both science and music (and the science of music). I'm stumbling around trying to grow closer to God. Click the photo to read more about me.

  • I’m so glad you’re here!

    Thanks for taking time to read my posts in the midst of all the great blogs out in the blogosphere! If you like what you read, please follow me, or sign up to get my posts in your inbox. I'd love to hear from you, so please leave a comment!
  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 755 other followers

  • Follow me on Twitter

  • Check these out:

  • Copyright 2014 Claygirlsings | all rights reserved