This Year I Will…Oh, Look! A Squirrel!


Herding cats would have been easier than trying to corral my young son’s attention. His eyes were constantly moving, taking in everything and nothing all at once. He would pace and chatter, touching whatever his hands happened across. Those hands would absently explore an item only to discard it and move on to the next, though never back to the place it was found. If I needed to impart instruction, I’d grasp him by the shoulders and say, “Stop for a minute and look at me. Listen. Are you with me?”

Fuzzy head nodding, his soft, hazel orbs would settle on my green ones for a moment before darting away like a school of fish. They would swim back to mine every so often as I spoke my instructions, but never for long. There were simply too many other things to look at and process. Our doctor said he had Superman hearing, but my words often got lost among the many distractions in his young head. Touching him and making eye contact seemed to help. A little.

I have heard of other writers asking God for a specific word to theme their year. I’ve never done that before, but feeling distracted and directionless, I decided to give it a try. Not really expecting an answer, I was surprised when this recollection of my son’s earlier years surfaced. In the strength of this memory came a sense of my heavenly Daddy grasping my shoulders and telling me to stop. To listen. To focus.

Focus. Where has my focus been this past year? Pondering this, I find that in many areas, my focus is not where it should be.


In writing, my focus easily shifts from connecting with and encouraging others, to numbers and blog stats. Then I agonize over the fact that my motivations are obviously skewed and I get paralyzed. I stop writing. I get in a funk and wonder if I should do this thing at all.

As a homeschooler I obsess over curriculum, testing, and checking off all of our little boxes on the lesson plan. I look at other homeschool moms and despair because they are more diligent, more crafty, and more scholarly than I.

Physical pain, wrinkles, and extra pounds get a lot of air play in my brain. I focus on those things far, far too often.

My husband usually gets the short end of my focus in our marriage. My love language gauge, however, is front and center. I am keenly aware of when I am not feeling fulfilled or appreciated.

And I wonder why I so often feel like Peter, sinking in the storm tossed sea.

See, I know that if my focus was where it should be, on Jesus, I would be walking on water. I would have a more balanced perspective on a great many things.

Numbers and blog stats would cease to matter. Writing could once more be done for the sheer joy of putting words in just the right order. New friends in cyberspace would be cause for celebration. Kind comments from friends and strangers alike would warm and humble me.

Homeschooling would become less duty and more adventure. Spontaneity would be welcome again, and nature walks with camera in hand would count as much as a worksheet. Tests would lessen in importance if my children were allowed to live out their passions and talents. I could look at other homeschoolers and feel just fine doing things differently.

Physical pain, wrinkles, and extra pounds could be seen as opportunities to grow. Health, not appearance would be the primary goal. I could appreciate that age brings wisdom and use it to benefit others.

My husband could be the focus of my efforts in marriage. Finding new ways to bless him would stave off stagnation, delight us both, and set the best kind of example for our children.

Sound improbable? Too much sunshine and lollipops? Maybe so, but I know it to be possible. I know this because every once in a while I actually do get my eyes where they should be. I do focus on Jesus and then my mind and my actions align to His good purposes. His love is able to be made manifest through me, when I am willing. When I am looking at Him, I no longer see the waves. I become a water walker and this life becomes ridiculously sweet.

My attention span is woefully short though, so I plan to put this word, Focus, everywhere I might need a reminder. I’m sure it will have more than one application for me this year. And I am doubly sure that my Father will have to tell me more than once to, “Stop for a minute and look at me. Listen. Are you with me?” My eyes will roam and be distracted by far too many shiny new things. But I look at my son today, nearly grown now and able to look me steadily in the eye, and I am hopeful. I am hopeful because my Father will continue to work on growing me up too.

“Therefore we do not give up. Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day. For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18, HCSB)


Photos courtesy of  By rhamm (squirrel), and Gregory Szarkiewicz (sign)

Join us over at #TheLoft for more great New Year’s posts.  See you there!


32 thoughts on “This Year I Will…Oh, Look! A Squirrel!

  1. I can relate to this immensely! My type A personality is a “purpose driven” one. I must have plans and goals to meet at required intervals. I must have some…standard, for lack of a better word, to measure myself and my activities/actions/goals against to see how I am progressing. And these tend to take on a life of their own, to the point where the plan ends up becoming the destination, instead of merely the path to follow to get there. Amidst all the flotsam and jetsam of my meticulous planning and doing and accomplishing and measuring up, I find that I have left little time or space for the Lord, or I relegate my time with Him to just another box to be checked off on a crowded list of boxes. {Sigh} I can’t seem to get myself to understand that when I put Him first and focus on Him, everything else has a way of falling into place, and I am much more at peace.

    My keyword this year is ‘restoration”, for personal reasons, but focus is an excellent one and I almost wish I had chosen it this year. I think it will get top consideration for 2016…. Geez, see, I am already jumping WAY ahead. I need Restoration AND Focus this year! LOL!

    Happy New Year! I hope you are feeling better. And may the Lord bless you and help as you work to focus on Him!


    • Hi Jeanne! I definitely don’t have a type A bone in my body, but I do think we all have some of the same issues. Focusing on the only One who matters is so where I want to live, but I find maintaining my focus very elusive. Here’s to a year of fixing our eyes on Jesus and letting Him take care of the rest, eh? Happy New Year to you as well! See you when co-op starts up again! 🙂


  2. Rebeca, perhaps you are right where you need to be at the moment. A parent is pulled in a million different directions in an hour! Jesus knows the challenges you face and the thoughts that weight heavy. When you find yourself caught up in the day to day, or the world’s concerns, or the minutiae, take a moment for you, walk to the well and be refreshed by Him. He will never say no.


    • I do find great comfort in the fact that my Lord is always ready to refresh me and welcome me. When my eyes are squarely on Him, the cares of the moment find their proper place. I am a spiritual being living a temporary physical existence. Not a physical being having the occasional spiritual experience. It’s good to keep that distinction in mind. Thanks for stopping by, Dave, and for your encouragement!


  3. Because I am a retired empty-nester, you might think that the issues you describe here wouldn’t be relevant to me. But, I too struggle with proper motivation behind my choices and caring too much what other people think. I LOVE your dreams for a more balanced, focused-on-Jesus life. You’ve inspired me to consider how I’d like 2015 to be different–to be a better balanced person and more focused on Jesus, too. Hallelujah HE will renew us day by day as we seek him!


    • Isn’t it a beautiful thing, Nancy? To know that He will renew us every day? Amazing! I think we all struggle with our motivations. It’s because we so easily focus on this temporal costume we’re wearing, rather than on the spiritual part of us, which is the REAL us. I’m just grateful that my Jesus doesn’t give up on me no matter how ADHD I get! Happy New Year to you, and may we both find balance and fix our eyes on the only One who matters!


  4. Focus is so hard especially when so much of the world is grabbing, pullings and pushing like so many unruly children. Put your foot down….you’re the mom of your thoughts and environment. You can do this. Awesome word: focus. Coming to you from that special place – The Loft. In Him….~Chris~


  5. So good. This brings the hymn Come thou Fount to mind: “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the One I love.” We have to focus because we are like sheep…but, He is a good and faithful Shepard, drawing us back, even MAKING us to lie down in green pastures. God bless you as you focus on what He directs you to.


    • Yes, I am indeed like a wandering sheep all too often! And I do find that He has to occasionally forcibly slow me down. I am grateful that my Lord cares enough to do so, though it’s not usually pleasant at the time. 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by. Grace and peace to you!


  6. I can so relate! Through the years I often found myself repeating the word, “focus!” to my kids, and still do even now they are mostly and almost grown. They come by it naturally I think, because I this post reminds me that I should say it to *myself* more often.


    • Boy, I know it to be true, so why in the world do I allow so many distractions? Sigh. I am learning and thankfully, our Lord doesn’t give up on us! Thanks for stopping by, Jamie. Grace and peace to you!


    • Thank you, Kathie! I too am enjoying our visit. 🙂 Making new friends is one of the most unexpected blessings I’ve found in this blogging journey. It’s always a delight to meet new brothers and sisters in the Lord!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh my goodness can I ever relate. The title alone was pretty nail on 🙂 What a great word for 2015. I enjoyed this post and look forward to reading more on your site. Thanks for linking up at The Loft!


  8. Your word is fantastic! I love how you are already thinking of ways to fix your focus on what matters. I could use a little bit of your resolve! Praying you have a blessed 2015!


  9. Really, the world is so sneaky, isn’t it? Anything to take our eyes off Christ. Sometimes it is crashing waves and sometimes pretty shiny things and sometimes our own anxieties, fears, and weakness. Love your choice to focus, and your example of your son—past and present. You made me think of how grateful I am that in spite of my wandering mind and eyes, God never takes His eyes off me.
    Happy New Year Rebeca!


  10. Rebeca, I can identify with so much of your post, and it is a great reminder to me to simply fix my eyes on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our Faith. You are so right…if my eyes are on HIm, everything else will take its proper place. When my eyes are not on Him, everything else vies for first place. AND that is when the wheels come off the wagon for me. Bless you, Rebeca, for such a transparent post.


  11. Your words, “Finding new ways to bless him would stave off stagnation, delight us both, and set the best kind of example for our children.” really struck a chord with me. I, too, get so easily distracted, but my husband often gets the leftovers. Avoiding stagnation and gaining delight in our marriage is a goal I can strive for. And realizing our children will see Christ’s love in living color is necessary to their future relationships. Thanks for the word pictures!


    • I’m glad some of this resonated. I know that I need reminders (constantly) to keep my marriage front and center of my home life. As you said, it is easy to give our husbands the leftovers. Thanks for dropping by, and have a blessed day!


  12. Oh how I can relate. I love reading your posts. So much of what you say is so true for me. Yep, it is so hard to focus. My son has a hard time focusing too. It drives me nuts. I think it is so hard for me because I don’t focus on the things I need to focus on. My head is sometimes everywhere except where it needs to be. Eyes on Jesus. Life really does look better with eyes on the one that really matters.


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