Notice. Noun: attention, observation; Verb: become aware of.
Here's what I'm noticing at the moment: the headache I awoke with this morning--and which plagued me most of the day--is completely gone. The Christmas decorations are put away (mostly). Our house smells faintly of pine and bacon. We've eaten our traditional New Year's meal of collard greens and black eyed peas and I feel satisfied but not stuffed. It is dark and reasonably quiet at the moment for a household of four boys. The family is settled down to play some video games or do some reading and I am wrapped in the blanket my sister sent for Christmas clicking away at the keyboard while the wind blows quietly over the fresh snow outside my window.
For the last several years I have chosen a word of the year to guide my goals and resolutions; I've had great success with this approach. I have tried to display my word in my home so that I am reminded of it often. This year I've chosen NOTICE as my word of the year. I like words that can be widely interpreted. Synonyms for "notice" include: attention, observation, awareness, consciousness, perception, regard, consideration, watchfulness (for the noun form), and observe, perceive, note, see, discern, detect, distinguish, mark, watch (for the verb form). I think that all the different interpretations of my word will help to keep me engaged and interested for a full 366 days (2016 is a leap year).
As I was talking with my sister on the phone a few days ago about what my word of the year would be, we were talking about some of my thoughts. I told her about how I want to focus on being happy and content, feeling and expressing gratitude, finding opportunities to serve, the little moments and memories that we are creating (especially because my oldest son is a senior in high school this year and will be going off to school before the end of the year), and becoming an all around better person than I was last year. I wanted a word that would encompass all those things and suggest action rather than passively letting life happen around me. She suggested "notice" and I thought it was perfect.
I have a friend who has had a difficult year and I recently asked her how she was doing when I saw her. She answered, "fine", but I pressed her and asked how she was really doing. A few days before Christmas she told me that it meant so much to her that I just noticed that she wasn't really doing fine. She felt like I cared (because I did) and it helped her to feel loved and not so alone. She said that if only more people would notice others and reach out to them, the world would be a better place. I can notice and I can act on what I notice. Through noticing I will bless my own life and the lives of those around me and, in my small way, make the world a better place.
This year I hope having notice as my word of the year will help me:
--detect the beauty in my life, my circumstances, and the world around me
--consider my blessings and note them with gratitude
--mark the little things that make life pleasant
--be aware of everyday moments with my family (because they are the fabric of eternity)
--be present and mindful
--attend to the things that need attention
--watch and pray continually
--see God's hand in my life
--consider how I can grow closer to Jesus Christ and my Father in Heaven
2015 was a pretty great year, but I am excited for all the possibilities of 2016. I've noticed that it's off to a great start already.
Do you have a word of the year? I'd love to hear about it. Tell me in the comments.