What SHINE taught me {OLW 2013}

Twelve months ago I was apprehensive to claim this word as mine for 2013. Now, from this perspective, I can’t imagine a better word to teach me what I needed (but didn’t even know I needed) to learn.

5 Lessons I Learned from SHINE
  1. This was a year of learning to have a humble heart. I think this is a life long — year by month by week by day by minute by second kind of battle against pride. I didn’t even realize it was an issue, but this year has been one where the black tangles of pride have been pulled out of my heart. As painful as it’s been, I’m thankful for the process because the purer the heart, the brighter the shine.
  2. Perhaps the most unsettling thing about claiming the word shine was that I thought it meant I had to be in the limelight. This was a year where I learned to make life less about me and more about God. I’m happy to report that shine has very little to do with me and everything to do with the One who gives Light.
  3. The more I focus on loving more, the more the light shines from me. It’s not about what I do that allows me to shine in this world. Rather, it is about who I love and the way I open my life and heart to the Giver of Light.
  4. Shine has become a way of life. Ramona gave me a little sign that lives on my kitchen counter. It is a reminder to “Shine Brightly.” I’m  learning to live smaller in order to shine brightly.
  5. “Never let anyone steal your sparkle,” is on the flip side of a shine necklace Michelle sent my way. Perhaps it was because of the impeccable timing of the gift, but the lesson was one I needed to own for myself. We live in a world where it is easy to believe you are not enough, while at the same time demanding that we give more and more and more. 2013 was about giving more (adopting our fourth child) and making space (stepping away from Two Writing Teachers, a blog I co-founded). I’ve learned I will make choices that may not make sense to the rest of the world and this. is. okay. I will shine and won’t let anyone snag it away. Ever.

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  1. The unintended lessons are the best part of OLW. I know when I pick mine I have an intention, a plan…and it never works out like I plan…usually, it's better! The gift of life! Looking forward to hearing your word for 2014! My word (and I am apprehensive about this word) for 2014 is risk. Can't wait to see what lessons it will teach me. Happy New Year, Ruth!

  2. It's good to hear your words, Ruth, the reflection of this year for you in all its permutations. That word 'shine' seems to have helped you see the multi-layered lives we live, so often without realizing it. I'm glad you made your way through the darker parts, to let yourself 'be' and 'shine' for you. Life is not predictable, and I suspect at this time last year, you would never have thought another stocking would be hung at Christmas, to help the shine grow brighter. Happiest of New Years to you and your wonderful family!

  3. Ruth, I love this little peek into your life and and the lessons you learned on your journey with the word shine! When I saw the Shine Brightly sign, I knew it belonged at your house. I'm continually encouraged by your willingness to share your journey in writing. How you find the time in your busy life is a puzzle, but I'm so glad you do. Happy New Year, my friend.

  4. It is a wonderful mystery how we learn to wrestle with this”
    “We live in a world where it is easy to believe you are not enough, while at the same time demanding that we give more and more and more.”
    Your honest post makes it clear that it's not easy, but we find our paths somehow. Your faith is something that I really admire, Ruth. Happy New Year to you and your family!