One Word for 2017

Welcome 2017! Another year has come and gone, and what an eventful year it was. For many of us, whether we want to admit it or not, a most memorable part of 2016 will be the Presidential election. From the campaign rhetoric to reactions over election results, it will certainly be remembered for its divisiveness.

From an agriculture point of view 2016 was a good year for some farmers, not as good for others, and a downright struggle for some. Low prices continued for both corn and beans. Prices took a nose dive for beef cattle and for milk, though both are beginning to climb now. The weather was a challenge depending on where you are in Ohio. Low rainfall near the beginning of summer was great for hay making, even in May, but not so good for corn growing as we got into July. Yields were across the board, but many farms saw better yields than they expected earlier in the season.

I think it is very helpful for us to have a time when we can reflect on where we’ve been, where we are, and where we’re headed. Beth did a great job last week providing tools to focus on setting SMART goals.

Do you have your list of resolutions for 2017? Neilson data shows that last year’s most popular resolutions were to stay fit and healthy, lose weight, spend less and save more, enjoy life to the fullest, and spend more time with family. Are any of those on your list?

A few years ago as I was listening to one of my favorite radio talk shows, the host encouraged everyone to choose one word on which to focus for the next year. So I did. And I have chosen one new word each year since. At the beginning of each New Year, instead of writing resolutions I choose just one word on which to focus. For the past few days I’ve been thinking about how best to capture my thoughts and boil them down to just one word.

I don’t like to admit it, but I am a crammer. I think that happens to a lot of optimists. We are so sure that we have time to do just one more thing. And I find it difficult to say “no” to what I think are worthy tasks and causes. Some days I am scheduled down to the minute. It can be exhausting and has a tendency to leave me cranky. I need more room to breathe.

I came across a blog post from S.D. Smith titled, “Marginal Faith: You Probably Should Be Doing Less.” This short little post spoke volumes to my weary soul.

Smith writes, “Margin-making is an act of faith. It is a surrender to a providential God. It is a humble act. It is ceding power from ignorance to omniscience. It is childlike, hopeful, brave, and beautiful… You will today be told you need to do a hundred more things to qualify as productive, as righteous, as loyal… You need to think this. You need to do that. You need to do more. More. More. More… You need to figure out what you’re called to, the smaller and the more precise the better, and then do that with all you’ve got.”
So my word for 2017 is margin. I’m seeking wisdom to know on what to focus my precious time. Purposely leaving more time. And hoping to find balance and beauty in that sacred space.