Happy New Year, everyone! I’m so glad you’re here today.
I’ve always liked the start of a new year. Where I grew up, I often found myself snuggled warmly inside my home, while the sun shone brightly through windows presenting vistas of a snow-washed world. January first always seemed to promise a cleansing of past mistakes and a chance to start anew … a reminder of God’s fresh mercies and promises for the future.
I’m curious. Are you one to make new year’s resolutions? I rarely have. I don’t like to make promises I’m not sure I can keep. The only one I remember making and following-through with was reading the Bible through in a single year. To be honest, I didn’t like it. I prefer to chew Scripture slowly and you can’t do that very well when you’ve a lot to cover each day. And sometimes I’d read an assigned passage that made my day worse not better. (Lesson here: God doesn’t have a formula for everyone to follow as they pursue a relationship with Him.)
Some friends of mine have stopped making resolutions and, instead, ask God to show them a word or phrase to focus on each year. Now, I like change. I love calendars because I get new artwork to grace my walls every month. So last year I chose a word for each month. Those words guided my thoughts for my blog and Facebook posts. But this year I feel led of the Lord to choose only one word for the year – or at least for right now.
That word is listen. This year I want to be more deliberate to listen daily to the Lord and let Him speak deeply to my heart. I want to be able to share with you messages from the Lord Himself and not just my own ideas. This year I also want to be able to listen more to you. (More about that later.) And, this year, I want us all to listen to insights from other SAFE moms.
So here’s how some of this is going to work out.
- I’ve listened to the pros who suggest having a website that is self-hosted and is titled with the author’s name. I’ve hesitated to use my name because there are thousands of Cheri Johnsons out there—with names spelled a zillion different ways. How in the world will people find me? Well, I guess they’ll have to learn to spell my name. But there are also many who spell their name like I do. So, since I write to moms, I’ve added to my name the number of children I have—5, followed by the number of grandchildren—which at this stage is an unknown factor—x. (The 11th is due in May but chances are pretty likely that there will be more to come.) So my new website is (at the moment) still called Mother of Pearls, but found at http://cherijohnson5x.com/. It is attached to an email by the same name: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have launched my new website but I’m not using it yet. It’s waiting for a few tweeks that I hope to finish this coming month. One of those tweeks is to invite you to sign up to receive blogs (just like you do now but from my new site) directly into your own email box. However, a couple other goodies will be offered in doing so.
- First, when you sign up you’ll be offered a gift from me: A SAFE Mom’s Manifesto. This will be an attractive printable page that you can hang on your mirror, refrigerator, or wherever you want to remind you that you are not a failure, your children are not the devil, and God is faithful.
- Second, when you sign up, I’ll then be able to communicate with you individually. This is where the “listening to you” part comes in. By communicating with you privately, you’ll be able to safely share your heart without fear of how other readers might respond. You can also respond personally to short surveys I’ll send you, asking your opinion about blog content, topics you’d like me to address, or ideas for practical solutions. You’ll also be the first to know when I’m up to something new, and someday—maybe this year—you’ll be the first to learn when my book is ready to launch. I’m really excited about this feature. It will allow me to experience a more face-to-face interaction with each of you.
- As I stated earlier, I will be hosting guest bloggers—women who are currently in the trenches of parenting children of other mothers. I’ve been an empty-nester now for seven-and-a-half years. I’ve been writing to you from lessons I learned and recorded in journals years ago. I’ve been sharing from memories but only rarely from current-day challenges. Though I know it’s helpful to hear from someone on the other side of parenting, and though I believe God’s truths transcend time and experiences, I want you to be able to hear from precious moms who are learning to apply truth right now in the midst of their present battles. You can look to hear from them the last Monday of every month, starting this month: January 30th.
My desire this year is to serve you better. I look forward to the treasures I will receive and pass on to you as I listen. And I look forward to hearing from you as you bravely walk your own parenting journey in 2017.