A Fresh Focus in 2015

I love new beginnings. They are like a fresh set of downs (a football term for you soccer enthusiasts), a sunny morning after a rain, or a mulligan after a shanked tee shot (I know these too well). You get to start over with a better perspective and clearer view of the world. That is what a new year is to me. With 2015 squarely in our path, I thought it would be beneficial to challenge myself with a few thoughts. Feel free to join me as I strive to live a more meaningful life in the upcoming year.
 Learn from the past: I know it sounds a little contrary to scripture as we are told to, “forget what is behind and strain toward what is ahead,” Philippians 3:13. Yet, I have found it very beneficial to take stock in experience. Even football players watch game film to gain understanding from their mistakes and acquire wisdom from the past. With that in mind, Carol and I will review at our master calendar that has all the year’s events on it, go through every month and reminisce. This discipline has always brought great reward. We love to remember all the people that the Lord allows us to engage with. These are not just memories, they are connections with people and places that the Lord has specifically blessed us with. As we look in the rearview mirror, we are able to reassess the opportunities that we have had to overcome life’s struggles, the pain of trials and see the hand of God on all of it.
 Develop gratitude: As we rethink the past year, my heart is filled with thankfulness. The fingerprints of Jesus continue to show up in our lives. When 2015 gets difficult, I want to remember the sweet hand that has always guided our steps. I have a tendency to get focused on the mountains in front of me. I need to remember the hills we have climbed in the past, knowing that He has always been in those journeys. Carol is still faithfully listing her daily gratitudes in a notebook that has hundreds of entries.
 Create an attainable objective: I am goal oriented, yet, I rarely make a long list of things I want to accomplish. In fact, every time I have done it, I failed miserably. I can get discourage when things don’t happen as quickly as I want them to. So, I make small goals that I know I can make happen. This past year’s goal was kind of lofty (write my first book). Now, I need to sell that book…..looks like I have a new goal! I do want to write more consistently this year, at least one blog a month. I also want to create one objective for Carol and I to develop together.
 Schedule fun: I need things to look forward to. When the grind of life gets me stuck, it’s always a blessing to know there is something in the future to enjoy. We like to get the new calendar out and start to look ahead to what we can do for fun in the next 12 months. This also gives us financial goals to try and achieve. I also know that if we don’t schedule something, our busyness will squeeze out all the time, and there won’t be anything left for us. This may also include small things, hikes, bike rides, an occasional movie and other outings to get us away.
 Invest in somebody: There is nothing more rewarding than developing a new deep relationship. Is there a couple you would like to get to know? Invite them over for dinner, out for coffee or lunch. This takes time, yet the rewards are eternal. I have to work through my insecurities to engage in meeting new people all the time.
Unplug more: We went to the movies the other night and I forgot my phone. What a wonderful, free, and uninhibited experience! I want to turn that stupid phone off more this year when I’m at home and forget it all together when we go out.
Read good books: Carol and I love to read together. We try to find engaging, thought provoking books that we can digest together. We are currently enjoying Bob Goff’s Love Does, and Brene Brown’s I Thought It Was Me. We spend many evenings reading out loud to each other. It is a special time of connection that binds our heart and minds together. A few books I can recommend: Donald Miller- A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, Francis Chan-Forgotten God, and anything by Philip Yancey. I also heard there was a book out by a former Nebraska quarterback that might be worth a look.

My most pressing hope for this year is a deeper experience with the Spirit of God. I want to hear His voice more clearly than ever before. May His love fill your hearts.

Travis and Carol

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