Word of the Year 2012: Balance

I’ve been promising a post about my word of the year for a while now, I think I was just hoping to have it all better defined before writing it, but this word encompasses so many smaller goals that it has all been swimming around in my head and I hardly know where to begin.

I’ve known what my word would be for a while, mainly because it is so necessary in my life at this time! But how to achieve it is something that is still eluding me, somewhat.

What is a word of the year? Each year for the last three years, I’ve chosen a word to focus on, rather than trying to remember a lengthy list of New Year’s Resolutions. I was first introduced to the idea through the blogging community and love how it feels so much more doable than the old way of doing New Year’s Resolutions. You can watch the video on this post to hear more about my thoughts on the matter.

I’ve had some pretty good words in the past:

2009: JOY — as in “Joy in the Journey” and finding joy through whatever experiences may arise.

2010: GRATITUDE — as in having an “Attitude of Gratitude”

2011: PURPOSE — “Living Life on Purpose” which to me was both making sure that the things I am doing have value and merit, but also, being the one that chooses what I will spend my time on, rather than happening to find myself busy without understanding why.

I haven’t been perfect at any of them, but I’ve appreciated having a focus to come back to–especially when I get overwhelmed with it all. This year’s word is probably harder (for me) to achieve than any other. I’m not great at routines. I’m always thinking of something new or better or prepping for the next big event. I’m also notorious for over-committing myself and underestimating the time/resources various commitments will take. I have felt a few things slipping out of whack this year, and this is why I know I need to focus on finding BALANCE in 2012.

***NOTE: This turned out to be a rather lengthy post. If you’d rather gloss over my self-analysis (which I would totally understand), you might want to skip to the end of the post where I’m sharing resources that are helping me and may be helpful to you!***

I like balance. I find it necessary and calming to have visual balance in design. Why would real life be any different? I find balance necessary in politics and in discussing issues. I’ve even been known to vote the opposite political party of the majority of the people in a whatever state I’m living in, in an attempt to provide balance to the situation. I have two boys and two girls (in alternating order) — and while I couldn’t have planned that, I appreciate the balance it brings to our home.

With my affinity for balance, one wonder that I struggle so much with adopting it in my own life. But I do. Rather than living by routines, I tend to push from one big event to the next. I want to be able to enjoy my day to day life and time with my family, rather than always stressing about the next big thing. Of course, my 2012 calendar is already full of several big things, so that will make my goals particularly challenging. I just don’t want to always live in survival mode.

Here are a few areas that I need to improve in, in order to achieve some form of a balanced life:

HEALTH: I am not happy with my state of health at the moment. While I am blessed to be free from serious disease or illness, my general state of well-being is not what I would have it be presently. Too little sleep, Random eating (and sometimes forgetting to eat), little exercise, and stress and pressure, have left me with low energy most all the time which makes it hard to accomplish any other goals. It’s kind of a vicious cycle. I’m too tired to get much done during the day with the kids, and so I wait until late at night to get productive. Then I don’t get any sleep and I’m tired the next day. I’ve got to figure out how to get the sleep my body needs. I’ve also been planning to get serious about the baby weight from my son for a while. He’ll be 2 in a few months. It’s probably time I quit planning and start doing.

SPIRITUALITY: I don’t love forcing spiritual things. I don’t think spirituality is checking off a to-do list. But I know I haven’t been taking the time to allow myself to have spiritual experiences. I need to carve out the time in my day to strengthen myself spiritually, or I won’t have the spiritual strength I need to make it through each day or to handle the trials that inevitably come. It’s not that this is totally broken for me. It just hasn’t been taking it’s rightful place on my priority list.

SAYING NO: This one is killer for me. I genuinely want to help people! I’m honored when others recognize my talents or come to me for advice. I honestly wish I could help most everyone that asks for my help and many people who don’t. I get sympathy pains for others and genuinely care about their predicaments. BUT if I were to make a list of all the little (and big) things I did just this last month to help people out–in the middle of my chaotic Christmas preparations–you would all shake your heads and laugh at me.

The trouble is figuring out who and what to say “no” to. I saw a quote on Twitter that made an impression on me. I need to plaster it on my walls. It said something like, “Choosing to say ‘yes’ to something is choosing to say ‘no’ to something else.” I just need to make sure it isn’t my children, my health, my marriage, etc. that I am inadvertantly saying “no” to.

MY HOME: While I love doing projects for and decorating my home, when I am in the midst of a project or a party (which is pretty much all the time), my house pretty much disintegrates into total chaos. No one in my family is particularly good at routines, so things don’t get clean until we have a major cleaning event. There has to be a two-parts to the solution here. I need to work on my own routines and habits. (and gaining the energy to carry them out). I also need to make sure my children learn good work habits and teach them routines that will minimize the chaos on a regular basis.

BLOGGING vs FAMILY HISTORIAN: I began blogging years ago to document the happenings of my young family and share them with my family and friends. I found myself wanting to share more of my projects (and didn’t want to bore those who were just reading the blog to see the kids) so I started a separate blog. I didn’t know what I was doing or what all would happen with it. I slapped some Google Ads on there and waited for the money to roll in. It took 3 years of blogging to get my 1st check from Google. Yet, as I found other creative bloggers, many were so supportive of my blog and my ideas, I kept persisting in developing my blog to be one that would help support my family. It is finally becoming somewhat of a profitable venture for me to blog, but there is still so much I have to learn and so many mysteries to solve (like why a post can be viewed thousands of times but only get 2 comments). I can be a little obsessive about looking at the numbers or seeing what has been pinned. Then there is all of the social media and self-promotion to be done if one is trying to grow a blog. The point of all of this is that I spend hours at the computer, and do you know how many of those hours were updating my family blog in 2011? Zero. I didn’t write a single post. I take beautiful pictures of my children and since scrapbooking is complicated when you are me, I’m not doing anything with them. My kids LOVE going back and reading the family blog. Before it got destroyed by one of them, they were so excited the get the Blurb book of our blog (from 2007) and sit down and read it. I need to do more to record, preserve, and present our family memories, while we are in the middle of making them! I have some ideas about how I will do this, but am nervous that I might not be able to always follow through.


I am open to suggestions big or small, that will help me achieve my goal of balance (or at least less chaos) this year! Fortunately I have found several tips and nuggets of inspiration through the blogworld already! I’ve started a board on Pinterest (Resolution Solutions) to track some of the more inspirational and motivational sayings as well as tools to help me get organized. Such as:


I’ve printed a couple of the the calendars from this round-up on the SNAP! blog to start plotting the big things that are coming up this year, as well get a better feel for how I can manage my time on a weekly/daily basis.

Chore Charts:

I’ve nearly had a system in place for a long time now, but was getting hung up on making the chore charts cute, and figuring out exactly what should be on them. I printed out Mique’s charts, filled them in, and laminated them, and have started using them with the kids this week. If I need to adjust the chores, I can always print out a new chart. Take that, perfectionism! Thanks, Mique!

You also might like this printable from 1825! It’s beautiful and I like the idea of having the family working together on goals. Theirs is meant to be adaptable and visual!

As for things to think about. I just found this article while searching for a graphic for balance. I think the exercise they describe could be really helpful in determining what parts of your life are out of balance and charting it visually, since I am such a visual person.

I really liked this post over at Centsational Girl about balancing the blogging thing with real life. It is a great gig, but it doesn’t come with corporate training or even an instructional manual. It was nice to see that we all deal with the same issues and concerns, and to hear some of what these amazing and successful women have done to manage them! It’s got me thinking: how much money do I need to be making, before I can afford a personal assistant? Hmm…

Have you found a state of relative balance in your life? I would truthfully love to hear any suggestions big or small you may have. What routines have worked for you? When do you feel that your life is best in balance?

The Lettered Cottage
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  1. I’m super proud of you! You are already so amazing, Kendra and I know this will be a great word for you. I already wrote about this to you in reply your Facebook post and it ended up being a novella :). I find it ironic that I almost picked this same word but that it stressed me out too much — LOL. In some ways I feel like I am already pretty good at being organized but finding “balance” is really difficult for me when I feel like so much of what Jeff does really dictates what I have time for…I get pretty frustrated trying to figure out that whole scenario and how much “me” time is appropriate. Quite honestly I wasn’t brave enough to do the word “Balance” this year so kudos to you! Anyway, I would love to chat sometime about this but feel free to say “no” if you don’t have time! 🙂 Good luck on your journey this year!

    • I ready your post about your word and saw that you almost chose “balance.” Your reasoning made me want to change my word, too. But it just seems like this is what it has to be for me. I also find Barry’s unpredictable schedule really limiting, but I am feeling like I need to do my best to create a great life for my family, despite the scheduling challenges.

      Thanks so much for always cheering me on on Facebook and on the blog! Your support means so much! We do need to chat sometime. I’m sure there is a ton I could learn from you.

  2. Yay- glad I can help you a bit with your perfectionism. 😉 I love your word and am in major need of balance myself.

    • Mique you’re chart is pretty much what I was trying to design but cuter, and by printing it with the lines, I quit stressing so much about customizing the chart for each child (design and chores). Anyway, thank you! I’ve REALLY been feeling the need to work on responsibility with my 4 year old, and she was very excited to use her list today!

  3. Kendra! This post is so well put! I can relate to almost everything you said!!! I’ve been thinking so much about balance as my commitments seemed to get to the “out of control” point last year! Like you, I HAVE to learn to say no but I genuinely love to help people! My family picture documentation has suffered, but I’m determined to catch up! The beginning of the year has been great for me as I have made a conscious decision to slow down a little and make an effort toward balance. I feel so great on the days that I go to bed thinking I was a great mom. So everything else can just wait! Oh no, now I’m rambling, but I just wanted to say, thanks for writing this post because it makes me feel like I’m not alone! Take care! And as always, I’m enjoying your blog!

    • Ashleigh, thanks for helping me feel like I’m not alone! This post was much harder to write than I thought it would be, and since it is such a departure from what I usually write, I wasn’t sure anyone would want to read it. I can’t say I’ve done amazingly well at this balance thing yet this year. If you find any tips or tools that really work for you, I’d love to hear all about them! Thank you!

  4. Kendra, thanks so much for including a link to the calendar round up. Super appreciate the shout out!



  1. […] you recall, back in January, I wrote about my need to find balance. It is a quest I am taking seriously, though I can’t claim victory, yet. In order to try and […]

  2. […] in from your history? I just had a brilliant thought! This would be a perfect way to celebrate your Word of the Year for 2013! Have you chosen a word yet? I’d love to hear what you would […]

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