Well, y’all, I am up early, there’s a two year old sitting on my lap watching youtube on my phone (looks like some cute brown girls are acting out sleeping beauty?), and I’m trying to write more so I will ignore of the struggle of what it feels like to have her feet wrapped around my calves, her toes digging into my muscles and her hair whispies rubbing on my cheeks and irritating my skin, and try and get some words out.

Let’s talk about why I choose “keep” as my word of the year. I don’t really know if I’ll remember choosing it — I chose a word for 2016 but had to search twitter to find what it was. But this word I picked New Years Eve while I was waiting for our food from the Chinese restaurant to be done, green ink thoughts doodled on paper scraps from my purse.

I picked keep because of all the phrases it goes with that I’d like to remember this year. Jesus keep me near the cross. Keep on keeping on. Keep hope alive. Keep the peace. Keep on the sunny side. Keeping feasts. Keeping commandments. And 1 Peter 4:8 — Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.

The dictionary definition of keep has a bunch of instances of “maintain”. I really suck at maintenance, even the daily work of houseKEEPing (eyeroll emoji) that whatsherface calls quotidian mysteries (It’s Kathleen Norris). Even when I develop a successful routine, it takes very little to throw me off and mess me up. And then, of course, my dumb brain tells me it’s pointless and I’ll never catch up and I should just make sure the kids’ uniform clothes are clean and not worry about anything else. We can survive that way, but life is a lot easier for my whole family if I know I have clean pants to wear when I get out of bed. I want to remember to keep going, to start again, even if life and kids and hormones have totally derailed the way I thought things were gonna go. And, of course, it’s not just about housekeeping. Also writing and pursuing Jesus (that new devotional is helping a lot!), and fighting for justice, etc., etc.

So there’s about sixty different ways this word can be used to encourage me to live my best life, to live a faithful life, to not sprout tomato seeds in the old washcloths I left on the margins of my sink. Maybe I’ll make it my phone background so I’ll see it all the time.

I’ll finish up with the lyrics from that hymn I referenced earlier. We actually had someone sing it at our wedding and it was so exactly perfect I almost jumped up and down in delight during the ceremony.

1 Jesus, keep me near the cross,
There a precious fountain;
Free to all, a healing stream,
Flows from Calv’ry’s mountain.

In the cross, in the cross
Be my glory ever,
Till my ransomed soul shall find
Rest beyond the river.

2 Near the cross, a trembling soul,
Love and mercy found me;
There the Bright and Morning Star
Shed His beams around me. [Refrain]

3 Near the cross! O lamb of God,
Bring its scenes before me;
Help me walk from day to day
With its shadow o’er me. [Refrain]

4 Near the cross! I’ll watch and wait,
Hoping, trusting ever;
Till I reach the golden strand,
Just beyond the river. [Refrain]

(it’s by Fanny Crosby)

Hopefully later on today or maybe tomorrow I’ll write something more serious and essay-like. Cheers!

Our family loves & serves our church New City South in St. Louis, MO. Grumpy old codger especially about church music & a writer, maybe, with 4 small children

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