Everything in moderation. – Grandma Orlance, who lived to be 100.

I want to be a purist in some deep part of me that thinks anything less is “selling out,” “caving in,” betraying some part of myself.

Boycott Amazon. Only raise animals and tend the garden organically. Be the all of who I am in every relationship I have.

These are the hard, cold lines I try to hold myself – and others – to.

But last week, I sat down with a strong, powerful woman – Dr. Leni Sorenson – and as I listened to her talk about how she sometimes uses manufactured pesticides on her garden, as I sat at her table and heard her talk about the need to actually DO THINGS rather than set unachievable standards and discuss those standards ad nauseum, I heard my great-grandmother speak.  “Everything in moderation, child.  Everything in moderation.”

My grandmother ate cookies every day.  She took fish oil supplements every day, long before they were trendy.  She took walks for as many years as she could, mowing the lawn with a push mower until long into her 80s.  She loved animals. She loved people.  But she was not a woman who believed in many ideals beyond “Love God first.”


In the past few weeks, I have lost two jobs – big jobs – because I have set boundaries that the clients did not like, boundaries that let me keep first things first.  I have spent the days since rolling against my boundaries again and again in my mind, challenging them against the ideal I was long taught and have long held.

Always be helpful.

In my world, as a woman, particularly as a Christian woman, that realm of “help” often meant to do things for other people at any cost to myself.  That word SACRIFICE sat high on a pedestal.

I have been slow to take to this idea of boundaries because they feel selfish sometimes, because they challenge that idea of help in a very real way.

But I am learning – sometimes I must not always help because helping is not always good for me or for the people to whom I extend a hand.

I think my great-grandmother knew that truth, too.  She was a woman who often sat quiet, resting easy with her voice, turning upward before she stretched out her own flesh to others.


So it has taken me most of the first month of this year to come to this place where the lesson I am to absorb for 2015 comes to my ear, my mind, my heart, then my lips – MODERATION.

It will be my word for 2015.

I will hold boundaries that keep me and the people I love safe and healthy.  I will make the best choices I can given all the parameters I can see and weigh. I will set aside ideals in favor of love and health and truth.

Many thanks to Leni and Grandma Orlance for the lessons proved and respoken for me.

What is your word for 2015? Share a link here if you have one.