Shifting Focus


I painted my kitchen the day after Christmas. I’d been wanting to do it a long time, but with all the dangling details related to Christmas preparation, it was impossible. With the completion of all the Christmas festivities, I could shift my focus. I know a lot of people would find it overwhelming and tiring to tackle something like that right after Christmas, but for me, it was rejuvenating. Concentrating on painting is so different than concentrating on people. It requires a whole different kind of creativity and a fresh, unused energy reserve, so it served to renew me.

We all need shifts like this, but, if you’re like me, the shifts require some planning and intention. If I hadn’t already picked the color and bought the paint, I would not have been painting the day after Christmas. For other renewing things, I have to put it on a list and plan for it, whether it is starting a project, having people over, or making an appointment with my spiritual director.

With the completion of the holidays and the coming of the New Year, it is the season for shifting focus. What shifts do you notice or need? What plans do you need to make to have that shift? Take a moment to share your ideas for shifts in focus here. Maybe we can help each other figure out how to find some much-needed renewal.


  1. Thanks Janice for reminding me to plan and make lists. January will start a new time in my life. Neal will be starting a project at Virginia Tech for over a year (he will be home, I hope, most weekends), Tim is away at college and Ginny is at school, doing sports and working. I want to use this time for positive things in my life: going to the gym, reading more, maybe learning to knit, oh also maybe being a vegetarian with Ginny (during the week). To do all this well, I will need to plan: join the gym, I have the books, so I will have to put them in eye-sight so I will read them, buy the supplies for knitting and find a teacher, and learn how to cook! I will also look forward to reading your blog as a positive way to start the new year. Peace…

    1. Thanks so much for adding these thoughts. I chuckled at being a vegetarian “during the week”. I like that you’re thinking of how to connect with Ginny–and that’s what she’s doing! Bless your “shifts”.

  2. Thanks, Janice, for the reminder that timing is so important. You knew you wanted to and were going to re-paint the kitchen, yet you saw all the needful things that had to be done first and waited until it was ‘right’. Would you have been renewed by that that ‘fresh, unused energy reserve’ if you chose to begin the project at a different time before when you did? I really believe the time of ‘recline’ before the time of ‘incline’ is the space where listening and planning happen. Thanks again! Sally

  3. Janice-

    Thanks so much for the reminder and thoughts as we approach the New Year. I’ve been thinking a lot about things I want to shift in the new year and this was a great reminder.

    I also have some painting to do…but I’m hoping Elise gets inspired by your post to do that!


  4. Love reading all of this. I feel that my focus has totally shifted into normalcy again. I have to keep this perspective in mind to stay renewed throughout the winter grind.

  5. You’re so right, and it yet can feel like “DUH! Plan ahead. . .I knew that!” But it’s so hard isn’t it? to take that step before you’re ticked off that yet again you didn’t plan for something rejuvenating or renewing until you’re too toasted to care.

    My big step this month (drum roll please!) is to ask for/plan a couple days of solo retreat—-not because I”m so fried that my family is glad to get rid of me—but, because I hear that whisper from Jesus to come away. You’d think this would get easier after half a century of life . . . thanks for the reminder!

  6. OK Gayll, three thoughts:
    1–I cannot believe you are 50
    2–You inspire me with taking the 2 day retreat to listen to Jesus….please, follow up and tell me how it goes.
    3–You personally inspired my kitchen painting with your frugal decorating coaching which is now part of my DNA.

    Thanks for taking time to write!

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