This month marks the beginning of a new season – of this year and of my life. My husband and I decided to venture into some new challenges, both personally and professionally. We’re shifting our focus a bit – not just in our closet but also in our lives, setting new goals and simplifying areas of our lives as we step out boldly and embrace whatever God has in store for us. We’ve learned from past seasons that if we want to be successful, we’ll need a keen awareness of what’s important to us, a sharpened focus on our desires and a fresh commitment to live life with style. I’m in the process of letting go of what needs to be shed, preserving what needs to be packed away, freshening up what’s still of value and making space for something new. If I want to live the life God designed uniquely for me, I’ll need a vision, focus, commitment, confidence and hope. A tall order, for certain; but I’m ready to step out and create that sense of S.T.Y.L.E – one letter, one concept, one step at a time. (S) - I must seek direction from my life designer. He’s the one who knows me best, the one who developed a plan for my life before I was created. God already knows what this new season will bring and what I’ll need to successfully embrace it. When I take the lead and chart my own course, I might get through the day; but I don’t have the fulfillment and contentment I feel when I know I’m following the plans designed just for me. That’s where a real sense of style – life style – takes shape. (T) - I need to take time to nurture those relationships and opportunities important to me. Time. We know we need to use it well if we’re to accomplish our goals. We have plans for what to do with it and we talk about its value. Yet, all too often, time seems to slip through our hands, leaving us with frustration, disappointment, missed opportunities, regrets. I know if I spend time on those things of value to me, I’ll find more of the life style I’m seeking. (Y) – I need to take care of myself – physically, emotionally and spiritually. So do you. Of course, we all know the value of self-care. A stroll down the pharmacy isles offers a glimpse at the consequences of not caring for ourselves as we should. If we want a healthy life style, you need to take care of you and I need to take care of me. (L) – I need to look up for guidance, look within for courage and confidence, and then look around for opportunities to share the gifts I’ve been given. A famous Norman Rockwell sketch depicts everyday people shuffling along a sidewalk with heads hung low and shoulders curled inward as if burdened with a heavy weight. Standing firmly across the sidewalk is a place of refuge, a place of direction, a place of hope. As your eyes follow white doves making their way up the church’s stairway, you’ll find a beam of light and a word of encouragement on the marquee: “Lift up thine eyes.” Rockwell knew so well what I must remember as I move through this new season in the style I so desire. Shoulders back. Eyes up. (E) – I must find something to enjoy in the present moment. We often find ourselves caught up in the trials and challenges before us; and we hear the clock ticking as we press on with diligence to accomplish the tasks at hand. Yet, when we do allow ourselves to stop and enjoy a pocket of time – without guilt – we find renewed energy and fresh perspective. The stress of life is replaced with the joy of life that’s there for us to embrace. If this is to be a season of style, then it must also be a season to smile. A good dose or two of laughter wouldn’t hurt either! It’s the beginning of a new season – not just for my husband and me, but for you as well. So, let’s step out with confidence and embrace it – in S.T.Y.L.E. Nancy Williams, M.Ed, LPC is a licensed professional counselor, speaker and writer. Send comments or questions to her at

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