It’s Saturday morning. The big boys are at basketball and the little one is napping so I have the whole house to myself. These quiet moments are a rare and precious thing, and I thought maybe we could sit down over my second cup of coffee and chat awhile. There are lots of words friends – bubbling up and overflowing – so if you need a refill (or a potty break) I totally, completely understand.
To be honest, I’ve taken several myself :).
2016 and I were more than happy to part ways. Month after month, it was a really rough year for me, punctuated by a difficult December. Between sickness, a stretch of sleepless nights, Mike’s knee surgery, and the passing of my great-uncle, I was just beyond ready to cross over the threshold of a new year.
There is nothing magical about the turn of a year, but there is something incredible about God showing up in that time and space. As challenging as December was, it should have been so much worse – heavy with sorrow, stretching us beyond the max of our financial abilities, me emotionally walking a tight rope – but it wasn’t.
God granted strength for each new day, miraculously providing for us during Mike’s recovery. And right when we needed it most, out of the crisp December air, a prophetic word of encouragement from a long-ago friend was dropped into our hearts. It spoke directly to silent prayers and silent cries, replacing fear with promise, and despair with hope. I am so in awe. God is just so very good.
I don’t know what 2017 holds, but I have been reminded so powerfully that I am not forgotten and I am not alone. And for now, that is exactly what I need.
A time for everything
Every new year I take time to consider how I want the year to take shape – what I want to do, who I want to do it with, where I hope to grow. I think about personal things, family things, work things. It’s a really helpful exercise for me to make sure I’m seizing the day, making the most of every opportunity.
Except last year. Last year, I made crazy goals (fueled by postpartum hormones no doubt) that were all but impossible to realize as a homeschool mom with an infant. Because I wasn’t hitting those goals month after month, I got frustrated and angry with myself (and everyone else) because I couldn’t do what I set out to do. Couple that bit of psychology with a really difficult year, it was hard for me to see all the good things that happened, and everything I did accomplish.
So this year I’m doing something different.
Instead of setting really specific, really lofty goals for the arc of the entire year, I’ve broken the year up into months and listed some really practical things I can do in 30 days (give or take) to make me feel like I’m moving forward as a person, a writer, a wife, a mom.
Instead of … I want to lose 30 lbs this year with no real plan to do that (thank you 2016) … I’d like to lose 3 lbs in January by watching my food intake. Every month I’ll re-assess my goal, and give myself grace in the process.
Instead of … I want to make XXX dollars this year blogging (which is a really hard thing to do when I can’t commit to it full-time) … I’m going to post here when I can, about what I want, because I love to blog … and I’ll just make what I make.
Instead of … thinking I’ll be able to write my next book (a full night of sleep is still a rarity) … I’m planning to publish two already-written scripts that just need to be edited and formatted.
You get the idea :).
To be honest, most of the months are just an outline right now – a shell with nothing written down, to be addressed and assessed as they come. I’ve made space to include a scripture that I’d like to focus on each month, and one practical thing I can do at home to make our space less cluttered or chaotic (for January I tackled the DVDs). My favorite piece to this new approach is a section where I list the month’s highlights and family memories.
There is a time for everything. A time for really detailed goals and business plans and exponential growth. And there is a time for grace and thankfulness and living where I am right now. This year I am determined to focus on what is good, what is going right, and the baby steps we are all taking forward.
After 2016, this is the type of year I need, and this is the type of year I intend to have.
One of those publishing projects I mentioned earlier is a full-length Easter drama called The Promise I’m planning to release the end of March. I wrote and directed The Promise several years ago and have spent the last couple months editing and revising, giving the whole play a massive overhaul.
I cannot wait to share this play with you. The original manuscript was one of the proudest accomplishments of my early twenties, and I’m thrilled to be freshening it up, making it available for publication. Even if you’re not in the market for a new script for your church’s creative team, it’s a play that reads well too. I hope it will be a blessing to you this Easter.
They are so, so good. Growing fast. Looking older. I have an eight-year-old now, and an almost-six-year-old. The baby’s not a baby anymore – he’s pushing a year-and-a-half. It feels impossible to believe. The time is flying by so fast.
We have never felt homeschool would be a forever thing for our family, but committed to taking it one year at a time, and always kind of looked at third grade as somewhat of a transition year. Third grade starts in August. Crazy.
We’re looking at the possibility of bridging the boys for a few classes at a local school with an established homeschool community but so far the details are still pretty sketchy. It might happen this year, it might not. In either case, next years curriculum is here, and I’m getting excited for the next leg of this adventure.
Over the last three years homeschool has changed from something I have to do to something I get to do. I wouldn’t trade these moments with my boys for anything.
How are you?
What are you most excited for this year? What hard thing are you working through?
I hope you are doing well, that your family is healthy, and this new year is filled with promise.
Until next time…