Monday, January 2, 2017

How I Intend to Simplify and be Present with Joy this New Year...

I've been reflecting on 2016 as well as thinking a lot about what I would like for 2017.  You may be thinking I wish for an unlimited bank account, servants to clean and keep order, someone to fan and feed me grapes...ha! If so, you are mistaken...well, partially ;-)

Seriously, I'm talking more about my attitude in the day to day and organizing things that I have control over. Along these lines, I've come up with three words/ideas that I'm striving for in the new year.


Our home has gotten away on me. The last couple of years have been challenging for personal reasons, but God has continued to sustain me throughout. I have now reached a point where I think I'm ready to carry on. Over the years, I have collected too much stuff! Closets are overflowing and I'm ready to purge.

I want 2017 to be the year of minimizing.  I am working on goals and a plan to sort through each closet as well as attempting to organize the basement.  I'm feeling a bit claustrophobic so I intend to sell, donate, and gift armloads of items that we no longer need or use.

I also intend to simplify our homeschool.  I'm reevaluating priorities and my definition of education.  I hope to post more about this as it comes together.  2017 will be a year of simplification all the way around.


I was thinking entirely about this over the holidays.  A couple of months ago, we got a new to us (used) couch. Its vivid 1970's pattern didn't match the quilt wall hanging that hung behind our old couch so I opted to rearrange the furniture.  I love this new arrangement!  I moved the two swivel/rocker/recliners, one of which was my chair, to the end wall in front of the quilted wall hanging and put the couch in front of the windows closer to the TV. I am not a huge TV watcher, but some members of our family are, so this arrangement affords me space at the end of the living room away from the TV, but still present with my family.

I must confess, in the past, I would sneak away from the family TV watchers to the quiet space in front of our computer.  However, now I am actually present much more sitting in my chair.  We also acquired a new to us (used) lamp stand where I keep stacks of books.  I can sit in the room and read or browse cookbooks while my family watches TV.  Better yet, I've noticed them turning off the TV or turning away from it to talk to me on the opposite side of the room.  As Riley and Ruben get older, I love to hear their thoughts and opinions about various topics. For example, the election gave us much to talk about and it was fascinating to see them articulate their ideas. This new living room arrangement has been more conducive to leisurely contemplation and conversation with them. I'm thoroughly enjoying it.

Also, I've kept the stack of Christmas picture books by my chair so when Levi crawls up on my lap for snuggle time, I have easy access to a story.  When not in use, they are tucked against the wall behind the chair and out of the way.  This has encouraged more read aloud time for him.  I would eventually like to find either a couple of attractive baskets for book storage or possibly construct some sort of book rail along the wall to display picture books that could be rotated out seasonally.  I'm still thinking on this one, but the point being my presence has been a real present not only to my family, but my participation has been a gift to me. I intend to be more intentional in being present in 2017. The kids are growing so fast and I definitely don't want to miss these moments!


This has to do with my attitude. I saw a Christmas sign last month that simply said "JOY" and it really spoke to me.  I've been thinking about it since. When the day to day seems impossible, just maybe my bad attitude makes it worse. I have come to see my kids thrive or fail based upon my demeanor. Therefore, in 2017, I aim to improve my attitude and be more joy filled. Don't get me wrong, I know not every day will be roses, but hopefully, by keeping my focus on joy, it can at least be a poor man's orchid rather than thistles.
Ecclesiastes 9:7 King James Version (KJV)
7 Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works.
Romans 15:13 King James Version (KJV)
13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.
Nehemiah 8:10 King James Version (KJV)
10 Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength.
Hebrews 12:2 King James Version (KJV)
2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Proverbs 17:22 King James Version (KJV)
22 A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.
There you have it!  No resolutions to hit the gym, walk extra steps, or lose so many pounds this year, but rather it is my hope..
to Simplify and be Present with Joy
Do you have New Year's resolutions?  If so, I'd love to hear about them.  Feel free to e-mail me or leave a comment below.

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