New Year’s Initiatives

New Years Initiatives (grammar nerds: apostrophe here? Do the initiatives belong to the year? Or is “year” used as an adjective? Is this just an idiom? Help!)

I’ve decided to have initiatives for the new year instead of resolutions. The way I see it, a resolution is a firm, hard decision to start doing something, or stop doing something, etc. But an initiative is something you are going to work on or try to improve. And this year, initiatives just make more sense for me than resolutions.

1. Writing and Blogging

If you’re reading this, it means you haven’t unfollowed me on Facebook despite the many and lengthy posts I’ve been putting out recently. Thank you for that, by the way. I really enjoy writing. I’ve always enjoyed writing. So I’ve decided to start writing. I’m working on a blog, and hopefully early in the new year I can publish my musings there, and take up less social media real estate (You’re welcome).

While a big part of the enjoyment in writing for me comes from getting my thoughts on (e-)paper and playing with words that I so adore, a bigger part is that it serves as an altar of sorts. In Genesis 35, Jacob builds an altar “because there God appeared to him…” (v.7). In Exodus 12, God tells Moses he will pass over the obedient Israelites (blood above the door – the Passover). “So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord throughout your generations” (v.14). I could go on (how fun would it be to find an example from every book of the Bible?!), but you get the idea. These men commemorated significant events in their life where God intervened or saved or appeared or taught. September was a very challenging month for our family, beginning with a night in the hospital for our toddler, and ending (reaching into October) with two child-care situations that fell apart without notice (while I was pregnant and exhausted). It was stressful and scary, yet God provided. Jake and I decided to build an altar of sorts in our family so that every September we could celebrate what God has done for us. These writings will be, for me and my family, a way to look back and remember all the ways we’ve learned and grown and struggled and fought, and all the ways God has come through for us (spoiler alert: he ALWAYS does).

(Sorry, that was a long one)

2. Continued Debt Reduction, with Debt Freedom by the end of the year!

It’s been almost 11 months since we started our journey toward being debt free. Since last February, we’ve paid off four credit cards and a car, sold a truck to get out from under that payment, financed a car with a much smaller payment, and made a plan for obliterating all student debt (Hello, National Guard). We have one credit card left, that we’ve been chipping away at, then the used car we bought last summer. We are on track to be debt free, not including our mortgage, by this coming summer! I can’t believe it. Once we hit it, I’ll tell you the crazy debt amount we had when we started. Woof! To God be the glory for guiding us through this huge undertaking. And once we’re debt free, I’m going to buy a new pack of socks, because seriously EVERY pair of socks I own has holes!!! (we aren’t that poor, but it’s the principle of the thing.) And I’m going to buy Jake new undershirts. He’s had the same 7 shirts since we got married in 2014. Enough said.

3. Minimalism

This is a fairly familiar concept for me. If you’ve visited my parents’ home, you know they don’t have crazy decorations or lots of stuff. It’s very peaceful. I’m adopting this principle. I actually started last summer, and I’ve made vast improvements to our house. It’s a “look-and-feel” thing, but it’s also a prioritization thing. I’ll write later about my Bible verse for 2018, which goes right along with this. But I love the idea of having what we need and getting rid of excess. A simple and focused life (Debt reduction falls into that too). I don’t have a “goal” with this, per se. But I plan to keep working on it. Simple-elegant-focused. That’s my mantra. Mainly in terms of my home and my physical space. But it can be applied to other areas. Pictures and designs and posts on this one later as well.

4. Home-making

Okay, this one goes hand-in-hand with Minimalism. I’ve never considered myself a creative person. I’ve been told all my life by all kinds of people that I’m not artistic or creative, so I just went with that and believed it and never tried to be creative because I already “knew” that I wasn’t good at it. Well, I’ve decided that I want to be creative, and I want to be good at it. Like with writing, I enjoy creating. I enjoying organization. I enjoy flow. We all like looking at pretty pictures, right? (Pinterest, duh.) Along with minimizing the things and stuff in my home, I want to stage it and make it a home, truly. I’m always asking Jake, “how do you FEEL when you come into the house? What is the energy like?” He has no idea what I’m talking about. But I do want it to be beautiful and inviting. A focused atmosphere that blesses everyone who comes in (see previous post on hospitality). I don’t have a “goal” here either. This is just something I want to spend time doing, and I want to get my creative juices flowing. If you want to see how this one is going, come on over and bring ice cream.

The new year is such an exciting time, and even without a laundry list of things to do, the fresh start is always something I look forward to. Tell me about your resolutions and goals!

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