Our Word for 2014

We have a lot planned for this year – the main events being two (count them – one, two) moves.  Instead of spending all my time on Pinterest trying to virtually decorate my new home, or finding a dozen new complicated recipes, or even planning an elaborate first birthday party for Stephen, I’m stepping back and leaning into our word for the year.  SIMPLE.

In order to streamline the build of our new place, we made a small list of our priorities for our new home’s interior options and will stick with the basic included options for nearly everything else.  I might love a fireplace, built-in media center, tile accents in the master bath and an innumerable list of other upgrades, but is it really worth the added cost?  We try to see the opportunity costs involved – in order to get these upgrades, what are we giving up?  Less family time due to more time in the office to pay the bills, or maybe a longer time frame to get out of debt using Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps?  I’m trying to learn to be content with what we have – thank God for all our many blessings and remember that things don’t bring happiness or contentment.

When it comes to homemaking, instead of spending an hour or so once a week trying to think up a meal plan and grocery list, I’m trying my hand at creating a 2-week meal plan that can be rotated through twice a month.  It might seem boring at first, but all it means is that we’ll be having our favorite meals twice a month.  Plus, I’ll be saving loads of time not having to think up a new meal plan each week.  Why reinvent the wheel?  It might take some up-front work, but keeping on a schedule takes away all the stress that comes from not knowing what’s for dinner when the hubby rolls in the door at 5pm.

As far as Stephen’s first birthday, we’ve decided to forgo a fancy party and just bake him a simple cake at home – just the three of us and his grandma who will be spending that week with us.  A big party wouldn’t really be for him anyways, so why stress ourselves out with it?  I once read that to simplify a child’s birthday, the party should correspond with his or her age.  Turning one?  Have one special friend over.  Turning five?  Maybe the cousins and one or two friends from the neighborhood.  We also try to keep the gift-giving simple.  One toy from Mommy & Daddy, followed up by an overhaul of his current playthings.  We plan to either donate or pack away things he’s outgrown, and rotate the remaining toys so he can focus his attention on just a few special items at a time.

Now it’s your turn.  What were your resolutions for 2014?  Did you make specific resolutions, or choose a word like we did?  In what ways do you try to live simply at home?

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30 in Thirty

On the eve of my thirtieth birthday, my thoughts wander and I reminisce.  Here’s my list of 30 things I’ve learned in my thirty years here on Earth.  And here’s praying God is gracious enough to bless me with another thirty!

1.  Put God first and the rest falls into place.

2.  Family doesn’t always mean blood relatives.

3.  There are very few things in life that can’t be fixed with chocolate.

4.  Marrying your best friend is, hands down, the best decision you’ll ever make.

5.  Learning to laugh at yourself is so much better than the alternative.

6.  Be real with people who love you.

7.  Guard your heart from all that is ugly in this world.

8.  Smile at passersby.

9.  A warm bath and a good book are pretty close to heaven.

10.  The sound of your baby’s laugh is even closer.

11.  Dancing around in the kitchen like a fool should be mandatory in the mornings.

12.  Coffee tastes so much better when shared with a friend.

13.  Distance will either wreck a weak relationship or strengthen a true one.

14.  Don’t ever hang up without saying “I love you.”

15.  Snuggle all the little people in your life as often as they’ll allow.  They grow up too quickly.

16.  God’s forgiveness in the sacrament of reconciliation is one of the most beautiful gifts we have here on earth.

17.  Our parents are real people with struggles and successes of their own.

18.  Proofreading is much more fun done on paper with a green pen.

19.  When you move to a new state, get your library card first, then worry about your driver’s license and all that other stuff later.

20.  Your siblings are the ones who will live your life with you – from beginning to end.  Be nice to them.

21.  Cultivate a spirit of thankfulness in your heart.

22.  Choose joy.

23.  Snow tickles your nose as it falls.

24.  Hearts do break, but the Lord heals us in His good time.

25.  Getting connected to a community of like-minded women is vital for your sanity.

26.  Record all the moments – both big and small.

27.  But know when to put the camera down and just live in the moment.

28.  Listen more and talk less.

29.  Love your family ferociously.

30.  Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.