I said hello to 2023 without a new word. More specifically, I said hello to 2023 while sleeping in my bed. Or maybe rocking a nursing infant in the middle of the night but I stopped looking at the clock when I get up at night with kids – don’t need to add any how much sleep am I missing stress to my life – so I can neither confirm or deny the latter. I can tell you, most certainly, that no words were said.
In the hours leading up to the magical turn of the clock, we broke out the poppers from the overpriced package I bought at Target on the way to my sister-in-law’s house, ate a bunch of food, sang some karaoke, and went home to get the kids in bed. These two worn-out, middle-aged, parents swiftly followed putting ourselves to bed a couple hours before midnight.
I didn’t pick a word the next day or the day after that. In fact, I didn’t even think about it. While it is true that I do not pick a word for every year, it is something I’ve been known to do pretty consistently these last years. Create (2021), Savor (2020), Mama (2019), Intentional (2018), Wisdom (2017), Hunger (2014), and Established (2013). So what’s the rub?
I gave up Instagram and being an Influencer in 2022 – right at the beginning of the year – but I did it in my heart even before the year ended. Doing this has brought my life and my mind more freedom then I could have ever imagined. My creativity and time has been able to pour more directly into my home, my family, and my community. So I don’t know what exactly made me not pick a word (or even think about it) but I am betting that a huge reason was simply not feeling the pressure to do so. Free from social media and “being an influencer” I don’t have to broadcast my life all the time. Or do what everyone else is doing. Or make sure to schedule this post to go live on January 1st.
Instead I just slowly started challenging myself to do certain things this year. Things that will benefit my relationship with the Lord, my marriage, my curiosity, my children, and my life. And those things have been formulating in my mind, my journal, and my conversations. I’m watching the Lord move in my life and those around me, I am hearing stories of Him, and listening for that still small voice that can sometimes be drowned out by the noise of life and timelines. I feel like Mary, treasuring these all up and pondering them in my heart (Luke 2:19)
After taking nearly a month to write my “Goodbye 2022,” I’ve had the time to formulate some thoughts and, as one may say, start putting feet to pavement. No word, not goals per say, but challenges to spur growth in my life and deeper relationship with those around me.
Read 23 Books
Find me at Goodreads because this girl is reading 23 books this year! One for every year that has passed since 2000! An arbitrary goal if I ever did say, but I am confident I am going to meet it. I want to read a variety of things – novels, classics, biographies, educational books, fiction, non-fiction, fantasy, and historical – filling up my heart, my brain, my mind with good things. I’m planning on sharing them all on the blog here in monthly recaps so that you can see what I liked and didn’t like and also keep me a bit accountable (but isn’t that what the Goodreads app is for?!?) I take any and all recommendations as can be seen by the 275 books hanging out in my “want to read” bookshelf, so let me know if you have one to add to my list!
Read through the Bible in chronological order
Several things happened within a couple days that inspired me (or should I say convicted me) to make this a priority for my year and both of them were in my podcast time. As I was running errands alone one day, I was listening to the new-to-me Candace Cameron Bure podcast and I started with her podcast with Tara-Leigh Cobble. In this episode they were talking about reading the whole Bible (not just chapters and verses) and also the benefit of reading it in the order of events to catch the bigger narrative. I was intrigued and made a mental note to look into it. Later I was cleaning the kitchen after dinner alone while Bruce did bedtime and I was listening to the Stories Are Soul Food podcast. I cannot remember which one (since I binged a bunch in a row) but N. D. Wilson was remarking that if we don’t love the stories of the Bible or “get” the stories that God chose to use to reveal himself to us, then we are not able to recognize/know good stories in film, media, print, and even our own lives. We need to read, know, and share the Biblical narratives because those are the stories that shape our faith. It was this side comment that pushed me to look up the reading plan Tara-Leigh Cobble shared and print it off. I’m more concerned about actually reading the whole Bible than making sure I do it in one year, so there is a chance this bleeds over into 2024 but I am not worried about it. I want to enjoy the Bible for the sake of reading, seeing, and knowing God better through the stories He tells.
Hilde turned 4 in August and we soon will have a kindergartner on our hands. It is a bit remarkable to believe that the years have flown by so quickly, but I am very excited about this new school-aged season. We have chosen to homeschool for countless reasons – Bruce and I often joke “another reason to homeschool!” as things come up in our lives – but that will be a post for another day 😉
We are doing The Peaceful Preschool with The Good Gospel from the Peaceful Press for both of the girls. It has been so much fun and I am loving seeing how they help each other, encourage each other, and each participate in the lessons. We are two weeks in and I’m still trying to figure out the best schedule for our days with all three kids, but we’re getting there! Gratefully I am in no rush to get things done “in time” so we are just having fun with it – as it really should be!
This year with homeschooling and having three kids aged 0-4, I want to be very aware of our schedule to maximize peace in our home. This includes naptimes, school times, meal times, and bedtimes. Every activity (like Music Class, Hilde’s Theater class, and my moms group) is intentionally put in place and considered well in regards to our other activities to make sure we are not over scheduled. Not that we are not super flexible (because we definitely are! #thatswhywehomeschool) but having a routine is something my kids can rely on and also helps me know the game plan when I come into each week. I also want to be intentional about when we have screen time, family time, and alone time. I picked up these Morning Moment Devotional cards (Use code ELIZABETHM15 to save 15% from this site) and we have been doing them together while we eat breakfast. It’s an encouraging way for us to start the day and helps us transition well from tv time (since we do that when we wake up.)
As in be a homemaker. Not a housekeeper, but a home maker. The Lord has gifted me with a husband, three beautiful children, this home, and work to do. While a housekeeper may be busy with the work of the house, a homemaker makes the house feel like home. A homemaker sets the tone and the feel of the house – planning & preparing the food to be enjoyed after a busy adventure, allowing & encouraging the freedom to create & play make believe, choosing the music in the background, and ensuring the comfort & safety in schedules and consistency. So clearly that means maintain a right relationship with the Lord so that He can flow out of me into all these things and that my heart is focused on serving Him (and in turn my family) as a form of worship and not a chore to do begrudgingly.
Historically meal planning, grocery shopping, and food making has been for me a chore at best, a disaster at worse. I’ve been asking the Lord to soften my heart when it comes to this family need and give me peace when it comes to it. I’ve been surprising myself with the joy I am now finding in baking fresh sourdough several times a week and the comfort I find in knowing what we will have for dinner, having the ingredients to make it, and the peace of mind knowing my 6-month-old will get to bed in time. Practically that means using the app Meal Lime where I pick out our meals for the week, use the grocery list they create to shop online and order pickup, and then follow the easy recipes to make dinner each night. You can add filters to your profile and so all my meals are 30 minutes or less! It’s a lifesaver.
create a family Sabbath rythem
I’ve never been one to be strict about Sabbath and Sunday activities, but I am finding that our family really does need some intentional downtime and a day of rest. It’s as if the commandment is here for a reason 😉 I suppose I have always struggled with the what to do/ not to do-ness of the Sabbath that I just ignored it instead of pressing in and learning more. I’d like to press in a bit more this year and create a day of rest not just for me but my family – that helps us all start a new week rested, refreshed, and in the right mindset. Right now that means not scheduling on Sunday unless it is a joy filled activity (like a birthday party) and going to church! Does anyone out there have a good resource for this? #veryinterested
Have fun with My Husband
Thorin is still not sleeping though the night and our toddlers often like to take turns with bad dreams/requests for water/ need for midnight cuddles, which means Bruce and I live in tired world. It is easy to just flop on the couch for some TV (usually mindless so we don’t feel bad about falling asleep or *trying* to work on other things) and then go to bed. I want to prioritize day dates (because that’s when we are less like zombies) and tv free nights when we play games together, read out loud, or just talk together. We should probably pick a night to get it on the calendar consistently so that is step #1.
But really I married Bruce for a reason and I just want to prioritize the fun even when we have so many responsibilities these days!
Not Write a Book
There will be time in the future one day for an adventure like this, but even if there is not, I’m choosing the most important right now. It feels ironic or even unnecessary to include a “not” in a list like this but I’ve been learning that our lives are made up as much by what we do as what we don’t. Last year when I quit my job I had to let go of a lot of things I was holding onto in regards to personal achievement and my identity and I’m still continuing to do so. I can tell you (for certain) that I’ve felt a lot less pressure, jealousy, and resentment since getting off social media. I’m not bombarded with what everyone else is doing so I can more easily walk in the Lord’s calling for this season.
So hello 2023! Praying over all the Lord has instore for the Mayberry Family this year!