January 1st is defined by new beginnings, resolutions, and goals for most of the modern world but in Church history, and for many of us who follow the church calendar, it is the 8th day of Christmas. Rather than planning for and preparing for a new year (while purging the house of all Christmas), the church is still in the middle of celebrating Christmastide and, on this date specifically, celebrating the circumcision and naming of Jesus. This is in keeping with the Jewish law which holds that males should be circumcised eight days after birth, at which they are also given their name.
Instead of a day to look at ourselves and what we want to change/do/accomplish next, the church calendar encourages us to turn our eyes upon Jesus. To meditate on the name that saves and literally means salvation, “you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21), on a day that highlights both his humanity, “at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb” (Luke 2:21) and his divinity “they shall call his name Immanuel which means, God with us.” (Mathew 1:23).
Bruce and I have been attending an Anglican Church since Hilde was born and the Lord has used the very alive liturgy and tradition we’ve encountered there to soften my heart, slow me down, and grow me more like Him. The church calendar was set to bring constant reminders to the body of God’s faithfulness. To create built-in patterns and markers in time that allow us to focus, remember, rejoice, and proclaim! So many of these historic traditions are new to me, but they are not new to Christianity worldwide, and I can’t explain the joy I’ve felt feeling part of the bigger body of Christ and the many witnesses who have gone before me.
Sitting down to write this post weeks after New Years Day and the end of Christmastide (Jan 6th!), I am overcome by gratefulness for the journey the Lord has had me on – the ways I’ve changed and my priorities have shifted year-to-year through marriage, motherhood, and job changes. Last year, I couldn’t get over the freedom I felt after quitting Instagram. Now I happily live without it – something that my business, brand, and life was built around for a good chunk of years. This year the Lord has faithfully brought projects my way that are photography and freelance based which works so well with our homeschool schedule and has replaced my “influencer” lifestyle with more than half the stress. But more importantly, my focus has shifted to my family and my home. I don’t broadcast my day for the world to see, but instead desire my days and moments to knit my family together, challenge them (and me) in our walks with the Lord, forge core memories, and create a safe & nurturing home. I also find time for hobbies that encourage and inspire me – reading, writing, sewing, baking, crafting.
The wonderful thing about maintaining a blog for nearly 14 years (this summer!) is the ability to look back and see growth, seasons, & shifts. It is the little things we miss day-to-day but smack us in the face when we are years out. Like seeing Hilde’s newborn photos and then dropping her off at Kindergarten! A quick (or extended) trip down memory lane of New Years past, shows a bit of that journey. Today I am adding to that digital footprint with some goals and directions I have for myself and my family in 2024 as we look forward with our eyes on Jesus.
Read 75 Books
Last year my goal was to read 23 books and I blew that one out of the water. I didn’t realize how much I would enjoy getting back into reading or how much time I’d fill with books instead of scrolling social media! If anything, it was a huge wake-up call to the time I was investing in my phone in the past! My Goodreads tracker shows I read 126 books last year but I reviewed some picture books and they were included. I have a plan for organizing my reviews in 2024 to keep picture books in another category that will not be tracked. I still like reviewing them, but I don’t like inflating my numbers with them!! HAHA. I shared reviews of the books I read each month, click here to see them all! Add me as a friend on Goodreads here! So far I have not read a 5 star book this year so feel free to share some books you loved with me!
PS: I fixed Goodreads now to put all Children’s Picture Books in a new category! See my 2023 Year in Review here! The new total is 84 books!
Finish Reading through the Bible
I made a goal to read through the Bible last year, and, as anticipated, I didn’t finish it in the year. So I am going to finish it this year! I think it is really important to make sure we read the whole Bible as a big story and not just the parts we pick and choose for Bible studies, devotionals, and Pinterest quotes.
Create a Homeschooling Rhythm
We started our curriculum in January of 2023 and did The Peaceful Preschool with The Good Gospel from the Peaceful Press. I purchased Nourishing Nature Kindergarten to start this month but we’re still wrapping up the end of the Peaceful Preschool. Our homeschool schedule was a bit loosey-goosey last year and I want to find a rhythm that helps us stay on track while still allowing for free play, extra curricular activities like music, Bible study, and acting class. The age of our kiddos has also affected this as Thorin’s naps (or not naps) was a huge thing we tried to figure out last year. I am giving myself grace to let our homeschool look different than others but I also want to challenge myself to make it the best it can be for our family. I’ll let you know how it goes! Hilde has been part of a once-a-week outdoor homeschool enrichment program since August and that has been a huge gift to our homeschool journey! She loves her teachers and classmates, as well as all the adventures they have together!
PS: Use code PEACEFULYEAR to save 10% off your order at the Peaceful Press if you want to try the curriculum out!
Make a Quilt
I have always loved quilts. They are so beautiful, homey, and historic – all things I love. I’ve been collecting quilts from estate sales this last year (at least the ones I can afford) and have been inspired to make one (or more) that can be part of my historical footprint. So I purchased a sewing machine (at an estate sale obviously 😉 ), got it step up and running, researched quilt making, purchased some items to get started, and hit the ground running. I’ve shared some sneak peeks here on my Amazon page and put a bunch of quilting books on hold at my library. Here goes nothing!
Incorporate Liturgies and Church Calendar Rhythms
As mentioned above, liturgies and rhythms have been changing my life. I have a strong desire to start including my family in these liturgies, rhythms, and the church calendar too. We’ve been so blessed by consistency and reminders of our hope and faith in church and I want to bring them more into our home and our homeschool. We’ve been doing the bigger holidays (Advent, Christmastide, Epiphany) but there are so many feasts and celebrations in the middle that I have never even heard of – like Candlemas! More reasons to celebrate and more reasons to remember. Keeping our eyes on Christ! I’ve been collecting some books on the topic to read the next couple months: Habits for a Sacred Home, Habits of the Household, Every Season Sacred, The Common Rule, & Sacred Seasons: A Family Guide to Center Your Year Around Jesus.
Musical Family Movie Nights & Date Nights
Without intentionally trying to make it a thing, Bruce and I started watching classic musicals together. We are 5 musicals in and have now decided we are going to rate them, record them, and make it a thing for this year! Having a plan for one night a week is something we are looking forward to as a rhythm of rest and fun for Bruce and I. Plus we are loving adding to our musicals playlist and singing them through the week with our kids. Some fun memories already: Hilde jumping around the Livingroom singing “Make them Laugh” while making funny faces and (obviously) trying to get her siblings to laugh! Millie looking longingly out the window at night, gazing at her reflection singing “Luck be a lady toooooniiiight!” And Thorin joining Bruce in singing “iiiiiiiide!” when Bruce uses his deep voice to croon “Bless your beautiful hide!” when looking for me around the house.
Annual Review FANCY DATE
Bruce and I decided we want to do a yearly annual review on an extended date each year. We have some friends who have been doing one every year and they passed on their questions/ method for us to try. We got a sitter and made a reservation at a fancy restaurant at the Broadmoor hotel. Treating this date like a special event, we are planning to review the last year and prayerfully walk into another year. We’re both doing some processing on this and bringing in questions/ ideas to figure out a good method for our annual reviews. We imagine this being only the first of many as the years go by!
In many ways this post for 2024 looks like the one I wrote for 2023. While that may seem like a failure to outside eyes (still trying to do the same things), I see it more as having a focused growth and direction in our goals. The things we made steps towards last year, we’re continuing this year. Resolutions are not meant to be a heavy burden we always fail at, but hopeful and helpful patterns toward growth and a larger vision!