Earlier this week, I turned twenty-seven with an uneventful day of errands and toddler play. Clint worked overnight, but he arrived home the following morning with biscuits and fresh flowers. After nearly six years, he’s catching on.
Though I’m well past the age when birthdays are akin to mini-Christmases, I look forward to it every year. It’s a day to look behind and look ahead, to assess and plan, and I like the possibility that comes with that invitation. For someone whose head overflows with big dreamy ideas, it’s the perfect opportunity to get some of that stuff on paper and take a practical look at it. How can I make these things happen? Do they really matter? Why are they important to me?
Until next August 26th, I’ll be referencing back to this list, seeing if I can manage a year of intentionally living the way I want to live, doing the things I want to do, on purpose.
1. Read through the Bible. In 20+ years of Bible reading, I have never done this.
2. Read all the books in my queue. I’m a book hoarder and a compulsive book buyer. I now have a formal queue of unread books to make my way through this year.
3. Make homemade caramel pecan ice cream. Because yum.
4. Complete a no-spend month. I have tried and failed; I shall try again.
5. Find a local farm that produces pastured chicken and pork. There are a few options in the area, but I haven’t tried them.
6. Grow my own: herbs, tomatoes, onions. There are some crazy-eyed homesteading dreams in this head, but I’m being reasonable.
7. Can tomatoes and green beans. Because I should know how to do this, and they’re delicious.
8. Find a homemade bread recipe for regular rotation. Something about making bread makes me feel like a “real” homemaker.
9. Memorize at least 3 long passages or chapters of Scripture. I have been full of intentions to memorize more Bible verses, but I need to set a specific goal, and I’ll be motivated by learning larger pieces.
10. Observe Advent & Lent. I’m a Southern Baptist who finds liturgy worshipful, okay? It’s odd, I know.
11. Develop a writing habit. Ultimately, I want to spend some (small) amount of time in devoted writing practice everyday, but I’m starting with a weekly practice.
12. Make family dinner at least 3 nights per week and breakfast at least once a week. Real meals, no cereal, no takeout.
13. Get in the recommended 10,000 steps per day. First, I need a pedometer. Second, I have no clue how I’ll fit this in, but I need to simply move more.
14. Chaturanga. It’s approximately 150 times harder than it looks.
15. Celebrate Caroline’s 2nd birthday in a way that gives back. I had this intention for her 1st birthday and neglected to fulfill it. One of my top parenting priorities is for my kid to realize how insanely blessed she is to have a home and food, much less her mountain of toys and gifts.
16. Work hard + rest well. This is vague, but I’m not yet sure how to break it down. It’s where my mind is stewing lately, on the need to work in a way that glorifies the Lord and truly rest in the Sabbath way He created.
17. Eliminate Diet Coke and Diet Mt. Dew from my diet. Ugh.
18. Take Caroline to the zoo. The girl loves animals of every size and shape and color. I cannot wait to see her face.
19. Teach Caroline to swim. She loves the water, and it’s important to me to be the one there for those things.
20. Have date nights. We are woefully neglectful of this, but every time we manage to grab dinner alone at my favorite restaurant, I feel like a restored human being.
21. Take a photography course or e-course for my nice camera. Because aperture and shutter speed need some attention from my brain.
22. Give thoughtful Christmas gifts that a) show care for the individual receiving them and b) support fair trade, social justice initiatives, etc. Every year, I’m disheartened by the way I end up buying gifts–just trying to find something acceptable so I can check the next person off my list. I want to be thoughtful in gift-giving this year and support the many companies who use our consumerism for good (fashionABLE, Feed Project, Noonday Collection, Beautiful & Beloved shop).
23. Keep a weekly prayer journal. It’s breathtaking what you see when you write down your prayers and then go back to see how God used them. I want to be more consistent with this practice.
24. Attempt to work out a cleaning schedule. I am a terrible housekeeper.
25. Have a big picnic dinner in our backyard. We have a gigantic, open backyard and an old white shed that is begging for strings of lights.
26. Finish our kitchen. Paint, install butcher block countertops, hang shelves, paint old furniture. I love that room already, but it has the most work to be done.
27. Limit sugar consumption to weekends. When I’m eating clean, everything feels better, but I love food too much to be a teetotaler.
28. Get up by 6:30 am. Every day. Morning solitude is medicine for me; it’s worth ten times as much as that extra hour of sleep.