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2016 has come and gone.  Another year in the books with no opportunity for a re-write.  But with lessons learned and memories cherished, we move forward.

This year I’m changing things up a bit, both in my day-to-day life and on the blog.  Here’s a run down to let you know what new things I’m taking on for the new year and what you might expect from me in the coming months.

I’m following a new Bible reading plan recommended by Tim Challies.  I’m nearly two weeks in, and it’s been wonderful.  I love that it has readings assigned for only five days a week, and that it has me reading in the Old Testament, New Testament, and Psalms most days.  If you don’t already have a plan for this year, check it out.dsc_0005

I’ve also got a new healthy eating mindset.  Having struggled in the past with autoimmune disease, the effects of steroid treatment, and being overweight, I’ve tried quite a few “plans” out there, some more extreme than others.  Two years ago I did a very limiting protocol that made me feel miserable rather than better, and on top of that I gained back all the weight I lost and then some when I rebounded from it.  The past year has been spent stuck at the same weight but just eating whatever–I’ve not had the gumption to try any plan whatsoever, having been burned so badly the last time.  So for this year, and actually starting in December, I’ve been learning to navigate disciplined eating and weight loss from a place of freedom rather than from a place of vacillating between an all-or-nothing extreme plan and a chuck-all-the-rules-I’ll-eat-whatever mentality.  I have a weight loss goal in mind, and I have tools to get there.  I am not ruled by the tools, they serve me.  And ultimately I serve the Lord, not food or body image.  By God’s grace, the scale is beginning to move without rigid rules.

Along with some better eating habits, I’ve also begun to change other daily habits.  My husband has been getting up at 5:30 so he can spend time in prayer and in God’s word before heading off to work, and, though my body has been set to wake up at 6:30 for a LONG time, I’ve made the switch to rising at 6am.  What a blessing this has been!  As a stay-at-home home-schooling mama, I rarely have outside time commitments, so I can either fly by the seat of my pants or set my own schedule.  As I was reevaluating my life and goals in December, I realized that I needed to work on the concept of keeping my appointments–with God (to seek Him), with myself (for exercise and personal development), with my husband (to stay in step with each other), with my kids (for school among other things), and with others (to show respect and honor to those with whom I’ve made commitments).  I’m stoked because these are habits that I began BEFORE January first.  I didn’t wait for the calendar to roll over in order to start doing what I know I need to do.  Making changes immediately rather than waiting for an arbitrary start-date is a new aspect for me, and I think it’s consistent with the idea of laying off rigid rules and learning to simply choose freely to do what needs to be done.

I’m also approaching our homeschooling with a new level of confidence and consistency, thanks, largely, to an opportunity I had last fall to be part of a consistency boot-camp for homeschool moms that helped me evaluate where we are and where we want to be.  Perhaps I’ll get to share more on that in the coming months.  😉

Along with being more consistent in our schooling, I’m also learning the art of taking true breaks from our school schedule.  We had a full 17 days off from school for our Christmas break–normally we would only take off a few days around Christmas and maybe one around New Years, since in past years I have always been trying to cram as many days in as we could (a product of NOT being as consistent the rest of the year).  This time, I had to hold myself back every time I thought, “Oh, I should try to throw in another day of school,” or “Oh, they’re doing something remotely educational, I should write that down in my planner!”  Nope.  I resisted.  We had a TRUE break, and it was glorious.  I plan on carrying this mindset with me as we go forward.  Breaks are awesome.  For all of us.

Along with that two-weeks-plus break came some fun celebrations with family and some newly organized spaces.  It’s like a tradition around here.  My husband’s work load usually lightens a bit between Christmas and New Years, and we usually have a few new things from Christmas that we have to make room for (such is life in a small house), so the last week of the year is unavoidably taken up with massive reorganization efforts!

With greater organization comes greater ability to manage our responsibilities, and my husband and I are optimistic that some of the major projects we took on last year (starting a garden for the first time, organizing our home school group’s Field Day event, and planning and hosting a retreat for college friends) will go off much more easily this year now that we’ve gone through the process once before and can take them on again without having to reinvent the wheel.

Less overwhelm from some of those spinning plates has freed up my sanity to consider moving forward with the blog.  My goal for this year is to post about twice a month (up from once a month last year).  Ambitious, I know.  😉

Over the next year you can expect to see more posts about homeschooling, including some video content, which I hope you will enjoy.  Articles on marriage and parenting, devotionals, practical helps, photography, and book reviews are in the works, too. And speaking of book reviews, I plan on trying on a new schedule, ditching the school-year model I have been following and starting to post my micro book reviews with the calendar year.  So be watching for a 2016 wrap-up post before January is over. (See?  That will make two posts for January!  We’re off to a good start!)

You may have already noticed the new name on the blog:  Life Meets Jesus.  As the name indicates, this will be a place where I share about life–anything and everything–and what it looks like for our family as we wrestle with aligning it all with our Lord Jesus Christ.

And with a new name will come…Lord willing…a new blog domain!  I’m praying that transition will go smoothly.

God is at work in us to accomplish His good pleasure.  And we’re excited.

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will complete it until the day of Christ Jesus.  Philippians 1:6

How about you?  Any big changes or special plans for 2017?  Are you still going strong two weeks in? 
What are you looking forward to from this blog?  What topics or types of posts most interest you?  I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions!