Friday, January 3, 2014


As I sit with my morning cup of tea, looking out the window at a warm January breeze tick -tocking my shrubs to and fro, I realize that this new year has snuck up on me.

We had a most beautiful Christmas, in spite of the flu, and part of me doesn't want it to slip away.
So, I am still playing Christmas music.
That will have to do.

New beginnings are just like a clean chalkboard slate to me.
Washed free, tasks complete, ready for the new and bright ahead.
A piece of smooth white chalk ready to write the story of 2014.
Last year winds through hills and valleys, forests, and plain.
So many high moments and also low valleys that brought me closer to Him.
Grace held it together.
His perfect grace.

Grace means a gift from the Lord, and boy did He ever shower our family with gifts.
Losing my Dad was the equivocal low point, but out of his death, my heart has been transformed.

I don't have a word to live by this year.
There are just too many to choose from.
Though my top priority is to live with purpose and to treasure even more fully the gift and privilege of having one more day together.
I feel less tired and ready for a new beginning.
How about you?

 I want to live on purpose with joy.
Leave problems and stress with God....because He really can handle all of that.
I also want to grow and change, become better than I was...
To make real changes in my perceptions, and pave the way for a more grace filled life.

So here are a few of my 2014 goals for the year....

1. I have been terrible about praying diligently each morning. Boy does this make a difference in my day to start a friendly conversation with God. Everything happens a little smoother during the course of the day and I am more likely to return to prayer. Prayer life and devotions with the kids each morning are my goals. Also....making Mass every Sunday a huge priority. This year, we missed a few Sundays getting lost in busyness and other things. 

2. My number one person? Darren. One word. My hubby will be my top priority this year{after God, of course.} It really is supposed to go that way...God, Husband, Kids. When you prioritize in that order, life flows the way it should. Darren has been a rock this year. Through everything, he kept things running. I would come home after helping my Dad to meals made, dishes done, laundry folded, kids happy. He stayed up nights with my Dad to keep him company and administer meds when he got to the end. Through all of the aftermath and healing he has been ever so patient and kind. I know I didn't do it on purpose, but I think I put our marriage on the back burner. Not this year :). I will think about him all day and what I can do to make his life better.

3. Reading more. The kids love to have me read aloud, so I am hoping to soak in many great books this year. My favorite author? Patricia MacLachlan. I just read one of her books this morning and I love her prose.

4. Lose the last of the baby weight. Can you call it baby weight after 6 years? Those last 10 pounds are sticky, but I know I need to move more. This is probably an all too common goal, but health is so important. So I vow to move more every day and eat a little better!

5. 52 weeks of pictures of our family this year. I want to file them and make books for the grandparents at the end of the year. You may be seeing a lot more of my kids on the blog, as I hope to have a "Sunday Sentiment" segment and record memories from that week :). 

6. Blog with more purpose.
I have some fun ideas to write about this year...

*A cooking series for kids!

* More canning and preserving posts.

*Sunday Supper

* Feature more of my readers...let's get to really know one another!

* Valentines's Day. Love that day, so I'll be showing you some fun homemade Valentine's, lovely treats, and more.

* Opening your home to others....hospitality stress free and fun!

*Sunday Sentiments.....52 weeks of precious memories. I will try and post every week and hope that you will join me. If I can figure it out, I'll try and have a link to share. 

7. Study up on my photography skills.

8. Hospitality. I want to open our home to others more this year and fine tune my hospitality skills.
It is so fun to love on others and enjoy company.

9. Take more hikes as a family!

10. Start a Sunday supper tradition.

11. This is a big one...actually print out my photos and put in albums.
I am backed up.
Really backed 10 years. Eeek!

12. Plan my garden and have a good weeding schedule.
Find ways to make this easier!

13. Freeze/can as much a possible this year.

14. Spend more time slowing down, listening, enjoying my family and life.

What are some of your goals this year?

Hope this finds you having a wonderful start!
See you soon.



LeslieWms said...

Good Morning Julia,

I love your blog ... and thanks for your transparency. Your thoughtful discussions reveal things in me that need to change. And prayer ... I have devos each morning, but I'm going to be more intentional about actually praying specifically about people and things in my life. Blessings for a wonderful, purposeful year. Leslie

Ngo Family Farm said...

Happy New Year, Julia! (still playing the Christmas music over here, too - what can I say, my girl loves jingle bells ;)

I'm really looking forward to your Sunday Supper ideas, as I tend to need some cooking inspiration until spring gets closer!


Hopeful said...

What a refreshing way to start the new year. You really are an inspiration to me. Your posts are so meaningful and full of love. Happy new year to you!

ruascrappinfreak said...

I love all your new years resolutions, Mine are simple I want to focus more on me getting what I need like exercise more, eat better, make better choices (financially)for the family. I want to be more purposeful of reading the bible, and doing the things that I have put off doing because of kids, or extended family concerns. Make the little changes that make a big impact. :)
I look forward to reading your blog and thanks for sharing

Anonymous said...

My motto for is "My God and my family reign supreme in 2014". Your reflections for the New Year are beautiful!

Michelle said...

I am going to follow two of your goals this year. Spending more time with God and my husband. He has never complained but I has spent a lot of this past year putting family ,friends and life in general ahead of him.

Bevy @ Treasured Up and Pondered said...

Wow! What an ambitious and inspiring way to begin the New Year!

I'm looking forward to reading and learning and doing right along with you.

Love your new ideas!! Love your blog.

Lisa said...

Oh wow, you have some great ideas and goals for this year. I look forward to hearing about each and every one on your blog. If I were to sum up your goals into one goal word, I would say your word is "Live". It sounds like it is choosing you!

Amy at love made my home said...

Such a wonderful post and so much to think about and consider. Thank you for sharing this. I hope that all of your endeavours go well for you. xx

Becky said...

You have listed so many wonderful resolutions for 2014! Will continue to enjoy following along on your journey.

MissAmyLou said...

Grace is our word this year... along with selah. As we selah and receive and give grace, may we also be obedient even in the small things. Happy new year Julia! Your blog reminds me of myself about 25 years ago. I am a grammy now and enjoying this season of my life as well. Looking forward to reading this year's writing. Blessings!

Clipping Path said...

Happy New Year, Julia! What a refreshing way to start the new year. I love all your new years resolutions.

Unknown said...

Dear Julia,

Oh, how I loved this post! Thank you so much for sharing your Goals for 2014 with us. I think so many of them resonate with all of us. I know 2013 was a tough year for you…I will be praying that you continue to find comfort in the Lord. Your husband sounds like such a rock of support!!! You are loved…as you love so well. Hugs, my friend! I promise to drop by more often!!!


Gumbo Lily said...

You've got lots of good ideas and goals for the year. Very Good things. God bless you and your family as you march into 2014 together.


Patrice said...

Good post! Happy New Year!

Jennifer said...

I always enjoy coming here to read. Thank you for sharing about your New Year~ I will check back to see about your thoughts and ideas for Sunday Supper. Sounds great!

Carol Blanchet said...

Ooooh, can I just steal all your ideas? They are all wonderful. I LOVE reading your blog and I can't wait to see all that you have planned.
P.S. Your Sunday Supper feature is absolutely FABULOUS. Feels like Mayberry and I love it.

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