What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Tuesday, February 08, 2022

2022: Goals for the New Year

Because February is the new January, haven't you heard?!

But first.... a look at last year.  (eek.)

 Last years' goals for 2021 were beautiful to make- but were unable to be accomplished, in many cases, due to the overwhelming nature of the unforeseen events that took place.  In some ways, I succeeded.  In many ways, I failed miserably.

The Lord was gracious and kind to us, allowing us to meet our financial obligations, which were many and overwhelming.  He even provided superficial kindnesses like beautiful couches off of craigslist (making our living room look more 'put together' than it ever has, a kitchen aid mixer, a working washing machine and a repairable sewing machine. 

Rather than MAKE a handmade Christmas gift every month of the year, very early on I changed that goal to "checking off one gift" each month.  Some were handmade, some were store bought... but either way it was very helpful.  It was a real blessing to have that much of a head start come December, particularly given how crazy my autumn was.

One goal was to have families over once a month for intentional game nights.  We did host quite a few families over for game nights- especially the first half of the year- but this did not happen throughout the year.  We did consistently have families over each month for fellowship, worship or fun- and sometimes even with games- but not with the express purpose of playing games.  I discovered that hospitality is not a thing that we need practice on or to make time for... we are doing it pretty constantly throughout the year.  It runs in and through our veins.

I barely squeaked by painting the living room- the week before New Years.  And yes- I painted it white.  (BORING!) But it saved time, taping and a trip uptown.  (I do regret it though and wish I had gone with color.)

Pretty much everything felt like abject failure.  And that is how THAT went.

So what about 2022?  

This is going to sound very selfish and vain but I promise it is not coming from a place of vanity or selfishness.

Here goes:

This year I need to focus on ME.

I have been trying to ignore some serious health issues for the last two years- because doctors never gave me answers when I went, I paid lots of money to doctors who did not give me answers, and then Covid made everything about doctors' offices and appointments downright unpleasant.  My back, spine, and joints make life very unpleasant most days.

I have ballooned to my highest weight (while pregnant even).  I can't seem to lose it- even though I am actually trying to be low carb, cut out sugars and grains, etc.

My hair is falling out of my head.  When I put it in a ponytail- the ponytail is now the diameter of a PENCIL.

I have other issues that you don't need/want to know about.

Point is: something is amiss.  And I really need to stop ignoring it just because it is unpleasant to think about/do something about.

I would like to be able to function in a way that my lifestyle requires. I would like to be healthy.  I would like to be playful and fun for my children.  I would like to be the workhorse I always have been.  I would like to feel my age...not eighty.  I would like to figure out what is wrong with me so that I can correct it to do all the above.  In a nutshell: I would like to use my body for God's glory...and I can't right now.

Also- I would like to have hair.  (Okay, okay.  This may be sheer vanity.)

So this year I am going to focus on myself.

I am going to do hard things.  

Like go to doctor appointments. 

Research and take needed vitamins.

Experiment with dietary changes that might eventually impact my weight. (WHY CAN'T THERE BE A MAGIC PILL!?!)

Pray for healing and answers...and attempt to fix whatever has gotten me to this awful place.

Not any easy list to check off- but I hope by next year, my body will be improved. 

 It is the ONE thing I really, really hope to accomplish in 2022.

Friday, February 04, 2022


A few years ago, I was given a very small, irregularly long and narrow journal as a gift.  I didn't know what I would do with it until I realized it was the perfect size for making lists.  I wondered what sort of list I would want to keep (I get a certain amount of pleasure by throwing away crossed off and accomplished lists) and then it occurred to me it would make a wonderful BOOKLIST.

I could keep track of what I have read and when.  I give stars to those books I find most worthwhile or enjoyable.

I could see first hand that even a slow and steady reading life can and would eventually build up to something more substantial.

Many years from now, my children and grandchildren can look back upon what has fed and formed me.

It's actually been quite wonderful.  I encourage everyone to get themselves a book list journal.

Before my book journal, I would have said I had probably read about 13 books or so this year.  But the number was actually 34!  Strides can be made sentence by sentence, it seems.

Books I Read in 2021:

  • Man's Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frankl (a rollover from December-finished in January)
  • Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
  • Black Rednecks and White Liberals by Thomas Sowell
  • Slave Narrative: The Life of Fredrick Douglas by (you guessed it)
  • Jack by Marilynne Robinson
  • Treasure Island by Robert Lewis Stevenson
  • The New Trail of Tears by Naomi Shaefer Riley
  • Blackout by Candance Owens
  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  • The Kitchen Front by Jennifer Ryan
  • Watership Down by Richard Adams
  • Uneasy Money by P.G.Wodehouse
  • O, Pioneers by Willa Cather
  • Rainbow Valley by L.M.Montgomery
  • The Autobiography of Calvin Coolidge by (you guessed it)
  • The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by R.L.Stevenson
  • The Best Cook in the World by Rick Bragg
  • My Early Life by Winston Churchill
  • When you Rise Up by R.C.Sproul Jr.
  • The Death of Ivan Ilych by Leo Tolstoy
  • Money in the Bank by P.G.Wodehouse
  • A Rationbook Childhood by Jean Fullerton
  • Twenty Days with Julian and Little Bunny by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • Young Goodman Brown and Short Stories by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
  • 1984 by George Orwell
  • Strong Poison by Dorothy Sayers
  • Laughing Gas by P.G.Wodehouse
  • The Code of the Woosters by P.G.Wodehouse
  • Dorothy L Sayers: A Biography, Death, Dante and Lord Peter by Colin Duriez
  • Busmans' Honeymoon by Dorothy Sayers
  • My Man Jeeves by PG.Wodehouse
  • The Gulag Archipelago Volume 1 by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (this I am still working on)
  • 12 Rules for Life by Jorden Peterson (this I am still working on)

P.G.Wodehouse basically saved my life this year.  This sounds melodramatic but it was his witty, hilarious and light-hearted writings that lifted up and offered comedic relief to a girl who really, really needed some.  I listened to audiobooks on the way to Rochester and Elmira each week, to visit my Mom in the ICU (3+ hours one way) so I was afforded LOTS of Wodehouse time.  I have thanked God for the man who was Wodehouse many times this year.  Money in the Bank was probably my favorite this year- so many belly laughs. Simon Vance is a masterful narrator. 

I have distinct memories of sitting on the porch last summer with everyone in rocking chairs,  rereading certain bits of The Best Cook in the World to Matt and the children because "you just HAVE to hear this part!"  Rick Bragg is a gifted storyteller to be sure- but his childhood had some remarkable (and often hilarious) stories to tell- which certainly helps.  

The Death of Ivan Ilych was affecting.  Dorothy Sayers was an interesting lady who wrote interesting stories. 

It seems Oscar Wilde painted a portrait of himself in his The Picture of Dorian Gray.

The Gulag Archipelago and Man's Search for Meaning ought to be required reading for Every.Alive.Person.

The 2020's required a reread of 1984 and Fahrenheit 451.  And if one hasn't read them, they also should be required reading.  Pertinent, they are.

Here are some books I hope to read in 2022:

~ Finish reading The Gulag Archipelago: An Experiment in Literary Investigation (Volume 1) by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and 12 Rules for Life by Jordan Peterson

~  A Lantern in her Hand by Bess Streeter Aldrich

~ Hard Times by Charles Dickens

~ The Abolition of Man by C.S. Lewis

~ The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky

~ Paradise Lost by John Milton

~ An Enchanted April by Elizabeth Von Arnim

~ something by Anthony Horowitz (The House of Silk? Magpie Murders?)

~ * I also plan to start a weekly 'Newman Book Club for the Biggles' in which the teens and I go through Mere Christianity by C.S.Lewis.  We may even listen to these talks.*

Of course, if you have any exceptionally good books (in any genre) that you loved... please let me know!  I am trying to be more well-rounded in my reading and I particularly like picking up books that have been recommended to me by interesting and respected people who are well rounded themselves.  

Any books, in particular, you are hoping to read this year?