“An ounce of reflective observations leads to a pound of learning.” —Dr. Tasha Chapman
I’m not naturally a person who looks back, but the past few years, I’ve loved to answer a few questions to help think about the year and remember and reflect. I asked all of you these questions too, and am sharing some of your answers.
A Lesson You’ve Learned this Year?
“Godliness with contentment is great gain.” 1 Timothy 6:1
Angelica: I feel most myself when connected to and dependent on people I love (including Jesus). And even though that isn’t something the world encourages or sees value in, I don’t need to be ashamed of that.
Paolo: Pay attention to my life, by paying attention emotions. When something delights me. When I feel hurt or sad. Not just feel them (or ignore them).
Something You Want to Learn/Explore in 2024?
Organizing home tasks with index cards and swimming for exercise.
Haley: Learning more aspects of gardening (flowers, herbs, vegetables). Writing (and reading) poetry. Learning some Church history / more about the Christian calendar / more about other Christian traditions / incorporating liturgical prayers
Abigail: Me too [replying to Haley’s comment about the church calendar]. It's a slow process for us. The biggest thing we've done so far is We've read through an advent book the last two years (The Advent Storybook by Laura Richie) with the kids and I'm happy to say its tradition in our family now. :) Not much, I know, but coming from a very low church background, that was a big step. I'd like to incorporate a little more in 2024 during other times of the year.
Jana: Learning more about the major and minor prophets from classic texts
A New Habit You Adopted?
Talking regularly with a few trusted friends in a structured setting about my life and work for encouragement and loving accountability; doing weight routines at home for exercise; and making Thursday’s “Just Because We Can” days with the kids.
Angelica: Swimming for exercise a few days a week
Courtney: Going to the zoo with my daughter for an hour after work/school—not a habit, but I went once a week in the spring with Amory, and we both loved it.
A Book You’re Glad You Read?
The Last Devil to Die (#4 of the Thursday Murder Club) by Richard Osman, Homecoming by Kate Morton, and The Matchmaker’s Gift by Lynda Cohen Loigman.
These were all good-but-likely-forgettable books that I’m so happy I read. If you want a list of books I’ll remember, find that list here.
Angelica: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.
Mary: All four books in Andrew Peterson's Wingfeather Saga. So good.
Courtney: The Rose Code by Kate Quinn
Something That Surprised You This Year?
How much easier things things feel with a 2 and 4 year old vs. 1 and 3 year old.
Katie: Starting a book club
Angelica: A foot injury and how much not being able to get around normally changed my life
A TV Show that Brought Joy?
Daisy Jones and the Six, Jewish Matchmaking, Slow Horses and the Great British Baking Show.
Mary: The Detectorists
Jana: Down for Love and The Great British Baking Show
Music/Podcast/YouTube Channel That Lived in Your Ears?
The Minimal Mom YouTube Channel and my Spotify playlists.
Paolo: John Mark Comer's Practicing the Way podcast "Rule of Life".
Laura: Wool Needle Hands YouTube Channel
Something You Discovered in 2023?
How much I like weight routines for at home exercise. Specifically, this YouTube channel I discovered via a Cup of Jo comment.
Angelica: The joy of making things with my hands.
A Recipe You Loved in 2023?
Katie: Pinch of Yum White Bean, Sausage, Kale Soup!
Angelica: Sourdough sandwich bread! I made it at least once a week!
A Quote You’ll Take With You from 2023 into the New Year?
“Become an open singing-bowl, whose chime is richness rising out of emptiness, and timelessness resounding into time.” —Malcolm Guite
Paolo: "I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me." Galatians 2:20b (NLT)
The words have become an anchor to ground me in reality–I am human, with all the limitations and beauty and pain that come with my frame. They also propel me forward. When I wake up anxious, reciting the to-dos of the day in my head before I even open my eyes, I recite this verse, and begin to inhabit my humanity; to feel human again. Reciting it brings home the enorimity that makes my small fragile life possible, worth living, and filled with grace: Jesus loved me and gave himself for me.
Laura: "Life is difficult, Jeremiah. Are you going to quit at the first wave of opposition? Are you going to retreat when you find that there is more to life than finding three meals a day and a dry place to sleep at night? Are you going to run home the minute you find that the mass of men and women are more interested in keeping their feet warm than in living at risk to the glory of God? Are you going to live cautiously or courageously? I called you to live at your best, to pursue righteousness, to sustain a drive toward excellence. It is easier, I know, to be neurotic. It is easier to be parasitic. It is easier to relax into the embracing arms of The Average. Easier, but not better. Easier, but not more significant. Easier, but not more fulfilling. I called you to a life of purpose far beyond what you think yourself capable of living and promised you adequate strength to fulfill your destiny." (Run with the Horses, Eugene Peterson)
Thanks to all who participated!