Some say that they don’t believe in making new year’s resolutions. well that’s fine for them, but as a stupid ex-boyfriend of mine once said, “to each to his own.” as a list-maker, I love writing down my hopes and dreams and goals and ideas for the coming year. now, are there things that have been on my list for the last five years? well, of course. but maybe this is my year! the year I’ll make things happen. and if not, there’s always next year, right? perhaps one of the reasons I am a fan of setting goals and resolutions is because there are always areas in my life I know I can and would like to improve. some of my goals may be a little lofty, but I would say most are reasonable and attainable. for the first time in tiny white house history, I am sharing these resolutions with you!
I find great joy in creating atmospheres that are welcoming and feel like home; but this year, I’d like to step out of my introverted comfort zone and actually invite others into our home and our lives. a novel concept, yes? this past year, I really struggled with insecurity and perfectionism and having the desire to host others, but feeling inadequate. towards the end of the year, after much prompting by the Holy Spirit, I decided to get over myself and invite the girls from my Sunday school class over for a girls’ night in. in the weeks before, I stressed myself out planning and cleaning and preparing and wishing I hadn’t mentioned the idea in the first place. but you know what? I am so glad I did. it was such a sweet time with some dear women in my life. I’m not saying the night or my hosting was perfect, but dinner was served at 6 and my guests lingered until 10pm, so it must not have been too terrible. and to think if I had let my fear of my house not being clean enough or nice enough or not being a good enough cook keep me from hosting, I would have missed out on the gift of letting others in.
I love the way Laura Bell puts it,
…both of them knew and understood the true art of simply opening their door. They weren't prideful in what they had nor were they ashamed or afraid of not having enough. Because they had that innate “southernness” about them, they understood that those who entered their home didn't actually NEED their finest china or greatest batch of sweet tea. What people needed was them. They needed their kindness, they needed someone to be family when theirs was falling apart, they needed to see and be touched by a strong marriage, they needed to be heard and not overlooked.
The Greatest gift we have been handed is an invitation to walk in life with the One who gave life to us. If we are made in His image, doesn't that make us excellent extenders of invitations?
— The Art of Inviting
another thing I’d like to do this year that falls in the category of hospitality is to meet our neighbors. I mean, we’ve met them; but I want to get to know them, to bake them cookies, invite them over for dinner. I want to share more than a friendly wave when we pass each other. this is another thing that makes me nervous and I’ve already overanalyzed and considered every possible scenario… they’ll be allergic to the cookies, they’ll decline a dinner invitation, etc. but my mother said I should offer anyway. she said they should be gracious enough to accept the cookies and then throw them away if it’s not something they like. so, I guess I’ll take my mom’s advice and just do it.
writing letters + sending cards
do you remember how exciting it was as a child to find a letter in the mail addressed to you? not a bill or anything of that sort, but a card or letter with your name on it. I suppose snail mail could be considered a lost art, which is such a shame. I’ve always thought it such a thoughtful gesture. I want to send more mail this year. on birthdays and special occasions would be nice, but what about sending a card to someone for no reason at all? I know that would mean a lot to me, so I want to try to do more of that.
getting back in the kitchen + weekly family dinner(s)
another revolutionary idea, I know. this one is kind of weird [and maybe pathetic?] because I actually enjoy cooking, but don’t do it as often as I’d like or should. I plan to make more of an effort in the kitchen this year. I’m open to trying new recipes; but more than that, I want to gather around the table with my family and share a meal. we do this occasionally at home; but more often than not, our meals are shared on the living room floor—or kitchen, if it’s spaghetti night. a lot of the time, my husband and I will feed the boys, do bath time, tuck them in, and then enjoy our meal—whether home-cooked or takeout—once the house is quiet. I actually love this kind of dinner, but I want to learn to love sitting down to supper with all three of my boys and hearing about each others’ day and dining together like civilized-ish humans—you know, that kind of thing. my goal is to have family dinner at the table once a week. I realize I am setting the bar very low, but this is more often than we do now, so I’m good with it.
projects + home improvement
if you’ve been following the blog for any length of time, you know I love a good project. and while I don’t believe this is our “forever home,” (which is such a silly term to me. there’s really no such thing, but that’s another post for another day.), there is still much I’d like to do to this house before our time here is done. ironically, my husband thinks it’s kind of pointless to do a lot of projects if we don’t plan to stick around longterm. and I see it from the exact opposite point of view… if we aren’t going to be here forever, I’d like to get to work now and do the things I want to do, so we can enjoy them while we live here before our time here is complete. and it’s nothing too major… our home renovation knocked all the big tasks off the to-do list. it’s small(er) projects like making over the friends’ entry to our home, planting an herb garden, landscaping the front yard, finishing up the laundry room remodel, that kind of thing. I’m sure my husband is not thrilled if he’s reading this, but none of this is news to him. I submitted these work orders a long time go. time to get to work!
taking photos + having them printed
almost five years ago, I bought my first DSLR camera. though I have no desire to be a photographer, I have certainly enjoyed my camera and “gotten my money’s worth.” I don’t struggle so much with actually taking photos as I do with promptly editing and ordering prints. I have maybe a handful of printed photos of our family, and that’s being generous. this year I want to be intentional about printing photos for framing, but also to fill photo albums. I’d love to have something that isn’t a screen that we can use to reflect on memories, as well as something tangible to share with our children. I’ve had plans to create a gallery wall of black + white family photos in our stairwell for some time now, so accomplishing this will kill two birds with one stone.
this little blog of mine is certainly a hobby and creative outlet for me. I can’t believe it’s been nearly five years since it was created! in 2019, I’d like to share on the blog more frequently and maybe figure out the business side of blogging. this, along with most of the “resolutions” mentioned above, has been on my to-do list for awhile now. I’ve been researching how to monetize your blog for some time now, and let me tell you, the internet is hard. but really and truly, I’d love to be able contribute financially to my family, so I’m hoping to make real progress on this front in 2019.
I suppose these are more than simply goals or resolutions… these are habits that I want to create and make long-lasting, and I think 2019 is just the year to make it happen.