Making all the lists

The week after Christmas is usually my favorite of the year. The day after Christmas I woke up with a heavy-burdened feeling, though. It was Monday and the week was full of activity—all good stuff, but all busy stuff that would keep me away from work I needed to get done before we headed back to school in January. In my mind I had only one week of vacation left, and it was all taken up already. There would not be enough time for the school prep I needed.

One of the kids questioned me about our back-to-school date so I checked the schedule to be sure, and my entire world opened up when I realized we had a whole extra week of vacation left. It was the best gift I could have given myself—to be wrong.

I texted a couple other moms whom I school with so they could join me in my celebration of what they probably already knew. The back-to-school date is something we generally look at before school is out for Christmas. I was probably the only one confused about this. They probably said a prayer for my sanity.

I probably do this a lot—develop a bad attitude about something that's not even accurate. I'm kind of a toddler sometimes.

It feels like I've been given an extra week in the year and I want to make the most of it. It's a snow day today and we'll take the sleds up in the woods for a few hours. Then I'll put the house in order (again). Tomorrow I'll hit the books and the planning.

There are a bunch of lists I want to make:

  • books to read
  • habits to develop
  • rooms to declutter
  • meals to make
  • trips to plan
  • words to write.

I love lists maybe more than I love accomplishing what's on the lists, and I tend to aim too high with my list making, so I'm also making a list of lists that need pared down:

  • emails to unsubscribe to
  • subscriptions to cancel
  • apps to delete

I'm cleaning out and tidying up in my real world and my digital world, because my brain needs all kinds of white space.

I have high hopes for the new year and it's good and right to feel this way now, with January in its first week. Come February I know I'll be knee deep in those lists I made and I'll be overwhelmed and under-energized but for now, lists are the right thing.

Here's a list of my top posts from 2016 (a year in which I blogged less than ever):

  • How a life is built - Progress is being made in the sudden stops and in the long obediences, layer by layer.
  • A civility lost - Maybe the way is to come humbly into the public forum, to know our boundaries and our names and how we got them.
  • A book to remind you - To write something is to say it is true in the moment, and we hope it might be in the future, too. But what about on your dark days? Will it be as true then as it is now, when the ink is still wet?
  • From the window and from the gate - There are always a hundred ways to tell a story but we have to choose one at a time.
  • Soul minimalism won't do - I want to rid my life of things right now that may be the exact things I’ll need someday, and I run the risk of being a soul-minimalist.
  • Live closely with yourself - We are strangers, and we assimilate or die daily in a culture that will vex our soul while it woos our nature.
  • Woe to all who thought life was lived in formulas - (a poem) Woe to all who seek to paint by number a life, a story, a straight line to glory.
  • This is not my life - God forgive me if I groan at all the good things He’s given.
  • How to use your words - The wise use of language is worth fighting for. It’s worth our efforts to discern truth from fiction, to use our words for good, to charitably question intentions of those who tell us what we want to hear.

The year will inevitably hold surprises—some good, some bad. We'll all be wrong about some things and overwhelmed by our own lists and goals, but I hope you can rejoice in 2017 that your future in Christ is always infinitely better than anything on your calendar. Blessings, friends.