I'm a wife to my "Mr. Right". A momma of five. A maker of slow food and simple living. A collector of memories, a keeper of books, and a champion for books that make memories. An addict who likes my half-and-half with a splash of coffee. A fractured pot transformed by the One Who makes broken things beautiful. I heart homeschooling, brake for libraries, and am glad you're here with me on the journey! Be sure to subscribe to my monthly newsletter. Or, follow along with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google +, Youtube, or Pinterest.

4 Ways I'll be More Me in 2020

Seneca, an ancient Roman philosopher once wrote,
“It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it. Life is long enough, and a sufficiently generous amount has been given to us for the highest achievements if it were all well invested. But when it is wasted in heedless luxury and spent on no good activity, we are forced at last by death’s final constraint to realize that it has passed away before we knew it was passing. So it is: we are not given a short life but we make it short, and we are not ill-supplied but wasteful of it… Life is long if you know how to use it.” 
Seneca. On the Shortness of Life, trans. C.D.N. Costa (New York: Penguin, 2005) pp. 1-2
As I look ahead to 2020, I am reminded that unless the Lord decides otherwise, I'll have exactly 365 days to spend. It's my choice how I'll use them.

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I can squander them, living a willy-nilly accidental life. Or, I can invest them, following the pattern set by a young Jesus so many years ago--growing in wisdom, in stature, and in favor with God and man. I can grow more me, or at least the me that God would have me to be.

I choose the latter.

That kind of growth will take some intentionality. It will take some purpose.

Fortunately, though, I won't have to set my whole self to the plow, straining and striving to be something or someone I was never meant to be. Change doesn’t have to happen in one large dose or with strenuous effort. Like the archer who only moves his arrow a fraction of an inch to alter the entire direction of his shot, I'll only have to make small, intentional realignments (like these) in order to make a significant difference.

As Seneca wrote, 2020 won't feel short if I'm not wasteful of it. It will feel just right if I use it well. Here's my game plan for doing just that.

Growing in Wisdom

By committing to the Storied Mom Reading Challenge back in September, I pledged to tiptoe into many different and unfamiliar-to-me literary genres, some of which I was eager to explore and some of which I was not. But, after reading Them: Why We Hate Each Other and How to Heal this past November in order to fulfill the political/current event category--a genre I have gravely avoided in the past--I realized that reading outside of my normal lane is one simple way to ensure a different and more completed me by the end of 2020. I was not the same person after I read that book. Truly.

So this year, even after the challenge is done, I hope to continue reaching for unlikely titles--books that I would have previously passed over. In doing so, the Jamie of tomorrow will no doubt be shaped by the books chosen by the Jamie of today. 

Growing in Stature

I've never been one to commit to any particular exercise program or eating fad. But, I have definitely had some hills and valleys in my diet and overall health--especially since turning 40. I'm only slightly exaggerating when I say that the moment I blew out 40 candles this past September, gravity suddenly turned its back on me. Nothing is in its rightful place anymore and all my parts feel gelatinous when I run...or walk...or sit. 

Although never as consistent as I'd like to be, I've always tried to work out several times a week. But this year, I'm setting an actual goal for myself. I hope to move my body in some purposeful way for 300 of the next 365 days. I know it's unrealistic to set an exact routine or even a time frame for that long of a haul. So, by setting a goal that leaves 65 days of wiggle room I'm hoping to ensure that I actually stick to it. In tracking my patterns, I'll pay more attention to them. My age will try to nudge me toward sluggishness. But I want to be fully available to do whatever God has for me in the coming days, months, and years. That will only be possible if I am physically up to the task. 

Growing in Favor with God

Last year, I set a big goal for myself: to write my first book. In speaking that dream out loud and putting it here in digital ink, I gave it more gravity and forced myself toward accountability. Turns out, that was just the momentum I needed to actually write the thing. And so I did. By fall, I turned in the completed manuscript for Homeschool Bravely. Like all giant elephants, this one was eaten one bite at a time.

If truth be told, it was God who placed that little dream in my heart. It was God who gave me the words. It was God who opened the doors for a literary contract with a well-respected Christian publishing house. It was God from the first letter to the last. And now I feel Him pushing me to a new project. He's given me another story to tell and I'd be remiss if I didn't obediently step out to tell it. Who knows if this book will find a home with a publisher. Perhaps the message will only ever be meant for me. Time will tell. But as I mentioned in my first book: my job is obedience. The outcome is in His hands. And so I'll write. I'll do my thing, knowing full well that He'll do His.

Growing in Favor with Man

It's been nearly a year since my family and I packed up our lives and moved two hours away from anyone and everything we knew. We've slowly settled in and are claiming our place, but we've still not established all the routines. In this larger city, we're surrounded by options. Case in point, we went from having one locally-owned coffee shop to having over twenty, and that's not including all the chain and big-box shops. We've got choice and that's good. But choice also has a down-side. Hopping from place to place to try them all on means that the coffee shop people never really get to know us and, in turn, we never really get to know them.

This year, I'm hoping to become a regular. I want to belong. I'm aching to know their names and have them know mine. I want to bring a little bit of small-town feel to my life in this bigger city. So, I've picked out a coffee shop near my house and I'm planting my flag. That's not to say that I won't ever visit any others, but that I'm going to intentionally invest in one over all the rest.

When I go, I hope to bring my daughter. As a junior in high school, she's only got one more full school year here at home with me. And then she's off. Her future plans aren't set in stone; perhaps she'll stick close to home for a few years following graduation. Perhaps she won't. Either way, I know that her days under my roof are numbered and I want to drink them all up in big lavish gulps while I still can. Our coffee dates will be an opportunity for me to say all the things still yet to be said. They will be a way for us to transition from mother-daughter to life-long friends. We'll tighten our heart-chords so that no matter where she roams from here on out, she'll always feel anchored and will know how to find her way home when she needs to.

One last word

If I learned anything about living in the last year it's that I matter too. Even just writing that feels kinda out of place; I've never worn "needy" well. But, I want to keep the promises I make to myself. As Seneca wrote, life is not short. It is just enough. But I can't squander it. I have to live it purposefully.

Just as I wouldn’t like it if a friend constantly blew off plans with me, I don’t like it when I blow off plans with me. I matter enough to myself to keep my own commitments to me. So for the next 365 days, I'm gonna hold myself accountable. I'm gonna require some growth. I want to be more me by being more like Him--growing in wisdom, stature, and in favor with God and man.


  1. I absolutely love this and feel everything you said! Thank you for the inspiration! What an exciting year 2020 will be! Cheers and God Bless you!

    1. Thank you! I hope your 2020 is one to remember as well.

  2. Thanks so much for this post! I am teaching a lesson to the youth at church in a couple weeks about the new youth program that our church is rolling out in 2020. It is based on Luke 2:52 and I love the perspective that the quote from Seneca adds! I also love how willing you are to be obedient to God’s word in your life. You are a great example to me!

    1. I love how the Bible is applicable in the practical areas of our lives like New Year's goals. Thanks for reading and for the encouragement.

  3. I love this! Can’t wait to (hopefully) read your next project 😀