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 Increasing in 2022

warming feet by a fireplace

In her book The Writing Life, Annie Dillard wrote, "How we spend our days, is, of course, how we spend our lives." And since I was gifted only one life, I'd like to spend it well. 

With the turning of a new year comes a chance to reflect on what was and look ahead to what will be. It's a chance to evaluate and make adjustments to how I'm spending my days. I'm not one to make New Year's resolutions. A lofty plan is often unattainable and a precursor to failure. I have no desire to start my year out with feelings of defeat. But, while I never make resolutions, I'm always resolute. I'm firm in my resolve to make slow-and-steady progress.

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Luke 2:52 records that throughout His life, Jesus increased in wisdom, in stature, and in favor with God and man. As I look ahead to 2022 and determine with the Holy Spirit's help how I can make incremental steps of change in my life, I'd do well to follow that same pattern of growth. 

Here are four ways I'll be using my days in 2022.

National Park Passport

In Wisdom

To speak the language of love my husband most understands, I bought him a National Parks Passport book and the National Bestselling travel memoir, Leave No Footprints: My Acadia-to-Zion Journey Through Every National Park for Christmas. The gifted duo came with a promise that I'd read it with him and that when we're done, we will visit one of the parks during our 20th-anniversary trip later this coming year.

When we were newly married, we used to read together quite often--marriage books, parenting books, devotional books. But then the busyness of life squeezed in and our reading time was pushed out. I'm hoping that as a natural side effect of starting our year by reading his Christmas book together, we'll be able to reestablish the habit. Reading aloud to each other not only gives us some meaningful alone time but also cultivates great talking points and conversation starters for us throughout the week. 

making pizza dough

In Stature

Speaking of Christmas presents, I bought myself a cookbook this year. I wrapped it and put it under the tree and everything. (Which in hindsight is just silly because my husband always buys me a ridiculous amount of gifts. If I had just mentioned it to him, I know he would have happily thrown the book in with his other purchases for me. But alas...)

I've wanted to cook my way through an entire recipe book for many years now and I think this is the year! Last fall, I checked out several cookbooks from the library in hopes of finding one that offered an array of recipes that were doable, family-friendly, made of real ingredients, and that would not include too many duplicates of recipes I already make. I settled on Magnolia Table, Volume 2, and bought it.

To be honest, I'm a minimalist. I don't generally keep cookbooks. I copy the recipes I've tried and have liked and add the copies to an ever-growing 3-ring binder of clear plastic sleeves that holds our family favorites. Magnolia Table, Volume 2 might end up being a rare exception. I plan to write notes in the margin of the pages as I work my way through each of the recipes. I'll include the date or occasion of the meal, any substitutions or changes I'd make to the ingredient list in the future, and my family's overall review of the dish. 

Since there are 145 recipes in the book, I'll need to make three a week to reach my goal. Fortunately, a handful of the entries have to be made together in order to complete a dish...like dinner rolls and the herb butter that is generally served alongside them.

Since I don't own a kitchen torch, I will either have to excuse myself from making crème brûlée or I'll have to buy myself a Christmas present again next year in order to finish the entire collection by December 31, 2022.

In Favor with God

This past year, some women at my church began meeting once a week to go through a Bible study together on Tuesday mornings. Since homeschooling is my first priority on weekdays, I was not able to join them. In January, however, they'll be diving into Jen Wilkin's workbook on 1 Peter. Although I still can't make the in-person meetings, I'm hoping to do the study at home in order that I can be unified in growth with the ladies of my local community of believers.

Additionally, I'll be launching my second book with Moody Publishers this coming September. My prayer is that the words God has prompted me to write will help many women learn to use their homes for Gospel purposes.  

blank greeting cards

In Favor with Man

Last year, I set a goal for myself to write a note of encouragement to someone each week--the kind that requires old-timey, non-digital delivery--the kind that bears a stamp. To my knowledge, no one has ever said, "I'm far too encouraged today." And with the kind of year we had in 2019, I figured that notes to friends would have a rippling effect. One person would be encouraged and would hopefully pay it forward to someone else, creating big lavish waves of kindness.

But by mid-March my plan sort of fizzled. Turns out, I don't have the mailing addresses of most of my real-life friends.

This year, I'm starting the year by collecting all the addresses in advance. I've asked around and have created a handy spreadsheet of names and addresses. I've also gathered a stack of blank notes cards that have me just itching to get started like these cute book-themed Bibliophile ones and these alpaca-inspired ones (because a picture of an alpaca can make anyone smile.)

4 Ways I'll be Increasing n 2022 #newyears #resolutions #2022goals #goalsetter

A Final Word

Proverbs 16:9 was the theme song of my days in the weird, wonky year that was 2021.
"The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps."
But while the past twelve months may not have turned out exactly as I had planned, they did not take God by surprise. He was there holding up all my disappointments, all my fractured friendships, all my misplaced expectations, and establishing my steps in a different direction.

This time around, as I look ahead to the next 365 days, I'm still making plans. But I'm holding those plans loosely. I'm leaning into 2022 with great expectations. How about you?

Got any 2022 goals? How will you be increasing in the coming year?


  1. I hope you'll blog about your recipes. This has been a goal of mine, too, and I have Magnolia Volume 2. :) Also, just use this for the torch: https://www.amazon.com/Utility-Occasions-Resistant-Flexible-Fireplace/dp/B08BQXM2RT/ref=sr_1_3?crid=LXAA9ZA0S3V9&keywords=lighter+for+grill&qid=1640696859&sprefix=lighter+for+grill%2Caps%2C83&sr=8-3

    It'll get the job done well enough. Good luck in this endeavor!

  2. The first few paragraphs of this post made me think of the Power Sheets Goal Planner by Cultivate What Matters. It has been such a useful tool to be intentional and purposeful in my days. It's a GOAL planner and and walks you through the whole thought process, and each month there's space to reflect and keep going. It is quite a bit of money and took me a few years to decide to buy it, but I'm glad I did. I decided this year it was worth getting again. It's actually 25% off right now (they only sell this from October - nowish).
    I've thought about cooking through a cookbook too and my sister in law just gifted me the Magnolia Table. This past year I wanted to get menu planning down to a running like a well oiled machine. I plan a month's worth of meals and each week just plug in what's already been decided and shop accordingly. I have also kept my monthly menus and plan to use them this year to keep the decision process to a minimum. In fact, the writing down of meals was some wisdom learned from one of your posts a few years back.
    I love the idea of writing friends snail mail. That was one that fizzled for me last year as well. I think I need to make a "correspondence box" to keep all the notecards, envelopes, and such in one place. That way I take the box off the shelf, bring to the table, and it has everything I need in one place.
    Very excited to see a new book from you! Can't wait! Certainly a topic I'm very interested in growing in!

    1. I bought a "correspondence box" a few years ago. It has dividers for different types of cards. But it would be a great idea to keep all the names/addresses and stamps in there too. Thanks for that!

      And thank you for the encouragement for my upcoming book. It's a bit of a departure from my first book, but hopefully shares the same messages of hope and help!

  3. This is an excellent post and gives me much on which to ponder. Thank you so much!

  4. Love it, Jamie! Definitely encouraging as I am pondering over similar thoughts. Thank you. (And let us know if you RMNP... we're just an hour from it!)

    1. Will do, Tina! I'd love to see you and your family again.

  5. A friend of mine used this digital address book this year, very simple to fill out https://www.postable.com/address-book.
    Might be an option for you

  6. I like the thought of "increasing". I don't think I have ever had a New Year idea appeal to me like this thought.
    Also that book you got your husband sounds like one my husband would like.