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 2024

My 2024 goals

2023 was one of simplicity and small joys. Before I move forward, however, I have to first look back. I have to take stock of how I did or did not honor the commitments I made to myself last year. Like always, I set four goals for myself. They were as follows:

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  1. Improve my sourdough baking abilities by baking at least one type of pastry/loaf a week. (Except for a few weeks of travel this past summer, I have successfully hit the mark.)
  2. Avoid "intentional" sugar...desserts, sweet pastries, sweet tea, and the like. (I felt like I was doing fairly well with this at the beginning of the year, and then my stepfather passed away. For a few weeks, life was in upheaval as I traveled south to help pack up and move my mother. Consequently, my eating habits went south too. When life finally returned to normal, I had completely forgotten about this goal. It's not as if I just ignored my no-sugar plan. I honestly forgot about it.)
  3. Listen to the entire Bible by year's end and read My Utmost for His Highest, a book I was embarrassed to admit I'd never read before. (Check and check!)
  4. Catalogue my entire children's library by stamping the books with a monogram stamp and entering them into the My Library app. (At the time of this writing, I have completed 21 1/2 out of 22 shelves of books.)

As I close out the year, the beauty of the past twelve months reminds me that I don'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 moves his arrow a fraction of an inch to alter the entire direction of his shot, I only have to make small, intentional realignments to make a significant difference.

4 Ways I'll be Increasing in 2024 #newyear #resolution #goals

2024 won't feel short if I'm not wasting it. It will feel just right if I use it well. Here's my game plan for doing just that.

In Wisdom

I am a part of a small cohort of 4-women who walk alongside one another through prayer, community, and discipleship. We're not able to meet in person as often as we'd like--about once a month--but we send texts and video messages daily. One is a recently certified Biblical counselor, another is an ER nurse who has to help folks through some of life's worst moments, and two of us are on the women's ministry team at our church. We're all privileged to mentor several young moms and college students. Together, we've committed to going through the 31-Day Devotions series books to further equip us in counseling others on topics such as anxiety, fearing others, pornography, wayward children, etc. Apparently, the series is like a layman's counseling starter pack. We plan to begin the year with Shame: Being Known and Loved.

In Stature

In 2022, I created a Cookbook Challenge for myself. I worked my way through the Magnolia Table, vol. 2 in one year and made so many great mealtime memories with my family. This year, I plan to revive the challenge using The Church Supper Cookbook. There are over 400 recipes included in the index, so I know I won't be able to make all of them in a year. But I am committed to making 2 new recipes each week.

4 Ways I'll Increase in 2024

I chose this particular cookbook over others for the following reasons:
  1. My family and I attend a small group potluck after church once a month. As a person who has never made many casseroles and crockpot-style dishes on-the-regular, I was intrigued by the "potluck recipes" in the subtitle.
  2. After flipping through it, I noticed that all the recipes are made with basic ingredients. Nothing too out-of-the-box (like the seaweed soup of Magnolia Table).
The one drawback I've already noticed about the book is that one in every six recipes or so calls for a can of cream-of-something soup. Because of the high MSG content in canned soups, I only use them at Thanksgiving and Christmas to make Green Bean Casserole, my husband's favorite holiday dish from childhood. I plan to either substitute with homemade cream-of-something or just skip those recipes altogether. On the plus side, this collection has fewer boxes-of-this and cans-of-that than any other real-recipes-from-real-people cookbook I've ever seen.

Like in 2022, I'll make a dish, serve it up, encourage everyone around the table to rate the recipe on a scale of 1 to 5 stars, and then make a note of our overall rating in the upper corner of the corresponding cookbook page. 

(If you'd like to follow along in this year-long adventure be sure to check out #2024cookbookchallenge on Instagram. Better yet, join me by grabbing a copy of the book yourself and use the hashtag to share your results.)

2024 Cookbook Challenge

In Favor with God

This year, in addition to reading Scripture and writing in both my prayer journal and my line-a-day journal, I will be going through the following books in my own personal devotional time. 

The Power of Praying Through the Bible -- Each daily reading highlights one particular portion of a life of prayer like deliverance through prayer, expectant prayer, and prayer as worship. It includes the verses or chapters in Scripture that pertain to that prayer topic, a short explanatory reading, and an example prayer.

Each New Day -- I found a vintage copy of this book at a used bookstore. I'm not sure how much has been changed in the modern reprint, but the original includes one-paragraph writings about daily life from Holocaust survival Corrie Ten Boom. I can not wait to dive into this one each morning!

Bible Study Books

In Favor with Man

Last month, a friend introduced me to the Paired app designed to cultivate couples' conversations. My husband and I signed up for the free version which provides fun or contemplative questions for us to answer together each day. It's been a great way to jump-start discussions and has encouraged us to talk about other things besides the normal work-a-day topics. We hope to make this a year-long habit. (Please note: The app includes many other features. We are only using it for the free daily conversation questions.)

Additionally, I hope to send some old-fashioned encouragement to my two adult children. I've purchased a box of humorous all-occasion cards and plan to send one to my daughter at college each month and eventually to her younger brother when he's away at boot camp. We keep in touch almost daily through text, phone calls, and video chats, but there's just something extra about receiving snail mail. 

And lastly, I'll be throwing words at the page as I finish my third book in time for a November 2024 editorial deadline. This title won't launch out into the world until 2025, but stay tuned. I can't wait to share the message God has laid on my heart. 

Baking cinnamon rolls

Final Word

Isaiah 43:19 says, 
"Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert."

God is at work even now making all things new and will continue to lead the way through 2024 even if it contains unexpected rivers and deserts. As I look ahead to the coming months, I'm holding my plans loosely, knowing that His plans are always so much better than my own. I'm leaning into 2024 with great expectations hoping to grow as Jesus did, in wisdom, in stature, and in favor with both God and man. How about you?

Have you made any goals for the coming year? How will you be increasing?


  1. Love the simplicity of the four focus points for goal setting in the year to come. I came across your blog not so long ago and it has been such an encouragement as we are in our 14th year of homeschooling with now two young adult children and two still being homeschooled (10 and 15). It’s a change of season where honestly it’s hard for me to have hope and optimism for the future as I miss those younger days but your blog has been an inspiration. And I may have some motivation now to bring Rachel Lynde (my sourdough starter) back out of hibernation. :) Thank you and happy new year!

    1. I can not tell you how much joy it gives me to know that you've named your starter. I've thought and thought about what to name mine. Still thinking...
      Regarding the season you are currently in, please know that I am right there with you. These transition years have been more emotionally draining than I ever expected. For so many reasons the younger years were easier. But God can and will give us the grace we need in every season, even this one.

    2. Rachel Lynde is such a great name for a sourdough starter! I love that!

      Thank you Jamie for your continued encouragements throughout the year. I always look forward to reading your emails.❤️

  2. Love this challenge to be intentional about how we approach the new year. God challenged me to resolve to journey with a few friends in prayer this year and I will be “prayerfully” aiming to stick with that resolve all year!

    1. That is a wonderful goal for the year! What tangible steps can you implement so that you carve out time and attention for prayer?

  3. https://www.thecountrycook.net/green-bean-casserole-no-cream-soups/#recipe

    I tried this for Thanksgiving. It was easy and was a hit with the crowd who thought they wouldn’t like the taste.

    1. Thank you for that. I have tried some clean green bean casseroles in the past. And I think for him, it's less about the taste and more about the nostalgia of this recipe from his childhood. The one you've linked to looks yummy. Maybe I'll give it a try on a non-holiday mealtime. In the end, I'm willing to make the canned soup version twice a year because he loves it and I love him.

  4. May the God of peace give you Joy in your grief. He is a father to the fatherless. In the name of Yeshua, be free to dance, sing, write even more for God's kingdom and power to be displayed!!!

  5. I love your encouragement to look back. Helps us see what served us well.
    While teaching Apologia Health at our Co op I created a template with all 5 areas of health and they needed to set a goal andinclude 3 steps to reach that goal. I am using that same template for me. Social- meet a friend once a month no kids- plan it ahead of time, Physical- walk/workout ecstasy for at least 30 minutes- use Pilates with Nicole on YouTube, walk on treadmill in winter, outside in good weather, Emotional- journal and do it in the am, spiritual- read through NKJV in a year Chronologically- get up and do it first thing in am, mental- take a nap- plan for it and tell family- lock door, sound machine, turn phone off.
    I find it's best for me to set up the steps to meet the goal. I have then printed and at my desk. Most of I have- give yourself grace- for the times we are sick, we are serving others, and other times we are thrown curveballs.

    1. Yes! Goals are only as good as the steps you plan to get you there. Nebulous goals will never be accomplished because they'll require too much from you in the moment. I love how you have separated yours into these five areas. Too often, women only focus on the physical...lose weight, get up earlier each day, excercise, eat less sugar, etc. But, there's so much more to our lives than our physical selves. Yours is a holistic approach that focuses on your whole self. Love it!

    2. I can't figure out how to edit my last post, but ecstasy should NOT be in there 😂😂

    3. I'm not sure how to edit it either, but I got the gist. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who gets abused by autocorrect. 😂

  6. I'm jelous. I'm a mom of 7 amazing kids and I'm not this wise, unorganized, undisciplined, mamy times angry mom. Homeschooling has been hard the lasts years.
    I read all your posts and you're just fabulous.