We used to write annual Christmas letters, with cards that featured a posed family photo set in a custom-designed-by-me setting. Then about six years ago, we started slipping, and started to write New Year’s letters… then we continued to slip further and skip years until we just dropped the letters completely (or sent out two-year-old picture cards and mailed them in… March). I’m sure I could come up with some analogy to make it sound better, but the truth is we just got busy. We always seem to be busiest around the holidays, which is something we don’t really like but which sometimes feels necessary. (With our wedding anniversary, two birthdays, and Christmas all within 30 days of each other? Yeah, some of it IS necessary!) But the busyness was never our favorite… and so this year we tried very hard to simply be quieter. We celebrated Advent, not just Christmas through readings and family time. We stayed home (we had planned on going to my parents’ home, but Littlest got out of the hospital 10 days before Christmas, which definitely put a damper on me wanting to travel ANYwhere). We visited with friends for Christmas Dinner and had Joel’s oldest two sisters here for New Years.

We focused on building healthy family relationships and strengthening our family through stronger commitments to addressing unhealthy relationships and situations that come up and put a strain on us. We went to Universal Studios (me and my sisters in law, for a girls’ day which was amazing), we went to Yosemite, we talked, we slept in, we drank loads of coffee, we laughed a lot, we realized how much we still love each other, we read books, played games, and watched movies. It was a great time of just being a family.

I don’t typically do resolutions, so this year, I tried to condense what I would have put as resolutions into a single word for my 2017: Hope

Hope that we can make forward progress with Littlest’s medical care, and quality of life. We have a new neurosurgeon at our local children’s hospital, and he gave me some very tenuous hope that we might be able to drastically boost Littlest’s quality of life.

Hope that we can have progress addressing some of the issues in our greater circle that have popped up. It’s so hard to see people you love refuse to address mental illness or personal sin and try to blame all their problems on everybody but themselves.

Hope that our nation can heal from the very real, very damaging issues that have been at the forefront for the last few years.This is not a plug for the newly elected individual, by the way, rather an acknowledgment of the fact that people are using the election to come together and try to effect change, despite the result of said election. (No, I will not debate nor discuss politics on my blog. I will just comment my thoughts.)

Hope that our older two can get into the school we want to enroll them in, to give our shy Quietest a broader circle of friends and draw her out, and give our extroverted Oldest a bit of challenge for daily things. haha

Hope that we as a family can spend more time together and start to invest in each other more, while also teaching the kids how to invest in others without becoming proud of our circumstances.

Hope that we can build a habit of quietness in our daily lives, not feeling pressure to be/do/say/act how others think we should, but just to enjoy each day for the joy that it brings.

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