Thoughts for the New Year

Our family spends a week at my mom’s house over Christmas break each year. We go there each year the day after Christmas, and have a tradition of celebrating New Year’s together. 

My sister is the first born, type A, organized, successful sibling. She always has the perfect gift picked out for everyone. Her family’s luggage is always neatly packed and folded during her entire stay. She even brings her own fold-out laundry basket for their dirty clothes. Everything is has a place, and they always know exactly where everything is.

I’m the sibling that packs myself and the girls bags thirty minutes before it’s time to load the luggage into the car. Som years we have stopped at Wal-Mart on the way to my moms house to finish our Christmas shopping. And I always ask my mom to borrow wrapping paper or gift bags about ten minutes before we all exchange gifts. 

I clearly struggle with being organized.

While we were at my moms, my sister also mentioned that her nine-year-old daughter spent her own allowance money and bought The Magnolia Story book for my sister at her school book fair. My niece saw this book at the book fair at her school and knew her mom would love it.  She didn’t ask anyone for the money. She used money she had earned. And she paid the book fair price for it- $26.99.

Generosity, intentionality and being organized all go hand in hand. We don’t accidentally decide in the midst of a chaotic schedule to do something nice for someone else. Being intentional and generous begins with having structure and planning ahead. These are all traits my sister displays in her everyday life. Now her children are beginning to naturally develop these characteristics from watching how she lives.


A few years ago, I asked some of my most organized friends what their greatest advice was. They all pretty much said the same thing.

This is what they said works best for them:

  • Plan Ahead
  • De-clutter Often
  • Have Great Systems


 Tim and I decided to buy all of our Christmas gifts (accept for our kids) from friends who own small businesses. All of the items were either monogrammed, hand-lettered, or had a special wood carving. Each gift was unique and picked out just for the person we were buying it for. But more than that, we were supporting friends who have had the courage to start a business. These friends are relying on these businesses to support their families.

This year, whether I’m making decisions with what I’m purchasing, how I’m spending my time, or how I’m parenting my kids, I want to live with more intention.

What are some of your thoughts and goals for this year?





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