A to-do list and a word for 2015

My one little word for 2015 is grace.

The word has stuck to me and I can’t seem to get away from it. It’s not something I give freely, to myself or others. I’m hard on myself and I’m hard on those around me. I tend to be a bit prickly by nature. But the word grace pops up on a daily basis for me. And it’s uncomfortable. It’s something I want to be, graceful. It’s something I want to do, give grace. It’s something I want to get, from myself.

So for 2015, since it’s sort of taken on the form of gum on the shoe over the last year, I’m choosing grace as my one little word.


Full disclosure: One day in and I’ve already failed. Day one I raised my voice to an uncomfortable tone needlessly. It’s like second nature to me. But the great thing about my word for the year is that my failure allows me to practice my word.


Instead of giving in to the bad habits, I get to give myself enough grace to try again. Which will, hopefully, lead to me giving more of it in the process.


Gracious words are like honey, sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.

Proverbs 16:24


And because I’m giving myself grace this year I’ve decided to pare down the Manifesto I make every year to a simple to-do list for 2015. There are a few things that simply need to get done. No resolutions. No giant manifestos. Just a word and a list.

  1. A picture of my kids once per week, every week in 2015 – This past November my dear father-in-law gave me a 50 mm lens for my “big” camera and VSCO editing software as a birthday present. In the past I’ve made a bad habit of going the easier route when it comes to pictures of our every day life by grabbing my phone to shoot with. No more. No way am I letting that fancy pants lens take a backseat to a camera on a phone. So, this year I’m making the time to snap at least one picture of my kiddos with my real camera at least once per week. Plus, I want to get better at photography and the best way to do that is practice, practice, practice. The idea is from Jodi at Practising Simplicity and it’s called The 52 Project. Bethany of Cloistered Away, has also participated in The 52 Project and the photos are so beautiful. Check them out if you’re into that sort of thing. 
  2. Dave Ramsey financial overhaul – If the amount of student loan debt is directly proportional to how smart we are then Mr. Thistle and I are geniuses. That’s right. We’re among the growing number of Americans with a ridiculous amount of student loan debt. And it’s high time we started knocking that junk out. We’re implementing a few Dave Ramsey style techniques this year in the hopes of really making a dent once and for all. We’re snowballing the student loan debt. And we’re going to try to live on a zero-sum budget. And meal plan. We’ve never done any of these so we’ll see how it goes. Its been a couple of years since I had any kind of “five year plan” so I thought 2015 was the year to bring one back. And let me just tell you this: once you let Dave Ramsey in, he’s everywhere. Jesus and Dave Ramsey are always watching. I kid. But he is like the little guy on my shoulder now any time I want to buy something. But it’ll be worth it in the long run. 
  3. Zero-sum time management – I’d like to loosely apply the same principles of a zero-sum budget to managing my time. The principle of a zero-sum budget is that there is zero left in the end. Every bit goes towards something. Even if you’re just putting it into a savings account, every dollar goes somewhere and isn’t left idle in the account. I’d like to try this with managing my time. First, list all the things that must get done first (homeschool, house chores, errands). Once all of those items are determined (whether daily or weekly) then look at how much time I might have left over and decide what I’d like to do with any free time. The idea is to know where my time is going like my money. I’m not truly trying to fill every minute of the day. That’s just not realistic. But I would like to stop wondering where the time went after falling down a Pinterest rabbit hole. If I can step back, look at my list, and say “I’ve got an hour 15 minutes that I can devote to mindless Internet time,” then I can feel less guilty about “me time” and get more done. I want to be a better steward of the time given to me. 

That’s it. I feel like if I can do these three things all the 7,000 other things I want to do or achieve will fall into place in their own time.

I’m sure as soon as I post this I’ll think of a million other things I want to add to the list. But the list goes with the word.


I’m going to give myself a break this year on the attempt at over-achieving and work on these three giant things.

Do you have a word or a list for 2015? I’d love to hear it.


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