Hello 2016

January 2, 2016

Happy New Year, dear friends!
Evolution of a cinnamon roll . . . yummy for a relaxing New Year's Day brunch.
This past week, and especially the past couple of days, has been a time of reflection. Remembering the blessings of the past year, and offering up prayers for the new one.

And while I don't really make "resolutions," I certainly like to set some goals, make some plans, and dream a little.

Here's a little list, by no means comprehensive, or in particular order of importance, of things I've been thinking about.

 Challenge the "shoulds"

We all need to heed inner promptings for doing good, or taking responsibility for doing things that need to be done (more on that later), but sometimes we need to challenge some of the things we think we "should" be doing.

For example, I spent a bit of time last year before Christmas looking for a couple of puzzles for us to do as a family over the holiday. I thought it would be fun to have a puzzle station, and envisioned us sitting around doing puzzles together, laughing and enjoying ourselves. Well, nobody was interested. We had a lot of fun doing other things, but not puzzles.

This year, I brought out one of the puzzles, and started sorting the 1000 pieces, hoping I would encourage others to join in as they saw it set up. Again, no takers.

So, somehow, I had it in my head that it was now my responsibility to do this puzzle myself this winter. After all, I couldn't "waste" the purchase of the puzzle. And I would show others how fun it really was! 

It's sometimes not until you say some of these things out loud to yourself that you realize how ridiculous you're being. I don't want to sit for hours, alone, putting together a puzzle this winter! Back in the box it went. Maybe someday . . . or I will just give it away. It's okay.

I just returned a book to the bookcase that I've been struggling to read. I had this unspoken idea that I "had" to read it because someone else I know likes the author, and because it's considered a classic. I wasn't really enjoying it. Who says I "should" read this? Am I trying to impress someone?

The good thing about challenging the "shoulds" is that the sooner you identify those unspoken assumptions, the sooner you can just laugh and let them go. I'm now reading a book I really enjoy.

What about you? Are the "shoulds" that are not really "shoulds" dictating what you do?

 Simplify things

I just discovered a little trick that will make my morning so much easier.

I like our bed sheets tucked in; my husband doesn't. I finally gave up, and just lay the sheet over the bed, followed by the comforter. The problem is, every morning I have to remove everything, and re-lay the sheet neatly all around the bed so that the edges are even (I hate looking at or getting into a messy bed).

So here's what I did: I trimmed the sheet down so that it was the exact size as the comforter on the sides and a little longer so that I could fold some over the top. After machine-hemming the raw edges, I took safety pins and pinned the sheet to the inside of the comforter, using six pins down each side. I didn't bother with pinning the bottom, and left the extra length at the top of the sheet to fold over the top of the comforter. 

It took less than two minutes to pin. In the morning all I have to do is shake the comforter/sheet combo lightly over the top of the bed to reposition it, and fold the top of the sheet over the top edge of the comforter.

When it comes time to wash and remake the bed, I have less than 5 minutes work total to unpin and repin the sheet.

So easy, and it's more comfortable, too.

What are some everyday things that frustrate you? Is there a way to simplify how you go about them?

 Just do it

I love a neat, clean house. I'm big into organizing and de-cluttering. Actual cleaning . . . not so much. The book and pot of tea beckon whenever I think of vacuuming. So I always have this little cloud hanging over my head as I go about my house. That little sinking feeling that says "You really need to mop this floor," "those mirrors really need to be shined up," "those bookshelves are really dusty."

I've posted before about Edith Schaeffer's words, "If you expect perfection or nothing, you will get nothing every time." It's true about a lot of things in life, and I've found it true about housework. I always feel that if I'm going to clean, I need to make a major production out of it, and really do a thorough job.

Just the thought of that wears me out, and sends me over to that beckoning book. Perfection or nothing, right?

I've learned that so many jobs can be done about 80% "perfectly" in about 10 minutes. I can mop the laundry room floor in 10 minutes, clean all the mirrors upstairs in 10 minutes, do a cursory but satisfactory dusting of several rooms in 10 minutes.

Sheesh. What was I whining about? Just do it

The feeling of accomplishment, and the satisfaction of walking into a room and having it feel clean is so worth those 10 minutes. Ten minutes here, 10 minutes there  . . . it all adds up and doesn't have to be an all-out production.

The same is true of all those nagging little jobs. Sewing on a button, making that phone call . . . it's so worth the 10 minutes to not have that nagging sense of undone things hanging over your head.

 Set some goals

Realistic and not burdensome, so that you give up by the end of January. Here are some of my goals/dreams/plans for 2016:

*** Plan for a wedding in September. Yay! Definitely the highlight of the coming year.

I forgot to take a picture until our lovely brunch was over, but here's a pic of one of the pair of champagne glasses we gifted our daughter and her fiancé for an engagement gift.
*** Do a kitchen remodel/update.

*** Lose 10 pounds by March 19. (I gained back 5 of the 30 I lost last year, and never lost the remaining 5. I have a dress to fit into for a wedding in March.) My dream is to never have weight loss on my list of New Year's resolutions ever again. Hey, it's possible.

*** Continue to invest in my blog and blog friends. Praying about the focus and how much time I want to commit to it. As you bloggers know, blogging can easily eat up huge chunks of time. How to have a good balance.

*** Reading through the New Testament this year with a plan from Moody. These past two years I've read through the entire Bible twice (for the first time). It provided a wonderful overview, but I want to slow down and read more devotionally.

*** Break a "rule," learn/do something new, extend a kindness every day. 

This has been on my list for several years now, and I really like the challenge. By breaking a "rule" I mean challenging the "shoulds" as mentioned above, those "rules" that really aren't. Along with this is being "nice." You know, go along to get along, when you should be speaking up. That deserves its own post.

I love to learn something new every day. Just yesterday we had black-eyed peas because I had heard that they are a tradition on New Year's for bringing luck. (I don't believe in "luck," but it's still a fun thing to do.) I learned that collard greens will bring you the "green stuff" (paper money), while the black-eyed peas bring the coins. Hunh. I should've served collard greens!!

Black-eyed pea salad with balsamic dressing.
And kindness expressed every day? Yes, yes, yes. There's nothing that will make you happier. Even if it's just sending an encouraging email or text. Do something.

 So there you have it. My New Year's ramblings. What are some of your hopes and dreams for 2016?

Sharing at No Place Like Home.


  1. That's a great list with some very "do-able" goals. Good luck and all best wishes for 2016.
    Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger

  2. Wow, what an inspiring post! I want to be more organized, to declutter and relax more instead of being stressed out.

    I made Cajun black eyed peas served over rice. The salad with the balsamic vinegar sounds great. DH and I both loved/love blk. eyed peas, they also remind us of boiled peanuts. :-)

    Have a wonderful 2016 ~ FlowerLady

  3. Oh Deb, you write so beautifully - seriously, you should submit your posts to magazines. They are that good for SURE!

    I wish you every success in your wonderful goals for the year - you are an amazing woman and awesome friend. Huge hugs. Love you, lady! ♥♥♥

  4. And lovely ramblings they are, Deborah. We have never employed the black eyed peas or collards method for New Years Day, though I have been reading about it in Blogdom over the past several days. I have learned to ask myself when things are annoying me how it might be made more satisfactory. Sometimes, it's such an easy thing. I was intrigued by your sheet fix. There's another where one creates an envelope at the foot of the bed as is the method of "Canadian nurses." Ha!

  5. Dear Deborah
    Wishing you and your precious family happiness, joy and adventure in 2016!
    How exciting to have your daughter's wedding to plan and look forward to - I'm sure that will be your focus this year!
    I'm not one for NY resolutions however, as this year has flown by in a blur I intend to slow down a little and savour the happy moments as they come along.
    Take care Deborah and I look forward to visiting and reading your blog posts again this year.
    Warm hugs
    Shane x

  6. Your new year's ramblings are informative and inspirational. It's true that much can be accomplished in 10 minutes. Sometimes, when I don't feel like doing anything, I set the timer for 10 minutes and whirl around cleaning up. Your goals for the year ahead seem very doable.
    How exciting to have a wedding coming up this year.

  7. The cinnamon rolls look yummy! Apparently everyone else thought so. I love the champagne glasses.. great gift! They can use those at the table for the wedding reception dinner. Weight....:( I have around 50 pounds to loose this year.. going to be tough. I gained around 30 this year due to cortisone shots for my back..:( Sounds like an exciting year! Lets get it started!! Blessings!

  8. Deb, I would love to sit across a table from you and do a puzzle! :)

  9. Didn't you just make a duvet for your bed? Sounds like a good solution. BTW, my husband and I have the same problem, but I'm the one who can't stand to have my feet captured and smothered. :-) I enjoyed reading your goals for 2016. I would like to get through N.T. Wright's book, 'Paul and the Faithfulness of God,' as well as the Gospels and several other books. I'm also going to lose those 4 pounds I gained over Christmas and get down to the original 15 I had lost over the summer. It just feels so much better. I probably shouldn't have made that Christmas Cake! Lol

    Have a wonderful new year.

  10. I too would love to sit and do the puzzle with you, it is a hobby that my husband and I enjoy together. I am still growing out the colour in my hair, it is certainly taking a lot longer than I thought it would. Wishing you well with all of your goals and best wishes for the New Year.

  11. Excellent list. It is only in the last couple of years that I finally managed to accept that it is okay to give up on books I am not enjoying.

  12. I am not sure how I got here today--one click can lead to another you know, but I really appreciated reading this post and your insights and thoughts for the coming year. I've been on a "do it now" campaign for a year or two and it's made a big difference in little things, Rather than say "I need to do that sometime" I decide to tackle it as it's a small thing and then it's done. It's made for a tidier life. Thanks for the inspiration!

  13. I enjoyed reading through this so much Deborah! Really liked the "shoulds" and I can relate so well to this. As to reading those books I don't really enjoy, I've also started sending them out the door if I don't like them rather than hanging onto them even if I bought them brand new.
    Happy New Year!

  14. Happy New Year! I totally understand about those "shoulds'" and sympathize. That's a tough one. And why is it so hard to stop reading a book you don't like? I've struggled with that, but have gotten better. I try and ask myself what it is that makes it un-likable to me. Somehow that helps. Like the 10 minutes here and there. I like the creative aspects of home, but not the cleaning. That's one of my goals, too. Thanks for a nice, chatty post!
    Mary Lou

  15. I had to giggle at this post, Deborah.
    You write so well, and give us much to think on.
    You have a great list ahead of you, and a great way of attempting to accomplish your goals and dreams.
    I too love to organize and clean, but have found it much sweeter to do a little every day with quick clean ups, after all, it's just my husband and I.
    I'm planning on doing some purging here real soon. I thought about setting up a fun display of what I want to purge and have my daughter's come and take whatever they wish to have. What ever is left I will give to donation. I have some nice kitchen items that I just do not use any more, so why not let others enjoy them.
    When the Christmas trees come down I am planning on painting the walls. Though I loath painting, I'm ready for new and fresh, so I'll endure the painting to get it done. Little goals is how I do it, and those will get me started.

    I loved your idea about your sheet problem, excellent!

    Enjoy the months ahead as you prepare for your daughter's wedding, such joy.

    Good bless you~

  16. Perfect post for the start of a fresh year...things not to be captured by! Wonderful! We all need such reminders. Thanks Deb and Happy New Year! Mauy it be...beautiful!

  17. I just went through a "should" situation with a sewing project. A 'sew a long " where you make one block a month. Well the linkup was mid-month. I was going crazy trying to make a complicated ( for me ) block in two weeks. Did that for two months and started hating the whole thing. So all that I had to do was sew the block MY way ( Slower, over a month or two ) to be happy again. DUH! :)

  18. This is a perfect post for the first week of January! You're right about those little nagging jobs we need to be doing. One must make up their mind and just do it. We feel so much better. Now about that bedding! Ah, I won't reveal how many layers of blankets I have on the bed. I will tell you that Hubby complains about them while I relish them. He minds the heat while I mind the cold and this time of year, I'm cold most of the time. How could our internal thermostats be so different when we're on par with everything else?? Ah well, I guess if we were of the same mind about every single thing, we might get bored. A big YES to reading the word every day! Whether we do it following a plan or just do it randomly as we feel led, we are going to get fed well. Thanks for sharing and Happy New Year, dear Deborah!


  19. What a great post to start off the New Year, Deborah. I will certainly try to take heed of your suggestions. I do try my best to be kind everyday, which is so important.
    You have much to look forward to this year and so many plans to make. Happy 2016 to you, sweet friend!

  20. Dearest Deborah,
    Happy New Year to all of you!
    Finally I'm able to make my bloggerround... feeling fit enough.
    You say comforter but it is not the down duvet I guess that we Europeans use. Our bed has a fitted sheet (or other) on the mattress, than the European square down pillow and a standard pillow on top. We use the same set for duvet cover, pillow cases and bottom sheet to match a given set. And that duvet cover neatly envelopes the down duvet. Yes, I like mine tucked in at the feet so I don't have to touch bare wood with my feet... and Pieter likes his loose. But you just shake it out and lay it back, no fights with a sheet underneath.
    We strip the duvet and change into a new set and launder it. Different system I guess... but sleeps heavenly right now under the flannel ocelot pattern sets!
    Your salad looks so yummy!
    As for cleaning, I'm now way behind... And in 3 weeks I have to host a dinner for some 15 here at home but by than we both will manage. Glad that our new Miele dishwasher got put in by Pieter and is working. The rest will follow. We don't live in a magazine model home but have to LIVE in it as well and if you're sick, you have to run for catching up.
    Hugs and blessings,

  21. Happy New Year, Deborah! Thank you for the inspiring post. One of my ongoing goals is to declutter--slow and steady--during 2016.

  22. Hello Deborah, Happy New Year. Your post today is so thoughtful. I love challenging shoulds. It is a great thing to do. I love a clean house, it just feels good. And your top sheet idea is wonderful! Thank you for sharing. I love learning new things each day too, and making at least one thing a day. It feels good : )
    Thank you for sharing so many good thoughts.

  23. Hi Deborah,
    I had to smile because my hubby won't have his sheets tucked in either! I love mine neat and tidy and like you have to remake the bed each day. Is this a guy thing? I like your idea of pinning the sheet to the comforter. I also keep thinking of all the things I should do. You always have such great ideas. Blessings, Karen

  24. I've had that same fantasy, Deborah! A beautiful antique game table with family members sitting around it talking about important things, laughing, sharing stories while piecing together a challenging puzzle--and the kids would grow up and tell their children that some of their fondest Christmas memories were working on a big puzzle together.

    Really. What were we thinking?

    At least they never outgrew their love of having me read books to them at night or tell stories but puzzles, no takers.

    I don't believe in luck either, just Providence and God's grace but we always have collard greens and black-eyed peas. Cornbread and pork too, ours a pork loin cooked in sauerkraut and white wine.

    A blessed 2016 to you and your family, Deborah. I'm sure the wedding will be wonderful!

  25. There is only one item on my New Year's Resolutions List -- go through Mme Mère's boxes from St. Mary's Catholic Home where she spent the last six years of her life. After taking care of everything else in the two years since she passed, this is the only thing I can't quite bring myself to do.

    So, I'll just sit down on the floor all by myself with a glass of wine, open those boxes, sort through the contents and have a good cry. I think she would want me to get it done. Mme Mère never did things tomorrow that could be done today.

    Happy New Year, Deborah, and what a wonderful family event to look forward to -- a wedding!! I know it will be beautiful.

    Cheers, M-T

  26. You are such an inspiration, my friend. First of all, I am truly amazed that you gained only 5 of the 30 pounds you lost - that is remarkable!

    I am like you and love to declutter and organize, but when it comes to dusting, washing dishes or doing the laundry I would rather hide away in my craft room :) When I wake up in the morning I try and get all those things done first so that I don't have them hanging over my head all day.

    I am so excited for you and your family as you plan a delightful wedding {{smiles}} What a joyous time for all. Wishing you a beautiful new year, my friend. Love and hugs!


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