My most important 2015 plan

I’m late to the 2014 reflection / 2015 goal setting thing, I call new baby to that… I mean hey, it’s still January.

Every year, in December, I make a photo book for our family that sums up our new year. Some we give away, one we keep.

photo copy

This year the back of that book said the following:

“2014: The year of Clara. And moving. And church planting. And Kel graduating. And Noelle starting school. And…. a lot of other stuff.”

Last year life exploded across the pages of our calendar. It was a mix of every feeling I’m currently familiar with: hope, joy, heartache, grief, stress, depression, satisfaction, infatuation and frustration.

As I look back through the pages of our 2014 photobook I can see the mix of emotion in our eyes, and as I do each one takes center stage in my chest and, in a small way, happens all over again.

Remember how happy we were when all that snow finally melted and the tulips broke the soil?
Remember how our mouths dropped with the test was positive?
Remember how proud you were when you saw him in his Cap and Gown?
Remember how scared we were as we peeked in on her, sleeping on Kindergarten eve?
Remember how relieved and grieved we were when it all came crashing down?
Remember how overjoyed we were when they brought her to your side and you saw each other for the first time?

2014 was all the things, really it was.


I have no idea how your 2014 went down, what you feel when you look back over the pages it left you with, but I can’t help but exhale and shake my head and smile and grimace all in the same second.

And now here we all are with a new year sprawled out before us, many of us still reeling from the last one.

It’s certainly worth an evening or two of reflection.

What did you glean from last year that you’re carry with you into this new one?
What are you bagging up and leaving on last year’s curb, allowing to disappear in the rearview mirror of your calendar pages?


These are big questions with answers far longer than any blog post can hold.

So I’ll focus on this one thing that 2014 taught me, this one thing I want to spread across our new year:

To the very best of my ability I will never again allow the ups and downs of our life to compromise the fiber of our family. 

I have no idea what to do about 2015 because I have no idea where it will take us, literally. Kel’s job could very easily move him to a new church in a different part of the state requiring us to pack up and uproot again.

I have to be honest with you, If that happens it will hurt, most days I cycle between grief and determination about it.

When the phone call comes, the new appointment, will I hit my knees in thanksgiving or grief?

And where does God’s will fit in all this, how can I want his will when all I want is to nurture the roots of home, of here?


I have a lot of goals and ideas that I am toying around with for this new year, that I want to put onto paper and into spreadsheets.

Obviously I can still start running even if we move, I can still blog some (when I’m not soothing babies and packing, unpacking or reorganizing something) I can still read more, eat cleaner, play with our kids more, be better with our budget, be braver.

But when things come at us, some goals fall by the way side as we grieve and transition and get our bearings all over again.

We can project and plan all January long but at the end of the day we have no idea what 2015 will give us.

So here is my Big, overarching goal for 2015.

Come what may, we stay together.

Come what may we take care of each other.
Come what may we don’t take it out on ourselves, or each other.
Come what may we still take walks and ride bikes.
Come what may we will engage in radical self care.
Come what may we will talk about it, to the kids and to each other.
Come what may we will find a way to laugh together.

Whatever 2015 brings, be it stability or change, heartache or rejoicing we must remain “we.”


This year is a sealed envelope;
With apprehensive hope
We brace for anything.
I swear, I understand that nothing changes that.
The past will be the past,
But the future is brighter than any flashback.

Since I am reasonably sure that Clara is our last baby, I spend a lot more time gazing at her, letting her wrap her tiny hands around mine and soaking in every single goofy baby grin.

I’ve noticed lately that she is starting to open her hands to life, abandoning the clenched fists of the newborn stages. I don’t know exactly what to do with this but it feels like a lesson, a gift.

Maybe this year is a year of open hands, come what may. Not a year of blind acceptance, not a year where we stop fighting but a year where we admit that even though we plan, even though we dream, that the year will give us unexpected things.

So we enter this new year with open hands, apprehensive hearts and a commitment to each other, come what may.

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  • Addie Zierman

    Lovely. I have been meaning to do those photo books for YEARS. It’s really time to get on that… xo

  • annevermeulen

    I love all of this. We’re definitely in that same boat with Jason and his employment situation; we might move in a year, a month, a day, who knows? And learning to live in that yes-but-not-yet space is challenging and faith-testing for sure, but I love you challenging yourself (and me) to offer thanksgiving instead of my usual whining.

    Excited to see what 2015 brings for us all!

  • Mark Allman

    None of us knows what the future will bring no matter how we plan. I do think your approach is great. I think a big part of life is a willingness to play the hand we are dealt the best we can with an attitude of gratefulness. We may ask to have the hand dealt again or wish we had someone else’s hand but we will not have that luxury so we should make the most of the journey we are on by taking that attitude of yours. We will do this together and have each others back as we face what comes our way whatever that may be. Knowing that someone will stand with you through both the good and the bad helps tremendously.

  • Rea

    2014 was an unexpected year for me. We find ourselves on the flip side of the whole ‘pastoral call’ equation, the church that is searching and hoping and waiting and thinking ‘dear Lord, please let it be someone who ‘gets’ us.’ I’d like to think that I’m going into 2015 holding things a little more loosely, but the phrase ‘apprehensive hope’ hits it on the head for me. (And I’m so happy you quoted that song!)