JEI: A New Year!


Welcome to Just Enough Info (JEI).  The internets can be a great source of community, and I’d love to get to know you better!  Feel free to share your answers or a link to your own post in the comments.

By now the dust has settled on All The Big Plans, and we’re left looking at a more realistic view of 2017.  Whether your big plans for the year are well underway, were already abandoned, or haven’t been considered, we’re at a perfect point to reflect.


1.  What is one small thing, if you accomplish it in 2017, that will make you feel successful?

I’ve mentioned before my tendency as a perfectionist to have grand plans and then give up at the first sign of trouble.  It feels better for me to have some super basic hopes.  That’s pretty much the opposite of everything every written about “shooting for the stars” and goal setting in general, but it’s how I roll.

Ultimately I want to “create a home that my kids want to come home to.”  (I read that in a book somewhere and put in on a post-it.  Unfortunately I did not cite the source on the post-it, since I was just putting it on my cupboard for inspiration.  Now I know for next time.)  That means working on creating a culture and establishing traditions that move us in that direction.

In shirking all guidance about goal setting, my “one small thing” is neither specific nor measurable.  Yay me.

I suppose I could break it down:

  • Using our pickle jar of questions at supper as a family.
  • Spending Saturday nights as family game/family movie night.
  • Avoiding social media during the day in order to be present with the kids. (So tough!!!)
  • Breaking the yelling habit. (So tougher!!!)
  • Being more of a Yes Mom.
  • Reading aloud to the kids for 10 minutes every day.
  • Not replacing the broken TV and remaining a TV-less family.
  • TBD (Some sort of yet undetermined activity/craft/unit study that will make my kids best friends forever.)

All those are doable.  But.  They.  Take.  Effort.  Every.  Day.  If we get to December 2017 and I’ve trudged along in these little things, I have no doubt that my family will be better for it.  And that’s success.


Can you see our pickle jar of discussion questions amidst all the homemade pizza? (I’d post the recipe, but the almond flour crust we used wasn’t a keeper. Better luck next time.)


2.  Have you picked a “word of the year” or patron saint of the year?

 (Visit if you’d like to find a saint!)

At first I didn’t want to pick a word.  In October I picked the theme of “happiness” for my Write31Days series, and it didn’t end well.  Cee started a flare and my grandma died.  Okay, I’m not saying that I jinxed the month, but it sure was hard to focus on being happy in my happy month.  Makes me hesitant to stick myself with a word lesson FOR A WHOLE YEAR.

I’m kidding.  Mostly.

I picked the word “Joy” for 2017, so I have to be mostly kidding.  I actually appreciated how thinking about happiness guided my thoughts that month, but I decided that “joy” was a much more worthy focus for the upcoming year.

After settling on “joy” a week or so ago, I was reading my Well Read Mom book of the month, I Believe in Love.

This quote jumped out at me.

“Do you think you are a joy for Jesus?”

Ummm.  Yes?  No?  Sort of?

The funny thing is that there isn’t a single thing I can *do*.  It’s about choosing love and accepting mercy.  I want this very much!  Much more pondering is necessary.




My saint this year is St. John of the Cross, “discerned” from the website above.  Let me do a little brain dump with everything I know about him.

St. John of the Cross
St. Teresa of Avila

I just did a quick search and found that he’s the patron saint of mystics, Spanish poets, and contemplative life.  While that doesn’t seem to be an obvious match for my circumstances, I look forward to learning more.  And maybe writing some Spanish poetry.  Wait…I feel…some…bubbling up…from…the depths…of my high school español:

Tengo un poquito gato,
Un perro no es not-o.
Come muchos peces,
Casi todos meses.

(Translation from massacred Spanish to English:
I have a tiny cat, a dog he is not.  He eats many fishes, almost all the months.
It rhymes-ish in Spanish.  We’ll see if St. John of the Cross manages that in *his* poetry.  Somebody find me a mic to drop…)

Seriously, though, it looks deep.  Intimidatingly deep.  We’ll see how this year goes.



3.  What are you looking forward to in 2017?

In facing chronic illness, we’ve learned not to set our hearts on any one activity.  There have been many times we’ve had to skip important or fun events, so we try to take every day as it comes and be content in the now.

If I had to nail something down…Moe getting a little less crazy?  Maybe Bea getting potty trained? (There’s a stretch goal for you.)  We’ve got a family wedding coming up, and David and I are getting a new goddaughter on Saturday (!!!).  Those are all lovely look-forward-ables.

Oooh!  The warm weather.  I can’t wait for the kids to be able to play outside in the sunshine again.


I’m also looking forward to getting through a big stack of grownup books thanks to my library card.  <3 <3 <3

I’ve been reading all the “2016 finished book” lists and “2017 goal book” lists that appear around this time of year and making my own.  Worth publishing my own or not?  Hmmm.  At any rate, I’ll be stealing several reads from Jen and Anne.


What about you?  Share you answers or a link to your answers (being sure to link back here!) below.  🙂


The Zelie Group is adopting a new month-long thematic linkup instead of Just Enough Info (this month it’s Quiet), but we can keep JEI going here every other Tuesday.  Hope you’ll participate in all the everything, too! 

January 24:  Library Haul
January 31:  JEI:  Romance Edition!
– How did you meet your spouse? or How did you know your spouse was “the one?”
– What’s your ideal date? or What’s your funniest dating story?
– What couple from literature, TV, or the movies best mirrors you and your spouse?

This post contains affiliate links.  If you happen to order something using these Amazon links, we receive a small commission at no cost to you!  Thanks!


  1. // Reply

    I’ll be linking up tomorrow morning! I, too, look forward to the warm weather!

    And, I’m really feeling the pinch with social media. I set a goal to be on it less this year, at least when kids are awake, and I feel like I’ve actually gotten worse. Grrrr…

  2. // Reply

    I was thinking of you and your blog just the other day as I was sweeping. The thought crossing my mind was… “Well, here i am… sweeping up my joy…” So your blog title has influenced my phraseology. It’s a good thing. All your goals look great and attainable! I’m so glad you translated your poem. I was trying to remember my Spanish– but what I remembered wasn’t making sense. 🙂

    1. // Reply

      Yay! I’m looking forward to seeing you all on Saturday! And…I’m not sure if the poem makes sense in actual Spanish.

  3. // Reply

    Seeing the joy is my goal for the year. There are moments when I just feel such joy but I tend to focus on the rest of the time when I don’t. I’m writing down my joyful moments so I can remember them and remind myself that they do exist when I feel like they don’t. I’ll pray for you!

    1. // Reply

      Right!?!? It’s hard to give the joy moments their proper weight– seems like the little irritations can easily overshadow them. Glad we can be intentional about appreciating the joy together! 🙂

    1. // Reply

      Yay! Thanks for sharing. I look forward to reading it. 🙂

  4. // Reply

    Ooh, St. John of the Cross is a good one!! I’ve been meaning to read his book about the dark night of the soul.

    Love all your “little” goals. It’s so interesting how sometimes the smallest things have the greatest impact!

    I’d love to see your book list 🙂

  5. // Reply

    Thanks for hosting JEI. Mine’s up. I’m already waiting for summer, too! I like “Do you think you are a joy for Jesus?” I think Jesus probably feels the same way about us as we feel about our kids…joyful and exasperated.

    1. // Reply

      That’s exactly what I was thinking! God’s like “Aww, she’s so cute! But I wish she would stop drawing on the walls with permanent marker.” 🙂

  6. // Reply

    I have been thinking about #1 a lot! I even wrote about it last October, and decided that making my house a fun place where the kids want to bring their friends is less important than making it a place where they themselves want to be.

    I know what it’s like to be a perfectionist and wanting it to be all or nothing, but I love that you are making this your goal and working at it a little. Even the act of identifying that goal will make your family better.

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