how to begin a new year

Every dawn is Day One.

A new beginning.

And gratitude is what makes the past a grace, here holy, and tomorrow a gift.

On New Year’s Day, we wake to rain. The Farmer wraps his arm around me in the dark. “Hear it?” He whispers the words close. The window panes, the roof, they’re thrumming quiet with everything coming down in a song.

“Mmmm…. ” I nuzzle into my pillow. “Sounds like spring.”

“An early January thaw.” We lay there listening. Mid-winter and everything’s melting away. He turns in the greying light, sits on the edge of the bed before the window and the sky all slipping down in rivulets. “Well — we sure are losing all the snow.” I can see the patches of green across the fields.

“There’ll be more winter coming,” he reaches for his jeans. “But this is so good — now we begin afresh.”

And I get out of bed on the first Monday of the the first month of a new year, the first Monday of a brand new decade, and there are dishes in the sink and a long to-do list in my hand-writing on the counter and the laundry spills the mudroom basket.

From the kitchen window, I can see a fog rising like a veil off the skirt of snow around the woods. The fresh year’s begins in a cloud of mystery and I whisper to myself what heaven always whispers to those on holy ground: “Do not be afraid.”

A day’s only made of fresh hope and each moment spent in thanks is a moment spent happy.

I think I see the way to begin.










Standing at my sink center, the book stand at the sink with my gratitude journal, my daily docket from Organized Simplicity: The Clutter-Free Approach to Intentional Living, and my 100 Day Calendar — one hundred days to check off three new habits, one hundred days to finish a project, winnow a new path, shape a fresh way — I take a deep breath and smile.

God’s people have always been led by a cloud — the future shrouded in trust and this now made perfectly clear with thanks.




Life’s like a meal — the way to begin anything is to always first give thanks

#2156 – #2170 of the Thousand, Endless Gifts

fresh calendars

100 days to begin new habits (free download of the 100 Days Calendar)

clean(er) closets

boy-made lists that include tasks like “nap” and “play w(h)ith Levi” and “Done!”

organized Simplicity (five star, highly recommended, fresh inspirationfrom Simple Mom)

fresh snow on January wheat

that every marathon’s won by just taking one step at a time

new journals

my sink center, the cookbook stand with my Word Strengthener, and my daily plan, and my gratitude journal

the daily docket template to outline the day’s rhythm — (free download of the daily to-do list from Simple Mom here )

my Mama calling from her front door as we leave on New Year’s Day, “Good night! And Ann? Thank you! You were all here!

tickling bellies in the dark


that goals made with plans and prayers might become reality

fresh mercies, new hope, always thanks



{P.S. Many wondered about how to use the 100 Days Calendar?

Picnik collage

Oh, I didn’t explain that very well, did I? I’m, um, not so comfortable with didactic, explanatory words and far prefer to meander shy through a story — but here’s a go at trying to explain our fresh, good start?

I just made up a little crazy 100 Days Calendar as a way for me to to visualize 100 Days and inspire dreams of:

Creativity — a project that’d be bliss to finish in 100 Days? Each day for 100 days, write it down… and after working on it — after even spending 10 minutes — check it off for that day!

New Habits — A morning routine? Times of prayer? Scripture Memorization? Playing games? Reading aloud each evening? Just pick one or two habits, and jot them down each of the 100 days Then smile over the accumulating check marks!

Health — as a way to encourage 100 days of healthy patterns … exercise/sleep/eating patterns. I chose one health habit and I write it down each day — writing it down beside the day’s number is my commitment to follow through for that day — and to make that check mark happen! I don’t want to break the string of 100 Days…

There’s only three spaces for scratching down 3 practices for each of the 100 Days. So as not to overwhelm with many new practices — and just get a few under our belt at a time?

There may be a myriad of ways to use a 100 Days Calendar, but perhaps just think of what you’d like your life to look like in 100 Days — see the art that you’ve made, the books that you’ve read, the habits that you’ve created, the ways that you’ve lived — and then everyday just jot down on the calendar, Day 1, Day 2, Day 3… and keep checking off in those little boxes every day!

And the unexpected but happy side-benefit of all this? When the children saw the 100 Days Calendar on my clipboard with my three daily practices written in and waiting for a string of little check marks? They all wanted their own 100 Days Calendar too! They each chose which 3 habits, or practices, they wanted to undertake for the first 100 Days — and have been enthusiastically checking off each day! Intrinsic motivation!

“Teach us, O Lord, to number our days, that we might have a heart of wisdom.” ~Ps. 90}

updated button code here

Picnik collage

December/January’s free gratitude calendar download here

Today, if you’d like to share your own celebrating, your own marking towards 1000 Gifts of thanks — (please, jump in!) — just add the direct URL to your specific 1000 gift list post… and if you join us, we humbly ask that you please help us find each other by sharing the community’s graphic within your post

*New Beginnings greeting card photographed in the post is from DaySpring