Did I miss the the Happy New Year gravy train? Despite being barely a week into 2016, I feel like I did. How quickly we move along these days– and what’s the rush, really? It seems as though it will be January for a while.

So let me indulge in a little reflection. As I type this, the rain is falling heavily for the first time in a long time here in Southern California. The looming gray has kept the day dim and further clouded my sense of adjustment back to our regular routine. It feels as though we were only just wandering through the alleys of Morocco’s medinas moments ago, and yet those visions and sounds seem so far away. Indeed, a blur.

2015 in review: confessions and observations

What a year. We traveled in 5 continents in 2015 (Utah, Japan, Ecuador, Spain, and Morocco), moved house, and settled into Pasadena life. We celebrated our first wedding anniversary. Aaron sank his teeth into year 2 of Ph.D. work, began seeing a handful of clients, and did lots of research (mindfulness, anyone?). I saw my tutoring business take off, my blog grew by a power of 10, and I ended the year feeling a desperate need for change. More on that later.

On the blog, I further explored minimalism and its implications on my daily life. To be honest, I feel as though I’ve exhausted the topic (perhaps the topic has exhausted me), but the movement seems to be roaring in its upward trend. Should I write more about it, I wonder. For simple living advocates, the most important aspect of simple living is actually choosing to live simply. We can discuss it, share it, teach it and preach it, but in the end it must be a vehicle towards something else. And that’s the thing only we ourselves can define (e.g., the life-changing magic of finding your purpose).

Don’t see in this the looming shadow of despair however. Simplicity Relished will go on as my little blog, only I hope to grow in the topics that I explore this year. When I pulled together my ebook on courage (7 Days of Courage: Finding Brave In Your Everyday Life), I realized that what I desperately needed was the strength, focus, fortitude and fearlessness to pursue what I believed mattered. Call it intentionality, call it courage– I needed more than simplicity in order to face my fears, send the lies back to hell and press on.

There is something to be said about perseverance when it comes to blogging. All the blogging tips in all the world can’t give a blog what it needs to survive: a purpose that inspires the blogger and serves an audience. That purpose has to be big enough to stay relevant through different seasons of life. Even if we make little adjustments here and there, a core that is strong enough will remain the same.

So here’s a little bit of real life truth. I’m expecting some changes this year. Despite my love of my students, I might be ending my foray into self-employment. I won’t go into the reasons here, but wrestling with my next professional steps has consumed me the past couple of months. Along with the shift includes a small possibility that Aaron and I will spend some time overseas. As options materialize, I will share them here.

What I do know is that, in the midst of this rocky, exhilarating and unpredictable decade we call our 20s, I need this blog. I need you as my reader, keeping me in this space where I can center myself again on what I truly care about. Thank you for being here.

10 snapshots that will make you want to visit Japan- Roman aqueduct

My word for 2016 and a few little goals

I like the idea of having a word for the year. Despite it seeming more like a word of the moment, we can dedicate ourselves to an ideal or commitment for as long as it’s something we truly need. So my word is fortitude. I want the strength, perseverance, bravery, vision, and focus to move forward this year. Fortitude makes me think of a large ship crashing through the most threatening waves. It may rise and teeter and dip, but it continues forward, wave by wave. I want to be fearless that closing doors is okay. I want to step into something, step into it deeply, and say yes at crucial moments in the journey.

As far as setting goals, perhaps I don’t have any big ones yet. However this year shakes out, though, I want to find myself choosing to thrive. I want to inspire and to be inspired; to discover new corners of God’s word in which I can rest; and to increase my generosity to my community. Aaron and I are going to find ways to take better care of our bodies, hopefully together. We’ll be developing new recipes for home cooking, committing to more exercise and hopefully continuing to get enough sleep.

Coming to SR in 2016

I hope this year will bring nothing less than amazing content that you find helpful, interesting and encouraging. At the very least, I’ll be working on the following:

  • All the Spain and Morocco posts! I love writing about travel and have missed it since our summer trips.
  • Occasional lifestyle pieces: sometimes all these reflections and instructions can be a bit head-heavy. I’ll occasionally share a recipe, decor tip or fashion photos to lighten things up.
  • Posts on courage, social justice, generosity and community: things that keep me going. This is my decision to push the boundaries on simple living and explore its purpose a bit more explicitly.
  • A product! I hope… 😉

What are your hopes and dreams for 2016? Let’s tackle this together.