Okay, so I did make a couple of resolutions.

I’ve never been much of a resolution kind of girl. I’m not so good with “goals.” They require too much planning and I’d rather not make plans just in case there’s something more fun that comes along. I know. I’m a terrible person.

Also, I’m not particularly fond of “improving” myself. (It hurts.) But, I’ve been learning that if I challenge myself in ways that mean something important to me, it actually is possible to find a lot of joy in those changes.

So last year as I was wrestling with what it might mean to care more deliberately for people throughout the world who live in poverty, I started taking a look at my typical middle-class American closet. If I say I believe in and want to work for justice in the world, I figured my clothing should reflect that. My changes weren’t monumental, but they felt like a step in the right direction.

I decided to do my best to buy only a few pieces of clothing that would last a long time – not too trendy so I can’t wear them in three years and also not cheaply made, in the hopes that they weren’t made in sweatshops. (By the way, figuring out if an item of clothing is made unjustly is easier said than done.) Also, I decided to give everything away that was not a staple in my wardrobe. If I rarely wore it and was just saving it out of obligation or fear that I might need it someday, I gave it away.

My “Simple Closet” practice was one of the best spiritual exercises I worked through this past year. I still had a difficult time figuring out what was worth buying. I struggled over my choices and felt massive guilt when I bought running pants from Target and they were made in Haiti. (What does that even mean? I don’t know.) Maybe it matters most that I’m learning to pay attention. I’m grateful that something in my life is pushing me to think about where things were made and the lives of the people who stitched my clothes together. Also, the practice of letting go of clothes I don’t use has been so freeing for me. I was made so much more aware of how tightly I hold to my stuff. The process of moving back into an apartment sized closet in the city has also been good for my soul. Now I just don’t have room to hoard. I think it just might be becoming a more natural practice to give something away every time something new comes along.

my “simplified” closet

I tried some other goals last year. I’ve been running a little for the past year and a half. Maybe three times a week. Last year I said I wanted to try a 10K in 2012. I didn’t do it.  (Sigh.) So I’m setting a smaller goal of a 5k and I’m hoping one of my brothers will read this and then come visit me and force me to sign up for a race when he’s here. I’m afraid I need someone to make me do that one.

I shared last Friday that my word for this year is Enough. I am enough in Christ. And there is enough time to live wholeheartedly,  whether or not I complete any impressive tasks. But here are my goals. (Consider them coated in grace, okay?):

1.    Make steps to cultivate mystery and play in my kids by…

  • Making poetry more a part of our lives. I want my kids to love poems but we all know how hard it is to sit and read books of poetry with our kids. I have a feeling children come to love poetry much more when it’s a part of every day life. So I just ordered a chalkboard for my boys’ room and my plan is to write a different poem on it every week. My goal is to repeat it during daily life as much as possible so that the words and rhythms start to stick with them.
  • Use what’s around us! We live in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It is full of museums and pieces of art and beautiful architecture, not to mention the hills and the ocean. Am I taking advantage of what’s around us? Once a week I want to make it a priority to do something “cultural.” I’m going to use that term loosely!

2.    Run a 5K

3.    Go to bed around 10 and wake up around 5.

  • Listen, I’m happier when I go to bed early and wake up early to write. But, my brain tells me I’ll really be happier if I go to bed at midnight and wake up at 7 when my kids wake up. My brain is a liar. I need to write in the quiet of the morning with a big cup of coffee, not in the quiet of late night exhaustion.  If I start mentioning that I’m staying up late to write, you need to remind me to snap out of it, okay?


I’m interested in what you guys are doing. Any resolutions? Have any of you figured out how to shop “justly”? Or how to share poetry with your kids? Tell me! Tell me!

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  • http://threedollarsworthofgod.wordpress.com Erin

    My brain tells me the same lie (except it’s the rush to make the bus to campus rather than kiddos that happens at 7am). Also, I love your poetry board idea. I’m suddenly looking around my apartment wondering where I could hang one for myself!

  • http://jasonboyett.com Jason Boyett

    I’m in on the 5K. Or 10K. Find one and let’s do it.

  • michaboyett

    Woot! Woot!

  • michaboyett

    Erin, I got a couple of those sticker chalkboards that can peel on or off the fridge or wall from Etsy. https://ny-image0.etsy.com/000/0/5291827/il_fullxfull.272861696.jpg

  • Kim

    We memorize poetry! Start with something fun like “I’m Nobody” by Emily Dickenson or “Caterpillar” by Christina Rosetti!! Little people are so much better at this than bigger people. “The Lord My Banner” is one of my favorites too, but that’s at least a few years away for your boys to memorize. It is still a great adventure to read to them! Have fun!

  • Kim

    sorry about poor Emily’s last name… Dickinson

  • michaboyett

    Ha! No judgement on the spelling! And thanks for the ideas. I don’t know “Caterpillar”… off to look it up now…

  • kate

    Have you read Jen Hatmaker’s book “seven; an experimental mutiny against excess”? She was a fellow Austinite, I gather you’re familiar with her. Your simplified closet reminded me of that book. I love the idea. I’m having trouble with that a little right now because of weight fluctuations between pregnancy/nursing. I realize though how much better I feel when I have less “stuff.” It feels like there is way more space in my head and my heart! I have not done this but would like to look into the production background of the couple stores where I shop most often– finding new places to shop if I can’t feel good about them? I’m not a natural poetry fan (cue gasp!) but will think about that for our kids now with your suggestion! (p.s. you are winning me over to the world of poetry!)

  • http://carameredith.com cara meredith

    Micha, I’ll be cultural with you! Way to go on simplifying life through the closet; I read that exchange something old for new once in an Oprah magazine and have tried to follow it ever since. Living in the city certainly helps it, though. Last thought: I was read and then read myself Mother Goose nursery rhymes religiously, and they stuck! Even if that’s not the poetry you want your boys exposed to, it works!

  • http://fionalynne.com/blog/ fiona lynne

    We had a couple of beautiful old illustrated poetry books at home that I loved to read as a little girl. The funny ones were always good too, especially if my dad agreed to do the funny voices :) In the UK we have a “Children’s Laureate”, an author and/or poet chosen to encourage and promote reading amongst children. Michael Rosen was one a few years ago and he put a lot of videos online of his children’s poems – maybe your boys will enjoy watching a poet performing their poetry?

  • michaboyett

    That’s such a great idea, Fiona. I’ll look into those videos. Thanks.

  • michaboyett

    I haven’t read it but I do think Jen Hatmaker is hilarious and it’s been on my reading list for awhile now. I should make that happen. Maybe her book will help me figure out where things were made and what that means? And I hear you with the post-baby weight fluctuations/nursing clothes vs normal people clothes…It’s not easy to simplify when the whole getting dressed thing is way too complicated!

    I’m honored to be winning you over to poetry. I’ll keep doing my best. :)

  • michaboyett

    Yay, a friend to be cultural with in this fine city! And, oh honey, I love Mother Goose. I think nursery rhymes are the best. So glad to see you here, Cara!

  • http://threedollarsworthofgod.wordpress.com Erin


  • http://howtotalkevangelical.addiezierman.com/ Addie Zierman

    I’m an early morning writer too. I didn’t think I was until I made it a priority and started just doing it. Now I feel rotten if I don’t get that space of writing-in-the-dark time in the earliest morning. You can do it lady!