It’s here! The new look! I’m so excited to have a brand new appearance for our Little Olsen blog. I had been hoping to be able to make the changes before heading to Kenya in January, but I had no idea when that could possibly happen. And then I got sick and the time just opened up. Amazing how that works! I’m still adding a few things, particularly writing on each of the pages you see above (the olsens, kenya, links) but that will come with time. I’m especially happy with how much space the new layout allows for writing and posting larger photos since I am now the happy owner of a Canon Rebel T3i DSLR camera. Pete and I had been looking at nice cameras for years and finally decided that Kenya would the ideal time to have one. Pete surprised me with it for my birthday, which we also say qualifies for my Christmas and graduation present. We’re covering all the bases. I’ve been experimenting with it and am nearly ready to start posting the photos. Yay!
Along with the new look of the blog have come other changes. While I was in the hospital, Pete and I had time to sit and talk through some things weighing heavy on our hearts. At least once a year, the two of us spend a night very intentionally talking through our goals and how our goals line up with our values. We have everything written down so we can go back and see what we’ve accomplished and remind ourselves of the values we hold as the most important, both individually and as a family. We always start with long-term goals (25+ years), which don’t often change, but it gives us perspective as to where we want this journey to end up. Then we do medium-term goals (5 and 10 years) down to short-term (2 years, 1 year, 6 months, and 3 months). By working backward like that, we can make sure that what we’re doing right now will help us get to the big stuff. I completely credit Pete with this. I never wrote down my goals before I met him, but he had been doing it for years. It has enabled us to accomplish far more than we would without doing it. It also gives us an opportunity to really pray about each thing and make sure it lines up with our values and where we think God is leading us. We both love dreaming of the future, but we really enjoy seeing things happen right now.
One thing we realized while thinking through everything was that our lives and our house have become far too cluttered. We really desire simplicity, but you wouldn’t know it by walking into our house. Yes, it may be cozy, but I was stressing about how hard it was getting to keep it organized. There was just too much stuff. So my amazing husband had some friends come over to help organize big things while I was stuck in bed and then, once I had the energy, we started sorting through things together. I’m terrible (maybe I should put a capital T on that) at going through things on my own because I end up looking through everything and have the hardest time getting rid of things. Pete isn’t like that at all. When we work together we can fly through mountains of boxes and clutter. In one week we’ve decluttered most of the house and donated many boxes of things we just don’t use any more. My heart feels happy again. I can breathe and the anxiety of being surrounded by all that stuff is gone.
So that’s the house. We’re also doing a lot of praying and chatting about what things will look like over the next year with the idea of simplicity encompassing all of our plans. We’ve got a lot of work to do in that area. Most people wouldn’t look at our lives and say they are simple. We do a lot. We run and run and run and we really enjoy it. But it’s becoming clear that’s just not what God has for us right now. I’m pretty excited about some of the changes on the horizon, but I’ll post that later this week. I’ve got more sorting I want to do this morning before Ella gets home from school.
Oh! One more change! Last Friday, the first day I was allowed to drive after my surgery, I took Ella on a date to the salon. We were both pretty excited. And look at this darling girl! Afterward we went for chocolate ice cream at Ella’s request. Thanks to Amy at E’clips on the Lake for another adorable cut!