{My One Word} Discipline

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This year I decided to get in on the whole one word for the year thing.

The idea is to change your life with just one word. To skip the long list of new years resolutions and just pick one guiding word that is at the very essence of what you want to be or achieve throughout the year.

Now I am a big old planner at heart so do enjoy setting a few healthy goals at the start of each year to help me as I journey towards the person I hope to be.

However, this year when setting my goals I started to notice a recurring theme, so much so that choosing  a guiding word to focus my days and encourage me throughout the year made so much sense.


Nothing fancy, pretty unoriginal really, but it’s the word for me.

So we’ll see how it goes! By the end of 2016 I hope that my 365 days with a focus on discipline will have helped me to establish the habits that will enable me to live a fuller, healthier and more intentional life.

For more info or to pick your guiding word for the year check out these sites HERE and HERE.

Do you have a guiding word for 2016?

16 Facts You May Not Know About Me

The Open Home 398

It’s still the first month of the year so in honour of 2016 here are 16 things you may not know about me… enjoy!

  1. I have been a vegetarian since I was 11 years old – simply because I don’t like the texture and taste of most meat.
  2. I love a good murder mystery, Agatha Christie’s Poirot is my favourite.
  3. I talk about names a LOT. The meanings of them, why people choose them, what names go well together, etc
  4. I think all the best animals have big ears – donkeys, rabbits, elephants… I rest my case.
  5. I’m a geek and love the timey-wimey-ness of Doctor Who and kinda wish I lived in Hobbiton.
  6. Bats and crabs freak me out.
  7. I make a miserable shopping companion, my Mother will confirm this. MISERABLE!
  8. I don’t drink tea or coffee.
  9. My dream holiday destinations are New Zealand, Hawaii and Alaska.
  10. Autumn is my favourite season (and Summer my least favourite).
  11. I don’t wear black, I’m far too pale and look ill in it.
  12. My favourite Disney film is Tarzan.
  13. If you want to send me flowers I particularly like freesias and tulips.
  14. One day I want to get a British Bulldog and call him Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore.
  15. I have visited 20 European countries to date (and really must do a post about my favourites!)
  16. I’m an ISFJ for those of you who speak Myers Briggs.

Tell me something I may not know about you?

Healthy Goals

Twenty Fifteen Healthy Goals | The Open Home

We’re keen goal setters in this house and write down our goals each year, regularly checking in to evaluate our progress. Technically though, we’ve come to realise that we only really have one main goal each year and that goal is quite simply to improve our health.

Each goal we then make is really just a specific way of working towards improving our health in a certain area of our lives, be that our physical health, spiritual health, marital health or even financial health.

In practice this means that we make both personal goals individually and marital goals together, breaking down our personal goals into 4 categories (Physical, Spiritual, Relational & Professional) and our marital goals also into 4 categories (Physical, Spiritual, Relational & Financial). 

When setting goals under each of these categories we then simply ask ourselves, ‘How do I want to improve my health in this area?‘ It’s a question that I have found to be incredibly helpful, keeping our focus on both the big picture of improving our entire lifestyle and the smaller steps that are required to get us there.

If you too would simply like to focus on improving your health this year then below are some ideas of the sorts of goals you could set under each category.


Personal Goals:

Physically you may want to improve your flexibility by signing up to a yoga class, reduce your intake of caffeine or maybe arrange to finally get that dental work done.

Spiritually you could start journalling, set up a prayer triplet or perhaps memorise a piece of scripture each week.

Relationally you could join a social group that will encourage you to build new friendships or book in regular coffee dates to invest in your existing ones.

Professionally you could try a new course of study or block out time each month to work on your CPD. Or if like me your current profession is being a stay-at-home mama then you may want to establish a daily storytime or take your little one out on a monthly mummy date.


Marital Goals:

Physically you may want to set intimacy goals together or perhaps you want to find a common hobby and could do something sporty together, maybe even work towards some sort of physical challenge like a race or hike.

Spiritually you could set goals to pray with each other daily, sign up for a marriage course or even block out some time for a spiritual retreat.

Relationally you could invite dinner guests round to your home each month or regularly book in skype dates with your friends living overseas.

Financially you may want to build up your savings to a realistic target, start living on a cash budget or maybe even give more generously to charity.


These categories make a good starting point and you can easily tweak them to suit you. For example, if you’re single you can of course still make financial goals on your own! Whatever categories you do choose to use just remember to keep asking yourself ‘How do I want to improve my health in this area?’.

Hopefully with this sort of focus not only will your goals be healthy in the sense that they will be realistic and attainable, but the outcome will also hopefully be healthy too, resulting in you making progress towards the healthier lifestyle, attitude and relationships you desire.

What goals are you setting yourself this year?

Living the Life we Lost

Living the Life we Lost | The Open Home

It’s been over two years since we lost the international life we had longed for in Malawi. After years of planning and four trips to the southern African country, the call we had felt throughout our entire five years of marriage and the dreams we had built together were coming to an abrupt end. We had come so far in our journey, but the door was closing and we knew it was time to stop pushing.

For the past five years life in Africa was all we had dreamed of. We felt called to full-time service and had felt sure Malawi was the place for us to be. We could almost taste our lives in this vibrant culture, our family living on less but gaining so much more.

Instead we were left with the option of raising our family in Britain, something we had never pictured. We dreaded having to be ‘normal’, living a hectic life fuelled by the societal expectations and consumerism that leaves people always wanting more.

We felt lost and bereft and few understood our pain. Where did we go from here?

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{Twenty Fourteen} Goals

Twenty Fourteen Goals | The Open Home

I love new year, in fact it’s actually one of my favourite times of the year as I love the anticipation of what lies ahead. Unsurprisingly I’m also a fan of goal setting as I like to have some sort of focus for the year and what I’m trying to achieve.

There are many ways for setting goals but I like the simply structure used over on Todays Letters, which I tweak slightly to include a few extra areas. This year I have set goals in the following areas…

  • Spiritual
  • Physical
  • Marital
  • Relational
  • Professional
  • Financial

I set no more than 2 goals under each area, some of these goals are of course very personal, particularly those relating to my role as a wife and mother but I would like to share one of my goals with you here as I will be using The Open Home as an aid to record it.

So one of my goals under spiritual is to start a family gratitude journal, a practice that will help us to maintain both a grateful and open hearts. The plan is to record things as a family when we gather daily around the dinner table and at the end of each month I will then choose a few inserts and share them with you on here. I’m really looking forward to creating these posts for you!

What goals have you set this year?

Behind the Name

Behind the Name | The Open HomeBehind the Name | The Open Home
Betsie, Nollie, Papa, Willem, Mama, and Corrie Ten Boom.

The name of The Open Home has such deep meaning to me.

Firstly, the name is a tribute to a family that for many years has been an inspiration to me, the dutch Ten Boom family, well known amongst Christian circles for their endeavours to protect the Jews during the second world war.

I first read Corrie Ten Boom‘s books in my early teens and I was quite simply amazed at the humility and unshakeable faith of her family.

The Hiding Place is a compelling story of courage and faith – a must read for all Christians and history enthusiasts. This book alone however does not give full insight into the vast impact this family has had for the Kingdom of God. It is therefore best to read this book sandwiched nicely between Corrie’s two other books, In My Father’s House and Tramp for the Lord.

Behind the Name | The Open Home
In My Fathers House: Corrie’s Papa, Casper Ten Boom at work.

The Years Before The Hiding Place

In the years before The Hiding Place the Ten Boom family quite literally ran an open home.

What I love most about this family is how they so humbly walked with God through their daily lives. They simply did life together as a family and a community. They ran a busy home fostering children and taking in many an elderly aunt along the way, whilst also running a business and working in the community to feed the homeless, run youth clubs and teach those with learning disabilities.

They opened their home to their community in such simple ways and yet the lives of many were blessed through them.

Behind the Name | The Open Home
Tramp for the Lord: Corrie Ten Boom

The Years After The Hiding Place

In the years after The Hiding Place, Corrie amazes me further with her openness to travel the world into her old age, becoming a tramp for the Lord, as she calls it.

Her family suffered greatly during their imprisonment during the war and yet after all of this she opened her heart once again, travelling the world to share of God’s unfailing love and amazing grace.

I want a heart like this. A heart that is open to serve God, wherever, whenever, no matter what.

Behind the Name | The Open Home
The Husby and I inside the hiding place when visiting the Ten Boom family home (now a museum) in 2011.

The Open Home is therefore a reminder to me to walk humbly with God, opening my home with love and my heart with courage.

Where do you find inspiration?