What’s Your Work?

I am a list maker.

A resolution setter.

And a notebook hoarder.




Look no further than my bedside table to find resolutions throughout the pages of my half-to-mostly filled out notebooks. 


2009: Write, Find a babysitter, Don’t lose your mind with two little kids

2011: Write, Get Life Insurance

2013: Write, Lose Baby Weight, Find a Master’s Swim group

2014: Write, Adopt, Get Life Insurance

2015: Write, Adopt, Get New Job, Life Insurance


The most recent years’ resolutions are in a blue and cream spiral bound book with a pink elastic wrap.



I don’t know exactly when it started, but my high school friends and I share our resolutions with each other every New Year. (Sometimes we wait till February, if the year starts with bang). I usually write 5-7 long winded ones.

Sometimes we bear our souls (going to counseling) and sometimes we’re practical (declutter the house).

We can be generalists (learn to let go/keep life simple) or focused on a long term goal (save for “40moon” — the vacation we’re taking together when we turn 40).

Here we are … well, a few of us, over Christmas break…


(Ashley, how did you get away with leaving before we took this picture?!)


I’ve had to work many NYE’s in the past, and we’ve adjusted our celebrations to fit my schedule. Chris and I share a cheese fondue and talk over glasses of champagne while I list away in my little notebook.


We’re at that point in our lives where personal goals trump professional (read a book a month, get involved in a ministry at church), and our kids and the house each have prominent spots on the list (find an art class for N,  front flower bed in Spring).


At the end of another year, my first instinct is to look back and see what I haven’t accomplished. What’s not checked off my list for 2015. (As you can imagine, I never lack in the Didn’t Get To It category. Ex. photobooks for the kids, that front flower bed I mentioned earlier, learn to compost). I accomplish a small percentage of my resolutions each year.


Yet, some from years past are impressed on my mind.


2009 — Find a babysitter

We lived away from family and I felt desperate and exhausted as the walls of our third floor 900 square foot apartment closed in on me, the baby, toddler, and dog. I looked up care.com and started interviewing babysitters. Taking three hours of alone time every two weeks saved my sanity and made me a better mom.


2013 – Find a local church

We’ve always been church go-ers, and but we felt strongly about getting involved at a church in our community. It’s taken time, but this church is our home base. Because of this, we can dig deep and let our roots grow.


2015 – Write

You can find “Write” on every resolution list I’ve made since 1998. At the beginning of this year, I couldn’t have told you it would be any different when I scribbled it, 4 or 5 items deep, under my name. But I’ll look back on 2015 and say, “That’s the year I finally started.”


I love this time of year — an opportunity to look back and look forward.


What’s going on in your life? What’s stirring in your heart?

If there is ONE thing to do, to change, to work on, to accomplish this year — what is it?


Write an email, tell your spouse, find a piece of paper – and share your heart. Let them (and yourself) be witness to your dreams and how they unfold.


These old friends don’t care if I never lose that 10lbs or leave those photobooks sit in Shutterfly unfinished forever. But because of our shared history, we’ve figured out the important stuff. They know Writing is more than a whim and made great efforts to share in the event which first started this blog. 



Big or small – Is there a goal in your mind?

An idea in your head?

A direction in which you want to walk?


Write some stuff down. Or think some stuff over. You don’t even have to decide now. Let it percolate or simmer. Some of these things take years to formulate. Years for all the pieces to be in place. You’ll know when it’s time to move forward.


Writing isn’t the thing about 2015 I’ll remember most.

Writing will be the thing that reminds me: God has work for each of us to do. 



Sonya Spillmann


  1. I am a notebook hoarder, too. Also, I have that same notebook with the elastic band (mine is blue with a green elastic, and it’s what I write my warm-ups in….it’s small so I feel satisfied when I’ve filled a page).
    I also want to say that your words here are a great reminder that while we start off the year with these goals and intentions, it’s nice to know that there is more t come than what we plan on, and “the good stuff” is usually what goes unplanned. The challenge for me, I suppose, is to do what you are doing here and take note of it.
    Happy New Year, my friend! I’m glad to know you.

    • I’m glad to know you, too. And I totally agree — I didn’t start this year thinking about LTYM at all. But these things happen. (Um…also. What are “warm-ups”?)

  2. Hi Sonya!
    My name is Lucy and I just discovered your blog and I am in love with your writing and reflections! I have never written down goals or things I might start or accomplish for the upcoming year but I think I will this year. You mentioned that you found a church in 2013 which is at he top of my list for 2016… How did you go about doing this? I am looking to leave the church of my childhood but not sure where to start. Any words of advice or direction? Thanks so much!

    • Lucy – so glad to have you here! 🙂 About your questions… We felt clear direction from God to find a church in our community, so if that’s where you find yourself (having clear direction to leave), I’d offer this as a first stop: http://9marks.org/about/
      If you scroll towards the bottom, there are links to each of the 9 marks of a healthy church. (preaching, gospel, theology, conversion, etc). This is a great guide to help you know what to look for in a church.
      Thanks for reading!

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