Every year for the past several years I’ve done a new year post that looks at the previous year and the upcoming year. Personally I have found this to be an excellent exercise as it serves as a reminder of all the good we’ve experienced and how much I’ve grown. No matter how hard a year it’s been, reflected back helps me to see what I’ve accomplished and how far I’ve come, as well as what I still want to work on. Curious about previous years? 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014)
So let’s get started!
What are you most proud of this year?
Surviving? haha. Seriously though – this year has felt intense… probably mostly because of how crazy hectic the last 5 months were. Managing to balance being a mom, business owner, support group leader, and masters student has been really hard, but I’m proud of myself for making it through another year continuing to maintain everything. Oh! Biggest thing – attending and completing my first Residency. It was SO DANG HARD being away from my baby for a whole week. And I’d never done anything like this before – traveling alone, being away from Ryan for a whole week. That was huge for me and I’m so proud that I did it and that I’m continuing to push forward on my masters.
What was the biggest risk you took?
For me, it felt really risky publicly putting out there that we were on the hunt for a new job for Ryan and a new home. There is often comfort and safety in the known – no matter how awful the situation may be. And it can make it hard to step out of that comfort and take the risk to find something better. I was really not comfortable sharing our hopes and needs. That’s so hard for me. But in just five short months – Ryan got a new job, we sold our home, and moved into our new home. So obviously – that risk paid off.
What did you learn this year?
I feel like I am always learning so much – between school, being a mom, a Christian, and wanting to be the best mom to Marlee I can be. School constantly has me learning about the state of things, different cultures, and different areas of concern. Marlee is constantly growing and changing and learning new things and making me have to learn new things too haha. One thing I was super excited about learning was how to flat twist Marlee’s hair. I had been rocking the two strand twists in her hair for a while, but I really wanted to learn how to do those flat twists. Finally – after watching dozens and dozens of youtube and instagram videos – I finally found one that made it “click.” Definitely an exciting moment for me. Finally – as always – I continued to push my trust and reliance on God this year. Every year He seems to be showing more and more how much He can do if I step back and give Him the space to have ALL the glory. Clearly when we let go of our own wants and expectations – he blew our ideas out of the water and took them a step further with the new job and move this year!
What do you wish you had made more time for?
Oh my gosh!!!! So many things! I wish I had more time for my workouts like I used to. I had been doing really good with it but the move kind of threw everything off as I’m still trying to find our new normal here. I wish I had more time for all the things… my fine art work and other personal projects, writing my book, doing homework. But at the same time – I wish I was doing less so that I could focus more on just Marlee too… I feel like it’s a tight-rope walking balancing act of pushing forward and being present. And most of the time I end up just bounding back and forth between the two.
What are 3 highlights (business or personal) of your year?
• Ryan getting a new job is HUGE for us
• Moving back to Decatur and into a home we believe God has plans to fill
• … just everything Marlee. She’s a year older – walking, talking, and forever the highlight of my life
What “word” do you want to define 2018?
(Boldness / cultivating / purposeful / illuminate) My word for 2018 was OPENNESS… open to opportunities, open to other perspectives & realities, open to the unexpected, and open to vulnerability. I feel like we really rocked this word last year and I’m SUPER proud of that! I take my one word choice each year really seriously and spend a lot of time carefully selecting just the right word. This year I had an idea of what I was looking for but was uncertain of the word to fit it. This year when situations arise where I should speak up, I want to have the calm assertiveness to do so and to do so not in anger but in love. (Much more can be accomplished when we speak in kindness and care than harshness and hate.) I want to have the confidence in the directions I feel led and to take those steps without hesitation or fear. I want to trust my own instincts and intuition more and be brave enough to do what’s best for me and my family even when others don’t understand. Those are big ideas to find one word for. And after a lot of thought and bouncing ideas off of Ryan, I think the best choice in my one word is BOLDNESS. So this year I’m going to strive to be BOLD!
What are 3 big goals (business or personal) for 2018?
(It still feels surreal to not have grow our family as a goal on this list…)
• Spend time in prayer and reflection to determine where God is leading me next – I foresee some big decisions in my future and I’ve been simultaneously dreading and looking forward to what they are and what they mean. At this point in my life, decisions like these have ceased to be about me and about where I feel led. So I know spending that time in prayer will help me figure out what God is wanting and when and where to go.
• Write this darn book – guys… I started writing this book like 3 or 4 years ago and I really really really want to finish it. It’s been weighing on me more and more and I feel like I really need to start digging into it this year… I don’t know when or how – but it’s definitely something that I feel like I need to start doing.
• Set a new fitness/health goal and achieve it – This is something I put on my list every year I think. I feel like the constant changing of life has made it difficult to find a constant routine with this. I had a routine, and then we moved and now I’m trying to find a new routine again. We had started meal planning last year and that has worked amazingly for us with our food budget and having healthy delicious food options! So I’d love to continue exploring all these options and balancing fun foods and the cost. I’m also super stoked to finally get into my new fitness routine now that the house is much more settled into.
What do you want to stop doing in 2018?
Last year my goal was to stop holding myself back. Honestly – I’m not sure if I did that… so I think I want to keep that… I want to stop putting limits on things, myself, and God.
What things excite you about the upcoming year?
There are so many things that looking forward to with 2019. I’m looking forward to continuing to watch my daughter grow. I’m excited to see my husband continue to thrive in his new job. I’m excited to see what unfolds as God leads me moving forward personally and professionally. And I’m really excited to see how our support group continues to grow too! We have a wonderful community of ladies already and I’m so thrilled to see them loving and praying for one another.
What do you want to learn in 2018?
Oh my gosh! So many things! I want to continue to learn to be a good mom to my daughter. I want to continue to grow in my relationship with God and learn to surrender to His will over my own plans. I want to keep learning to have a healthy relationship with food and my body – that’s a forever project for me I think. I want to learn to be true to who I innately am – devoid of expectations (my own or others) – and stand up for myself and others. I want to learn that balance between speaking up and maintaining the professional/ethical standards necessary as a future counselor. I just want to always be learning – anything and everything.
Well that was tough this year! But I had a blast going through all those questions and answering them. I hope it was fun for those of you who read through to the end! I hope you all had a super fun and safe New Years! Let’s ring in 2019 with big plans, a lot of hope, and a bright future!