the year of: no.

Six years ago, my word of 2013 was light.
Five years ago, my word of 2014 was release.
Four years ago, my word of 2015 was nourish.
Three years ago, my word for 2016 was presence.
Two years ago, my word for 2017 was authentic.

Last year, my word for 2018 was hygge.

A few months ago, I knew exactly what word I wanted for 2019.

This year? The word for 2019 will be NO.

Yep. You heard that right. NO.

It’s a bold, powerful word. For me, NO is:

  1. saying “not right now” to potential commitments.
  2. being more intentional about how I spend my time.
  3. allowing for better quality when I say, “yes.”
  4. avoiding purchases to cut back on my debt.
  5. refusing to conform.
  6. staying away from things that aren’t beneficial to my growth (whether this be certain foods, social media, movies, whatever).
  7. peace.

I’m tired of feeling overwhelmed. I’m tired of constantly comparing (even when I don’t intend to, I still do). I’m tired of wasting my time. I’m tired of forgetting to focus on what does matter: my relationship with God, my family, and relationships with people. I’m tired of being tired.

I’ve been reminded more of how short life is. Death has been on my mind a lot lately. I’m not sure why, but regardless, it is prompting me to be more intentional about how I use this life that I do have — whether it’s fifty years left, five years, five days.

This word is also a reminder to myself that I don’t need to be/do/consume all.

Less commitments, less business, less stress, less mess, less debt, less distractions.

More space, more time, more room to breathe. More life.

Cheers to your year, friends.

the year of: authentic.

Awhile back, I was introduced to the concept of a “word of the year”  (or “one word” as some know it) and absolutely loved it. I dislike resolutions and while I enjoy having goals, I hate feeling pressured by myself to achieve several goals. Instead, I thought about how I wanted my life to look for the year ahead and searched for a word that would encompass that vision.

Four years ago, my word of 2013 was light.
Three years ago, my word of 2014 was release.
Two years ago, my word of 2015 was nourish.
Last year, my word for 2016 was presence.
This year? My word for 2017 will be AUTHENTIC.

To me, AUTHENTIC is

  1. being honest with others.
  2. being honest with myself.
  3. letting go of holding back and letting myself flow.
  4. embracing who God made me, instead of creating an image of self.

I typically hold back my weaknesses, negative thoughts, and stressful events as to not dwell on them. I’d rather focus on the good things. But the problem with that? It appears that everything is fine, even when it isn’t. When I hold back these things, it just builds up inside me. I don’t let it out, I don’t share the struggles, and then, I have mini outbursts or breakdowns at home and feel even worse…. withdrawing and hiding more. Not healthy at all. I’m sure I’m not alone in this. Most of us probably do this. Don’t we?

I don’t know how much I will be able to write this year, but I hope that when I do, I am honest about what’s really going on in my life and the emotions I am feeling. I hope I can be open with you about joys and my struggles. There are plenty of joys, and I know how wonderful life is, but I’ve also had dark moments of internal struggles these past couple years. As much as I just want to focus on the positive things, I also don’t want to deceive anyone into thinking that things are better for me than they really are. I have hurts. Doubts. Struggles. Disappointments with self. Stress. And so forth.

And I want to be able to share these things without fear of judgement.

If there’s one thing I noticed, it’s that being open invites others to say “me too!” and connect. We are never alone in our struggles… and this is a reminder we all need. I know I need this right now as I deal with sleepless nights and a tiny one depending on me for everything while I try to manage my own life. It’s exhausting. Honesty draws out honesty.

Above all, not only do I need to acknowledge and shed some light on my struggles, but also release them to God. I do an absolutely terrible job of worrying instead of praying. Even when I pray, I still worry. I worry, stress, worry, stress. It’s awful. I need to let that go.  I need to depend on Him.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NIV

I already expect that this year will have challenges. The last two years have been difficult, so why not this year? We have a new baby, jobs are changing, finances are changing, and there’s a lot we as a family and I as an individual hope to accomplish this year (including some things we weren’t able to accomplish last year). I know my plate will be full. I know I’ll be frazzled. I know I’ll also be excited and happy. And I pray that I let myself feel it all sometime, instead of ignoring the downsides and trying to keep it together.

Time to be real. Let’s go, 2017.

December Goals.

November went by fast (every month seems to go fast these days)! Now December is here and I’m keeping my schedule free for cozy nights with hot soup & good books. I’m also getting back into a regular yoga routine and it feels so good. This dark, cold month is perfect for resting up after the current year and recharging for the new year. I can’t believe 2014 is coming soon. There will be so many [good] changes in my life next year. I’m holding onto today while it’s still here, though. Everything is precious and each moment counts.

My goals for November were:

  • Write something each day. Success! I wrote a review or two each day.
  • Work on holiday cards and gifts.Success! Somewhat. I’m still working on the holiday cards and I’ve decided to scale back on the amount of gifts that I’ll be giving out/making.
  • Avoid social networks. Success! I didn’t really miss being online, either….

In December, I will:

Embrace the holiday season. I’m actually not quite sure what I mean by this, but I will take in as much Christmas as I can get!! I’ve already had holiday music playing nonstop and a few Christmas movies on Netflix in the background as I knit or write.

Rest. I just want to enjoy the darker, cozy nights as I prepare for the next year.

Are you doing anything in December that you’re excited about?