Happy New Year…a tribute to 2018

I think a lot of times in life I find myself focused ahead…

What’s my next goal?

What is the next benchmark to reach?

What is the next thing to achieve?

What’s the next fun thing to plan?

That means I’m sometimes bad at slowing down and reflecting.

Don’t get me wrong… I could sit and reminisce with the best of them and love every single minute of it and I love having space to pause and consider what is going on in my head and heart and process my stuff a bit.

But I do have a hard time going back and looking at all the stuff I’ve learned, processed, and grown from because I just want it to be over. It feels messy sometimes and in many ways just not important.

I think I want the lessons to have been learned. I want the growth to have come to fruition or the problem to be solved. It can be agonizing for me in January to go back and look at my past journal entries and old blog posts and old social media posts and really notice where I was and where I have come from in order to know where I am presently and where I might be moving towards.

Yet in the slowing down, recalling and remembering I do something good for myself. I make myself pause and be thankful. That’s something else I struggle with. Pausing to be grateful. I can be so focused on what isn’t done or hasn’t been accomplish and then make everybody tense too, not appreciating what they have done to help me or encourage me towards the things I find important. (That’s me living the curse of being a 1 on the Enneagram.)

Funny enough…when I am actually able to sit in gratitude it can be a little bit overwhelming. It kind of sweeps over me in a big wave, crashing down on me and flattening me in a way that often surprises me. I feel so grateful and so humbled by it that I almost feel like grieving with the heaviness of it.

Yet, again, I say….it is good for me.

So, here is a list of some things I feel really grateful for from this past year mixed with some of the heaviness I feel comes with it:

1. My very silly daughter. She has been the most fun to get to know this year. Learning your children is a slow process sometimes because you’re so preoccupied with their care that it feels hard to slow down and figure out and appreciate their personality. But maybe that was just me. God gave me the word ‘savor’ for the past few years and I understand now why he needed me to learn how to do that. Through taking pictures and videos of her and sharing her with others I’ve learned how to savor her little life and her little story. I grieve the days that I feel so swept up in my own stuff that I completely miss her. I feel sad that I can’t capture all these moments and all these feelings in a way that I can download back into my body one day when I missing at all. I don’t think we can fully appreciate something till it’s gone and I hate that. I hate that I can’t soak every moment of her up and be able to feel it all and see it all again….I better stop going down that road or I’ll be a heap of tears on the floor…Despite all that…it has been the most fun getting to know her little personality and watch her copy the things that me and my husband do and it puts me in awe how fast she learns and what she is retaining. Which is also a little scary sometimes! This year she learned how to crawl and she learned how to walk and she learned how to run. She learned how to talk, she learned how to say Mamma and she learned how to feed herself. She had a lot of 1st experiences like first time at an aquarium, first time meeting some dear family and friends, first ear infection, first big move, first tooth, first visit to the ER. She’s my favorite little person on this planet. As it should be.

2. My dear husband. Boy, he get so little credit for all that he does for this family. Because of everything I said above this poor guy is likely discouraged more days than not because I am not stopping to appreciate all that’s happening. He works tirelessly during the day and then comes home and helps me out with my daughter, cleaning up the kitchen, bath time, and bedtime. I can be so focused on myself and my needs that I completely disregard him and his needs. None of these things I say with pride. All of them are said with sadness and guilt and shame because I know better this rotten behavior. The reason I fight so hard for my needs to be met is because I know what it’s like to not have my needs met and it saddens me that I fail to offer the same for him. We’ve come to understand that I have a fear of being taken advantage of with tasks around the house so my method of handling that fear has been to keep mental tabs on what I’ve done and what he has done to keep it balanced so I’m not doing too much. I’m not at all recommending that, though, because it helps no one! By doing this I fail to take note of all the things he does before I see him in the evenings. It is dumb and selfish and while there are days it doesn’t feel like an issue, other days I seem to play catch up and everything gets tabulated for that day and the days before where I was not focused on it. This poor guy. He could have done much better then me. I say all this because it’s helpful and a part of my recovery from selfishness…but man….don’t be me. Learn from my mistakes….love your spouse in word and deed. This man amazing and pushes himself past his physical capacities to love me and our daughter well. Pray for me that I would stop forgetting! He’s at work right now trying to get ahead even though he has the day off and could be resting. Hard work and dedication. Well done, honey! We really don’t deserve you!

3. On a simpler note…I’ve completed 36 recipes from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook! That doesn’t feel like much but that means I finished the Breakfast Chapter, Salad Chapter, Sandwich-Pizza-Tart Chapter and the Vegetarian Mains! It has been a lot of fun to share all of these with you! I’ll make some goals for 2019 and see how I do!

4. I lost 37lbs this year which is 90lbs off from the end of my pregnancy in July 2017. This picture was taken at the beginning of this month at a friend’s graduation party. When I saw it I realize just how far I’ve come since August when I started Weight Watchers. I weigh less now then I did when my husband and I got married in 2016 and I don’t get self conscious about pictures the ways I used to either! I’ve lost 1 pant size which I haven’t seen since high school and my clothes are looser and more comfortable then I ever remember them being! I have a long way to go but I feel very proud of myself!

5. This little lady as old enough now to help me out in the kitchen in small ways! I remember blog post from a year ago that she was in the carrier strapped to me or in the swing because she couldn’t sit up…it was a very different cooking experience. Now I’m just amazed at the things she can do and how she can help and how it can be something that her and I get to do together. I can’t wait to find out what she likes to make! If she doesn’t like being in the kitchen than I’m certainly not going to force her but for right now it’s a sweet thing to do with her.

6. Advent this year! I had such a fun time planning the activities and the things we were going to do during advent. And I’m so grateful that David was willing to go along with all my silly things. Ellie went along with all of it too and was excited about all the places we went. It was one of my highlights of the year and by far the most fun I’ve had with our little family of 3. Check out my Instagram highlights to see what we did for 25 days… @thenovicelifeblog.

7. My little garden. Or maybe a better thing to say is having the space to have a garden! This garden symbolizes more than vegetables. It speaks more to having a home. I haven’t felt at home in the state of California since we moved here in 1996. But this little townhome has done it for me…. for the first time in all those years. I feel so grateful because we have a space to make memories :) I wish we could stay here for years to come and I’m sad that there is a move in our very near future which will prevent us from stay here. But instead of allowing that sadness to overwhelm me I’m choosing to find the silver lining. I think God used this place to make me feel at home with my family. The space was just a space. But it freed me up to decorate and create a home like I’ve never felt before. I have lived in so many locations. Each one felt different but never did it feel like mine or a place to settle and make a home because I lived with other people. There were lots of opinions about what would go on the walls and where things would be in the kitchen and so I just felt like the renter that I was. I never really felt like it was home. But this place has allowed me to feel like home from day 1. Mildly processing this future move, I realize how sad I am to be leaving this place that I have called home. Yet I also realize my concept of home was linked to security and comfort and safety. This place has been that for me! It has been comfortable but has been safe and it has been fun! The reality is I can find that anywhere outside these 4 walls or within them. It’s all about perspective. I can’t allow a space to dictate my concept of home and security. That’s found inside and it’s found in the people I call mine. Once I know more about our move I’ll share some about the rough road I’ve been on learning to accept it. But today I just want to say I’m thankful for how this garden symbolizes all God has taught me about myself, my sense of security, and peace.

I could easily add a lot more to this list but each one of these has been pretty long so I’ll stop here.

Message me or leave a comment and tell me what it is that you are grateful for from 2018. Or if you need space… it’s OK to complain here and say why you disliked 2018 too. I’ve heard quite a few people say they’re ready for this year to be over. I’ve had years like that too so if you need a space to vent I welcome that here as well.

Time for me to start thinking about goals for 2019. That will be the next post!

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