2016 was quite a year y’all. To be completely honest, it broke me. But in the rebuilding, I found myself again, stronger. I don’t have the words yet for all that this year was, but I can’t help but share some of it in the meantime. So here it goes, albeit a couple of weeks late, a 2016 recap in no particular order….
1. I bought a house and I filled it with people and things I love.
This is perhaps the biggest thing that happened in 2016. It was my rising from the ashes, my rebuilding. God graciously provided a way for me to buy an adorable townhouse just in time for the holidays. I closed right before Thanksgiving and have been blessed to host dozens of my sweet friends and family. There is nothing I have loved more than watching my house fill with laughter, food, family, and friends. It is a gift, and one I do not take lightly.
2. I tiptoed back into the dating world.
And we’ll just leave this one alone. Dating is scary and hard and sometimes I remember why I stopped. But then other times it’s fun and exciting. May 2017 be the year of more second dates that I don’t cancel.
3. I agreed to blog for too many sources and learned how to step back gracefully from over-commitment.
This one was hard for me. I dove in head first into some neat writing opportunities and found myself spread desperately thin and cranking out posts at 11:59 every Friday night. It wasn’t healthy and it wasn’t helping. So I did something I’m not great at- I said no. At first, I felt like a failure, but then I learned how to graciously say, “I can’t do this and it’s not fair to me or to your organization for me to keep trying.” I nearly stopped writing for my own blog altogether in 2016 and I had to re-evaluate why I write. I had to remind myself that my posts don’t have to be attached to a well-known URL to be worthwhile. And honestly? I’m looking forward to a much slimmer load this year and hopefully a much larger presence over here on my personal blog and just a few others.
4. I got a job that is the hardest and best thing.
I got my dream job, truly. I teach second grade 1.5 miles from my house. It is the best thing I could ever do with my days and also the hardest. Already, I have learned so much. Every day I feel like I am not enough. Then, out of the blue, a kiddo who barely accepted hugs at the beginning of the year hugs me for five minutes before he gets on the bus one day. And I lose it. My classroom is my biggest ministry. Every day, I offer up a little bit of my broken self and Jesus makes it enough for 21 little people. They drive me crazy, and then they lavish me with flowers, and handwritten letters, and chocolate they saved from trick-or-treating because they knew it was my favorite, and they remind me all over again why I spend my whole heart on them.
While that would be enough in itself, I work for and with the best community. My principal leaves me sweet notes and hugs me and checks in. My AP carries my bags to my car at least once a month. They support their staff 100% and it is a gift like I’ve never known. The other teachers and staff in the building are fabulous, precious colleagues who are becoming friends and I feel honored to work with them.
5. I went back to counseling.
Counseling has such a stigma. Frankly, I don’t get it. In fact, this is how I feel about it….
In all honesty, every hard and healing season of my life has been marked by counseling. It keeps me sane. It took me a while to find a good fit this time around, but I’m so grateful I did and I stuck with it. People ask me a lot what’s different about my perspective, how I can handle so much, etc. I don’t love the superwoman complex, but frankly, how I can handle so much is coping skills. Coping skills and godly wisdom from several fabulous counselors have walked me through the hardest days of my life. Getting healthy has been the best thing I’ve ever done for myself and it is a process that I will never stop or be ashamed of.
6. I drank far too much coffee.
7. I said goodbye to my first car and bought another with a story.
I have a thing for cars and stories. I bought my first car as a junior in high school with every penny of babysitting money I had ever made. And while it was essentially a disaster and death trap later in its life, it lasted me through six wonderful years. I did a lot of life in that car and it marked some wonderful and difficult seasons. So, when the mechanic called me and told me there was no way it was worth fixing, I was super disappointed. He told me that I was actually lucky to be alive, however, if I’d still been driving it. Among other things, my front two wheels were essentially detached from the car. He told me I must have a pretty great guardian angel and I told him I’ve heard that a time or two. Thank you Jesus, truly.
So I started the nightmare that is car shopping. I found some gems like this one (dog included!)
Then, a couple weeks later, I found this answer to prayer.
8. I gained a seester.
9. I stopped running and got healthy.
This sounds backwards, but it’s deeply true. Check out my post on it later this month, but for now, suffice it to say it is possible to do all the right things for all the wrong reasons. Here’s to staying healthy and running again in 2017!
10. I finally watched Gilmore Girls and found my soul sister in Lorelai.
Seriously though—why did I not know about this sooner? Snark, sass, and coffee with two strong female leads. Also, Ashland is pretty much Stars Hollow. So much goodness.
11. I poured into relationships that matter.
I had to fight my Type A personality this year and remind myself that relationships are the real work, that quality time should trump every to-do list. Tears, laughter, and real conversation have been the true rewards of this choice and I’m so, so grateful.
12. I read a lot of great books.
I’ll share a list soon, but gracious I love books. I live a mile from a Goodwill that has a great selection. I got to help launch and endorse some great books this year and even had a friend or two publish their first book. So fun to know such incredible writers!
13. I decided on a tattoo.
Shhhh. It’s a secret. You’ll find out when it’s official.
14. I graduated from college!
15. I fell in love with a new town.
16. I researched foster care, found an organization I love, and now have a house with the room.
More details to follow, but if you’re interested in working with foster care in any capacity, I highly recommend HopeTree Family Services!