the one about the new year

I have four unfinished posts, saved as drafts. Started, stopped, unfinished...for either lack of time or lack of inspiration or both.

But today, I shall convert my thoughts into words and begin 2017 in this small corner of the Internet.

Few things excite me more than the dawn of a new year. I am a sucker for all the new displays in stores -- out with the old and in with the new. I get giddy when I see the big stock up sales at Target in the place where the Christmas trees stood just a week prior. I love the idea of ridding yourself of what is dragging you down, both figuratively and literally, as you embark on a new 365 day journey.

This time last year, I was pretty disappointed with how 2015 played out for me, and I wrote about it in this post. I allowed myself to get into an unhealthy funk that compromised both my mental and physical health.

I am pleased to say that I was able to stay above that funk for the most part in 2016. Of course, there were downs and times when I had relapses of self-doubt, self-pity, and unhealthy choices, but I think overall 2016 was a much more positive year for myself and my family.

What was the difference?

Well, saying goodbye to my part-time teaching position at the preschool was a difficult choice, but it has allowed me to be a little more balanced in other areas of my life. Even with only physically teaching 12-ish hours a week (I know...poor me), I still found myself frantically darting around the house in the morning, snapping at my children as I attempted to get myself and everyone else ready to walk out the door, all while lugging bags filled with pasta and food coloring and Kool-Aid and jingle bells and 7 picture books and some pipe cleaners for the day's lessons. As much as I enjoyed being with the students, I knew that I could not keep living in such a way.

I would say I gave my diet and exercise a little more thought and attention as well. I started the year very motivated and involved in some challenge groups that kept me going. I became hooked on the 21 Day Fix program, and I really did teach myself a new way to plan and prepare food. I felt so good and accomplished after working out. Somewhere around the middle of the year, I fell off the wellness wagon and never quite hoisted myself back on....but I still have all the tools I learned from those several months of giving a shit, and I do refer back to them every now and then.

I have grown leaps and bounds in my faith. I am a part of a mom's book group at our church that fulfills me in multiple ways. I have built new friendships with women who are in a similar place in life. I have learned that everyone struggles. Everyone questions. Everyone has so much to learn but also so much to give. My faith isn't tied to reciting scripture, knowing the Bible like the back of my hand, or even getting a lot out of Mass. My children are usually using me as a human jingle gym or asking for milk or pointing out "Jesus in a diaper" (loudly and for others to hear), so I rarely take anything away from Mass other than some frazzled nerves and a need to drink at 10:30 a.m. -- but I have found other ways to experience, grow, and deepen my faith, for this I am very grateful.

Lastly, I think the biggest difference between '15 and '16 was that I truly learned that I cannot change people. I have tried, and I can't. Some of my biggest moments of sadness have come when I have expected a person to do a certain thing or be a certain way, and the complete opposite actually happened. I can change a lot of things -- about myself, about my home, about my community...but I cannot change people simply because I want them to. Accepting this has made a world of difference in my life.

Now, here we are, a few days into the new year, and I am so excited about a couple things:

1. Our house project is actually looking like it is going to happen. After tons of setbacks, the biggest one being when our contractor dumped us after working with us for 8 months, we think we might actually have the right combination of people on board for us to make this dream a reality. We are very excited at the thought that we might be spending Christmas 2017 in our new home. We certainly know by now to keep our hopes low and our guard up, but things are looking better for us, finally. I cannot wait to document our process right here so that we can look back and reflect upon the experience and hopefully help others who are thinking of doing the same thing. We have already learned so much and will undoubtedly get schooled a ton more over the next year. I'm still shopping our HGTV show...

2. We are expecting a little BOY in early Summer 2017! After three beautiful girls, we will finally know what it is like to raise a son. I think Luke and I both share a healthy amount of fear and nervousness as we head into uncharted territory, but we couldn't be more thrilled that our family will take on a new dynamic. You can expect more updates about this pregnancy as we head into the gestational period that caused me so much grief with Shiloh. So far, so good. I am hopeful that this little boy will make a peaceful transition into this world and give all of us just what we need.

Luke and I watched To Joey, With Love last night. I couldn't get through the first 5 minutes before burying my head so far into my arms to stifle my intense sobbing. If you aren't familiar with the Joey and Rory Feek story, I suggest you familiarize yourself with it by reading Rory's blog. I came to know of them only after she was already terminally ill with cancer. I didn't listen to their music or know anything about them prior to stumbling upon Rory's blog one day as a result of Black Hole Facebooking (where you just click and click and click and click until you don't even know what day it is anymore). The movie is such a beautiful illustration of their love story, and her life story. I was so inspired by Joey's incredible faith and desire to keep a positive outlook despite the fact that she knew she was going to die. I cried throughout the entire 90 minutes, partially because I was sad for her and for her family... but also because I felt such guilt regarding my own outlook at times and how I can get overwhelmed by things that are so minor in the grand scheme of life. Watching this movie, though incredibly difficult knowing the ending, was a great way for me to reset myself as we head into a year that will be full of excitement but also full of challenges, setbacks, and chaos. I am so thankful for my patient, loving husband who supports me unconditionally through all of our ups and downs.

To living fuller, loving deeper, and taking it one day at a time.

Happy New Year.

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