Thursday, January 3, 2019

A Good Look Around: 2018

Can I be really honest?  New Year’s resolutions kind of terrify me.  Everyone has been posting about motivation and “hustle” and setting goals for this year, and even though I’m doing all those things too, I start questioning myself.  Am I aiming high enough?  Too unrealistically high?  What if I fail?  What if I look stupid?

Now it’s January 4th.  2019 is already old enough for me to have done some regular things, like working out and homeschooling, to say or do things I regret (am I the only one?), and to implement the things I’m trying for the new year.  In case you’re like me, I’m writing down my “to-done list” for 2018 — the things I did well, and the things I could have done better — and some of what I’m working on in 2019, plus some thoughts that really did motivate and encourage me with the hope that they encourage you as well.

In 2018, I:

— maintained a pretty healthy lifestyle.  Don’t get me wrong: we have and love our treats.  But I stuck to my plant-based diet and worked out for at least half an hour at least five times a week, even when I was traveling last summer and moving to our new home without Matt.  It keeps me sane, and I’m glad I did it.

— blogged more than I did last year, which was one of my goals.  I hope to do even better this year, but at least I managed to do at least one post a month.

— read more books last year!  I read 25 books for myself, and 18 read-alouds to my kids.  Considering that 4 of those read-alouds were realllllyyyyy long Harry Potter books, and there were some others that were a hefty length as well, I am pretty happy with this.  But this is only one more book for myself than last year.  I’d like to hit 30 books for myself this year, and at least 18 again for the kids. 

— started homeschooling again with Lilly, Wyatt, and Annalee.  This hasn’t always been an easy choice, and time and again it’s meant doing things that maybe didn’t make sense to other people, even those within the homeschool community, but I feel like we are starting this year on the right foot.

took my kids to three countries, and four if you count the time I was at the DMZ and stepped across the border into North Korea.  They didn’t all turn out the way I wanted; I came home from one of those trips reeking of vomit that was not my own.  But I’m so glad we did them.  I’d love to do more travel with the kids this year, and we are talking about some trips — hopefully more with Matt, too.

— participated in Dressember.  I’m not very good at sticking to something for 31 days (I’m looking at you, 31 Days of Blogging 2014!!!).  But I actually did this.  I wore a dress every day in the month of December in an attempt to raise awareness about human trafficking and funds to help fight it.  There’s so much I learned that I am going to make this a separate blog post, but the fundraising side of it is continuing through January, Human Trafficking Awareness Month, so consider popping over to my fundraising page to learn more.

A few things I’m working on this year:

— being on time to things.  Matt is one of those people who, if he’s not half an hour early, he considers himself late.  I’m more like the shows-up-10-minutes-late-(at-least) kind of person.  It’s caused some tension in our marriage, to be honest.  If I have an appointment or meeting prior to 10 am, it’s almost impossible for me to get there on time, at least with all my kids and looking presentable.  But we had a weekly homeschool activity at 9 am, and twice I was actually on time to it, having worked out and showered and fed everyone. (*bows to [imagined] thunderous applause and roses thrown onto stage*)   I felt so good about it, I kind of told everyone about it, and realized I wanted to keep doing that more. 

— writing more.  I did 38 blog posts in 2018; I’m shooting for 40.  Moreover, though, I am shooting for at least twenty minutes of writing a day.  Of course, I’d like to do more, but this would be a good minimum if I actually did that every day.

— keeping a prayer journal.  A few years ago, I did this and did it well.  I’d write three things I was grateful for and then write my prayer requests.  I found the last one I did the other day and realized how badly I need to start this up again.

— being kinder to the planet.  Last year I got to this point of being really fed up with the amount of plastic in my life, so I’ve been working on ways to reduce that (more on this coming!).  After participating in Dressember, I’m also looking especially hard at ethical business practices, and the companies that implement them also tend to be “greener”.  I’ve already started scrutinizing what I purchase as a result, even not buying things because of what I learned, and I plan to continue down this path.  It’s hard to put a number on this.  I wanted to say, “I will buy nothing made of plastic this year!” except I realized how hard it would be to follow through.  I mean, even dental floss comes with plastic!  But I’m committing to some practices that I plan to tell you more about soon.

A couple things have quieted my resolution fear these past few days.  First, I remembered the words in Love Does that Bob Goff writes, “I used to be afraid of failing at something that really mattered to me, but now I’m more afraid of succeeding at things that don’t matter.”  I want to be sure I have time to hug my babies (even the adult one!) and have real conversations with my husband because it’s so easy to feel disconnected in the busyness of our lives.  I want to have more play dates with friends because they’re good for my kids and me.  I want to give more to things that matter to my heart.

Finally, something that has struck me over and over again in the past year, is my gratitude for my friends, for people who love me in spite of myself.  In 2018, I had a chance to connect with people who knew me when I would say I was at my very worst — when you’d look up “hot mess” in the dictionary and there’d be a big picture of me with a neon highlighter encircling it.  These people spoke truth into my life then and loved me. Last year, through the littlest words that maybe they didn’t even realize meant so much, they spoke truth again that managed to both humble me —“How could someone love even me?”— and build me up — “I’m truly loved”.  

I had plenty of challenges this past year, too.  I struggled with wondering if what I do matters; I heard the message loud and clear that I was failing.  But then as we watched It’s a Wonderful Life in December, the note Clarence leaves George in the copy of Tom Sawyer really stuck out to me:

“Remember, no man is a failure who has friends.”

My hope is that whatever 2019 has in store for you and me, we remember this (a quote originally attributed to Mark Twain) and remember that we are loved, and we strive to be good friends and speak words of life and truth and love to others.  I believe if we do that, failure is impossible.


  1. Hi friend! You seem ambitious to me. I've really enjoyed your recent posts. Did you receive my email at Yahoo? Trying to get a hold of you. Love, Virginia

    1. Haha! I honestly think the hardest one will be being on time! Lol!
      The prayer journal I found the other day was the one you gave me. <3 It ended the day after we left Hawaii.
      And thank you! I’m so glad to hear you’ve been enjoying the posts! I didn’t get the email :-( and was also trying to find your address to send you a Christmas card. Miss you!


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