Happy 2017!

Photo by Sue Moody Photography
Happy New Year!

I honestly get why people aren't really fans of New Year's Resolutions...BUT I TOTALLY AM. I love excuses to refocus, reevaluate and start fresh.

2016 wasn't a great year for a lot of people (so many challenges to deal with on a world events level, amiright!?) but it was a really good year for me personally. I credit it to starting the year with de-cluttering my house/life Konmari style during January. What? You're sick of hearing about this Konmari thing? TOO BAD, I'm a convert. Haha!

My reflections on this past year are best understood within the context of the last few years, so bear with me as I take you aaaaalll the way back to...2014.

2014 was the roughest year of my life thus far. I wrote a little about why I call it "dirty 2014" in this post here. Everything fell apart that year in ways I would have never expected, beginning (but definitely not ending) with the death of my sister Jocelyn. But all that churning up and breaking apart did, indeed, make way for new growth. I hope I never have to go through a year like that again, but now that I stand on this side of it, I'm able feel the gratitude for the refining process that some of those trials put me through...and trust that some of the others have their purpose, too, even if I don't understand them yet.

2015 was the year of healing. It was a year I learned to be patient with myself and started tip-toeing back into more of life's regular ol' demands without feeling like I was drowning. I got familiar with my warning signs that I was taking on too much and learned to let myself feel the waves of grief that would inevitably wash over me at random without pushing them down or away. I learned to not be scared of my pain...or, consequently, the pain of others.

By the time 2016 started, I was ready...really ready...to clear out some of the dusty debris that had gathered, both literally (STUFF) and figuratively (stale and outdated expectations of myself and my life). I majorly cleared out my house of things that "didn't spark joy" and was surprised at how much I learned about (you guys, don't make fun of me for this) listening to my heart. Ha! But seriously, though! You can actually make fun of me all you want because I can't even deny it; was such an eye-opening process that helped me recognize what truly belongs in my life and start owning the decision-making process for what I include and what I just don't from here on out...without feeling ashamed or guilty about it. It was a great exercise in learning to listen to that still, small voice.

I spent the rest of 2016 learning that lesson in greater depth, with more sticking power. I would start letting things get cluttery again, feel the difference right away, and try and get at the heart of why while I reigned it back in. It confirmed an already-suspected direct correlation between feeling overwhelmed and chaotic on the inside and seeing that chaos show up on the outside in my surroundings...though which came first is the whole chicken/egg question.

I started exercising regularly again. I started making room in my life for the things I actually love like laughing with friends and reading and taking opportunities to serve. I finished off the year reading (well listening to) Shauna Niequist's book Present Over Perfect three times (!) after seeing a friend recommend it on her blog. I could not stop re-visiting the words of that book over and over because it felt like a full summary of everything I was aiming for and learning about during the past year.

And so, with seeds planted in the churned up, clean up soil of the past few years, I stand here at the beginning of 2017. The excess is cleared away (well, mostly...kind of. Ha! I think I'm actually going to do another konmari-style declutter of my house this month. A new tradition, perhaps...?) and stock taken of how I'm spending my time, I think I'm ready to start focusing next on growth....slowly, wisely. I want to give some attention to a couple areas that I am passionate about (like writing! music! food!) and start nurturing them, cultivating them with a little more time and effort...the time and the effort I didn't have when I was healing, or thought I didn't have when my life was cluttered with unnecessary things.

Here's to 2017! I hope this year is just AWESOME for you, friends. Love and best wishes!


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