Happy 2017! Juuust a few days behind. I always love the feeling of the New Year and though it’s quite an undertaking, I actually enjoy the process of putting away all of the Christmas decor (okay so maybe not actually during this process – hello tangled twinkle lights and pine needles everywhere) because it feels like a blank slate and fresh palate for our home and for the New Year and new goals ahead. The ‘put away’ process also prompts me to get organized in all of the other areas of my life (i.e. work, health, planning, etc.) so needless to say… I’m always eager to get to all this at the start of the New Year! Well, this year…. the process was about a week delayed….
I posted this Instagram last week explaining what the start of the year looked like for me. Yep. Throwing up on the side of the road during Portland rush hour traffic at 6-something AM in 20-something degrees wasn’t exactly the way I envisioned tackling the standard “New Year, New Me” mentality. I also didn’t really anticipate having to ‘call out’ of work my first week back (for blog related work and nanny work!), I definitely didn’t think I’d spend a few days a part from my husband so abruptly (a quick goodbye as he rushed to make the flight in time and me hunched with my head in between my legs – so romantic!) after so much time off together, and I definitely didn’t think I’d be just so dang sick in general. Sorry for all of the TMI… but really, I think it all makes for a good story and lesson now!
As I wrote in that Instagram, I had unexpected time on my hands which led me to do a lot of thinking and reflecting. And you know what? I needed it! I slept, didn’t go on my phone or computer, read, drank fluids and nibbled on white bread (thanks to my gracious and oh so caring mother-in-law!), took warm baths, and just truly rested. And yes, at first I panicked. I had ‘too much to do’ instead of rest! As much as I wanted vacation to last forever, I ‘needed to get home’! But God just giggled and allowed me rest. And I’m so grateful!
I’m so convinced the Lord had me stay in Oregon those extra few days for specific purpose. Sure, I could have done without the sickness… but it’s what made me truly slow down. I really believe God wanted me to soak up that rest, remind me that I’m not the one who is in control, and allow me to rely and talk to Him. I firmly believe He wanted me and my mother-in-law to have sweet and meaningful conversations that I will cherish forever. And to top it all off, I’m surely convinced that only God could have been the one to orchestrate an idyllic scenario with Southwest Airlines where what could have been a customer service nightmare and financial burden was simply a kind phone call with an agent and a gracious offer to get me home safely on the flight of my choice.
God is good! All the time!
So with all that… I’m now ready and excited to share with y’all my goals for 2017! I don’t actually believe in resolutions, but much more believe in approaching the start of a fresh year with a more determined spirit with specific goals in mind! I also like to choose a word to focus on for the year and really try to apply it to each and every step of the way. So, here goes!
Word of 2017: Grateful
To be painfully vulnerable, I wasn’t very grateful in 2016. Yes, I had an abundance of blessings that I could write about for pages. But did I truly feel grateful for them? Sadly, I don’t really think I did. 2016 was a really tough year for me personally. The end of 2015 was heartbreaking, but the effects didn’t really settle in until 2016. My new marriage suffered the effects of grief, change, and painful growth. I personally struggled a lot with my professional career path. I faced a lot of self-doubt and frustration. I learned a lot about what it feels like to put yourself out there and feel rejected. I felt a lot of loneliness and isolation. I battled with my faith, God’s plan, and trusting in His provision.
I’m not saying that 2017 will be free from all of those things! Those things are still very real and raw in my life currently. This season of life has so much joy but it’s also tough one, too. But I’m praying for constant strength and grace when I fall short to be grateful through it all. And I’m hoping by diving into my 3 main goals you’ll see a bit more behind my reasoning for deciding to choose gratefulness in this year ahead!
1. Get in a better bedtime/wakeup routine
My husband, Sam, took a new job in 2016 and though it is a blessing and an amazing opportunity, it’s been a huge lifestyle shift. His round trip commute can be anywhere from 2 1/2 – 3 1/2 hours a day, “depending on traffic”, per day. His alarm painfully goes off at 5 AM and he gets home at 8:30 PM on a good night. He would never admit these things to anyone because he wouldn’t want the slightest ounce of pity, but I think I can share it because I’m his wifey and I’m so proud/in constant awe of his determination and discipline! But needless to say, his new job takes a toll on our life together.
I’m the opposite of an early riser. 7 AM? Doable. But anything before then, especially if I haven’t slept well or went to bed late, is downright painful for me. I definitely lean towards the side of a night owl, especially in terms of cranking out my own work. So I’m often the one who will be okay with staying up late to get things done (but I’ll regret it in the morning) where as that’s just not possible for Sam and his schedule. Our apartment is small, so when one person is up the other knows it… so you can image that this opposite schedule thing doesn’t work out so well for us both.
Is it beneficial for me to get up at 5 AM every morning? Personally, no. It’s not. Sam doesn’t expect this of me and we’ve both decided that it’s not doing either of us favors if I take on his routine. Why have two exhausted souls in a marriage when one has the ability to build the other up? We’ve realized that reality check these past 6 months and I’m so glad we have! So no, my goal isn’t to rise at 5 AM and work all day, then go to the gym, and then have dinner ready on the table by 8:30 PM or whenever else Sam gets home, and then all cleaned up and put away, and then shower, and then finish any work before the next day, and then answer emails, and then get into bed and finish my devotional, and then have the lights out by 10 PM. Phew! It’s actually comical for me to read that all written and typed out because I actually believed I should be able to do all of that every weekday at many points this past year in 2016 – talk about a set up for personal failure and burn out! So, what is actually my realistic goal?
Get up at 6:30-7 AM, Go to bed at 10. And keep that schedule consistent.
My biggest goal here is within the word ‘consistent’. Because my work schedule can look so different on a daily and weekly basis (the life of an entrepreneur!), I lack and crave consistency. So when deadlines are unexpected or I take on extra hours, it’s easy for me to ‘adjust accordingly’, especially with my sleep schedule. But I know I’m really not doing myself any favors with this! Everything I’ve ever read about sleep says that consistency is key and that you also need to listen to your body to know how much sleep is enough! For some, that’s 7 hours. For me? I need at least 8 to function and 9 to feel rested. And when I don’t? I get instantly sick! Guaranteed. I so wish I could pride myself on being ‘that girl’ who can do it all and sleep minimally…. but I just can’t. I truly pray that the Lord gives me extra super-strength and/or super-boosts my immunity for when I’m a mother someday but for now? This is what I need and I need to be okay with it!
So as silly as that all sounds, that is my goal! A consistent sleep schedule to keep me and my multi-faceted weekdays in line and in check!
2. Prioritize Self-Care
This goal is one big over-arching theme and my hope is that there will be a lot of smaller issues tackled underneath it! For being a blogger that loves her beauty products, I’m actually quite terrible at self-care in a larger sense. For Christmas, my amazingly generous and thoughtful in-law’s gifted me with a manicure, facial, and massage while we were visiting in Oregon! Oh my word y’all… all three were truly life changing! I couldn’t get over how relaxed and rejuvenated these treatments all felt and how much better I felt after them! Sure, I may get a pedi every month or so but it’s the first ‘luxury’ to go when I’m tight on my budget. I hate that! If I could give up one less Home Goods trip, I’d have my monthly pedi. And if I could nix a Target run or two? There’s my facial and massage! My husband looks at money in this way and I have to say… it’s rubbing off on me in the best way possible! So essentially: less stuff, more regular self-care appointments.
On a less cosmetic self-care note, I’m determined to tackle my persistent sinus migraines. They’re so painful and debilitating, and I’ve been tested by doctors as to what’s going on but not investigated enough to have found answers or solutions. When I was getting my massage and the masseuse was working on my neck, she politely asked if I suffered from painful headaches since she noticed so much tension and strain. As she said this, I nearly shot up from the massage table! I mean, I didn’t… because I was so relaxed. But to just hear her say that with no prompting whatsoever really opened my eyes as to the visible stress I carry in my neck and shoulders that could very well be attributing to my migraines. This definitely inspired me to prioritize looking into massage options in the Bay Area as well as getting myself back to the doctor to start monitoring symptoms and just keeping track of my physical health as a whole! And this also means in terms of lady heath, diet, nutrition, exercise… I know this stuff all comes together full swing!
So with prioritizing self-care, I’m hoping I can ultimately be prioritizing my body and my health. As much as I don’t want to get blood drawn, track symptoms, visit doctors, or maybe even forgo a killer Home Goods or Target find and book a massage instead… it’s crucial in order to prioritize the better of my body!
3. Live into our Bay Area Calling
The past two goals are very much health related, so here’s the one that isn’t! But wowza, it’s certainly a big one for me.
Many of y’all know that long to relocate from the Bay Area. I promise this is nothing personal as so much of our family is in the Bay Area! But the honest truth is just that we don’t ultimately feel called here for the long haul. There are many reasons for this, many financial, lots personal… but we ultimately hope to not be permanent California residents. I know that’s hard for me to write, in fear of upsetting others, so please know I don’t mean it to be harsh or rude. Simply a personal choice and desire!
But with our hopes and dreams of being able to buy a home and start a family outside of California comes this truth: we currently live, are called to, and are committed to living in the San Francisco Bay Area.
I’ve tried to get out of California for the past couple of years, but God’s timing has certainly proved me wrong thus far. First round was when I traded round trip tickets to Dallas, Texas to go visit an Oregonian boy whom I was head over heels for. The second round was when that Oregonian boy, now husband, and I started seriously looking into a transfer to the DFW, Texas area and then husband Sam was out of the blue recruited for his current job. Absolutely God’s plans… not our own! But we certainly see and acknowledge the blessings in His plans vs. ours.
But this doesn’t mean that we don’t long for the next chapter. To be honest… we both feel extremely ready for that next chapter! We’re ready to not live in an urban city! We’re ready to dive into the church and friendships that we’ve been investing in from afar! We’re ready to own a home! We’re ready to get a dog! We’re ready to start seriously considering starting a family! But alas…. perhaps God is saying… we’re not ready. Because guess what? He has us here! And that isn’t for my own personal disappointment and frustration – that is not how God works! It is because He has something in mind for us here, now, and something in store for us in the future – all in His timing.
It’s a hard pill to swallow, and one that I often have to tearfully surrender to Him. It involves us as a couple uniting, letting go of selfish wants, and ultimately trusting God’s promise and having faith in Him above all else. It’s not easy, and I often fail at this. It’s easy for me to live in the ideas of the future, to ‘push through’ this season of life and just look at it as ‘getting through it’ instead of ‘living in it’.
I’ve really felt God start to challenge me (and Sam) in this area. I’ve been loving the church we’ve been attending over the summer and fall feel like it’s a good fit, but have felt overwhelmed by the thought of ‘diving in’ when I don’t really know how long we’ll be here for. But yet, I know I not only need to get involved and make new friends and connections there… but I genuinely want to.
I also want to cherish and soak up the time we do have here with our family. We realize having family close is such a gift, and we want to enjoy that blessing as much as we can while it’s still a reality. We dearly, dearly love those family members we have here in the Bay Area and if God is giving us more time with them on a more daily basis right now, we need to be especially grateful for that!
Please don’t get me wrong, Sam’s job is an immense blessing and experience that he’s extremely grateful for and absolutely committed to living out 100%. I’m extremely proud of him for being offered and taking this opportunity. But I mean all of this in a ‘long term hopes and dreams as a couple’ sense.
I know that I can do much better about living into this calling He has for us, with hands open and ready to accept anything that does come our way as to why God has us living here right now. It will take work to allow my heart to be proactive as well as open, but Lord willing, I’m willing and ready to accept the challenge!
And there you have it. My goals for 2017! I’ll keep it real… I mostly type them all out here as a way for me to really process what I’m thinking about, as well as keep myself accountable. But I do hope that by sharing my own thoughts, struggles, ideas, and hopes… it can connect to you as a reader! We all have so much on our plates, and I know each person’s portion looks so different. My hope is that whatever is in front of you in 2017, you’d tackle it with Jesus. You’d allow him to provide His Grace with every bite! For I know that if I didn’t set these goals and get vulnerable and honest with myself and Him as to what’s behind them… I’d feel low and lost without my Savior’s strength.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10
Let’s do this, 2017!