2016 Year in Review

1. What did you do in 2016 that you’d never done before?  We took another epic vacation. Yellowstone, the Badlands, Mt. Rushmore and more. On a much smaller scale, the boys and I joined a homeschool coop. I'd looked into various coops in the past and just felt like it wasn't a good fit for us, but this one is new and it's only 15 minutes way so we decided to give it a go. The jury is still out on whether we'll sign up again next year, but it's definitely been a change.

2. Did you keep your New Years resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I always resolve to try and eat healthier and exercise more. And I do a little bit better every year. (Same old, same old)

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? My sister gave birth to my nephew, Grant. He's so handsome!

4. Did anyone close to you die? No. Thank goodness. We didn't attend a single funeral or wake this year.

5. What countries did you visit? Just more of the U.S.

6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016? Better health and more confidence!

7. What date from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? Our vacation included the best moments. Faces of Presidents etched in stone, donkeys begging for treats outside our car window, dramatic clouds hovering over the badlands, a never-ending hike to a gorgeous waterfall, the world's biggest jackalope, alien landscapes of sulfur and heat-loving bacteria in a riot of color, and the best pancake breakfast ever.

The worst moment is private, but was heart-wrenching and will be seared on my mind forever.

8. What was your biggest contribution of the year? My biggest contribution was in loving well, learning, growing, and finding my voice.

9. What was your biggest failure? I'd so wanted to really master...something. Photoshop, Illustrator, LightRoom. Instead it all got away from me as I focused on the mundane things of life.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? This has been my healthiest year yet!! I'm still working on some things; fatigue and weight, but overall I'm the healthiest I've ever been.

11. What was the best thing you bought? Soft-as-butter leggings. No, I don't wear them outside the house.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?I've seen Gabe grow a lot this year. He's always had low muscle tone and it's something that he's self-conscious about. He's been pushing himself, though, and I'm really proud of him. He's been learning to ride his bike, he learned to tie his shoes. He's also learned how to stand in front of his peers and give a report. He struggled to find his place and his strength after watching Luke pursue music. I love watching him come into his own.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? This is vague, but...I'm so tired of my intelligent, strong-minded friends and family ignore the vaccine issue. Not everyone is capable of rational thought - I'm well aware of that - but I have so many people in my life who "get it" on a wide range of topics, but they refuse to do their own research when it comes to vaccines and I think it's a tragedy in so many ways.

14. Where did most of your money go?Paying off a surprise debt.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Again, our vacation. It was just amazing.

16. What song will always remind you of 2016? Anything by Lauren Daigle.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? Happier. I feel like 2017 is full of possibility.
ii. thinner or fatter?Thinner, woot woot!
iii. richer or poorer? Poorer. By a lot. And for no good reason.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Photoshop and photography. Blogging.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?Conforming to other's ideals.

20. How will you be spending the Winter?Reading. Playing board games, and, by gum, learning Photoshop.

22. Did you fall in love in 2016? Same loves as always. :)

23. What was your favorite month of 2016? August, the month of our vacation.

24. What was your favorite TV program?We actually sort of stopped watching TV. It wasn't planned, we just kept finding other things to do in the evening. We've also been annoyed at the lack of truly good programming.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? Nope. Not a hater, such a waste of time.

26. What was the best book you read? Self-help type books include Rising Strong, Making Peace with Your Past, Victory over Darkness, and Boundaries.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery? Luke. Brag-gy? Yes. Can't help it. He's my little musical genius.

28. What did you want and get? A new blender. We won a Vitamix from our chiropractor. Well, technically Luke won, but he's letting us have it. ;)

29. What was your favorite film of this year? Finally saw Broken. I LOVED the book and was afraid the movie wouldn't do it justice, but it was well-done and made me cry.

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 36.  Ben surprised me with a squatty potty and tickets to see Beauty and the Beast at the Fox. Unfortunately, I got SO sick and we only got to see half the show. The live-action movie is coming out this coming March so we joked that we should try again.

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?Staying off of FB. Giving up TV freed up a lot more time and I know I'd "find" more time if I could just dump FB.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2015? I've made a little bit more effort. I really want to go ahead and create a capsule wardrobe. That's one of my goals for 2017.

33. What kept you sane? Prayer, journaling, friends.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? None.

35. What political issue stirred you the most? Vaccines. The pressure is intensifying to mandate vaccines across the board.

36. Who did you miss? Chelsea. Acutely. We were supposed to spend a bunch of time together when they came up over Christmas, but she ended up getting strep. Beyond disappointed.

37. Who was the best new person you met? Steffanie, a mom from my St. Louis Holistic Moms group. She lives 5 minutes from me! And she has two boys. I've been blessed to meet several SLHMs in real life. The vast majority of them are quite a bit younger and are still in the pregnancy/baby stage of life, but they are all ah-mazing women and I'm grateful to know them.

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016: This is difficult because this year has been full of insight and lessons. I could do about 5 different posts. Right now, thinking of the year ahead, I guess the thing that really stands out to me is learning to live authentically. I realized that I'm a HUGE people-pleaser. Like major, major people-pleaser. But it's something that I'm working to overcome and I've already seen progress. Anyway, right on the heels of that discovery, it hit home to me that if I want to start living the life that I'm meant to live and do the things that are important to me I have to do things that are going to disappoint people. Or don't do things that others feel are important.  Or even just letting go of things that people maybe think are weird or over-the-top (like giving up TV).

For example, we're trying to pay off debt. There are so many things we've had to say no to. And yet we're planning our yearly vacation. I'm sure there are a lot of people who will be miffed that we said no to xyz and yet have the audacity to go on a 2 week vacation. Too damn bad. #noimnotgoingtoapologize

39. Best quote of the year? "Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It's a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity." - Pema Chodron

I've been looking for a way to help others for a long time. I've had a strong desire to get a degree in counseling, but the money and time made it clear that that's not an option right now.

I started looking at other avenues and was excited about an opportunity to be trained as a peer counselor. I had to take the class Making Peace with Your Past as a prerequisite. A friend offered to facilitate the class for myself and 2 other ladies. It was amazing. When it came time to take the peer counseling class I was informed that I wasn't eligible because I hadn't taken MPWYP with the organization offering the peer counseling classes. I was so frustrated. It was just another brick wall.

But God started working in my heart and as he revealed my strong people-pleasing and perfectionist issues he gently reminded me that small is okay, too. Things don't always have to be big to make an impact.

I slowly began to realize that I don't have to be perfect and I don't have to have all the answers to be able to reach out and help others. I began to see that when I leaned on him and acted as a conduit of his truth and compassion that he could do big things through me.

So, despite all my misgivings ("I don't have a degree," "I'm not perfect," "I don't have all the answers") I'm taking small group leader training at my church and then I'll facilitate the Making Peace with Your Past class for other women who have grown up in dysfunctional families. That's the plan anyway.

So, 2016, it's been real. 2017, I'm looking forward to everything you have in store. Bring it on!


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