Thursday, December 31, 2015

Reflections of 2015

I love these resolutions.  I keep doing them year after year.  Some years seem EPIC and some more mundane.  Each has their ups and downs but each of them mark a chapter in the book of life that I'll never get back.  (or never go through again depending on how you look at it!)  This year I purchased my printed blog book and wrapped it without looking at it for us for Christmas.  It was mostly for me because I love to have it printed but ultimately the book will be for the kids.  As I cleaned up shredded paper from gifts likely already forgotten on Christmas morning, I noticed Jackson intently reading the blog book and I realized THAT is why I'm writing the blog.  So help me remember that moment when the writing gets tough!

  What was the single best thing that happened this year?

After a LONG wait, we went on a Disney Cruise!  It had been a long time coming!  We booked in almost a year in advance!  It was single-handedly the greatest family vacation we could have asked for!  Jason is no Disney fan but even he enjoyed the slower pace of DCL!  It was vacation done right!  We couldn't have asked for a better time together and I couldn't recommend it more!

  What was the single most challenging thing that happened this year?

Turning 36.  I'm not normally that focused on a mere number but this one was hard.  It didn't happen all at once when I turned 36.  It started slowly with me realizing I had age spots, and more grey hair and wrinkles becoming more and more prominent.  It wasn't my finest moment.  Jason may have deemed it my "midlife crisis" but I have dove head first into skin care regimes, working out more and all things anti-aging.  There's no truth to aging gracefully in my opinion and I'm going to do everything I can do combat it for better or for worse!  My first lines of defense include:


I can thank my dear sister for the knowledge and forethought on most of this.  She'll like the recognition!

  What was an unexpected joy this past year?

Contentment.  Its hard to say it but it's taken me this long to feel content here in Texas.  I made it no secret to have left a large part of my heart in Nashville, TN and this is the first year I can safely say, I love it here and I want to say in Texas.  I think I just kept the possibility of another quick move in the back of my head and this year I dismissed those thoughts and dug into where we live.  Being content to move forward made life in Texas far more meaningful.

Pick 3 words to describe this past year.  

Seasoned.  Satisfied.  Vapor.

Seasoned.  I've been doing this motherhood thing longer than most of my friends locally.  Most of them have one or two or are pregnant with their third.  I guess you could say I'm the "old lady" of my peers.  But let's just call it "seasoned".  It sounds better.  It means I've got it down.  I am conquering the three kids, the house work and schedules seamlessly.  Or I'm handling it.  Or I'm trying at least!

Satisfied.  I'm happy with our little party of 5.  While there are days that Jason will tell you I'm crazy enough to suggest another, I know we are DONE.  We both do.  My doubts come from realizing Lillian will never have a sister like I do and I know how much I depend on mine.  The fact is, if she wants to talk about her crazy mom, either she'll have to tell her brothers or she'll have to call her crazy mom herself!  I recently saw a quote that said "Having a daughter is God's way of saying, 'Here, I thought you could use a lifelong friend'!"  I have to agree!

Vapor.  My dad has said all my life the verse in James 4:14.  It talks about life being a vapor.  I can remember ALL MY LIFE he's said how quickly the years seem to go by and how much faster they go by for him than they do for me.  My dad says a lot of things and ya know what?  It's all true!  The years go by so quickly now it seems as if this one just begun and it's already over.   I know these are the greatest years of our life.  These are the days we will long for and always miss.  I try to remember on trying days the country song, "You're gonna miss're gonna want this back."

 Pick 3 words your spouse would use to describe their year.  

Tumultous, Stressful, Wonder

Tumultuous. ( I will admit right now that I had to look up what this meant!)  It was a bit of a roller coaster for Jason this year.  He was getting into a rhythm with his job at Exxon but wasn't sure if that was a good thing or not.  It was dicey at times, which leads to...

Stressful.  His summer was very stressful.  While his commute was much shorter, the summer hours were so long that it rarely mattered.  We left for 2 weeks and I'm not sure he even had time to miss us.  It was quite a stressful time for him so I can see why he felt it was stressful.

Wonder.  For us, these are the wonder years.  We are watching our oldest blossom and our youngest hit baby milestones at rapidfire pace. These are the years we will likely always remember and long for.  The Wonder years.  I like it.

   What are the best books you read this year?


This was definitely  the most recent book I read this year as I read it on the Disney cruise.  I'm certain I've read more but they aren't coming to mind quickly.

It wasn't even the best book I've ever read but I did like it.  It was about friendships.  I did a bit of maturing this year and my friendships evolved and changed with me.  The one take away from this book that really struck me was that good friends don't wait for someone to say "come, be with me" during a crisis.  The go, they show up, they DO something.  All too many times, I know I say "i'm fine" when I'd rather not be alone.  People say "let m know if you need anything" and the truth is, friends don't wait on the "let me know!" So I made a decision to actually BE THERE for friends, knowing they would do the same for me.

   With whom are your most valuable relationships?

I've been part of TTTB (the tie that binds) bible study since I moved here pretty much.  I've always love these girls.  I told my sister just a few weeks after moving here, "i've found my people" when I walked out of the bible study.  This year, we moved to smaller groups so that we could better interact.  I LOVE my small group girls.  We talk on text, we pray for each other and really formed a bond.  I know they are there for me and that's so important.

Also, I feel like I fell into a bigger part of TTTB as part of the leadership group.  We help run the bible study but our friendships go deeper than just the Wednesday morning bible study.  They have become what I'd consider my family here.  They are my 3am friends and we all know how vital it is to have a couple of 3am friends!

What was your biggest personal change from January to December?

Vulnerability.  I did some serious soul searching after listening to a TED talk on Vulnerability by Berene Brown.  If you haven't heard it, it's EPIC.  Life changing even.


  I was talking with some girls and the question was posed:  What does vulnerability mean to you?  My immediate answer was weakness.  Being vulnerable is showing weakness, failure.  I partially blame my severe type A personality with the added stress of social media for the lack of vulnerability in my life.  I have moved many times. I endured 3 deployments and was conditioned to do it with a smile.  Being REAL showed my flaws in a light I was less than comfortable with.  But in my soul searching I found that everyone likes REAL, everyone has flaws and you're better for having them, admitting them and moving on from them.  Vulnerability is the gateway to all relationships.  I won't say I've perfected it but constantly working on it is making life more meaningful and I'm grateful for that!

In what ways did you grow spiritually?

I had lots of questions spiritually this year.  Doubts even.  All of those feelings brought me to the realization that I was in a REAL relationship with Christ.  If I didn't have questions, doubts even, then I would just be going through the motions.  My relationship grew with every question that was answered or sometimes not answered.  I have spent my whole life learning to follow Chirist but I feel like my relationship deepened when I allowed myself to be REAL with him, and that included taking my questions and doubts to Him!

In what ways did you grow physically?

I always hate this questions!  This year I started out going to the YMCA with 3 girls.  We went VERY consistently and kept up with a program until summer started and the kids were out of school.  It was a great way to start the year and I enjoyed the company with the workouts.  I wanted a change and in September I found it.  I started Camp Gladiator.  It's not quite as "tough" as it sounds. It's an outdoor boot camp 3-4 days a week.  My class is at 5:15 am.  I like to workout in the mornings and while getting up at 4:50 isn't my idea of the best fun, I thoroughly enjoy being up and DONE with my workout before everyone else is up for the day.  It's like I got my whole DAY back with Lillian.  I can do whatever I want without fitting in my "gym time" and it only requires me to go to bed  a little earlier.  I can come home, read my bible, fix breakfast and coffee before the whole house wakes up!  It's a great group workout, I'm usually drenched in sweat even in 40 degree weather!  It's also much like having a personal trainer with accountability of a group.  We talk food choices, dedication and set goals to achieve.  I never knew I'd enjoy getting up at 5am so much!

What was the most enjoyable part of your work?

I'm really relishing the age gap for my children.  While it can be difficult we are spanning several generations of the future and it's nice to have a small part in all of them.  I enjoy seeing my oldest do things for the first time, have new friends and make the turn into a tween including all the awkwardness.  I'm enjoying my middle follow in the oldest footsteps while doing things uniquely differently because of their differing personalities.  I'm also loving watching the baby talk more, run, run and do all the adorable toddler things.  What I'm not enjoying but trying to endure with a smile is all of the No!'s and tantrums that come with having an almost 2 year old!

What was the most challenging part of your work?

Is it possible that the children's age gap is also the most challenging part of parenthood at the present time?  With our oldest, we're entering attitude city and it's not graceland!  We are also having a hard time finding the right balance of motivation and work ethic for them.  We want them to be independent kids and grow into self motivated adults but it takes ALL of our energy plus some sometimes to keep them on task and we find its sometimes easier to throw you're hands up and choose your battles.  Similarly, we have to spend the time teaching the toddler the ways because she can't be expected to just know things but then again, sometimes it's easier to just do it yourself!    We have to keep on keeping on but sometimes that's the hardest!

What was the single biggest time waster this year?

Did this say "time waster" or "money waster"?  Because the answer to both could easily be Amazon.  I did A LOT of click to ship and read a LOT of product reviews.  I've even been inside another store and figured out what I was buying was cheaper on amazon and bought it right then and there.  It may be somewhat of a time suck but it's also saved me several trips/money I would have spent elsewhere so I'm okay with it!

There's also Facebook.  The boutique world of girls clothing isn't going anywhere and I don't plant to leave it anytime soon but it also is pretty time consuming.  The benefits are a well dressed baby and some pretty cool girlfriends that I get to talk to daily so I'm not complaining!

Along the same lines is makeup.  I'm in a group of girls that talk makeup all day every day!  I love it and it feeds that midlife crisis I mentioned earlier but it also could send me into financial ruin so I have to walk a fine line!

What was the best way you used your time this year?

I really learned to make the most out of that precious time that I'm awake before the whole house!  I have worked out, made coffee, started laundry, made breakfast, started dinner and read my Bible all before the fam gets out of bed.  It' was nice to feel so accomplished early in the mornings.

What was the biggest thing you learned this past year?

I don't have to impress anyone.  Nobody is impressed.
My sister told me that in regards to having a dinner party and stressing about all the little details.  My type A personality needs everything to be perfect all the time.  I'm constantly working on letting go of perfection and tapping into my more vulnerable side.  It's a practice that yields immediate benefits but takes hard work on my part.  So in summation, what I learned was "Let it Go!  And while i'm not nearly as good at it as Elsa, I'm working on it!

A phrase that describes you this past year.

A work in progress.  Just when you think you've got it all figured out, you learn that your journey is just beginning! 

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