Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2013's Swan Song

I went into 2013 full speed ahead, with lots of plans and high expectations. As we say goodbye to 2013, I realize this year went completely different than what I could have ever imagined...and I am totally okay with that. Was it perfect? Not a chance. Am I better for every experience, trial and tribulation? Heck yeah I am!

No one wants to rehash the ups and downs of an entire year (especially when I am pretty sure most of you have a terrible hangover right now!) So for this swan song, I give you 13 things from 2013 that changed me, pushed me, made me dig deep and in the end made this year AWESOME!  

1. Running. I set out with the goal to run 1 half marathon in 2013. I never imagined that I would be able to run 4 half marathons. Let alone do it with some of the best friends a girl could ask for. In a strange way, running saved me. Running was a very important part of my personal journey this last year. 

2. Testing my faith. 2013 was a true test of my faith in God's plan for me, both personally and professionally. I am a planner and a dreamer. Both are wonderful qualities to have, but together they can be dangerous. Learning to fully trust his plan has been one of the hardest and most rewarding journeys I have embarked on.

3. Falling in love, again. This past year I fell in love with my husband all over again. Don't take this the wrong way, I never fell out of love with him. But this year was a huge year of growth for him and it was awesome to be a part of his experience.  He inspires me and makes me want to be a better person. There will never be the right words to express just how much I love him.

4. Making the switch. After years of being made fun of for my loyalty to my trusty Blackberry, I gave in and made the switch. In May I turned in my beat up, super glued together Cackberry for my very own iPhone 5. While I tried to maintain that I didn't like it, after a few drinks on a trip to NOLA I announced how much I loved my new phone and I didn't know why had held out for so long. Pretty sure at least 3 people sent Kipper a text within minutes to tell him. (On a side note: I am not sure what it says about me that this was big enough to be included in this list, but seriously it was a BIG deal!)

5. Finding my joy.
Looking back at the last year I am not sure I could have come out on top without my renewed faith. A series of events a few years ago had left me angry and made me question my faith. As I began to seek God more, I found that even in dark moments I could still be joyful. In December 2012 at the Christ Chapel's Ladies Christmas Brunch, they had a great keynote speaker (I am embarrassed I can't remember her name at the moment!)  The focus of her presentation was not letting anyone or anything steal your joy. Her message really resonated with me. I began to pay more attention to people, activities, situations that wore on me and essentially stole my joy. Through this process I learned that as much as I might love/care for someone or something, they don't always deserve to be part of my life. In 2013 I had to make the heartbreaking choice to remove things from my life who had become extremely toxic. It wasn't easy and wore on me emotionally, but in the end it was the best thing I could have done for my emotional health.

6. Waiting for baby. As I said in my post, Unanswered PrayersGod wouldn't have put it on our hearts to be parents if it wasn't meant to be. When we began to trust his plan, pieces of the puzzle started to fall into place. 

7. Seeking financial peace. It is something we needed to tackle and figure out for a few years, but  it took a crazy chain of events this summer for us to hit a breaking point. We had been "getting by" for far too long. We need a real plan to tackle our finances and build some security. After Kipper met with one of the pastors at church who helps with financial planning, we joined a Financial Peace University small group. It was one of the best decisions we had made in a long time. It was life changing for us. I would recommend Dave Ramsey's program to everyone I know, no matter where you are financially.

8. Opening new doors. After spending my entire career in non-profit, I took a job with a for-profit company. It was a huge leap of faith that is already paying off. I LOVE my new job and co-workers. In case you missed my post about my new journey,  you can check it out here.

9. Trying new things. We ventured out of our normal comfort zone and along the way had a lot of laughs and even found new passions. I credit a lot of this to the major lifestyle changes Kipper (and I to an extent) have undergone the last few years. We had a date night at the trampoline park, we ran half marathons, Kipper rode in the Hotter N' Hell, I went paddle boarding and even faced some my fears by starting to learn how to REALLY swim! And that is is just the big one that popped into my head!

10. Opening up. In the past as much as liked to pretend I was an open book, there was a lot I wouldn't openly discuss. I was tired of trying to pretend I had it all together.  In 2013 I began to open up about my battle with depression, our infertility and my continued self image issues. For so long these things made be feel so much shame but even just opening up a little I was amazed at the love and support that friends flooded me with. It still blows my mind how many friends have reached out to me about because they have been in my shoes. While very few people know all the gory details, being open has been incredibly freeing and has helped me immensely.

11. Laughing. I am pretty sure I burned a thousands of calories in 2013 from all the laughing I did. We have awesome friends, who are rather hilarious. Just thinking about all the shenanigans we experienced with our friends make me laugh.  Lots of laughs were shared not only with friends, but family, co-workers and my favorite giggle sessions ever are those with Kipper and the fur babies. 

12. Saying Goodbye. 2013 will always be remembered as the year I said goodbye to my very best friend, partner in crime and fur daughter. In October I took Dutchess for her yearly check up expecting her to get a clean bill of health like she does every year. For the first time in 12 years her appointment ended in tears. Dutchess had lymphoma. After lots of research, prayer and conversations with  Dr. Young we opted to not do chemo and treat with Predinsone. We were told to expect 6-8 weeks with her, we were blessed to have her 10. Those 10 weeks were filled with extra treats, cuddles, weekend car rides and lots of family time. Kipper was always concerned how I would react when the day came. (for years the joke was I would have to be admitted to the psych ward) Of course I  was the one who came home first the night things took a turn for the worse. I knew the moment I had been preparing my heart for was finally here. I am still picking up the pieces of my heart and slowly putting them back together, but I am at peace knowing she didn't suffer and that she peacefully passed away as I held her head, singing our special song to her. 

13. Getting back to the basics. Dinner at the dining room table. Saturday nights in our pj's. Walks in the park. Weekend getaways with no real plans. Movie nights with a bottle of cheap wine. Grocery shopping. Breakfast in bed. Casual Sunday afternoons with friends. Taking time to find the awesomeness of the everyday. While some of these things started to save money or because we were just worn out, they made us happy. We took note and started making an effort to get back to a point where we took in the little things and felt fulfilled even when doing normally unimpressive things.