Happy New Year

Happy New Year everyone!  Let’s make 2015 better than the year before.  That’s all we can hope right, that each year will get a little better.  And better is relative.  I know even when I have had hard years, once I put a little space between myself and that time frame I can begin to see the blessings I was so oblivious to before.  Like shiny diamonds in amongst the pebbles peeking out and shedding light on lessons learned.  I will have little ah ha moments or God moments where I am like oh that’s why I went through that or that’s why that person came into my life or that’s why that person left my life.  No regrets, just lessons.  Each moment learning more than the moment before.  Don’t get me wrong, there are some lessons I wish I would have learned the first or second or even third time but every single second has meaning in this life we happen to be living.  God makes ALL THINGS work together for our good.

 

I am going to take this time to look back on my 2014 goals and see how I did and make some goals for 2015.   Overall I can’t believe how much I grew in 2014.  In my faith, in my intellect and unfortunately in my body.  LOL

 

In case my New Year’s resolutions are not the top of your mind LOL, let me remind you what they were.

Read more (24 Books (2 per month))

  • I did read more.  I am pretty sure I did not make the 24 books total but I read more than I did in 2013 so I will consider this a success

Travel more (12 Trips (1 per month)

  • We did travel more.  We missed a couple months but I am pretty sure we did some sort of trip 10 out of the 12 months.  It was awesome.  I do enjoy a long vacation but it is pretty cool to take a bunch of weekend trips and explore new places.  Some highlights were Tybee (twice)  Jacksonville, Nashville, Chicago, Atlanta, Blue Ridge, and many other little day trips.

Work out more

  • This one was a failure and usually is.  I continue to make the resolution and then quit before January is even over.

Enroll and Start School

  • I did it!  I am just about halfway done and will have my degree in 2015 then on to my MBA
  • Go to church 40 times per year (at least 3/4 time per month)
  • I don’t know if I really made it to church 40 times this year but I know that I went at least a couple times every month.  Some weekends we were out of town and others I just didn’t make it.  No excuses.  I did however listen to probably 70 sermons on top of going to church and took a New Testament and Old Testament class and my relationship with God is better than ever.

Learn how to knit or do something crafty

  • I didn’t do this.  I really still want to be crafty but I don’t think its in my nature.  I guess if you count our Halloween decoration mason jars then I did accomplish this but Rich did most of the work.

Do two bible studies at least 1 month long

  • I completed 10 online bible studies and went to bible study whenever possible at church plus I read two books by Jen Hatmaker, 2 books by Beth Moore, Took a New Testament Class and an Old testament class.  I am closer to Gods word than I ever have been and so many light bulbs have gone off this year.

Have 1 month of bills in savings and decrease debt by 50% more

  • We do not have 1 month of bills but we do have some savings.  I am still working towards this.  We did decrease our debt this year and will continue to make this a priority.

Budget and stick to it

  • Budgeting is always so hard for me.  I love making the graphs and spreadsheets and on paper everything looks fantastic but I just can’t ever seem to make the paper reality.  I am going to keep trying.

Organize and declutter one room per month by working for minimum 15 minutes per day

  • This is another one that I was quite ambitious about at the beginning of the year but faltered as the year went on.  I really need a clean sweep and I seriously want to pare down our belongings.  The less you have, the easier it is to keep clean and I want to bless others.

Watch one television series from beginning to end

  • I watched Scandal up to the new episodes and man that is a fantastic show

Send out one card per month to brighten someone’s day

  • I did not accomplish this.  I did send out more snail mail than usual this year but did not meet the card a month goal.

Pay it forward once a month

  • I was fairly successful with this but could have done better for sure.  I did not actually do it every month but did some good things when the opportunity arose

Start and keep up with a blog (Minimum 12 posts per year)

  • I was jamming along on my blog but I had no readers so I need that instant gratification that Facebook gives me.  I do still double post on Facebook and the blog but I haven’t been the best at keeping up the last couple months.

Spend Less time on the computer

  • I think overall I probably spent less time on the computer in 2014 but that’s just a technicality as I spend my time on the couch with my tablet in hand,  I may be taking a bold move in 2015 if I can get brave enough

Meditate Daily

  • I did meditate more in 2014 but not daily by far.  I did fairly well some months and others I didn’t even think about it.  I did spend almost every morning reading bible passages for my bible studies so I have to say that I would consider this one a success.
  • Be a better wife
  • I don’t think I accomplished this goal.  I have buttons, I push buttons, my tongue is sharp, and my natural response is to fight.  I hope to improve this in the coming year

Argue and yell Less

  • I don’t think I did a great job with this either.  I just can’t seem to turn the other cheek.  When people annoy me I argue.  I have a lot to work on.

Love More

  • I am not sure how you measure loving more but my heart is full.  I have so much love for my family, my friends, the stranger down the street, the little boy in Haiti that is still living in a blue tarp, the millions of girls each day that are sold into sex trafficking, our world is so big and there is so much love to give.  My hope is to put some action behind my heart in 2015

Try something new once a month

  • I think I might have accomplished this without even trying.  Unless you are dead, you are going to experience something new each month.  I think my 2014 self,  wanted it to be more concrete so I am not sure if I can count this as a success.

Journal more ( Write for 15 minutes each day)

  • This another resolution I make every year and start out strong but then falter as the days/months go by.

 

Overall I think 2014 was a pretty successful year.  The voice in my heart is getting louder so I am excited and scared at what 2015 might bring.  My favorite things from this year:

 

All of my travels but the trip to Tybee in September was so amazing.  It had the perfect amount of activity and relaxation.  I loved riding bikes down the beach and exploring more of our favorite little beach town.  We ate some amazing food, read some books, painted a little bit, flew kites, sat by the beach, hung out with friends, drank cocktails, shopped, and just were together.  It was a fantastic trip that I hope to repeat in 2015.

 

Going back to Illinois to see my grandma, sisters, family and friends.  It was so awesome to catch up with old friends and just be.  I love how it feels when you go home.

 

Going to Nashville in September and going to the boat dock.  Love hanging out with friends that are like family and trying new things.

 

Going to Jacksonville for our anniversary and hang out with our awesome friends.  I love spending time with them and that weekend was the perfect mix of a little of everything.

 

Basically all of my trips were fantastic.  I love that we are so lucky to get to travel and even though we didn’t take a “real” vacation all of our little trips added up to the fun that kept on giving all throughout the year.

 

Having my eyes opened up to so many things in the bible and to Gods word.  I have considered myself a Christian my entire life and have been a fairly active churchgoer for most of my life but I learned so much this year.  It was mind blowing how all of the promises were fulfilled.  All the prophecies in the Old Testament lead to the New and God loves us.  No matter how messy, how much a sinner, no matter how many mistakes or good deeds.  He just loves us.  The moment when I realized that there is nothing I can do or did to earn his love nor is there anything I didn’t do or did that will make him stop loving me.  That is good news and I am so blessed.

 

Spending time with friends.  Either my neighbors, out of state friends, or weekly girls night out.  I love having a community of people that I can call my own.  Several years back, I had a car situation and I had no one I could call except for Rich.  That was so sad to me to know I had no one to celebrate the good or to help share the burden of the bad.  I can no longer say that.  I have some of the best people that I am grateful to call friends.  Thank you for being in my life and cannot wait to see what 2015 brings.

 

This is long enough and I haven’t even started with my 2015 goals/resolutions.  I think I will leave that for a different day.  I am considering doing it on my birthday that way I get a month to marinate on some ideas I have and in reality “my” New year doesn’t start until then.

If you have made it this far, I give you alot of credit.  I didn’t mean this to be so long but thank you again for being a part of my life.

 

Thank you for sharing my 2014!

I love you all.

Mary

 

Merry Christmas

I often wonder why Christmas is so full of memories.  I mean things happen every year but at the holidays it always seems so raw and emotional.

 

I think it’s because Christmas gives us a point of reference from years past.  Even in the Christmas Carol, Ebenezer Scrooge goes from Christmas past, Christmas present and Christmas Future.  My mind is like that every year.  Like we always listened to this song at Christmas, or eat this cookie or do this tradition or tell this story.  We talk about Christmas past while decorating the tree.  Christmas immerses all of the senses.  The smell of Christmas, the sounds of Christmas, the tastes of Christmas and the sights of Christmas.  Pine trees and cookies baking, the holiday ham and smell of candles burning at the candlelight service. Hearing or singing  favorite Christmas carol or the choir from church, laughter of children and jingle bells, Christmas dinner, cookies, egg nog and hot cocoa and the lights around the house and the neighborhood or the blanket of white snow on the ground. 

 

Its one thing that even though we get older, and things change that is the “same” every year.

 

I find myself missing home so much at Christmas, missing loved ones who have passed and just the overwhelming sense of melancholy but at the same time I find myself excited for people to open their gifts from me, love sitting in the glow of the Christmas lights listening to Christmas music and just the festive happy feeling at this time of year.  People are a little nicer and a little happier and act with a nature of grace.

 

I love Christmas and hope I always will.  Some years we have had much, some years we have had little but I never really remember the gifts we got or the feeling of lack. When I have been strong and when I have been weak. I remember the feelings, the love, the family.  The sadness fades but the good feelings live on.  Memories like a video playing over and over in my mind. Sneaking up the driveway at my grandmas to shout Christmas gifts so we were able to catch them by surprise, Hanging out with cousins and aunts and uncles and grandparents, Michael singing songs with his sweet little voice at his Christmas pageant, Cartoons and movies we watch each year, a late night visitor of old family friends and the gift of an ice cream comb (a comb shaped like and ice cream, clever right). Years of gift exchanges and karaoke nights with our friends, Christmas parties with my family, driving from one grandparents to the next singing Christmas carols all the way and oohing and ahhing over the lights.  Remembering driving around with Rich when we were first dating to look at Christmas lights, going to church and the feeling of such incredible blessing  and Gods best gift to us.

 

I know this time of year can be a sad time for some people for all of the reasons I mentioned above but I pray that they will find comfort and peace in the knowing that Jesus was born for us and then died for us.  That gift is the most amazing of all and making new traditions while incorporating old ones is what makes Christmas continue to be my favorite time.

 

I love you all of my friends and family and am so blessed with the GIFT of you in my life. Even if there were nothing under my tree, I have already been given the best gifts of all.  Merry Christmas.