Friday, January 2, 2015

2014 Reflections

I hope everyone is having a great new year so far!

I have to say I'm glad 2014 is in the past now. Not that a turn of the year magically changes everything, but it feels like a fresh start, which is always nice. 2014 was really rough with the loss of my mother-in-law, Donna, to start off the year, and an emotional struggle with TTC for the rest. This year held more heartache than I have ever known.

But here I am. My life isn't perfect, but it's pretty darn great. I've been doing a better job of keeping things in perspective (There will be a post about this and priorities soon!) and finding the silver linings. Even with the ugly stuff in life, God can work it into something beautiful.

Like with the loss of Mom. That was something more terrible than anyone should go through. But out of it I can find a little beauty--family came together and grew stronger as we leaned on each other. Donna is in a place now where no one can hurt her, she doesn't struggle, and all she knows is light and love. I'm thankful for those things.

The monthly disappointment while TTC has felt heavy and overwhelming at times, but through this, my health has improved so much. I started taking better care of myself to prepare my body for a baby. Yeah, I may not have a baby yet, but I've eaten healthier, exercised better, started yoga and mediation, gone to the doctor when I needed to (instead of waiting until I feel like I'm dying), and gotten rid of the toxic stuff in my life (products, people, ways of thinking). I'm healthier than I've ever been. I'm so thankful for that because I know a lot of people pray for health everyday who suffer with illnesses.  The struggle has also pushed me to seek out God more than I ever have, and I've learned cool things about our relationship.

And as the saying goes, the darker the sky, the brighter the stars shine. So while this was an incredibly hard year, the happy moments were highlighted.

Gary and I had the most fun date of our lives on our second wedding anniversary--we spent the night at a casino/hotel for the first time. I was actually scared to waste money, but I knew Gary wanted to try it. He lost ten dollars right away, and I almost threw up. Not kidding. hehe But then I gave in to enjoying the night no matter what. We'd saved money for this and only brought enough to have fun with, so the experience was what we got for the money. And for the record, I did pretty well.

I also went to my first Renaissance fair with my sister (Jen), brother (Bugy) and his girlfriend (Abi) whom I adore. I was so excited about going that I had dreams about it beforehand--glorious, nerdy dreams. And the real thing did not disappoint. We all dressed up in costume and walked among these people who were so welcoming and nerdy and beautiful. We were trained as assassins and carriers of the black plague. I was thrown in jail and executed. It was just a perfect experience and the first of many. (My cheeks kept cramping from smiling too much!)

Also this year, Gary's grandparents (Cheri and Gary) came to visit from Texas. We love seeing them and it doesn't happen often, so this was a wonderful treat. They came over for dinner, they took us out for ice cream, and we saw a light show where we walked around and took pictures at a beautiful park.

It's been a great year for writing too. I got my first publication this year! Nothing big and fancy--a little devotional in Whole Magazine, an online Christian magazine for women. I have two devotionals with them now and a third one underway. I also entered a Twitter pitch contest where I met amazing writers. A few of the mentors in the contest looked over my writing and gave me helpful feedback. This gave me the push I needed to find a critique partner. I was scared of this, but she's awesome and I'm learning so much from her. With her feedback, Capture Me Strong (the book I've been working on since forever) is getting better. Also because of the pitch contest, I gained a spot as contributor on YAtopia, a blog about YA writing, publishing, books, etc. My NaNoWriMo book this year turned out to be something I want to continue and make better, so now there's a second book in the works. It's just all been so fun. I'm thankful I can work on writing and homemaking full time because this is what I was made to do.

There have been so many random little fun times with family and friends, church, and youth group too. Lots of happy, silly nights with Gary. A Veronica Roth and Pheobe North book talk with my mom. Hosted a Fall party for our families with Jen and Gary--enjoyed our parents and siblings and their significant others. Jen got engaged. Started a Yu-Gi-Oh league with Gary, Jen, Bugy, and Abi. Fun with our niece, Juliet. Learning to kayak with Gary. Made an Earth Sandwich my my friend, Laura. 

I'm excited for 2015. If 2014 taught me anything, it's that we can't control everything, things will go wrong, plans will not happen, rain will fall and fall hard, but...I'll stay hopeful. No matter what happens, I'll keep my head up. Tears are okay. Tears will come. But I will choose to believe for better things and see good everywhere I look and with everyone around me. If crappy things happen in 2015, God is still good and I am still loved and surrounded by good people and in charge of the way I react.

Happy 2015, everyone. May you grow, gain wisdom, have fun, laugh, try new things, show love, love yourself, eat good food, and do something to make your world a better place.



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