The year of small victories

As it comes time to reflect back on another year passed, I find myself wondering what will stick out in years to come as the most significant events of 2013.

It would have been be pretty tough to match the heartache experienced and unfortunate dog incidents that occurred in 2011 and 2012. There was no epic vacation or big purchase made this year. (Though we did move across town over the Summer…) I didn’t get accepted into the program I applied to at school, but I don’t think that is what I want to remember this year by…Hmmmm

The more I think about it, the more it seems that this year, maybe for the first time in my adult life, my year is summed up by a few small victories. Small, but incredibly meaningful.

The biggest thing 2013 has taught me is self-care. Not “shop till you feel better” kind of care, but daily commitments to small acts that affect your emotional and spiritual wellbeing. It means listening to that voice in your head that is trying to establish boundaries needed for your own sanity. I have had to come to grips in the past year with the fact that everyone has different needs, and even if mine look different, it doesn’t mean they are wrong or should be ignored.

It may sound ridiculous, but the quality of my life drastically improved when I started trying to begin my days sitting in bed drinking coffee. My husband makes 2 cups when he gets up at 5:30am, puts one in a thermos for me, and puts it on the nightstand. I can’t even tell you how much better this has made mornings for me. I don’t always have this luxury, of course, but even if it means setting my alarm for much earlier, starting my day with bed coffee makes a huge difference. Because non-morning people need a little somethin’ extra to get us going, ya know?

Another way I’ve learned to care for myself is by establishing hobbies. Again, this sounds stupid. EVERYONE has hobbies, right? …Wrong.

When you’re basically a child bride like I was, your ONLY hobby after high school was obsessing about your boyfriend. Then, after the wedding, your hobby quickly changes to fighting with your new husband…and THEN, once the newlywed arguments are out of the way, ┬áthe complicated, messy issues life throws at you upon adulthood become your new and only reality. Carving out space for new ventures is somewhat impossible when you’re in fight-or-flight mode. Fast forward 5 years, and here I am. I didn’t have much of anything before this year that I did simply for the joy of it. Fortunately, that is changing.

2013 is the year I learned to sew. It was impulsive, but after working my ass of at SXSW in the Spring, I decided to buy a sewing machine and sign up for some classes. It felt indulgent and totally weird at first. It felt like I should only let myself sew things for other people to make sure I can justify spending time doing it. But the more I do it, the more I allow myself to simply enjoy it. And I do enjoy it. A lot. I’m certainly far from amazing at it, but I’m actually really proud of myself for taking the plunge and trying something new for a change.

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Self-care goes so much deeper than coffee or crafting, though. It is something I am working on every day, and trying to find the perfect balance between pouring myself out for others and finding peace and rest in the arms of Jesus.

Josh and I are spending Christmas together apart from our families next week, and I plan to do a lot more thinking back on the previous year and writing down more of the small victories that make up the incredible past 12 months. Do the same? You won’t regret it.

Happy holidays everyone!

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Let Every Heart…

“Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room.”

Advent is here. As usual, it snuck right up, and on this unfortunate year of later Thanksgiving, was overshadowed by feelings of wanting more and more and more. Thank you very much Black Friday Weekend.

Even though we’re only two days in to one of my favorite liturgical seasons, looking back on them I already feel regret. Thanksgiving was the perfect chance to usher in the season of Advent. With a full, grateful, contented heart should I face the reality of a Savior born into poverty. Not with a feeling of entitlement and self-worship.

In three short weeks, Josh and I will drive to Colorado to share Christmas together on a mountain. Just us. No internet or television or tree or gifts to unwrap. We decided this many months ago, and I haven’t looked forward to Christmas this much in a long time. I think the deepest parts of my soul long to make space for Christ, but I rarely let Him move me to action.

This advent, I desperately want to shift my obsession with earthly treasure to eternal ones. I want to give Christ the space He wants in my life to show me the beauty of simplicity and dependence on Him. I want to drive up a mountain in the dead of winter and know beyond a doubt that there is nothing in this world I could ever need or desire more than the love He pours out on me day in and day out.

Let every heart prepare Him room. Happy Advent everyone.