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I am eagerly awaiting jumping into 2017 with exciting goals and great expectations, but before I get into that, I want to take the time to celebrate 2016 in all of its glory. I highly encourage you to do the same!
A friend in my small group told me that her family keeps a journal of the blessings in their life, a way to keep track of everything God is doing in their lives. And then they pass it along to the next generation so they can also see how God has worked in their family. Leaving a legacy like that of God’s goodness is brilliant, so I have been trying to make it a point to write down and record His footprints in my own life.
I don’t believe God measures the success of our lives in the same way we tend to (or at least the way I used to). Promotions, new houses, and productivity are surely things to celebrate, but I have really been shifting my priorities to people and my life is starting to reflect that, which is really exciting!
This is, by far, the most important part of my life. As I have struggled to answer the question, “What do you do?” this year, I much prefer to tell you about the people I have in my life. They bring me more feelings of joy, satisfaction, and success than anything else!
- I moved back to Colorado at the end of May to be near family and that mission has been accomplished! I live with my sister and her family, so I am blessed to have all kinds of sweet quality time with my niece and nephew (and my sister and brother-in-law, of course)! My parents live just a few miles away, so we have family dinners every Sunday night. My mom and I run together 3 times a week (she went from walk/running about 2 miles at a time in June to now running 3 miles straight with me!) and my dad is my favorite hiking buddy.
- I left the most wonderful and incredible church behind in Tucson (they threw me the best going away party ever!) and after a slightly rocky transition, I plugged into an amazing church community here. The church is huge (I just met the head pastor last weekend and I’ve been coming here for 6 months!), but I found a small group and they quickly became my people. We all sit together on Sunday mornings, go through studies together on Tuesday nights, and help and support each other in everything that happens in between. They are such a blessing to me!
- The core friends in my life are just as strong as ever. Maryam and I celebrated 20 years of friendship this year (that girl deserves a medal for standing by me for two decades!) and now she has a sweet baby boy, Laurie just continues to amaze me with her unwavering support and insight into my soul (even though I live a state away now), and I have connected and reconnected with some incredible people in Colorado who I am so very grateful for.
- Boots is still my right-hand man. My sweet (and slightly neurotic) little shadow, wannabe lap dog, foot warmer, and enthusiastic running buddy who is afraid of heaters, spatulas, ice scrapers, and so much more.
- I created an online dating profile. Because where the heck are all of the 30-something singles who love Jesus?? I’m still not convinced it’s the best way to go and I haven’t heard from anybody I’m interested enough in to actually get me to pay for the site (ha!), but it’s something to try for awhile! #MustLoveDogs #AndPretzelBreadBowls
This year, I shifted from living a life of “I’m supposed to”s to living out a calling. Going through the motions in life is fine and all, but every day I’m letting go of the things I felt I should be doing and instead living a life of passion, heart, and purpose.
- I left my career of sign language interpreting after 8 years in the field to start my own business
- I invested all of my time and energy into building the business I thought I was supposed to build, only to discover I was wrong. I could have made it work, but I didn’t enjoy it one bit. I got lost in the trap of defining my worth by my daily productivity and could palpably feel the joy being sucked out of my work. Thankfully, I have wonderful women full of grace in my life who helped me recognize what was happening and fix my eyes back on the most important things.
- In the past few months, I have finally started moving in a direction that I am so incredibly excited about! I am going “all in” on building this humble little blog here. I love writing, cooking, taking pictures, sharing my story with you, and it brings me so much joy to get to know you and hear your stories! I get to use my strengths, connect with people, and hopefully make a solid living doing it!
- I wrote my first sponsored post for Lean Cuisine this year, which was a huge success for me! More products I love to come in 2017!
- I got to know a lot of you better during the 30 Days of Gratitude Challenge in November through your emails and your posts in the Facebook Group.
- I was in the running to be featured in People magazine (yes, the People magazine!) in their annual article on women who have lost 100 pounds. I didn’t make the cut, but it was an honor to even be considered!
- This year has been a year of trust for me, letting go of so many of the things I cling to that make me feel like I’m in control (money, job stability, etc) and lifting them up to the Lord with open hands…and every single time, I am amazed by his goodness and faithfulness.
- I have been learning to embrace my weaknesses and accept more of His grace, which has been such a freeing lesson in humility!
- I experienced listening prayer for the first time. I was a little leery of it going in, but I’ve had two sessions so far and both times have been so encouraging and have confirmed a lot of things I believed God was whispering into my life. I can’t wait to get in for another session!
- I have found the most amazing prayer partner. Kristen and I were randomly matched in a Christian entrepreneurs group and have emailed each other every day since September 2nd. I cannot tell you how invaluable it is to have someone praying alongside me, gently reminding me of God’s truths in every area of my life and walking through so much of my daily life with me. She is one of my biggest blessings this year.
- I ran approximately 300 miles this year. I never thought I would say this, but if I go
a week without running, I miss it. It’s like my body craves it now, which is so weird to me but also pretty awesome.
- I ran a 5k in 31:04 – my fastest 5k yet! I have my sights set on a sub-30 5k in 2017.
- I also got to see the behind-the-scenes view of a race for the first time when I helped plan a color run with United Way. That was a lot of fun and I met some really great people!
- I fell in love with hiking in the Rocky Mountains and hiked my first fourteener (which wasn’t nearly as impressive as some of the other hikes I’ve done).
Those were my successes in 2016!
What about you?
What were your greatest successes in 2016?
What lessons did you learn?
What relationships did you form or strengthen?
How did God move in your life?
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