Monday, December 28, 2015

2015- A Year of Growth

Looking back over this year, I don't remember feeling a lot of anything. I was in a state of being numb for most of 2015, and I used to think that was tragic. My views are changing. I'm now finally coming to a place where I'm grasping that life is hard, but it's also what you make it. Being comfortable doesn't grow us, shape us, mold us or strengthen us. It keeps us in a safe box where we desperately cling to things that don't force us to change or to open up to possibilities outside of our range of comprehension.

And while I haven't gotten the answers (as much as I would have liked them), by the end of 2015, I'm learning. I'm learning to ask more questions, to embrace my brokenness as a vehicle for change. I needed to completely fall apart this year, to become numb to my surroundings, in order to "survive". It was my way of coping with life. What I've learned thus far is that I've spent the vast majority of my adult life overwhelming myself with a jam packed schedule, saying yes to things I don't have time for, trying to please everyone else, and consequentially, not taking care of my physical or emotional well being.

If this year of hell taught me anything, it's that life is too damn short to not enjoy it, and furthermore, to not be present in the here and now with the people I love. I'm not going to go into this year with resolutions or a list of "have tos". I think they are great tools of motivation for a great bunch of people, but for me, they are another item to check off of my to-do list, another added pressure that will make me feel like I've failed if I don't make a goal in a self-allotted time frame.

You see, I need to stop looking so far in advance to find my happiness. I'll be happy when..... I'll be present once......... Up until a few years ago, I was living life in auto pilot. I wasn't enjoying anything because I was too busy doing and scheduling and checking off. Then, as I was just starting to grasp it, I was finding the happiness in every day, enjoying the small things, being intentional with my time, I fell down into this pit of whatever the heck you want to call it, and I'm searching for what it all means.

I often find it easier to write when things in my life are hard. There's so much more material, so much more that comes from the heart. I mean seriously, how many songs do you know that talk about life as being comfortable and simple and all the happy things? Not nearly as many that talk about brokenness, heartache, and growth. Life has it's constants- birth, death, hardship, pain, beauty, love, vulnerability- and I'm convinced that it's how we navigate through these constants that determines our happiness. It's a heck of a lot easier to say "life is what you make it" than to actually live it in the middle of heartache, but I firmly believe that when I'm treading water through the hardships of life, there is growth not so far ahead.

And while it has been a hard year, a growing year, it's come with its happies. Here are some of my favorite happies from 2015.

One of my favorite things about being a mom (also one of the busiest) is watching all my kiddos in their activities. This year, all my kiddos were involved in sports: basketball, football, volleyball, wrestling, softball, baseball, and soccer (not my favorite). Here is a VERY small snippet of what they did in 2015.

Reconnecting with people I love from my childhood and school days. So glad I get the opportunity to connect with them when it works!

Our 10 year anniversary and a short, but amazing trip to Florida!

Even though it wasn't "our lake", we found a good fill in: Long Lake in Park Rapids, MN. We even took our nieces. It was a fun week of fishing, boating, tubing, reading, and taking in all the beauty of up north.

A class that turned into colleague bonding. With as stressful as the last few years have been, it was amazing to just hang out with some of my colleagues (friends) and talk about life.

Boat days and time with my village- It's not as often now that our kids are more involved, but I wouldn't trade time with these people for anything in the world. I heart them mucho.

RFKC- Another year of an organization near and dear to my heart. I love these kids. I love being the hands and feet of Jesus while we love them up with our words and actions. I also love that I have a camper in my classroom this year. It's been so rewarding. Words can not describe.

Our annual trip to the Ozarks. Love this tradition. Love these people.

Saying yes to the dress- Okay okay. Not mine, but I am honored to be part of Jenni's special day. The bond we have created with her and her sister is one I'm overwhelmingly thankful for.

And even though its luster may have been muted this year, the magic of Christmas and the season with all it's traditions and family interaction still continue to make me swoon. It will forever be one of my favorite times of year.

So I'm convinced, not that 2016 will be a good year, but that there will be good in 2016. There will be growth, heartache, pain, beauty, love, vulnerability. All of those constants will be present, and I'm committed to not running away from the feelings. I'm going to allow myself to feel what I need to feel in order to let it teach me what I need to be taught. I'm going to take life one day at a time, look for the good, be present, embrace change, take care of my emotional and physical well being, look forward to the future (but not dwell there), learn from my mistakes, be intentional, love my village more, continue to pare down in order to find simplicity and be grounded and most importantly, not beat myself up when I forget some of those things once in awhile. So here's to a new year, but the same me...just maybe a bit wiser 12 months from now.