2019: The Year of Yes

Holy COW guys – how on earth is it February!? Part of me feels like January was the longest month in the history of… well, ever. Another part of me feels like time continues to slip by too quickly — as if I blinked, and the calendar has flipped pages (virtually, of course, because who has an actual calendar? It’s all about whiteboards and paper planners, am I right?)

The past month has been a calm one, and honestly, I am so very grateful for that. The last little bit of 2018 was a tad overwhelming. I traveled a lot, I did a lot, I generally felt like life just was a lot. It was a lot in a good way, but a lot is still a lot. Does anyone else ever feel that way?

Anyway, I’m rambling. The point is, the first month of 2019 has been a much needed reprieve. I’ve spent a lot of time taking barre classes, a lot of time watching Netflix, and a lot of time generally relaxing and reestablishing a routine (something I have learned that, apparently, I thrive on… but more on God’s lesson for me in that department a little later).

The rest of 2019, however, promises to be busy, exciting and… well, full of the word “yes.”

I’ve never seen that one movie where the guy says “yes” to everything, but I can certainly say I understand the concept.

This year has a lot of Big Things happening. I turn 25, my mom and I are taking a trip to England & Scotland (insert overly excited “eeeeeeeek!” here), my parents are moving out of the house my siblings and I grew up in, and the boy WILL be passing his CPA exam.

When I began the year, I thought this would be a year of saving for said big things. But then the opportunities, the adventures, started rolling in.

I wouldn’t consider myself the most spontaneous of people. I like to have plans, I like to know what is happening. But I recognize that, sometimes, that can be to my detriment. Sometimes, that means I would be inclined to say no to things “not in the plan.” And 2019 had a clear plan: save, save, save until September, then go back across the pond.

But here’s the thing — I am in an incredibly stable place in life (thanks be completely to the Lord for that blessing), and I have some breathing room. I know that yes, I do better with routine, but I also go stir crazy if it’s all routine. I need some blips on the radar.

So, I’ve started to say yes. Yes to that unplanned trip to Disneyland. Yes to last-minute happy hours, to dog sitting, to working on an extra project.

It’s okay to have routine — and I recognize that I need it. But I also need to allow a little wiggle room, to “ease up,” to recognize that what’s being offered to me right now may not be offered a few years down the line.

So here’s to 2019, to the year of yes. I can’t wait to see what it has in store.

What are you saying “yes” to this year?

2019

Okay. Time for me to own up to the obvious: towards the end of 2018, this blog slipped a bit in terms of its placement on my priority list. For my faithful readers (my mom, my grandparents, my best friends…) I’m sorry for my silence, but you are also among those who know how absolutely nuts the last couple of months of the year got for me. Work was overwhelming — in the good way! — and between that, travel, and spending precious time over the holidays with the most important people, and babies, in my life, it just all went a little wonky. 

So, sorry about that. I fess up. But honestly, I’m not all that sorry because – you know what? – life happens.

(I also do realize that this is very similar to every rambling apology for a hiatus I’ve ever given before. That, I’m not so sorry about either. There are, after all, only so many ways that one can announce “I’ve been busy.”)

That said, I do want to make this blog more of a priority in the coming year. I’m not the resolution type, but I do like to goal set. Tangible goals, that is. Goals that are measured not by their ability to be completed in an arbitrary 365 trip around the sun, but just in general. Goals like “journal regularly,” “be more present,” and “blog more.”

In case you were wondering – yes, those are my 3 goals for 2019.

Now, you might be asking (I am) how the second and third goals work together. How can I be more present if I’m also trying to blog more? The long and short of it is that I want to bring this blog back to what it was intended to be – a place for my own self expression; a place to ramble about things I just might think some other people could care about, things like friendship and love and family. Yes, that means you’ll see less product reviews. Let’s be honest – I don’t spend a lot of money and am subsequently bad at those. No, that doesn’t mean I won’t post recipes or restaurant reviews when I think there’s one in particular of note. And no, it definitely doesn’t mean the travel diaries are going away. I’ve got some good trips coming up this year, one in particular that I am tingling with excitement for, and Lord knows I love those travel diaries, if only for my own self-reflections. And speaking of the Lord (was that a passe way to transition?) you’ll still see me talking to Him, about Him, on here. I can’t promise the regularity with which Testimony Tuesdays once appeared, but I can promise that it’ll happen enough. 

Okay, expectations aside, I’m now here to say what I really initially hopping on to say:

Happy New Year, friends. May the coming 12 months be filled with positivity, grace, love, and accomplishment – especially for those of you who, unlike me, actually are resolution-setters (I admire you).

As for me, I plan to spend the next 12 months working on, as I said, being evermore present, evermore thoughtful, and evermore diligent about documenting all of the good – and some of the bad – that is inevitably to come.

Cheers, 2019.

Turning Pages

Happy 2018! It is weird to think that the holidays are officially over, and that it’s time to turn the page and start anew. Or so it goes.

I’ve never been the biggest fan of New Years. I think it’s a slightly overrated holiday, with slightly exaggerated expectations that tend to lead to slight disappointments, and that’s not how I think you should go into a new year feeling. That’s not to say I don’t have fun on New Years – I’ve certainly had some great ones and I will never say no to an excuse for champagne. Last night, the boy and I got together with friends and drank a lot of prosecco (or, at least, I did), and I got to kiss him at midnight for the second year in a row. I certainly can’t complain about that.

But after the party and that midnight kiss, the next questions tends to roll around: what are your resolutions for this year?

And that’s where I stop celebrating. I don’t really believe in resolutions. I think, if you’re going to start doing something, why wait until the turn of a calendar to do it? I also think that there’s an unnecessary pressure that comes with a New Years resolution, very similar to that of New Years Eve. There’s just a somewhat stressful expectation of the “results” you’ll see come this time next year, and I feel like that pressure is exactly why a lot of resolutions don’t actually get resolved.

So instead, I’m heading into 2018 with a couple of very simple goals for myself: read more and write more. I used to go through a book a week, but as life became more hectic than it was in high school it became a lot easier to just flip on a screen after work and zone out that way. But every time I do get sucked into a good book, I remember exactly what I love about reading in the first place. I love using my imagination to dream up what I think the author is envisioning, and I love the satisfaction of turning the final page (or swiping through the last line on my Kindle).

I’m not setting any sort of goal to read x amount of books a month or anything: I’m just encouraging myself to pick up the book on my coffee table instead of the remote.

I think that will, in turn, help me towards my second goal of writing more. I have noticed that I tend to write more when I read more (funny how that works, right?) and therefore, the two goals go hand-in-hand. Again, I’m not setting out to finish a novel (though that is still on my general list of goals), but I just want to pick up a pen more, or put my fingers to the keyboard. Whether it’s journaling, or prayer, or blogging, or creative, I just want to put words out there, and see what may become of them.

So here’s to 2018, to turning a page — and reading more and writing more pages in the process. I wish you all a happy and healthy New Year. I’ll blog again soon, but for now… I’ve got a book to finish.

10 Days In

Here we are, a week-and-some-change in to a New Year, and already I’m slacking on my resolution to #BeABetterBlogger.

However, I’d like to think I have a pretty decent excuse.

I’ve been busy.

The first ten days of 2017 have been more of a whirlwind than I ever – and I repeat, ever – could have imagined. I’d like to pause here and insert a shout out to J & M, who have been incredibly supportive of said whirlwind. I’ve spent the first ten days of 2017 feeling a bit disoriented and a lot of a mess, but I think that the past few days have really solidified that old saying that “every storm runs out of rain.”

Let me offer a little background here.

I kicked off this year in the most wonderful way. I’m not a big New Years person, but this one was a good one. I’ll leave it at that.

However, despite the wonderfulness that was New Years Eve, right before 2016 came to a close, I got hit with some bad news. It’s not my news to share with the blogosphere, but suffice to say that it certainly rocked me a bit, and it sent my first few days of the new year into a tailspin. I found myself reexamining some decisions, questioning priorities, the whole 9 yards. It was as if God had put a big old, flashing sign up that said WAIT, and I had no choice but to obey.

And damn, I’m glad I did.

The results of that news gave me an opportunity to revisit some lingering “what ifs.” As some tough and, frankly, shitty decisions have made their way to me in the past few months, I’ve been stuck with this endlessly nagging feeling of wondering, “What if I chose differently?”

I prayed a lot about it. I prayed for guidance and for trust in that guidance, and I was lifted up by sweet souls who reminded me that God’s plan and our idea of the right plan are not always in line – and that’s the point. And so I kept trusting in His plan, or at least I felt like I did. I thought I was wholeheartedly trusting in the decisions I was led to make, but then this news came and shook me to my core and I very quickly realized – I wasn’t wholeheartedly trusting anything. I was still wondering, and, gracious as He is, God offered me the opportunity to look back at the lingering what if.

And you know what?

He proved Himself to me… yet again. By allowing me to retreat into the alternate reality of a different choice, He showed me that it would have been, flat out, the wrong one. It would have caused me more stress and heartache than I ever could have imagined, even if it might have been wrapped in a pretty little package.

It’s just amazing to me how, even in what seems like the most petty of problems, the most ridiculous of situations, and the least necessary priorities, He shows himself. And when it comes to the bigger things, He shows himself even stronger.

All of this realization came when I finally – finally – got back to church last Sunday.

So, basically, this is my long-winded way of saying that I’ve decided to completely revamp my New Years resolutions. Instead of focusing on a list of goals of things I want to accomplish this year, I’m going to put my entire energy into one thing: trust.

Trust in Him. Trust in myself. Trust in the plan. Trust in guidance.

2017 will be the year I learn to open my heart to trusting in what matters. Because there’s no point in wondering what if.