I think the last time I was on here was in November?? November 2013 went down as “hell month” in my life. I didn’t have time for anything, I studied until late at night, barely saw my husband because of it, and made it through with only a few crying sessions and a lot of praying.
And then, BOOM, just as fast as fall semester started- it ended. And I made it out with 3 A’s and a C (Hallelujah- that C has God’s grace written all over it). And so now I’ve been off for the past 3-4 weeks, and it has been absolutely heavenly.
I spent a good portion of my days working out, then folding laundry on the couch while I watch bird documentaries (Did you know that brown pelican chicks kill the weakest of their siblings until only one is left?). It. is. the. LIFE. And I’m not being sarcastic either, it truly is the life for me 🙂
Jason and I spent Christmas with family, eating our way through three Christmas dinners in two days. And it was only when we found ourselves moaning in full-ness agony on the couch that we decided to eat more vegetables and “detox”.
I also went hiking with friends, kept up my baking-one-thing-a-week routine, read 4 books, decreased my run time to 9:10 minute miles, and spent time listening to what God has to say to me. My favorite moments of the break were planning our spring garden (the ground is ready for tilling!), hiking with my friend, the quiet time with God, and spending New Years Eve with my love at the Avett Concert.
I don’t like to make resolutions for the New Year; instead, I like to set small (or big!) goals for myself throughout the year. Setting a bunch of goals once a year for the entire year ahead just feels like too much pressure to me. For example- my goal for the last 6 months was to pass all of my classes with A’s (almost made it!), to stay fit (check), and to learn to play Betty (my banjo-no check). I learned how to frail, but I had a hard time focusing on Betty once school began again. So I’m saving that goal for this year when I finish school in June.
Jason and I sat down together a few nights ago to discuss things we want for ourselves and our marriage this coming year. We chose five different areas in our lives that we could set goals for and wrote them down in a journal (ex: financial, personal, marriage etc). Some of my personal goals for the upcoming year were:
- read my Bible once a day
- stay fit, which includes the small goals of going to my crossfit class at least once a week, and learning to do a pull-up without assistance
- finish school with good grades
- reduce spending money to $20/week in order for us to meet our financial goals we’ve set as a family
These are just a few, but as I was really thinking about what I want to do this year and how I want to grow, I felt like God kept saying to me “You need to be more present.” I initially dismissed this and was like “Whhaaatt? God, I’m present.” I closed our journal without another thought. The next morning, again, while I’m brushing my teeth “Stacey, you need to be more present.”. When He kept saying that me, I finally took the time to think about it and really ask myself “How present am I in my own life?”. Because you can be present in someone else’s life all day long, what with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, blogs, it’s so easy these days to get sucked up into someone else’s world. The bad thing about this is when you finally leave their world, you leave feeling like your own isn’t good enough, like it doesn’t even compare. I’m so guilty of this. I’ll be the first to admit it. It’s a toxic way to live, because not only does it affect your soul, it affects those around you. The ones you love. It affects your view of everything, or at least, for me it did. I’d go into my yard to take the dog out and instead of seeing the beauty I would normally see, I’d find myself complaining in my mind “Ugh, I wish we had that fence complete. I wish it weren’t so cold. I wish my dog would play by herself.” And it goes on and on.
So God was right. As soon as he revealed this to me, I wrote it on a post-it note and stuck it on my mirror. “Be present in your OWN story, not someone else’s.”. It isn’t enough to say this but to actually think of ways to be more present in your own life. For me, it’s not being on my phone while my husband is home. I can’t really listen to him tell me about his day if I’m scrolling through Instagram or checking my e-mail. Granted, I haven’t been perfect in this area, but I’m getting better. Another way I’ve been more present is to not get in front of any electronic device before 9 a.m. I use this time to read my Bible (one of my goals!) and drink my morning tea.
Putting my phone on the charger, out of sight, when the husband comes home has led to awesome conversations 🙂 We’ve spent a few nights in a row staying up until midnight discussing possible paint colors for our house. We talk about weird dreams we had the night before, or work on a puzzle at our dining room table. This time together allows me to see my husband for who he is, to see our lives for what they are, and not complain about what I wish it’d be like. Because, to be honest, I have a pretty awesome life. Most of us are so blessed beyond belief. We live with the things we call”necessities” that are really things a lot of others would consider to be luxuries. Please never take a warm bed and hot food for granted. Our time here is momentary. We all have exactly what we need to create the life story we want. To appreciate the story that we have and the characters in it. When I’m 90 and I’m sitting in my garden with Jason beside me, holding my wrinkly hand, I want to look back and say to myself “What a life! What an amazing, beautiful life.”
Go have great experiences. Love people (people= every single body) without abandon. Give yourself to God fully. Ask Him to grow your heart this year. Go touch some dirt with your bare hands. Listen to a bird sing early in the morning. Loose yourself in what you are passionate about. Learn something new. Look each other in the eye. Forgive, laugh, dance, eat, sleep, and love. LOVE. LOVE. LOVE.
My greatest experiences of 2013/how I grew:
- Getting baptized
- Getting married
- Buying a house that we prayed, and prayed, and prayed for
- Receiving two scholarships for school in one year (Thank you, Jesus)
- Seeing Langhorne Slim live
- Dancing in the rain at Merlefest (folk festival)
- Learning to make homemade bread and pizza dough
- Learning to lean on others when I can’t do it by myself, specifically my husband. (One of the hardest things about being married for me is learning to not be so independent. That it’s OK to admit weakness and let my husband know that I need him).
- Getting Marley!
- Having another year with my grandmother, and hearing stories about her jumping the city train to go square-dancing 🙂
- The Father opening my heart to the homeless, increasing my passion to work with them.
- Making new friends at church and school, all of which I love dearly!
Things I’m looking forward to in 2014:
- Finishing school
- Celebrating a year of married oneness
- Learning how to garden
- Getting chickens!
- Learning how to play Betty
- Being obedient to God in the small and big things
- Camping trip to our favorite spot in July
- Making our home more of a home
- Perfecting my cooking skills/baking new things/learn how to make more homemade foods
- Doing that unassisted pull-up I never got around to last year 😉
Friends, this life is YOURS. It’s the only one you get, and the Lord Jesus gives you full permission to live it. 3..2..1…GO!