My writer friend, Emily, over at Chatting at the Sky had the best idea to recap the year. Here’s my list of ‘20 things I learned in 2014.’ Be sure to jump over to her place to read about what she had to say. She’s one of my favorites.
1. Depression isn’t always tears.
My husband, Will, was diagnosed with ministry burn-out and depression in early August. He was never sitting sad and quiet in the corner. Quite the contrary. He was working 12 hour days, never resting and driven to the max. A-n-x-i-o-u-s. Did you know anxiety and depression go hand in hand? We talk all about it here.
2. Marrying off a daughter is different than marrying off a son.
When Will III married Amy last year, I cried and cried but reflected and rebounded within a couple of months. But when Emily married to Kenton this October, the bottom fell out for me emotionally. I have no idea why but I think it has something to do with ‘giving’ her away and that promise she made to ‘leave and cleave.’ If I ever figure it out, I’ll write about it.
3. I discovered you really seem to like my ‘dear daughters‘ posts/category an awful lot.
Good news is 2015 holds even more in store. Will and I are going to do some collaborative writing. I’ll let you know more about that later. Meanwhile, here was the most popular post this year in that category: dear daughters (9 things to ask your fiancé)
4. As much as I love Texas, Colorado always heals me.
Will and I had a chance to go in November. The birds were happy we showed up and my soul settled in a big way after Emily’s wedding. God always seems to speak to me big in Colorado. Where does God speak big to you?
5. I am in love with clouds.
They make me happy. I thank God out loud every time I see stuff like this in the sky. And I am utterly amazed that every day when I wake up, God mixes them around and they look completely different.
6. I learned all about how to “spark joy” at home.
This book by Marie Kondo is what did it to me. Now I smile when I open my kitchen cabinets or pull open a drawer in my bedroom. I plan to continue this until my whole house is JOY!
7. I miss pie making.
And bread baking. Spending weekly time in the kitchen keeps me centered so I’ll be adding that back into my life in 2015. And when I find something spectacular, I’ll write about it here.
8. Trees enchant me.
I post pictures on my instagram all the time. I blame this tree obsession on my dad, Austin’s original tree hugger. PS. My new book is all about how God uses trees to speak hope to me.
9. I love collaborations.
10. Riding horses center me.
I took some time off riding while planning Emily’s wedding and it was not a good plan. So my 2015 plan is to make horses a priority, come what may.
11. This year told me I needed more mentors and teachers in my life. I need information and education above the rattle. So I do things like listen to TED talks weekly and I make an appointment to talk with a counselor when necessary. I simply don’t have the mental and emotional capacity to figure everything out, so I either tune in or ask for help.
12. One of the learning programs I most enjoyed this year was Donald Miller’s Creating Your Life Plan.
It’s amazing. And going through it helped me organize my time so I could finish writing my book.
13. When I meet someone for the first time and they ask me what I do, I tell them I’m a writer. It took me ten years and five books to get comfortable with the title. And it still feels a little squirrelly but I do it anyway.
14. Speaking of being a writer, I hosted my first writer’s retreat at our cabin in Estes Park.
I learned so much doing it that I’m looking into gathering with creatives on a quarterly basis. Do you gather with people that inspire you to exercise your gifts?
15. Driving around looking at real estate might actually mean I need rest.
Last spring and summer, I was consumed with finding a place in the country where we could get some peace and quiet. But what I learned is no matter where you live you, rest is the only way to find true peace and quiet. Will and I revisited sabbath instead of moving to the country.
16. I get truly whacked out without meeting with my small group.
Meeting with my people, the ones who know my heart and know my weakness, are sheer necessity. No matter how busy life gets.
17. Thrifting is exercising patience.
I love garage sales, thrift stores and estate sales. And I’ve realized something important about them: You can find what you want if you wait. Thrifting is nothing more than waiting for that thing you want at the best price.
18. When the opportunity arises for our whole family to be in one place, we grab hold.
Over my birthday weekend, everyone landed in Estes at the Homestead. With every one getting married, the chances are even slimmer our schedules will mesh. So when they do, I have learned to do whatever it takes to make it happen.
19. I’ve never felt more grateful to be married.
Will and I will celebrate 30 years of marriage this June. He is my best friend. I cannot imagine doing life without him. 30 years…
20. This is the year of my big God dream come true.
Unafraid: Trusting God in an Unsafe World is being released in April 2015 but 2014 was the year I put in all the hard work. This is the one I’ve waited to write all my life. And if you are a fear-er, it’s for you.
So there is some of what I’ve learned this year ~ what about you? Hoping this “sparks joy” in reflection for you.
And little prayers everywhere you hear God speaking into your life.