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every hug from my parents,
every kiss from my husband,
every phone call with my brother,
every laugh shared with a friend,
every opportunity to encourage one of my students,
every dream for the future,
every chance to love someone else,
every moment to live and enjoy the beauty of this finite life God has given me.
I used to dislike New Year’s resolutions. I grew tired of seeing list after list of goals that people never accomplished, or didn’t even seem to care about two weeks later. While I am still wary of making unattainable goals, I now appreciate people who make bold resolutions. I admire their desire to improve and their courage to share their dreams even if they might fail.
However, I think that it is just as valuable to reflect on past growth as it is to create new goals. I was inspired by Erin from Design for Mankind to create my list of non-goals – a list of ways that I am learning to accept myself and areas that I have already grown in. (You can read Erin’s list here.)
1. I have learned not to take myself so seriously.
I have been a perfectionist for as long as I can remember. When I colored as a little girl, I was so upset with myself if I colored out of the lines. I would even ask my parents to finish coloring it for me, so that it would look better. Fortunately, they always made me finish, and encouraged me along the way.
Now, when creating and teaching 20 lesson plans a week, it is impossible for each one to be perfect. Rather than become frustrated with small setbacks, I have learned to laugh at my mistakes and even enjoy my imperfections at times.
2. I have simplified my life.
I have embraced minimalism in many areas of my life, and I am enjoying the benefits. Rather than fill my house and my schedule with clutter, I have learned to let things go and enjoy the small things in life.
3. I have valued the relationships that make my life meaningful.
Tanner and I are so grateful to live close to all of our parents, and we have taken advantage of it. I look forward to spending time with them each week, and I cherish all of the memories we are creating together. I have kept in touch with out-of-town family, reconnected with old friends, and started new friendships. I have also had the opportunity to work on a family history project with my dad that has not only taught me about my heritage, but has also inspired me to live a life that my family will be proud of for years to come.
4. I have explored and refined my beliefs.
There comes a time in life when you have to question the things you have been taught and the culture in which you have been raised. Even though this process is a lifelong journey in some ways, I am excited about the new perspectives I have been exposed to and the things I have learned about God and His love this year.
In what areas of your life are you satisfied? What accomplishments are you proud of? What are your non-goals?
My word for 2014 was follow, and throughout the year I learned the importance of pursuing God not only in the midst of change, but also when life remains constant.
This year, my word is give.
In the last meal Jesus shared with His disciples before he was killed, He said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” (I Corinthians 11:23-24)
Christians typically interpret this verse to mean to eat bread and drink wine in remembrance of Jesus’s sacrifice. However, Jan Hatmaker provides further insight into Jesus’ words:
“Not only was Communion a symbolic ritual, it was a new prototype of discipleship. ‘Continuously make My sacrifice real by doing this very thing.’ Become broken and poured out for hopeless people. Become a living offering, denying yourself for the salvation and restoration of humanity. Obedience to Jesus’ command is more than looking backward; it’s a present and continuous replication of His sacrifice.” (Interrupted)
Jesus gave the ultimate sacrifice not only in His death, but throughout His entire life filled with generosity and unconditional love. My goal this year is to replicate His sacrifice as much as possible in my own life, through giving my time, giving my love, giving my energy, and giving all that I have, regardless of the sacrifice. And my desire is that through my life of giving, others might be able to receive a glimpse of God’s unfailing love and amazing sacrifice.
What is your word for 2015?
For my students, who challenge me to grow every day,
For my friends, both new and old, who help me to experience and enjoy life,
For my grandparents, who shower me with love, kindness, and wisdom,
For my in-laws, who never fail to make me crack up laughing each time we’re together,
For my brother, who has always inspired me with his gentleness and with his talent,
For my parents, who are my greatest mentors and two of my best friends,
For my husband, who is my supporter, my best friend, my partner,
My second font is now available! I designed this font with a little bit of structure and little bit of whimsy – the base is a traditional serif font, but it is has a handwritten style with a contemporary twist. Its name is inspired by the fall flower, the aster.
I recently had the opportunity to create these rustic wedding invitations for a friend. I used free handdrawn wreaths from Best Day Ever, a simple ribbon from Sugar Studios, and two free fonts: Antrokas and Mossy. I love the look of the dramatic calligraphy contrasted by the clean handwritten font.
I will always cherish October as the month that I first started falling in love with my husband. The crispness of the air, the cawking of the crows, and the anticipation of the coming holidays all remind me of the days when we first got to know each other.
Our friendship began in high school through studying together and being in theatre together. I quickly started getting butterflies each time he looked at me with his gorgeous blue eyes or shared his thoughts with me about God and life.
While we were dating, we used to spend hours each night talking on the phone. I will always remember one evening in particular when he told me he had heard a song, and that it reminded him of me…
“I think that possibly, maybe I’m falling for you
Yes there’s a chance that I’ve fallen quite hard over you
I’ve seen the paths that your eyes wander down
I want to come too
I think that possibly, maybe I’m falling for you
No one understands me quite like you do
Through all of the shadowy corners of me”
As the years pass by, I feel increasingly grateful for the boy who shared that song with me that night, and for the strong, kind, intelligent, and gentle man he has become. And the longer we are together, the more I thank God for someone who understands “all of the shadowy corners of me” and who has chosen me to love and to cherish. And I look forward to falling for him over and over for the rest of our lives.