2018 was quite a year. And to be honest, I can hardly believe it’s almost over. Many people like to share their highlight reel of 2018, focusing only on the highlights, the top 9’s, and the most-liked pics. However, my life is so much more than a highlight reel. There were some very low lows this year, combined with some very high highs, and it would not be fair to only focus on one side of my life.
So here is a look back over the year with things that happened, both good and bad, and the lessons I learned from them.
An introverted former-math teacher is invited to attend the Better Homes & Gardens Stylemaker Event. What?!?! While part of me is still convinced I was invited by mistake (lol), it was a remarkable opportunity and quite an honor. To have this iconic brand view me as someone who was influencing styles and trends is incredible. And it will forever mark a moment for me that personally validated that a small town mom with no formal design background can have something of value to offer. And it affirmed that BIG dreams are worth chasing, even if others don’t understand them. I got to meet up with so many talented influencers that day, and see their real-life personalities unfold from the behind-the-screens persona, and that was really a cool and memorable experience.
I type this with tears in my eyes, debating how much of this to share. It is not my story to tell, but it is something that has permanently and radically altered my perspective on life and the brevity of it. On May 2nd my daughter’s 5-year-old friend, Hailey, passed away unexpectedly. Hailey was a sweet spirited little girl who was kind to everyone and made everyone feel special. In mid-April we celebrated this sweet healthy girl at her 5th birthday party, and 3 weeks later we attended her funeral. These are the kinds of tragedies you read about in a news article. Not the kinds of things you expect to happen to your friends. It is awful and heartbreaking and has made me realize that not one single thing should be taken for granted. Life is a gift and you’ve got to soak in the good moments because you never know when they may be the last. There are no guarantees. So cherish every Christmas, take that family trip you’ve been putting off, tell people you love them, put your phones down and play that game with your kids. Because life can be short. I wish I could have learned this lesson a different way. I’d give anything to have not learned this lesson this year. And I do want to say that Hailey’s parents are brave warriors who have carried on honoring her memory and living their lives as best they can despite an immense amount of grief, and I have so much respect and love for them.
I was contacted for a magazine shoot right in the midst of a massive flooring project which had our entire first floor of our home ripped apart and empty. Having a magazine send a photographer and stylist to shoot my very-normal-middle-class-lives-in-a-cul-de-sac home was a pinch me moment, and once again affirmed that the pursuit of dreams and the hard work it takes can lead somewhere! I will admit that it was a complete scramble getting the floors installed and the house put back together on time for the magazine shoot. And I’ll admit that there was more than once where I felt completely inadequate to have this opportunity come my way. But I’m so grateful I said Yes despite the timing!
Do the thing you’ve been talking about rather than just talking about it. Do the thing you’ve been wanting to do but have been putting off til a “better” time. This November I booked a last-minute trip to Texas to hang out with my insta-bestie Allison, and see Magnolia Market, and step out of my comfort zone. It was hands-down a wonderful experience that was empowering and incredible in every way (except the motion sickness part on the plane – could have done without that, lol). This experience literally transformed my life and has impacted my outlook on 2019 in a huge way. I’ll share more on that soon. But I am so glad I stepped out of my comfort zone, said yes to new adventures, and took that trip!
Ready for this to get really real really quick?…This year I have been struggling emotionally with real life relationships that have left me questioning my self-worth. Certain things have left me seriously wondering if I am the type of person I think I am. As a wife, a friend, a mom…all of it. I’ve never been someone who struggled with self-esteem or relationships, so this emotional struggle has been new territory for me. I was especially wrestling with this throughout the summer and fall. And while these feelings have subsided a little, they are still there and I’m still working through this. I don’t have all the answers yet, but two things I’m trying to focus on are this: 1) Remembering that my identity is ultimately in who God has created me to be, and it’s not in how others in my life see me, or what things am I or am not invited to be part of. And 2) I get to make a choice whether I focus on those who make me feel cast aside or whether I choose to focus on finding and investing in people whose friendships bring mutual encouragement and joy. So in case you think that successful people on instagram have it all together in real life, we don’t. And if you are struggling with your self-worth, you are not alone, and hopefully the two things I shared will help you like they are (sort of) helping me.
This summer I had the opportunity to take a 3 day girls getaway to the beach with my daughter and my mom. By day 2, I caught myself reflecting on the fact that I honestly couldn’t remember the last time I felt that relaxed and at ease. This was a great reminder for me of the importance of slowing down, stepping away from responsibility, and making time to be around people who truly put my soul at rest.
I cannot begin to describe how much I love getting to be an aunt. I have three nieces whom I adore, and the birth of my first nephew this year was a highlight for sure!
2018 was wonderful in some ways and tough in others. But it all makes up who am I and where I am right now. The reality is we never know what each year may hold. So it is my hope that you also take a minute to acknowledge defining moments from 2018 and see what you can learn from them. And may you face 2019 with hope, courage, and gratitude for the moments that are yet to come…Happy New Year, friends!