Monday, December 30, 2013

End of the Year Wrap-Up

I debated for quite awhile over this post. I wanted to talk about all of the new products I received for Christmas, and ooh and ahh over my new Naked2 palette (more on that next time), but then I realized it's December 30th. After tomorrow, 2013 will officially be in the past.

And I got a little bit sad. 

Like every year of life, there were a lot of ups and downs. Many disappointments, tears, and let downs. However, I believe there were even more moments of pure happiness, love, and success. 

As I was reflecting on 2013, I started to beat myself up a little. Some of the mistakes I made (as recently as...yesterday) were some of the same mistakes I vowed I wouldn't be making at the beginning of 2013.   But, here I am, still dealing with the same failures, and still trying to erase some of the same wounds. And honestly, it's upsetting. Why cant we just BE better. Why can't we automatically learn from our mistakes and correct our future? Why can't we avoid pain, even when we see it coming? 

The only answer I can come up with is...because... we are human. We aren't perfect. Sometimes we have to make the same mistake 500 times before we learn how to avoid it. Sometimes we have to give ourselves the time we need to grow and heal. Sometimes we shouldn't rush it. And most of all...sometimes we shouldn't be so hard on ourselves. 

2012 was a bad year. I am not a fan of being a negative Nancy, but it legitimately was one of the hardest, most painful years of my life. But as I have discussed and wrote about before, because of that year, I grew as a person, emotionally and, more importantly, spiritually. I couldn't have gotten through that year without my family and friends, who were there to encourage me and love on me until I wanted to be "me" again. And because of that year, I understand that no hardship, trial or pain is without a purpose. More often than not, we cannot see the "why" or "how" in the present. But sometimes we are lucky enough to look back...maybe a month later, or maybe 5 years later, and see God's plan. And more importantly, how he loves us enough to protect us from things we can't even see.

So, coming into 2013, I was a little bit gun shy. I was hesitant about what the year would bring. I was scared of who I would be, or more importantly, who I wouldn't be. And while I am trying to learn more about that very topic every day, I am okay with the small and simple realization that I know I have done at least one thing this year: progressed. Progress certainly doesn't equal perfection, but it also means that I am moving forward, even if just one step at a time. 

In conclusion, the only resolution that I want to make for 2014 is to extend more grace to others. The kind of grace that Jesus extends to me every hour, every day of the week. I know I don't give it enough. I certainly don't deserve it from the people around me, either. Even still, it's there. The only way we can truly grow, truly learn from each other, truly heal, and truly thrive in relationship with others is by pouring the kind of grace, love, and humility into each other that Jesus so openly gives to us. 

And it's not easy. So I think I have my work cut out for me. Of course, I would love to lose 5 pounds as well. But as long as the Oreo franchise doesn't go under in 2014...that isn't happening. 

Thank you to the people reading who I would affectionately call "mine." Thank you for loving me and showing me grace in 2013... I can't wait to spend 2014 with you! 


Thursday, December 5, 2013

The 10 Best: Winter Edition

I hate the cold. I despise it. But everyone knows the best way to counteract a negative attitude is with positive thoughts! I preach this concept to the parents and families I work with everyday, so maybe I should try it out on my own. So, in honor of it being 10 degrees in Nebraska today, this is my best attempt at regaining some happiness:

1.  Clothing Staples
Goodbye short shorts, hello leggings, boots and oversized sweaters! Did you skip the gym because you didn’t want to develop hypothermia? Eat a few too many pieces of pie at Thanksgiving? No worries, no one will know in your stretchy pants and massive sweater (see below). 

*Note: I am not advocating skipping workouts or binging on dessert. I am just saying, it happens. Also, clearly she didn't skip her workout...or eat any pie.

2. Ugg Boots
I feel like this has become a controversial topic. I see lots of articles circulating on facebook about the cruelty that goes into creating a pair of Ugg boots. Honestly, I didn’t watch any of these videos. I don’t know how my Ugg boots came to be, but I do have one question. For those who think they are hideous, or simply do not support how they are made: have you ever put your feet into a pair of Uggs on a -10 degree day? It’s heavenly. It’s soft, warm and cozy. It's everything I want in the winter. Don’t judge.
3. Lights. Everywhere.
Christmas lights are so romantic. I love it. My neighbors deck their house out with lights. The only thing that makes driving around freezing your butt off enjoyable is seeing all of the lights sparkling everywhere. It’s a Winter wonderland.

4. Family gatherings
This could be true of just my family, but we undoubtedly gather more in the winter. There is an obvious correlation between this season and the holidays, but never the less, it goes together. I will tolerate the snow, ice and wind chill for some extra quality hours with the people I love the most!

5. Glitter
As referenced HERE, this time of the year is when I feel it is completely appropriate for adults to incorporate a little more glitter into their lives. Eye shadows? Nail polish? Clothing? Yes please.

6. Snow days
Only if I get one. Snow days are a beautiful thing. They allow you to curl up on the couch, read, watch movies, and cuddle without feeling guilty about doing nothing else. I mean… you cant, right? Doing anything else on this day would be a hazard to you and everyone else. I have noticed that the adult, working world does not readily embrace snow days. These are somewhat a thing of the past, but they are still awesome.

7. Sweatpants
To be honest, I wear sweatpants year around. I am always cold. But there is nothing quite like the feeling of coming home for the day, out of the cold, and putting on a pair of sweat pants. The best kinds are the ones that are old…and preferably were worn during high school track.
*Note: this is not meant to be an attractive look.

8. Hot chocolate (or any other hot drink)
I love hot chocolate. I love most hot drinks. But in my opinion, this completely loses its appeal when its 90 degrees out. If you are my Mom, you are still drinking coffee, all day long, all year around. But.. I cant do it. Drinking something hot on a summer day is more likely to make me break out into a sweat then induce enjoyment. Winter is the time. Bring it on. There is no better way to get warm then a cup of hot chocolate (or coffee). And sweatpants.

9. Smells
I know I am not the only one who does this, but I work my scents around the seasons. In fact, just today, I changed my soap to Vanilla Bean Noel. To me, Vanilla represents all that is home  & holidays. Even for myself. During the Winter I  break out my Burberry pefume. It just smells like winter to me. Also, this is the time of the year that I start randomly burning cinnamon sticks and switching out all of my scentsy fragrances to holiday scents. Ahhh. I love it.

10. The food
Who am I kidding, I need my leggings because of the extra calories I am consuming. Winter is  the best time to bake. The kitchen gets warm and cozy when the oven is on, and a warm cookie tastes 100x better when its snowing outside. And soup? I love. It is my favorite. I want to eat soup all day, everyday.... in the winter. All kinds. Holiday baking, holiday treats… special foods that your family only makes during the winter months? It's delightful.

The truth is, I could find triple the amount of things that I hate about Winter. But that's ok, whenever I am cursing my numb, dry and cracked hands, while trying to remove a 4-inch layer of ice from my windshield, I will break out this list. And smile…to myself.