It’s been a tough year, but I hope you have found plenty to celebrate.
As we’ve had an intricate dance with a global pandemic, massive storms that have broken records and an election that is seeming to last years, not spending as much time with friends and family, I hope you’ve found time for joy. For thanksgiving, laughter and happiness.
2020 has taken its toll. I don’t remember any other time in my life that I have I seen so much devastation and it’s heartbreaking. I’ve seen too much ugliness in our world. Friends and family literally ripping one another apart. The deepest visceral cuts ever imagined. Relationships possibly lost forever. Humanity at its tipping point. I have seen tears and pain and promises lost. I’ve seen people frozen in fear over a pandemic.
I’ve done my best to stay neutral. As much as possible. I’ve also done my best at staying distant, wearing my mask, and making my vote count in the election ALL without sticking a knife in others, because, guess what? We live in a country of freedom and isn’t that a glorious thing? We also live in a world with a novel pandemic that science is studying and learning about, and data is changing daily. I’m doing what I can without ripping hearts out, without being ugly. Life is too short.
As we head into this next year all I can do is pray. That’s my reassurance. I don’t live a life of fear and hate and contempt and distress or unease because for me; hope remains. I can’t and don’t allow fear to rip what is good out of me.
I’m a natural born optimist. I live daily with enthusiastic trust and confidence that there are ALWAYS good things happening every day around me. I am a seeker of joy and ebullience. This is a such a gift, but I know it’s not from ME, it’s what’s IN me that makes the difference.
Sure, I have moments of dismay. I get heartbroken. I cry and get angry when I see the abominable acts, brokenness and grief. In that, I still search for the jewels, still put myself in the way of joy.
I’ve tried in earnest to keep things as “normal” as possible in our home. I think it’s made a difference. I don’t have the news on. I read the news, once a morning, to not have my head in the sand, but I don’t completely entrench myself in it, sitting in a soup of hopelessness. I have and will always maintained a good exercise program. I’ve had to adapt to gym closings and yoga studio closings early on during quarantine, but I got pretty creative on my own in our home and outside in parks. I’ve still kept up running OUTSIDE because fresh air daily is like liquid freaking GOLD for your body! I can run and not be close to people or can run in the woods with my girlfriends and have plenty of wild space to suck up all sorts of good energy, endorphins, laughter and completely detox whilst running in the sticky, humid wilderness.
I just finished a great book and loved what he said about exercise for mental and physical health;
“Movement is big medicine; it’s the signal to every cell in our bodies that no matter what kind of damage we’ve suffered, we’re ready to rebuild and move away from death and back toward life. Rest too long after an injury and your system powers down, preparing you for a peaceful exit. Fight your way back to your feet, however, and you trigger that magical ON switch that speeds healing hormones to everything you need to get stronger: your bones, brain, organs, ligaments, immune system, even the digestive bacteria in your belly, all get a molecular upgrade from exercise.”
A peaceful exit from not moving? No thanks!
I have continued to devour books because that’s something that I’ve ALWAYS loved. I’ve read over 50 books this year. They have the ability to transport me a million miles away, make me laugh, make me cry, make me fall in love, make me heartsick, make me smart and make me brave.
I’ve stayed off social media more, because honestly, I think it’s like dumping garbage into your soul. Hello dumpster fire.
I’ve sustained a continuous pursuit to good food and have done a lot of new experimenting in the kitchen which has been so fun!
Ive made green smoothies daily that LITERALLY make our insides COME TO LIFE.
I’ve sat with my face in the sun.
We’ve continued to chase laughter with all we have. It’s such an immune booster.
I’ve danced daily and make my husband cringe with my music choices. (Also something I’ve done my entire life… just ask our kids, who as teenagers were completely shamefaced by it, but now have no problem “dancing it out” with their Mama.)
Water! Because water is life.
We’ve continued to minimize and stay uncluttered physically, emotionally and materially.
We’ve taken some pretty incredible trips this year. Not the trips we originally had planned for 2020, but we allowed the disruption of no international travel to push us to discover more of our own gorgeous country. AND because of the pandemic, it’s been easier than ever, without crowds. We were able to spend more time with our family and friends on the west coast than we normally would have and to visit places commonly plagued with tourists. Imagine standing at the monuments in Washington DC without another person around!
It’s also turned our prayer life upside down and through that we’ve felt a colossal closeness with God and have seen an abundance of answered prayer.
It does bother me, what this year is doing to others. I realize not everyone has the capacity to leap out of bed everyday, happy. Working from home, schooling from home, college students home, people losing family, losing jobs, healthcare workers over- worked. It’s a lot. It’s too much, actually! So I pray. I know that’s really the only real power I have, because I know ultimately I have no control over this.
I pray that one tiny thing can put a smile on a face or a flutter of exuberance inside someone.
We woke up to rain this morning and when I stepped outside, our windows had ladybugs on them. Do you notice the slightest of things? Just this made me smile and wonder what so many of those tiny, spotted ladies are doing here right now?
I pray that this nation, it’s healthcare workers, it’s businesses and people will recover. That on a daily, we can wake and recognize a gift, even if it is that you rolled out of bed today with breath in your lungs and have a new day to live, realizing what an extraordinary person you are! How much you matter. What a difference maker you are. Just smiling at someone with the crinkle of your eyes over your mask at the grocery store, is making a difference. Do you wake every day and see what an award life is and that it’s not to be squandered or wasted?
I pray that there are enough light shiners out there to spread light through the deepest, darkest cracks.
I do know one thing, we are a people and a nation of resilience. A country of hardiness, toughness, determination and courage. We are overcomers!
My word for the year is
Spoken and pressed onto my heart by the One who knows my heart the best. I have a feeling 2021 for G and I is going to be a wild ride. We’ve been praying some outrageously, ridiculously, enormous prayers and are so expectant of answers.
Have you been to a rodeo with the broncs and bulls in the ring? That seems like life sometimes. A non stop barrage of wild things that attempt to throw or buck off the rider and all we can do as the rider is to attempt to stay mounted. Stay planted. Stay focused. Stay steadfast.
When inconveniences and difficulties come at us, we can stand against them, united with fortitude, together. Don’t check out and roll over. That gives you no say, no power, no conviction and no control over your thoughts. It keeps you stuck in the thoughts and will of others. It keeps you at the mercy of what others are saying and speaking into you. It keeps you held in dead and old beliefs, wedged into fear and panic, sometimes adhered in unforgiveness, rooted in the past, inviting a different kind of stress. Do you need to forgive? Maybe just from this year?
I’ve done a lot of hard work on things of my past. I’m so happy I’m not asked to stay there. I don’t have to live there any longer. I think about it on occasion, but honestly worked and grew enough in my 30’s that I was able to drop the deeply rooted and exhaustingly heavy load of garbage, abuse, trauma and negativity that I was immersed in, walk away and not look back. Fear and damage of the past, doesn’t have the power to keep you there. The work is worth it. I know I don’t have to stay locked into that past and that’s how I’m starting to feel about this year. I won’t stay stuck here, and will do whatever I can to forge forward. I thank God for taking those burdens of my past. Walking alongside me. Guiding me. It wasn’t magic, It wasn’t a guru, it was solely my relationship with the Lover of my Soul and truly without His guiding hand over my life I’d be a lost mess.
I’m always grateful when a new year rolls around. It’s like stepping into a fresh new chapter. A blank page we can move on to and allow the past things to wither and die. I think for the majority of us, we feel that 2020 can certainly return to the ground, dead. I’m hopeful we can walk into a new year with renewed hope. Restoring lost things, start to heal, rebuild, soaked in strength, passion and fortitude.
Do you dream? Like daydream? That’s something G and I have kept alive our whole relationship, we dream. A lot. Out-loud. We sit and talk about the most-wildest-things. Things we want to accomplish, things we want to do and change and places we want to see. We get giddy like teenagers. I’ve always loved that about us. We’ve knocked off quite a bucket list thus far and will continue until the wheels fall off. It gives us opportunities to look forward to and countless memories to look back on. We’ve had moments this year that have challenged us, and changed us and we’ve definitely had to adjust the sails, but we’ve done just that; yelled out “Jibe-Ho” and swung around in a new direction. If not, we would’ve stayed stuck. Complaining about what could’ve been or what we’ve missed.
2020 has given us a lot to think about and afforded us time to dig deep into things we’d like to to be different in the coming years and places in our lives that have grown stagnant, dead and need to be pruned. That’s one thing with G and I, we don’t do “stuck” very well and are fighters for movement anywhere we feel things are lifeless. Be a job, our kids, a place to live, toxic relationships, our own relationship or just overall unhappiness with a situation. We are both just stubborn enough to dig in, rip out the roots, do the hard work and stand up for what makes us happy, because again, life’s too short. I guess we’ve both always felt that, if we aren’t happy, and we know that we aren’t in a growth spurt (there is such a season) that we will tunnel in and God-willing, change some things up.
We recently took a road trip up north. It’s a trip we usually make every year, but this year we weren’t sure about going. The pandemic PLUS we had other things that were planned, but out of nowhere came an injury that took me out of a 50-mile ultramarathon in GA that would’ve fallen too close to Thanksgiving to make the trip north this year. Instead of feeling stuck, we hopped in the car and no kidding, sang out loud and played air guitar to every great 70’s songs we could remember, while I DJ’d Spotify. I even texted my mother in law, because G was telling me some of the greatest stories from being a kid in the 70’s. He’s such a great storyteller and wildly remembers EVERY speck of his childhood. We laughed until we couldn’t breathe.
Have you kept some remnant of fun this year?
Have things during this year changed you, but possibly for the better? Have you had a few Jibe-Ho moments? Is it time to burrow in, rip roots and replant where joy will bloom in all circumstances? What drives your passions and are you living those out? Are you living your truest self down to you marrow? Not who you think you should be, not what others have told you to be, not how others are living, but the TRUE you? This right here, can bring an abundance of joy! Do you have the ability to laugh? Im talking those gut pulling, tear staining your cheeks, doubled over, laughter? Do you pursue your passions? Do you know what they are? Do you use your gifts and talents for something greater and bigger than yourself? Can you dive to the bottom of the quarry where stagnation lives and come up with fresh water?
Can you find small things to celebrate?
Great words passed down from our amazing Pastor-
Merry Christmas to you all and may this new year bring you health, happiness, purpose and wholeness.