December Reflections 2019

It’s New Year’s Eve which means it’s time for my annual December Reflections post. This is the time where I share some of my winter ponderings with you, including my word for the past year (as well as the coming one), the things I’ve said yes and no to this past year, soul work that I’ve done, lessons I’ve learned, and what some of my hopes, wishes, and goals for the new year are.

Enjoy, and I’d love for you to share your December reflections with me in the comments section of this post.

My 2019 Word of the Year

Each year, I like to choose a word for my year. This word is something I will focus on for the next 12 months, trying to incorporate into my life in as many ways as possible, and it’s often an area I want to grow in. In the past, I’ve chosen words like “simplify” and “completion” to help me as I navigate the year.

This past year, I chose the word “connection” as my word for 2019. My goal was to connect with people in a deeper, more meaningful way, to develop and nurture real-life friendships as well as online friendships, and to push myself out of my shell a bit more. I shared a bit about choosing my word for this year in this post.

Over the past year, I’ve joined a women’s small group at my church that meets monthly. This has been a good way to help me get to know the women I see each Sunday a bit more, to feel more connected with like-minded individuals, and to be a bigger part of someone else’s life.

I’ve also developed some close friendships with a handful of women this past year. We try to get together and do something special and fun with each other once a quarter. It’s one of those things I look forward to, and it’s been so nice to see our relationships grow and blossom over the past year. While I like having a lot of friends to spend time with here and there, as I get older, I really find myself desiring to have a group of close friends—people I trust, people who help me to be a better person, and people I can share the ups and downs of life with. Anyway, I’m definitely looking forward to growing these friendships even deeper in 2020.

I’ve also tried to connect with my newsletter list a bit more this past year through my bi-monthly letters—sharing bits of real life, little nuggets of wisdom I’ve learned, and hosting special giveaways just for them. I often ask readers to reply to letters, and I do my best to respond. This way, trust and connections are built, and this online business of mine isn’t so one-sided.

I’ve also connected and grown some online relationships this past year, and I hope to further grow these in 2020. I teamed up with my herbalist buddy, Caitlin from Locusts & Honey, to write an amazing ebook all about natural hormone health for women, and I hope we can work together again on something fun in 2020. I’ve also joined a mastermind group for women who run online businesses as well. It’s been fun getting to know others who work in different niches. There’s so much to learn!

I also tried to connect a bit more with homeschool moms this past year by taking the boys on regular field trip outings since we’re not participating in co-op this year, and this is something I hope to do more of next year.

I’ve also tried to connect with my family a bit more this past year, dedicating Sundays as family days where we hang out at my in-law’s house with my brothers- and sisters-in-law, spending time eating and getting to know each other better. Not only do I want to develop a group of close friendships with other women in my life, but I want to be close to my family as well. One area I want to improve on in 2020 is having my parents over for dinner twice a month if not weekly. We’re all so busy, and sometimes it feels like I go way too long without seeing them, so this is something to grow in the family connections area next year.

Overall, though, I feel like I’ve really lived this connection word in 2019, and I’m hoping to continue growing it in the coming year as well.

Yes and No

2018 was a year of learning to say no more than I said yes, but in 2019, I feel that I maintained balance in this area and didn’t say yes to too much. I guess I’ve learned that I have a tendency to take on too many things, and when I do that, I get overwhelmed and don’t do a good job at all the things I’m juggling because I’m pulled in too many different directions.

One of the biggest things I said yes to this year was moving off the mountain and into our new home. That has been a huge adjustment, and I’m not sure the adjustment period is over. We’re definitely settling in more, but we still have a long way to go. I’m thinking it’s going to take a full year to really settle in here. Someone recently said that you need to go through sickness, a holiday, and a vacation to really settle into your home. Well, we’ve completed 2 out of 3, so hopefully, we’ll be fulled settled come fall of 2020 after our big family vacation. 

As far as saying no to things go, the only thing I can think I’ve said no to is feeling like I have to run my business a certain way—the way the experts say to run it, in order for it to be successful. I’m sure if I wanted my business to grow by leaps and bounds, then following what the experts say may be beneficial, but that’s not my goal with Growing Up Herbal at this season in my life.

Over the past year, instead of trying to keep up with all the things involved in running an online blogging business, I’ve chosen a few areas to spend my time and energy on, and I’ve let go of everything else. Sure I’ve seen some numbers slip, but the numbers that matter (my newsletter list, income, and engagement rates) have increased which says I’m focusing on the right parts of my business instead of spinning my wheels on things that don’t matter that much.

Soul Work

When it comes to soul work, I said yes to freedom this year—spiritual freedom that is.

In many ways, I feel like I’ve lived in this box of right and wrong, black and white for a lot of my life. I’m sure my upbringing has a lot to do with that. I mean, as a child, you don’t know what right and wrong are or what to believe so your parents and your culture influence you. Most times, you take on those beliefs as your own, but I think there comes a time when you start to question those things and explore spirituality on your own.

This past year, God has taught me so many things about himself–the biggest thing being that His ways are higher than my ways, that I don’t have all the right answers or beliefs, and that He loves me more than I’ll ever know. He’s got my back, He’s leading me and guiding me, He’s going to be beside of me during the good and bad times, He has a plan and purpose for my life, and He’s going to continue to help me be a better person.  

If I’m honest, for most of my adult life, I’ve boxed myself in, enslaving myself to my views of religious rights and wrongs, and I’ve often projected those views onto other people. However, Jesus came to break the bonds of religion and to offer us freedom. This past year, I’ve realized that I have a tendency to resort back to my box (enslaving myself yet again) because it’s what I’ve always known. But Jesus didn’t come and die for me so I would continue to live a life bound by my own limiting beliefs (or the beliefs of others). He offers freedom, and I’m realizing that my freedom will look different than your freedom because I struggle with different things than you do, and because my purpose in life is different than yours. We’re not the same so it doesn’t make sense that our spiritual lives will look the same. 

Anyway, this is definitely an area of spiritual growth I’m currently in. I’m looking forward to God growing me more in this area as well as leading a more spirit-filled life in 2020.

Lessons Learned

One of the biggest parts of living seasonally is to spend some time during the autumn months looking back on the past year to identify the lessons life has taught you. Not only that, but it’s not just identifying the lessons but also realizing what you learned from those lessons and how they grew you.

Here are some lessons I’ve learned this past year:

  • While routines, schedules, and to-do lists are tools to help me stay on track in life, I have a tendency to rely on them too much. I need to give myself a bit more grace, knowing that if something doesn’t get done or go as planned, the routine/schedule can always be adjusted. Nothing is that permanent in life.
  • Big goals are accomplished through many small steps. Don’t give up. Keep the vision before you. Stay flexible when obstacles get in your way and find creative ways around those obstacles. The end is worth all the effort!
  • I am not one type of person no matter what personality tests tell me. Sure I have natural tendencies to be a certain way, but we, humans, are adaptable beings, and if I want to change something about myself that I view as negative, I have the power to do that.
  • Self-care is not a waste of time. It is necessary to care for yourself without feeling guilty so you have more to give to those around you.
  • Relationships with other people are one of the most important investments in life. They are what sustain us. They are what will carry us through this life. Prioritize them.

Future Plans

Okay, so here we are at the end of not only the year but a decade! Over the last 10 years, I can look back and see growth in so many areas of my life. I can also see areas of struggle. While I don’t exactly know what the future holds, I know the one who holds it, and I trust Him with all parts of my life. Not only that, but Dean and I are just as committed to each other as we were ten years ago, maybe even more so now, and I’m looking forward to 10 more years of life with him!

When thinking about what my word for 2020 would be over the last few weeks, I’ve continually come back to the word “systems.” While I already have systems in place for certain things in my business, but I really feel that I need more of them in place in my life, especially as the boys get older and life seems to get busier. If I want to manage everything without going crazy, I need more systems in place to help me do it.

So, this coming year, my plan is to assess different areas of life that could use some organizing, and then try to create systems that will help me keep up with those things with minimal effort on my part. Keeping up with meals is a huge one as is navigating our homeschool work. Oh, chores too. Lord help me!

Happy New Year, friends!

Love and light,

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