December 28, 2016

Bringing It Back

Happy almost New Year! I've decided to dust off the blog and bring it back to life in 2017. I'm sure the two people who read it (hi JP and Aunt Terry!) will be really excited. Ha!

I've been thinking a lot about the coming year. I haven't chosen a word to help guide my year in a long time, and a word very clearly came to me as this year was coming to an end. In a way, I think the word chose me. I've decided that 2017 will be my year of "authenticity," so my word is 'Authentic.' My prayer is that this word will guide my steps as I navigate the year ahead.

To start, I'm going to really cut back on social media. My goal is to step away from Facebook for the entire year. I'm not going to beat myself up if I find myself mindlessly scrolling, but I'm going to try to keep myself from logging in. I still love Instagram, but I'll limit my time there as well. I want the people who know what is going on in my life to be people who see me face-to-face. And that goes for my friends as well. I want to hear about their lives over coffee and play dates, not over the five inch screen of my iPhone.

I'll turn 35 this year, which feels close to creeping up on 40. I want this year to be the year I feel most at home in my own skin in all areas - physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I want to eat good food, exercise more (lots of Pilates and barre - I'm not a runner and I don't like yoga and that's okay). I'm an introvert and a homebody and for most of my adult life I've felt guilty or ashamed of that. I'm not a hermit, but I love being home playing with my girls. I love to work from home and I love decorating our house. Not because I want to show it off, I do it for the three people who share my home with me. If my girls grow up appreciating a cozy, beautiful home, I'm good with that. It's one of the ways I love on my family and there's no need to apologize for it. I'm going to stop saying yes to invitations where my only reason for saying yes is the fear of missing out or because I'm trying to keep up with my extroverted friends. This year will be quality over quantity.

This past year was all sorts of emotional because of the stress of the election. I've seen friends become ex-friends and families at each other over politics. I'm going to be true to who I am and my beliefs and I want to be more involved politically, although I don't quite know what that means, but I also want to be full of grace. I want to love my friends and family well who didn't vote like me. A person isn't identified by their political party and I want to be able to understand where a person is coming from, not judge them. This goes back to why I'm quitting Facebook. I had to unfollow friends and old colleagues because of their political rants, not because I didn't care about their opinions, but because I wanted to like them in spite of their opinions. It's amazing how an unfollow created an abundance of grace. I immediately felt love for those people when my interaction with them was in person and not behind a screen.

This year I hope to be my most authentic self. I have nobody to impress. I'm doing work I love. I adore my family and I have friends that mean the world to me. Why would I want to try to live my life in a way that looks any different? I wish I had asked myself that question ten years ago. I'm tired of pretending I'm cool or that the number of friends I have is more important than the depth of the friendships. My girls don't need to go to the best school in the area. Heck, Crosbi can already read, so I think we're going to do okay wherever she is. I've come to terms with the fact that I'm boring and go to bed early, but when I'm around the people I love, I have all I need.

This month I had some great practice being authentic and it opened my eyes to how I've been doing it wrong all these years. A few weeks ago we hosted about 25 of our neighbors for our neighborhood's annual Christmas progressive dinner. I wanted my house to look perfect, I wanted to make amazing food from scratch, and I wanted to be the perfect host. I bought cute wrapping paper in hopes that our Christmas presents looked Pinterest-worthy under our tree. Leading up to the dinner, our schedules became crazy. Crosbi and Leighton were both fighting colds and I could barely make it to the store. The day of the party none of the gifts were wrapped, it was all I could do to get the floors swept and I hadn't bought all the things I needed to make my elaborate meals. I looked around and for a split second thought if I rolled up my sleeves and got to work I could get it all done. But instead I realized I couldn't do it and that I didn't want to do it. I wanted to be true to me and that meant I had to know my limits. So I shoved all the gifts under my bed, I picked up the house the best I could, and we bought premade frozen appetizers for our guests. And you know what? We had so much fun that night. I felt like I was living Shauna Niequist's theme of "present over perfect" and fully understood that she was onto something.

So here's to 2017 and a life lived authentically. To being proud of my family and my work without needing to boast about either one on social media. To saying no when saying yes will just make me feel exhausted. To intentional time with my girls, especially since Crosbi starts Kindergarten in the fall. To deep friendships, not a busy calendar. To more time in God's word. More time taking care of myself and most importantly, more time seeing people for who they really are, not what a few sentences on a computer screen might say about them (or what others might say about them). To being truly authentic.

Aaaaaaand, to writing more about my girls because man I love to go back and read posts about my babies.

Happy New Year!