1. Travel: California with my daugher Katie in March. We adored going to San Francisco and Big Sur and Carmel with my mother and my nephew and then going to Hearst Castle and LA with my sister. Mike and I went to Sanibel Island in Florida for a week in May and it was rejuvenating and beautiful and idyllic. I also took an Asheville getaway alone and it cleared my mind and spirit. Then we loved traveling to NC at Thanksgiving to spend quality time with our dear friends.
2. Movies, Concerts and Bluetooth Speaker. After 15 years of an extreme lack of movie theater attendance, we saw more movies this year than all of those years combined. I especially loved The Hundred Foot Journey and Chef. We really really enjoyed seeing some favorite musicians this year too. Josh Garrels in Charleston and The Brilliance Music and Shane + Shane and Reeve Coobs. And Mike surprised me with a Bluetooth Speaker in the summer that I ADORE for listening to music through Spotify and also podcasts.
3. Community and Service. Initiating IF:Table, IF:Pray, a Bread and Wine Book Club, Growth Group, my Fall Potluck, and Birthday parties were the most meaningful events of this year. Connecting with other women and listening to their stories and combining that with food is where my heart beats fast and gets excited. Podcasting with Elizabeth Foss and speaking to a local MOPS group were places where I offered women thoughts about intentional living, self-care and loving well. I also coordinated many meals for new mamas or families struggling with illness in our church and community and that always brings me great joy to see families fed and cared for. Attending Beer & Hymns - South Carolina and Wine & Worship with my church family were also venues of connection, joy and encouragement.
4. Organization + Homeschooling. Using PowerSheets clarified my goals and priorities for the year and helped me recognize what fires me up and where I need to invest my time. Doing lots of freezer meals as I entered the busy Autumn season kept me sane and able to lead my children well in learning without hours spent in the kitchen. My Advent season went smoother than ever due to careful planning and lack of sickness. Arrows Academy was the perfect fit for my teens this fall in terms of academics and community. Reading Aloud and audio-books were the best tools of teaching my younger children this year.
5. Gifts. A new phone, a new bed + bedding, 40 (+1) gifts from friends at my birthday, meaningful prints from women, a new planner, and best of all, Lily Mae...the Maltipoo whom we all adore. She brings us great joy and laughter and we love having a dog again after waiting many years for the right one.
6. READING! I read over 50 books this year. Books continue to be some of my very best friends, mentors and inspirations.
7. How in the world did I forget to say VOXER!? Best new app for me in 2014. I get to talk to dear friends every. single. morning. We share our plans, our lists, our woes, our laughter. It's been life-changing, really.
The last few years had been difficult ones for myriads of reasons. This year has been full and overflowing and sweet and meaningful and I feel so deeply deeply grateful because I know painful years and drought years and exhaustion years and so to receive this one felt like a GIFT over and again. My word for 2014 was OPEN and God asked me over and again to be open to new people, new ideas, new ways of living and loving. I was gifted over and again with beautiful environments and situations as I stepped away from fear and chose openness. The best part of being open and available was relationships. It always is. I received many new friendships this year and new women came into my life and I had many rich conversations. Because of this, I chose my word for 2015 to be INVEST. I want to keep giving myself and my gifts to the most important things in my life...my family + women + community, my own self-care/development, and my home.