Thanks to Emily P. Freeman and her blog Chatting at the Sky (an amazing, soul-filling read if you don’t already follow her), I am reflecting on what 2015 held before rushing into 2016 resolutions. I am a goal-setter by nature. A challenger. A high-intensity competitor. But, I’m learning to value the PAUSE.
The inhale and the exhale.
The quiet moments when God helps my heart to treasure what He has already done.
While it has been weeks since I have blogged, I do not apologize. Days have been full of life. Of motherhood. Of playdates. Of Christmas decorating and cookie eating. Of drinks in bed with my husband after Abby finally succumbs to sleep. Yet, it’s not all been fun and games. Food poisoning after date night could be considered one of the “highlights” of this month, as could some tough parenting moments.
But, as I sit now in a college sweatshirt and yoga capris, typing feels right and good, as I join the many pondering the past year. For simplicity’s sake, I’ll borrow the categories Freeman used in her own personal reflection and choose to give thanks for gifts – easy and hard – of 2015.
HABITS + RHYTHMS
- Coffee in the morning ~ Scoff all you want, but I’ve not always been a coffee drinker. Matter of fact, during nearly all my 6+ years as a middle school teacher, I normally drank decaf or hot tea, as I desperately wanted to avoid the stereotype of the teacher who was evil until he or she had their coffee fix. Well, I’ve joined the coffee-drinking side since becoming a mom and doula, and this year’s crazy schedule has only cemented that habit.
- Exercising with free YouTube videos ~ Exercise – specifically running – is a stress reliever for me, but traditional “gym time” has not logistically or financially fit into our family’s life most of this year. However, I have found a plethora of postpartum-body-safe workout videos online that allow me to enjoy 10-30 minutes of barre, cardio, yoga, and strength training for free while Abby has a snack or takes a nap. I strongly recommend looking up Tracy Mallet workout and Barre3 workouts if you are in a similar boat and need a quick stress-relieving session!
- Simply Tuesday ~ Once again thanks to Emily Freeman’s blog and book “Simply Tuesday,” I took time to notice the small things on Tuesdays, capture them on camera and allow the mundane to become an act of worship. Scroll through the #simplytuesday on Instagram for some soul-healing images, highlighting every day gifts.
FINDS + FAVORITES
- Digital books ~ I’ve always been a reader, but the last many years have been consumed with quite a bit of “required” reading versus reading for pleasure. However, this year I found some apps connected to various library systems that allow me to either listen to books on my phone or read them on-the-go. “Hoopla” is one of my favorites, as is “Overdrive.” (You DO have to have library memberships with libraries that participate in these programs.) I’ve once again been reading for the sheer enjoyment of losing myself in a book while also walking, cooking, cleaning, and driving. Pure bliss, I tell you 🙂
- Online shopping ~ Whether it be groceries or Christmas gifts, shopping online has become an invaluable time and sanity saver. While I wouldn’t consider myself a true “shopper” on even a good day, shopping with a toddler is a monumental task that leaves me exhausted. Hence, my newfound love affair with Amazon for basics and Etsy shops for gifts and special occasions. I have been trying to purchase specifically from small business stores and other mommies working from home. If I’m going to spend money, I would prefer to support companies that I believe in their missions.
WORK + MINISTRY
- Doula certification ~ After just over a year of working feverishly on my doula certification process, I received my international DONA birth doula certification in the mail. While this doesn’t actually change my current job, it DOES give me the freedom to focus on my family more in the coming season without worrying about certain class hours expiring, etc. Eventually, I would like to volunteer overseas with Joule Birth and support new mothers as they give birth in underprivileged environments. A portion of my proceeds from my doula job currently go to supporting the incredible work that Joule Birth is currently doing in the Rwanda/Tanzania area.
- New business website ~ Launching (ever so slowly) my new Anointed Beginnings website has been a process and a gift. Even now, I have yet to begin using its blogging features and many other of its capabilities. But, hats off to my amazing website designer and cousin Luke Zimbelman and friend and supporter Chris Bilodeau for all of their tech support and time. Please check out Anointed Beginnings LLC online if you haven’t already 🙂
- Church launch ~ Storyline Fellowship officially launched in February, and we have been honored as a family to participate in Sunday services, times of volunteering and life group meetings this year. As we go into this next year, David and I will be co-leading a weekly life group and are blessed by the community we are surrounded by.
SOUL + SPIRIT
- Friendships ~ This has been the year of making it through each day with the help of friends. More than ever before, I’m grateful for the sister friends, the mommy friends, and the couple friends who have been there for David and I during weeks when we barely saw each other – much less anyone else. It’s also been the year of realizing that I can’t please everyone nor should I change who God has called me to be to fit anyone else’s mold. I can’t say that I haven’t shed some tears over relationships that have hurt my heart.
- Motherhood ~ Slowly, ever so slowly and softly this year, I’m becoming comfortable with my role as Abby’s mama. It’s hard in this active social media world to not judge one’s own parenting abilities. Yet, the truth is that God gave Abigail Nichelle Hasz (and all other future babies) specifically to David and me, because He has also equipped US – and only us – to be her parents. We are going to make many mistakes, but we are also going to celebrate many joys, because we are going to learn what makes our children love to learn, love to obey, and love to follow their dreams.
- Hope ~ Or, rather, perhaps what it feels like to lose hope. We’ve had many setbacks this year and situations that don’t make sense. And, I would prefer to stop trusting, stop hoping, stop dreaming. Yet, when I do so, darkness creeps into my heart. Honestly, December 31st doesn’t somehow miraculously fix that either. I will wake up tomorrow with a lot of unanswered questions. BUT, I will also wake up with an entirely fresh year ahead for miracles to happen.
So, 2016. Bring it on. I’m ready. For more life. More of the glorious mundane. More of the miraculous.
Until, next year then…