Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Dear Sugar: How to Make the New Year Happy (No Pie Crust Promises)

Hi, Sugar:  

I think we're all relieved that 2016 is over.   Turning the page to 2017 felt really good.   

In transparency, 2016 was on the hardest years for me for several reasons.   Our greatest joy was adopting our beautiful little girl, but every adoption process is unique.   Our recent adoption was treacherous.   I wasn't prepared for the depths and the anxiety.    

Of course, the election (the election...sigh) was stressful.   Divisive.  Exhausting.   In the past, elections for me were JUST elections...but this was significantly different.   

As we approached the end, the very end, of 2016, there were several people around me hurting in significant ways.   A sudden death of a young father and husband.   Two relatives were quite ill.   And unexpected news from home---an old friend losing a young spouse.

It seemed like 2016 was hard down to the very.  last.  minute.   

I spent Christmas Day, arguably my favorite day of the entire year, feeling like weight was on my chest and couldn't be lifted.  Despite the food, the children's giggles of delight, the warmth that radiates through rooms full of loved ones, I couldn't shake off the KNOWING that things weren't well.  All wasn't calm.  All wasn't bright.    

The losses that loved ones have faced weigh so heavily on my heart.   The brokenness.  The pending healing.   The hope colliding with devastation.    I tried so hard to focus on the Savior, that bright and bold star with its rays pointing straight to the only Hope, the Prince of Peace.  But my vision was foggy.    

Yet I sit in a nest of blessings.  My four beautiful children, happy and healthy.  My doting, dedicated husband.   My supportive extended family.   A career I love.  A warm and cozy home.    

I've been thinking a lot about what I'm going to do in 2017.  I'm not to fond of resolutions, because they are fragile and futile.   Rarely does anyone successfully stick to them.   To me, I'm either ALL in or I'm not.   No "pie crust promises" ("easily made and easily broken," said the ever-wise Mary Poppins) here.   

If you know me in real life, you know I'm not an emotional person.   Ten years with a chronic disease and mothering four children has conditioned me to "suck it up, buttercup" and HOLD IT together.   If I fall apart, it's dominoes.   So I stand tall, push on, and persevere.   I'm a do-er.    

Lately though, through the recent heartbreaks of others, I've been thinking about learning to dance with the hard stuff.   About things like vulnerability goes hand-in-hand with being salt and light.  I've also been thinking about slowing down and appreciating what I have.  Not in a cliche way.  But a very authentic way.  

Having a "happy new year" is a choice.   It requires intention without lofty expectations.   It encourages joy and peace with what IS---even if the what IS might be sad, difficult, uncomfortable.  

I have my eyes set on a few new books, which I'll post here for you.   Some I've read, am reading, and some I hope to read very soon. 

Professionally, I'm going to pour some time into my YouTube channel.  I'm part-way through writing my new book (details coming soon).   I'm writing for Adoptimist, Babble, and Kindred + Co.   And as always, I'm enjoying engaging with my readers on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.    

I'd love to know what you're planning and hoping for in 2017.   What did 2016 teach you?   What's weighing on your heart and tugging on your soul?   


Books I'm treasuring in 2017---click on the image to learn more:    

-This post contains Amazon affiliate links.  


Other random 2017 goals:

-Learn to crochet.   

-Exercise 3x a week, because I've been on a three month "maternity" leave from exercise (AKA:  LAZINESS and kids home from holiday break).  I miss my biceps.   

-Stick to my happiness list.   You can make yours in just a few seconds!  

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