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After several months and a lot of hours, this little creative place finally has a real home. Moving from a blogspot to WordPress was a ton of work, and there is still more to do but I’ve realized that it will happen with time. There is so much more to learn about this new platform, and blogging in general, which is becoming quite the amazing experience for me. I want to learn it all right now and make it amazing, but it will come as I learn and grow.
It’s a process just like everything else in this life.
A time of fresh starts and clean slates.
I spent New Year’s safely nestled in at my family’s cabin. There is something about being somewhere off the grid and surrounded by peaceful snow that seems to give you a safe place to really reflect.
Last year was a difficult one for me.
My husband had an emergency appendectomy and skin cancer, my daughter had to have her tonsils and adenoids removed, and I had reconstructive surgery on my sinuses that I am still trying to recover from. I’ve been tired, worn out, frustrated, and lacked patience with my new normal. Breathing is a wonderful thing and I am so grateful that I finally can, but losing control of my singing voice has been absolutely heartbreaking. How do you say goodbye overnight to something you’ve taken for granted all your life?
It’s a hard thing to process and I’m still not sure where to go from here.
But, I have faith that I’ll find it again.
Along with massive medical comes massive medical bills. We are finally starting to see the light at the end of that very long tunnel, only another few months! I can’t wait! Debt stinks, there is no two ways around it.
It messes with the mind and steals your peace.
In 2014 I learned a lot about letting go.
In essence that is what EXHALE means, isn’t it?
My surgery helped put a lot of things in perspective. What my priorities are, what my family needed, and what I wanted and needed for myself personally.
I was able to see who is really there supporting me, and who isn’t. I realized that there are a lot of relationships that I have clung to over the years with false hopes and no reciprocation. A hug just isn’t that comforting when it is one sided.
Over the year I let go of several relationships, and a couple of them really stung.
In a way it’s good to feel the bad so we can better appreciate the good.
I guess what 2014 taught me is that when you chose to focus on breathing deliberately, you are going to be bombarded with moments where you want to hold your breath.
But, I would not trade the stretch, nor the growth I have experienced.
It’s been a painful, humbling process, but I am stronger for it.
Half way through December I started thinking about 2015.
I thought for weeks about what I wanted it to be, what I wanted to focus on, and ultimately what I was going to give my energy to.
My wise brother and one of my besties suggested the word JOY, but it took an evening with my beautiful niece to really help me realize the power in that word for myself.
My precious niece lives several states away so I only get to see her once or twice a year. I am so grateful for modern technology and that I have the opportunity to watch her grow, even if it is only through photos on Instagram. Spending time with my niece means everything to me. Something about her spirit calms me, it’s as if her soul silently speaks to mine. She knows my very heart and she loves me despite my imperfections.
My niece has Down Syndrome and Autism.
She doesn’t care if I’m wearing makeup, what my house looks like, or the size of my clothing. She just loves me. As she grabs my hand and leads me to a quiet corner to play with her toys, as she signs for “more”, as she giggles, and even as she spits out the food I try to feed her, she just loves me. Being with her brings me happiness. Not because she is always happy, because she isn’t.
But, because she shows me how to live.
My niece feels every emotion.
She lives in them, has her moment, and then she moves on to the next one. I love that.
She has her lows, and they can be gut wrenching but despite the lows, her highs are breathtaking.
I’m pretty sure that if her laugh could be bottled or broadcast, it would inspire world peace.
It is truly the sound of complete and utter joy.
I went home that night feeling peace. She didn’t care what scars 2014 left on the inside or the outside of me. She only cared that I was present, in the moment with her. I want to keep that feeling.
That awareness that life truly is good even when it’s bad.
This year I am focusing on JOY.
I want to create it, feel it, share it, recognize it, revel in it, exude it, and choose it.
That doesn’t mean that there won’t be hard times.
How would we ever be teachable and humble, or brought to our knees, if everything was always happy?
And while it is true that every day won’t be joy-FULL, every day can have joy in it.
You see, this year is about focusing on the sunlight.
It’s about cherishing those real, meaningful, from-the-toes-magpie-niece belly laughs, even though moments later there may be struggle.
It’s about filling an already abundant life with little drops of awesome amidst the rain, and dancing in it when the opportunity presents itself.
I feel at peace with the year behind me and excited for the one ahead.
Joy and adventure are calling.
It’s going to be a good year.
What is your one word, focus, or goal for 2015?