2014 in Review

I love reviewing my year and looking forward to the next one to come. Each year the review looks different and takes on a vast array of feel and styles. But, I love taking the time to pause and really look at how the year went, what I did, learned, went through.. friends I made, experiences I had, but mostly the growth that happened.

I think this year was one of the most difficult, different, and unique years I have had to date. So, to prevent a bit of rambling, here are 29 things from the year I was 29:

1. I was unemployed or not full-time employed for 50 of the 52 weeks this year. – I applied for more than 400 jobs, got rejected from almost 100 of them, didn’t hear back from 200 something of them, and finally got a job!

2. I started pursuing consulting work in February, and made the transition to doing it full-time in August. I discovered that I absolutely love consulting work. So much so, that I plan on continuing it part-time on the side even with a full-time job.

3. I made a list of 29 things I wanted to do this year, I accomplished maybe half of those things.. Some of them were hopeful, some are sad that I was unable to do them just because of my financial situation, and others I am surprised and pleased that I was able to do them.

4. I had three late payments this year, but didn’t miss a single bill all year. I actually have no idea how this happened. Knowing my lack of money all year, I am totally and completely blown away by this fact. Astonished.

5. So. So. So. many people literally stepped in and prevented me from:
being homeless,
starving,
without a car (three times),
pursued for the money I owed the IRS,
in severe neck/back pain,
and a plethora of other things.
I am so shocked and amazed at how so many people stepped in and helped me with so much love and support that came out in so many ways.

6. I was able to have so much fun this year despite lacking finances to have any fun. I played for my birthday, went to New Orleans with some of my favorite people in the world, visited friends, grilled out, game nights, long talks, surprised friends for their birthday, and I got to hang out and watch movies and tv shows with family and friends.. Just so many fun things.

7. I had my sense of self and identity destroyed by being incapable of taking care of myself. It literally shattered my understanding of who I was, and what I had to offer the world to not be capable.

8. God strategically placed old and new friends in my life this year to slowly speak life back into my heart and soul. And, with their voices over the course of many many months, he slowly began telling me and showing me who I am and what my identity is once again.

9. I got more family time in the course of the last year than I have in probably the last ten years combined. Just so many fun memories, long conversations, laughter, joking, annoyances, tv shows, movies, date nights (with various family members), good food.. Literally so much wonderful quality time.

10. I have watched more tv in the last year than I have in probably the last ten years combined.

11. Last year, I had someone give what I have come to describe as a prophecy over me.. It was the awful hope that I clung to throughout the year.. Things were going to get so much worse, and I was going to look dead, and then I would grow back more fruitful and with more blessings than I would have otherwise been capable of beforehand.

12. I gained weight and was incredibly unhappy with my body.. Then I made some changes to my lifestyle and lost weight, and became much more content with how I look.

13. For the first time in my life I decided to be intentional about properly rehydrating myself. It was one of the best decision I made this year.. That is until the days I forget or am unable to consume the water my body needs/is used to.. those days I now feel awful.

14. I drove hundreds upon hundreds of miles this year. I loved every mile, and the time I got to catch up with friends or pray or contemplate and mull over things going on in my life.

15. I was able to see and re-connect with several old friends, and make a bunch of new friends.

16. I didn’t dye my hair for TEN MONTHS. Ten whole months I went (mostly cause I was poor) without dying my hair.. I spent the whole time telling myself I was giving it time to “heal” haha

17. Vormund and I spent so much time walking and traveling throughout the year. I am amazed at how much a dog can become such a place of comfort and stability.

18. I was able to spend quite a bit of time dancing this year! It had been more than a year since I was able to dance consistently so it was so nice to finally get to dust off my shoes and practice!

19. I got some pretty cool clients that are super fun to work with/for… Plus, it’s given me such great insight and knowledge into so many other industries.

20. I was reviewing my Facebook timeline for this blog post, and kept laughing at things people posted on my wall that were funny, insightful, interesting, and just overall engaging. I love the things that make my friends and family think of me, and how much they go out of their way to share those things with me! So much fun.

21. I got to take my two nephews out for birthday adventures. We had so much fun. I think I am going to try to make that a new tradition whenever possible!

22. Vormund put on around 30lbs this year, and turned two at the end of August.

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8.5 weeks old

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Just over 1 year old.

 

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Just over 2 years old.

23. I feel like this year was a year of pain and hurt.. but with a purpose at the end (that I do not currently entirely understand). Throughout the course of even just this year I have been able to encourage someone and completely understood what they were going through. It was weirdly encouraging for me as well to find people who we had struggling in common, as if not being the only one experiencing the issues helped.

24. My faith and relationship with God has been dramatically different in 2014 than it has ever been previously. We did very little actual talking, but a whole heck of a lot of sitting in silence together experiencing pain and just being in each other’s presence. I did a lot of sharing my heart, but more just pushing my heart towards Him and with a distinct lack of words to describe how I was feeling. My comprehension of who He is, and my faith in His unfailing love has grown into an unmoving solid understanding

25. I have never in my entire life stressed and worried or stayed up at night with straight up fear as much as I have this year. I spent countless nights just laying in bed physically stressing over money… I hope to never repeat those feelings or nights.

26. I gained a greater understanding of how frustrating cliché answers can be to someone truly going through a season or situation. There were days that cliché answers just made me see red and want to punch someone in the throat. When something is so profoundly emotion, cliché answers are not encouraging, but rather frustrating.

27. I learned so much about hope, hopelessness, strength, faith, pain, joy, anxiousness, stress, peace, and patience even without understanding. I would never choose to repeat this year, but I also am very thankful for how I have grown because of it.

28. It is hard to explain the level of relief I felt when I got the job in DC… To be moving back to a city I love, and to have a job, to work for a place I have loved for so long, and to finally feel like I have direction.. Huge amounts of relief… Followed by the stress of trying to figure it all out. I have been cycling through relief and stress on a regular basis for about a month now. Repeating to myself, God has carried me this far, He cannot let me go now.

29. Despite everything, love has been overwhelming this year. Friends loving me. Family stepping in and loving me, even when I was about as interesting as a little blank grey piece of paper. Loved when I couldn’t love well in return or had nothing to offer.

As I reflect on 2014, I am amazed. So many things went wrong, yet I am in a state of awe for the way that God has done things this year. Thank you to those of you who reached out and loved me, supported me, encouraged me, gave me money, did fun things with me, talked to me for hours, told me how much I mean to you, prayed for me, hugged me, took care of me and/or my dog.. Thank you for loving me strongly, gently, fiercely, and when I did not deserve the love. You all made this year possible (as in actually made it possible). I do not deserve the love and I am humbled knowing how little I had to give in return.

Thank you.

 

All of The Emotions in a Rainbow…

Sometimes, I find myself with (lots of) things to say, but a lack of desire to dig deep and flesh out the thoughts and feelings. I think that has been my biggest reason behind the almost two month absence from blogging. I have so many things I want to say and share, but a pretty distinct lack of willingness to dig it out for others to partake in. Despite the fact that I truly enjoy blogging and allowing others to see things that I am working through in my life, sometimes I want to avoid it in order to not actually have to work through them myself.

Then, a person particularly close to my heart, mentioned that they were journaling, and I was reminded of how much I do actually love blogging and sharing my thoughts.

So, here I am, blogging again.
Unfortunately, there is a swirling chaos of thoughts and emotions, so this post is a smattering of it all:

I got a full-time job!
It will take me back to DC soon, and I am stoked. As in, beyond excited because I absolutely love the place I will be working. I am so excited to get started, and to move back, but I am working not to be frustrated at the slower pace of the hiring process… Especially due to the holidays. (For those that have been asking, no, I do not have an official start date yet.)

Also, people have been asking about my consulting work. I still love consulting work! I will continue to do it even after I start my full-time job. I weighed it all out, and realized that I truly love consulting work, and I enjoy working with the clients I have right now. Plus, what I am doing now is entirely manageable with a full-time job. So, true to form, I am doing both.. And, could not be more excited about it!

I am however pretty stressed because of money and figuring out how to make the move work… Going for little or no income for a year and a half to moving is a pretty big feat. But, I find myself constantly pushing back to focusing on how God has carried me through, and is taking me back to a place I love.. How could He abandon me now? He will not.. It will however add to my crazy story thus far.

Whenever I find myself faced with some exciting possibility, I also have to struggle to not temper my feelings “just in case it all falls through.” I hate it, but I do not want to let myself be too disappointed, so I find it safer to reserve some of my excitement… While at the same time trying to seem appropriately excited. I have had to take control of my wandering mind and re-orient it, reminding myself that God has carried me through, and despite the feeling that “things could always go wrong”, the risk is worth it all. I know that on the other side, I will feel the familiar rush of relief that everything went through and it all happened exactly as it was supposed to… But, until then, prayer is where I am turning for relief.

I find myself really struggling to restrain the antsy feelings. It is a bit like trying to control muscle spasms.. I want to be done with the holding pattern that has been the last year and a half. I want to be busy, because I flourish most when I have more things to accomplish than I have time for… The less I have to do, the more I slip into laziness and apathy; I despise those two things about myself.

My sister and I are writing a book series together, and I am really enjoying the whole process with her. She is so much fun and we find ourselves laughing all the time! Talking through the various aspects of our story, the characters, progression, writing scenes, brainstorming, adding random hints and bits of humor… The whole process has been so much fun!

IMG_0502Also, on an entirely different note, I colored my hair for the first time since my birthday (10 months ago). I am back to red/fuchsia, and I love it, feels like me to have ridiculous hair again.