#NeverDull2016 Year in Review

At the beginning of the year I was asked by several people, and challenged by several more to come up with a word or theme for 2016. I am not really a goal setter. I do not have enough organization as a personality to plan things out well…Nor do I enjoy it. I more often than not fake being organized, and typically use all of my organizational capacity for my job.

However, this year I decided to try to pick a word or theme. So, I picked “Never Dull”. It felt like a way of focusing on all the big and little things, noticing how interesting and worth while life can be. After having a few hard years, I needed a year not focused on healing or regrowing, but instead a year focused on the life I have, the good, bad, interesting, growing, and adventures that can be found every day!

Thus, #neverdull2016 became my social media hashtag.

You can read my 2015 year in review posts here.

So, what a year 2016 was!

January

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We had a record-breaking snowstorm in DC, with over 30 inches of snow in 24 hours.
My sister came to visit, and I surprised her with a whirlwind trip to NYC.

February

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Uganda team meetings started! #Ugandaexcited
I studied Romans with a group of other leaders.
I got to tour the Capitol building for the first time.

March

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Threw a bachelorette weekend for one of my best friends.
We continued our Easter tradition and several college best friends came and stayed. – We failed again at going to the top of the Washington Monument lol
I started my big side tattoo!

April

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One of my girls from MI came to visit for her Spring Break.
I went to Philly and got to hang out with some of my favorites.
Threw a super fun fundraising house party for clean water wells in Uganda.
I also started having much more regular meetings with other churches to talk about First Impressions things.

May

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One of my best friends got married! #Howboutthemappels
Our Uganda meetings started happening twice a month!
People continued to join us at the gym haha

June

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We had the 2nd Annual Race for H2Ope Run/Walk fundraising event for our Uganda mission.
I went to Nashville, did a whirlwind visit, and helped her drive back to DC for the summer.
I continued my tattoo process.
I got to help teach dance classes throughout the summer with a super fun group of ladies!

July

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I finished my tattoo just in time for it to heal before going to Uganda!
Our team went to Uganda and dug 2 clean water wells! You can read more about it here.
Our house shifted as one roommate left and a new one began living with us.

August

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I spent the first 8 days of the month in Uganda.
I went on my first date in a year – Had a great time, but it didn’t go anywhere.
We did a presentation at the Fairfax JDC about our work in Uganda.

September

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I went to Disney World for the first time! – With a ton of my family! It was awesome!
Family Dinner Mondays started up again for the fall. – It has been such an amazing weekly time!
College friends had a free weekend, so they came to visit and we all headed to the beach!
A group of us undertook project get Amy’s iron up.. which meant a more strict diet than normal; it sucked and was great all at the same time.
I put all of my roommates on a traveling ban because we travel SO much…. it failed miserably. lol

October

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I went to visit 6 churches to learn from them and deemed it my #tourdechurches – It was amazing!
Our church celebrated its 20th anniversary.
My little brother’s wife had their first baby! – She’s so cute!

November

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I was able to go to Puerto Rico for free cause I have lucky friends haha
I had to say goodbye to friends who followed a God-given dream across the country.
My roommates and I are now fluent in food as a love language.
I finally finished my “corner office” for my consulting work!

December

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This is always one of my favorite months in DC. There’s so much happening, fun parties and sweet time with friends.
I got to spend a lot of time with my family for Christmas, it was amazing.
I got to snuggle my new niece.

Overall

I feel like this year was full of adventures, big, small, and everything in between.

How did this year compare to what I thought it would be? – You can see some of my goals and predictions here.

In some ways I feel like it was pretty spot on… In others it was close, and obviously in some ways it was totally different.

In general, my sentiments are: What a beautiful year it has been.

I find myself grateful. Incredibly grateful that I was able to experience such amazing things this year with so many wonderful and amazing people. I feel rich with friendships and people I love. I am grateful for the adventures and the laughter. What an incredible year full of ups and downs and everything in between.

#Neverdull2016

Anything but Boring 2016

It has finally happened, I have had a moment to look forward to 2016.

You can see my 2015 review here.

What do I see moving into this year? I have no idea.

On one hand, I have SO much of my life planned for this year already, mostly out of necessity for work rather than actually being a planner. (I fake a J in the Myers Briggs quite well most of the time). On the other side, I really have no idea what to expect from 2016.

I am looking forward to the fact that I have an idea of the cadence of this year. For instance, I am now fully aware that my next real “slow season” will be next December (ha!), unlike the false “it slows down after…” that I was repeatedly told this last year!

But, I am excited and looking forward to a few things in 2016:
Getting to travel. – As in, I know currently I will get to travel to several states and countries this year. (More on that later)

Stoked.

No moving. – I won’t have to move this year, unlike the TWO moves I had to do last year!

Praise the Lord!

Bills bills bills – I will be able to pay off the remainder of my credit card debt this year. Meaning, I will have taken my credit card debt from more than $10k to $0 in two years.

Absolutely giddy.

Spiritual health – I have a plan for growing spiritually this year, and I am very much looking forward to it.

Deep peaceful breath.

Health – I have more health goals this year than I ever have. Mostly because I am aiming in a direction rather than my classic “get healthy” of previous years. 2015 completely changed my health, and I am excited to continue to work (hard) for even more of that this year.

#Hotbodywhoa #WhatifIwantpizzainstead #TotalHealth #Dedicationwillsuck #Gettinghealthycanbefuntoo

Community – One of my favorite things to do is gather community and create it wherever I go, I’m excited to do that even more this year.

Doing life with people is one of my favorite things.

Hair – We all know my hair will change a bunch, I love experimenting and using my hair as a conversation piece… It is truly amazing how much space unique hair creates for people to feel more comfortable around me, and I love that element of it all.

Red? Pink? Purple? Blue? Blonde? White? Black? Paramount?.. Maybe 😉

Tattoo – Finally, I am finally ready to get my new tattoo, and I am stoked about it! There are probably a hundred different elements to the tattoo, so I am really excite to start the process of getting it.

So excited!

So, what do I think of 2016? I dunno, it will be full of a lot of things.
Beauty
Adventure
Change
Laughter
Stress
And so much unknown…

The one thing I know of 2016 is that it will be anything but boring.

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Follow along this year on Instagram @Kristapbback and #NeverDull2016

 

Trees…

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Over the last year and a half I have become slightly obsessed with trees.

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Especially cool looking trees.IMG_1243

But, my obsession is not just because I all of a sudden noticed trees, or had an encounter with one, but because God used trees… Or specifically one tree to show me His plan for my life.

It is a little odd now to think about, how much I used what I came to decide and call a prophecy given to me at such a low point in my life to cling to hope… You can read more about what was said to me here.

You see, there were some seriously long periods of time that felt like I had died or that I had nothing good, helpful, or beneficial to offer.. or as my sister-in-law puts it, I had become like a “little sad grey piece of paper”. Which is about as accurate a description as they come.

But, even during those times of struggle, I knew God would use what was happening to me, and even all of my failings throughout, and He would take it and He would grow it all in the ways that only He can.

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Then slowly, over the course of about six months He began to reawaken me. It was as though He knew it had to be slowly in order for me to survive and not undo or break the ways He had grown me. I mean, it makes perfect sense, He is the one who set up how the world grows, the laws behind the health that takes place in a tree after a severe pruning. He did all of that… It only makes sense that He would then apply those same rules to the way in which He began the re-growth phase of our journey. In the process of cutting away, and then in the slow-growing back, my already deep and wide foundational root system grew and strengthened. I learned in new, painful, refreshing, and restorative ways how God provides for me… Especially when I do not deserve a thing.

Then, ever so slowly I began to realize that the grey had dissipated, and maybe, just maybe beauty would return to my vision. Maybe I would see and feel deeply once more. Possibly, I would once again revel in joy in ways that I had grown to expect throughout my life. Laughter would return easily and sit in my heart for longer. Life, beautiful overflowing life would allow me to dance my way through it once more.

Then, out of the blue, I was gifted the picture below. What a special little I love you drawing from God delivered from a new friend. She said she was praying for me, and she could not get away from a tree, but specifically the roots, and that God is regrowing me. She had no idea of my past, and certainly did not know anything about my tree.

And just like that, God reminds me that He sees me, and then tells me exactly what we are doing this year.

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I discovered a while ago that I tend to get tattoos when God changes my life. Not in regards to physically changes or when He moves me or anything similar to that… But, when He changes who I am, the deep down makeup, and especially when it is so dramatic that it causes me to be totally changed… Those are the things that spur me towards a tattoo. Almost like a forever mark on the outside showing what He has done on the inside. I equate it to the Old Testament temples and name changes whenever God encountered His people.

I have been slowly piecing together what my tree tattoo will look like, who will do it, where it will go, and all of the meaningful elements that will tell a story within it. I am so excited to get it (sometime soon) and share it with you all.

I have been forever changed, and while I am not done regrowing, I have begun to feel the beautiful new fruit that is coming.

(As an FYI, and to be totally honest I did not take two of the pictures in this post)