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Saturday, December 31, 2016

Goodbye, 2016!

At the beginning of this year, I deemed it the year of purpose.

I was finally going to learn to live intentionally.

I was going to become organized.

I was going to become...

better.

And I created 16 lofty "goals".

Not resolutions, because I knew I didn't have the self-discipline to truly "resolve" to change.

Reflecting back on the last 365 days, I didn't meet my goals...

but I learned a lot in the process.

I learned about purpose... my purpose.  Still not sure exactly what it is, but Micah 6:8 keeps coming back to me.
My purpose is to serve God by loving others... however that may look. And I believe that I achieved that in 2016... but my purpose isn't finished as long as I'm drawing breath. As long as there are people who need encouragement. As long as we're here on this earth, we still have work to do.

I also learned that we're not promised tomorrow. 2016 was a year of loss.. I'm not going to go into all of the sadness, because I'm ready to just move on from that. I do know that just because this year has drawn to an end, it doesn't mean there will be immediate happiness. We will face tough times in 2017 just as we did this year... Jesus promised we'd have trouble, and just because 2016 continually knocked the wind out of our sails doesn't give us a free pass to just float through life... but another thing I learned through loss is that God is faithful. Even when I doubt. Even when I question. Even when I ache... He is faithful.

No, I didn't exercise as much as I wanted to... but I did move quite a bit. I discovered that I love hiking and being in the outdoors, even though I never would have thought that I would. At the beginning of the school year, I discovered Pound, and even though I've not been a regular the past couple of months, group exercise is good. Moving your body, even when you don't want to, is good.

In the past 365 days, I counted over 1,000 gifts and rediscovered that gratitude truly is the secret to finding peace in the difficulties. Some days, we just don't feel thankful, but to intentionally search and find something truly does make things look a little brighter. Some of my joys included my little people- Melody, Will, Braylee, and Lily... sunshine, Diet Coke, reading, and the legacies of my loved ones. And I learned that my people- Wallace and Caleb and Lauren Green and the Bowlings/Bates and the Griffiths and the Clemons Clan and the Jackson Church of God and the Providence Pentecostal church family...

My people are the best.

 I learned that His Word is alive and active and is truly a balm to the soul.  I set out at the beginning of the year to focus on was being in the Word... and I didn't do so great on this one. While I know that in times of turmoil He truly is our peace, there were a lot of days when I just wasn't feeling it... and that's ok. What does amaze me is that throughout the past year, His Word spoke to me at just the right time... even when I wasn't looking! While I wasn't as intentional at reading and studying the Bible like I had hoped, He was faithful.  I'm seeing a theme here.

I didn't write as much as I had wanted, again because many times this year I just didn't have the words. Didn't have the heart. What I did have was a chance to reflect... internally... and this was good.

I learned that kindness really is paramount, that laughter truly is the best medicine, and that rest can make bad days seem better.

I learned that even though small towns can be boring and meddlesome, they are also pretty awesome in difficult times.

Mostly, I learned that I should live in the moment... a lesson I'll fully take into the new year with me.

So, 2016... thanks for the All A 14th Regional Tourney wins and hiking in the Gorge and sunny days on the lake with my skin hot and a good book in front of me. Thank you for laughing with Caleb while singing in the car, the breeze through my sunroof, Melody laughing and talking, Will dancing and facetiming me, Beauty and the Beast with my Mom and sisters, new flavors of Oreos (especially Smores!), good books, Bethel Camp with my Clemons people, including a hike to the firetower that I thought would kill me and a trip to see the wild horses; heartfelt graces by kiddos in Tennessee, sweet voices singing at church on Sunday mornings, smiles and watching Caleb play football and getting to hold baby Scarlette for the first time and a Halloween themed wedding for Brandon and Nicole.

I'll take your lessons... lessons learned the hard way... and try to do better in the coming days.

So, I bid you Adieu...

And will spend the next few hours binging on Gilmore Girls and reading and reflecting...

ready to embrace whatever 2017 has to offer.








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