Farewell, 2016!

While reading, listen to What Are You Doing New Year's Eve? by Ella Fitzgerald.

Out with the old and in with the new.

Can I get an amen? 2017 is just around the corner, and I could not be more excited. Thankful. Expectant. Hopeful. Ready. How are you feeling? It's been interesting to see the varying sentiments shared on social media concerning the end of 2016. Many are expressing loss, relief, joy, and fatigue. Some of my friends had their dream wedding. Others lost loved ones to cancer. This is life, every year, full of ups and downs. The promise of a fresh beginning is exciting every December 31st, because it speaks to that thing in us that wants to try again. We want to do better. Be better. I love that about human beings.

This year, no matter how many sarcastic remarks I see on Facebook about “breaking up” with 2016, there is still an underlying sense of hope in the air. Midnight awaits us, and we all carry a hope for _____. Perhaps for more. Better. Different. Calm. Resolve. Courage. What are you hoping for in 2017?

I love praying and thinking about goals for the coming year. Not everyone finds this to be helpful or appealing, but it is my way of tackling the year intentionally. The things I hope for can remain unnamed and unspoken, instead of out-loud and on paper - urging me towards a better me. I don’t want what God is speaking to be secret or scary. Sharing those things with a community, and creating attainable, accountable steps to get there, is the only way I’ve been able to walk out obedience. That’s what goals are to me: being intentionally obedient and passionate towards what God is saying, and towards who I want to be. 

But before I set goals, I always like to give gratitude some time. Remembering and reflecting are great motivators for what is ahead. Doing those things reminds me that God has been and will continue to be faithful, that my life is more beautiful than I think, and that I am a work in progress. As I look back on 2016, I am overwhelmed. Each month has crafted a beautiful mosaic of messy, imperfect, change, fresh starts, courage, community, and growth. I’ve joked all year that God has been “moving and grooving” in my life, and that’s truly how it’s felt. Movement. Progress. Joy.

I can’t reflect on this year without taking a moment to say thank you. Thank you, all of you, for reading my blog, for supporting my published articles on Darling, and for being such champions of my creative endeavors. Everyone has days when they doubt the value of their work, and it has been on those days especially, that your texts, comments, and emails have meant the world. My little corner of the internet is not even a year old, and I know that the road ahead is even better and brighter. 

2016 Highlights…

  • Graduating from Life Pacific College with my Bachelor’s in Biblical Studies. Reed also graduated on the same day with his Master’s in Strategic Leadership!
  • Moving from the Los Angeles area to the Bay Area, to live closer to my family and join a new church.
  • Joining pastor staff at The Bridge Foursquare Church, and leading Pursuit Youth and BRDGYA, specifically.
  • Going to Oahu for a week for our denomination convention, and some vacation!
  • Camping at my favorite lake with family and dear friends.
  • Getting articles published on Darling.
  • Launching Victoria, Truthfully.
  • Becoming Aunty and Uncle to two, precious babies: Rylee and Vin!
  • Visiting Disneyland, three times. Thanks to our wonderful, magical friend. You know who you are :) 
  • Exploring the Bay Area with my husband. Highlights: Napa Valley, Monterey Bay, San Francisco, Half Moon Bay, and Muir Woods.
  • Speaking at a Christian girl’s conference.
  • Blogging every day of December for 25 Days of Blogmas.
  • Learning and applying new creative skills: Photoshop, YouTube, photography, SquareSpace, etc.
  • Spending Thanksgiving with both sides of our family, and my best friends, Meg and Lo. 
  • Celebrating one year of marital bliss with Reed.
  • Leading a girl's bible study at a local high school for three months. 
  • Celebrating a ton of weddings with dear friends!
  • Praying with high school students throughout the year to receive Jesus in their lives for the first time. 

Tomorrow, I’ll be sharing my goals for 2017! I hope they encourage you and maybe give you the nudge you need to add some extra thought to your New Year. 

Have a fun New Year’s Eve, friends! Spend it with people you cherish, drink ice-cold champagne, and ring in 2017 with a kiss!