Monday, December 22, 2014

A Look Back at 2014, Part II

The last few weeks of the year are just flying by! As eagerly as I've been hoping for the "Restart" button we push on January 1st, looking over 2014 has me all sentimental. I want to go running back to some of my favorite moments and savor them a little bit longer. There have been high high's and low low's, but through it all God has been so faithful. He has remained so steady when I've felt insecure and wavered. He knew just what I needed before I knew what to ask. 2015 will be the same.

Last week I shared Part I of A Look Back at 2014. I hit the highlights of all the places I have traveled, the movies I've seen, and the books I've read (or am still reading). Today, we continue with favorite moments, music, and the victories I want to count and cary with me into the new year.

I was in Seattle for the first half of the year, making the long journey back at the first of July. Actually my dad made the drive and I flew home --thanks, Daddy! Even so, packing up all of my belongings into my little red VW Beetle was quite the feat, and my friends sent me off with a bonfire on the beach that was heavenly. Literally. Worship music, floating lanterns, encouragements. I could have died a content woman right then and there. But I didn't ;) 2014 had so much more to offer!

Some of my favorite memories came in my final weeks in the Pacific Northwest. Going up in the Space Needle with Mel and her little one, exploring Discovery Park with Stef, food trucks at the market after church, Lifegroup fun bombs. The list could go on and on. I often said I wished I could pick up all my people and put them in my pocket to take to Oklahoma with me. Well, I couldn't do that, so I suppose hurrying myself back there this summer is going to have to do!

In September I hosted The Blog-tember Challenge which got a HUGE response! I was expecting 10-30 ladies to link up each day and sometimes we had almost 100! You gals blew me away. It was a feat in itself to blog every day for one month (I tried it in February, you know my gone-half-the-month month? That was a struuuuuuuggle). It still wasn't easy this go around, but I'm so proud of myself for doing it. The Blog-tember Challenge will definitely be back next year!

This little blog has been growing in so many ways, including my Instagram family and Twitter pals! I had the honor of being featured in Emily Ley's Simplicity Series as well as contribute to Rachel's series on Singleness at Our Yellow Door. Lauren invited me to Elle and Co. for a coffee date and I got to introduce myself to the Firework People blog two weeks ago!  I LOVE collaborating with other bloggers. Hit me up if you're interested!

At the end of this month I will have successfully completed my first FULL YEAR using the PowerSheets. Lara Casey's goal setting worksheets have made a huge impact on my progress toward the goals I set last January, and I got a new set for 2015 in the mail this weekend. I am ready to bring my best for the year to come! Now, when I say I successfully completed the year, that does not mean every box was checked or every goal was met. Oh no. Some months got a big fat question mark over multiple weeks. Life had to come first and sometimes got in the way. But I learned that every unmarked box is a space for grace, and it's all about progress not perfection. I hope to take that into the new year with me, too.

Music moves me in a powerful way. There are very few moments during the day when I am not listening to some kind of music, be it a worship CD in the car, Pandora at my office, or a Spotify playlist at home. The kind of music I listen to really affects my attitude, and I've had to make some intentional changes this year. For instance, I love love love me some country music, but all the songs about love gone wrong or longing for love began to tug on my heartstrings in unhealthy ways. It made me discontent and envious, and put me in a foul mood many days which was absolutely unnecessary. I still listen to it on occasion, but not near as much as I used to.

These days I'll choose one song, or one playlist, and have it on repeat for weeks. The songs, albums, and artists listed below have made the most impact on my heart and life this year, and they'll be the first to go on my list for 2015. I highly recommend them!

1. "Clear the Stage" by Jimmy Needham
2. "You Make Me Brave" by Amanda Cook (Bethel Music)
3. "Love Came Down" by Kari Jobe
4. "Shake it Off" by Taylor Swift
5. The Smash Soundtrack
6. Anything by Ellie Holcomb
7. The Undoing by Steffany Gretzinger
8. "Arrival of the Birds" & "Transformation" by Cinematic Orchestra
9. "I Will Raise" by Antioch Live
10. "La Reyna" by Penny and Sparrow

Really, how on EARTH do I fit an entire year in two posts? I'm beginning to think it's impossible. But there are a few more things that can't go without mentioning. This year I applied to and got into graduate school. WOOHOO! That is something to celebrate. If I'm being honest, I sometimes have a hard time naming my victories, which I know is a tactic of the Enemy to make me doubt God's goodness and provision. But no more! He led me to OSU, even if I wouldn't have originally guessed it as my destination, and has been hard at work ever since. In 2014 I moved from Seattle to Texas then up to Oklahoma. Now that's a feat!

In 2014 I fell absolutely in love with my Firework People. These gals could use their own post --their own series!-- for how much of an impact they have made on my life in the past three month. Firework People is an online community of women rooted in the encouragement of one another, calling each other up and out to live out their wildest dreams and conquer fears. What started out as a weekly Twitter chat has blossomed into a family of 850+ women. They never cease to amaze me! I have the joy of being on the core team and the Street Team Coordinator; my life is so enriched by these women! I am sure you will hear more about FWP in the future, but if you're curious send me a note or check out some of the twitter chats here: ROCKIN' 2015 + RISK

Some of the greatest joys of the year have come in small packages. I have loved having my own apartment to decorate and call home. It is the perfect retreat at the end of a long day. I made a bold move and went ombre with my hair at the beginning of the school semester, which I also loved! (Don't ask me how I feel about cutting it all of next week.... okay, I'll tell you, I'm STRESSIN' just a bit!) Being close enough to drive down to Waco for a weekend has also been so sweet. I got to celebrate a friend's bachelorette party in August, make it to the first homecoming in Baylor's new stadium in November, and see a friend in Les Mis earlier in October! It feels so good to be so close. 

2015 has a lot to live up to, but I'm sure it's up for the challenge. Now to spend the rest of this week savoring the holiday season with family and friends. Merry Christmas!

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