I’m one of those people who spends the first few days out of every new year wondering how we got here. How did we just change into a new year so quickly? Where did the time go? I wish I could say this attitude is from me being older but I think I’ve always been this way.
So before I do a year end wrap up and start reflecting back too far, I have to take time to appreciate this little break I’ve had. It used to be that I worked right up to almost midnight on New Year’s Eve. I spent the entire week between Christmas and New Year working and trying to get last minute projects done. But a couple years ago, I changed that and for the last couple I have managed to work a very small amount. This gives me a break that fills my soul, so I want to honor that and not dive right back in today without reflecting on that blessing.
I talked about my birthday and how it had left me a little weepy and reflective. This isn’t a negative necessarily, but sometimes you have to look at your life realistically and accept the things you cannot change. Holding on to hope of change when the signs point to something else is fruitless. In doing the reflecting, I also got to celebrate whatever new things life will send my way.
I loved every bit of our holidays, and especially like these silly pictures we have to remember them by. Blurry family pic? Check. Snowmen lights? Double check. We embraced the true reason of the season and kept things low key and humble. This helped us focus on what was really important.
We skipped presents in favor of a few fun things around town. Staycation over gifts. Time over money.
We snuggled with our pup, did lots of free stuff and a few cheap things and a nice lunch. We hosted brunch with my mom and did a lunch with the in-laws. Each day was about a relaxed pace and doing things that felt good. No rushing around but no boredom either. This approach might seem like a no-brainer, but I’m not one to relax. My husband jokes that I relax by working. So being able to switch gears and do things like this without worrying about work is a big step.
Spent lots of time in the studio. I used this time to play and create, of course, but also as Sabbath time. Listening to Third Day, especially helped me connect with God and think about life in the way that God would have me reflect. I’ve decided that I want my art to be the equivalent of what Third Day’s music is for me: a way to dig deeper into God’s word, to understand His love. In looking back at my “Best9” on Instagram, I noticed every picture was about art. It’s been a big influence on my entire life, but especially this year.
A few years ago we developed a gratitude practice of writing down thank you notes to each other and then reading them, one by one, on New Year’s Day. We’ve found that to be a great way get deeper into thankfulness, to not let months go by without recognizing our blessings. Reading these notes was my favorite part of our break, and a good way to usher in 2017.