As I began writing this post, on the last day of 2016, my heart couldn’t be more full. Many of us are reflecting on the last 365 days, or anticipating the next.
Since my 29th birthday, the beginning of my new year started on July 14th. Around my birthday I would take time to reflect and to intentionally plan my next year of life. So when January 1st rolls around, I am usually half way through “my” year; but I’ll check in, reflect on the years past, and sometimes begin the year with a few new goals in mind.
This year, with the start of my blog, I’m feeling a lot more reflective on 2016, and I’m really thankful for another chance to restart, or redirect my steps in an intentional direction.
Before I jump ahead, I want to take a moment to reflect here, with you, on my 2016 intention adventure. My journey has not always felt as “intentional” as I set out for it to be, but I need to remind myself that I am not trying to obtain a big goal, I am not trying to reach a destination, my intention adventure is about the journey; it’s about learning what it means to be intentional and how to be intentional in all aspects of my life. I know that some of my steps have been a lot less intentional than I’d like to admit, but I have taken a moment to learn from each step, to reflect back, and to be thankful for where I am. What’s important is that I am moving forward, even if it is just one small step at a time.
Christabel, this one is for you (she asked me this last week); If I had to give you my top three best moments of 2016, they would be as follows: The marriage of my brother to my newfound sister-in-love, self-discovery on the beach, and Portugal.
There’s really nothing like adopting a new member into the family, especially one as close as ours. Dana, my newest sister, couldn’t be a more perfect fit. I am so blessed by Tyler and Dana’s love for one another; I can’t say I have yet experienced anything so pure and true. The two of them make me smile and their Florida wedding back in January was the perfect way to start the new year. It was such an honor to be a part of the preparation, spending time with her family, witnessing their beautiful wedding ceremony, and to since then have been able to witness their love for one another. And even more exciting, in May 2017, I will be an aunt! Thank you both for the blessing that you are in my life. I am so excited to experience the many “sisters” God will place in my life in the years to come, but Dana I am so grateful you were the first. I love you two and your love!
Speaking of Florida, and beaches, this year I made it my intention to visit the beach any chance I got. I would bring all the books I was reading at the time, my water, a cold brew, and maybe a delicious treat, set myself up on the beach and just enjoy that time between me and God and the beautiful creation that is the ocean. I began a journey to read 30 books by the time my next birthday comes around, and I am actually surprised by myself as I am on number 11! I am learning so many things about myself, my soul, my hearts desires, and my creator. These moments on the shore have helped shape me in the last year, they have inspired me in a new way, and I am eager to continue this journey.
And Portugal; what a beautiful, beautiful place. It was not until I met Christabel that I had ever been introduced to the Portuguese culture. She and her family, all 100% Portuguese, are the most welcoming group of people I have ever met. Not knowing any one else from Portugal, I could not be sure that this was a cultural trait, but I had an inkling that it just might be. This past September I had the privilege of traveling with Christabel to Portugal. Never before had I encountered a culture of people who were so warm and inviting…and who made me eat more than I knew I was capable of! There is so much to share about this experience, so I will save most of it for a later post, but it was one I will never forget. Portugal was the first time I was able to really experience a country from a local perspective. Christabel speaks the language, so we were really able to explore the country without any language barriers. We met some wonderful people, ate some amazing food, and immersed ourselves in the history of the country. I was lucky to have met and spent time with Christabel’s sweet grandparents; they were my favorite part! And spending quality time with your best friend, traveling the world, there is really nothing greater!
These were all some pretty amazing adventures, but there were so many more. And not all of them joy-filled. There were certainly some difficult times, some trying times, some times of heart ache, desperation, selfishness, pain, anxiety, depression, confusion… the list goes on. But what I have started to learn as the year ends, is that I need to find an anchor for my soul. And I know for me, that anchor is in God. He is what keeps me grounded through the hard times, who gives me hope for the future. And as I continue this journey in 2017, I plan to explore this to a deeper level, to have a greater understanding of who I am and what I believe. And of course I will share it here with you.
I want to live my life with purpose and intention, one step at a time.