After a tumultuous and painful 2013, 2014 brought my heart so much peace and understanding. I remember sitting downstairs on our leather couch in our cramped townhouse in San Diego drafting all my goals for 2014. They were the normal, run-of-the-mill type of goals--you know the ones--be healthy, find a hobby, make smart choices, find more friends, be better, etc. Within ten minutes I was bored of my list, and I ripped the paper from the yellow-lined notepad I was scribbling on and tossed it into the garbage. I sat in silence watching Tim flip through channels and football games, and I thought about how much our relationship had flourished in spite of all the pain we endured throughout the previous year, and I knew immediately I only needed one word to be my goal for 2014, and that word was grow.

I wanted/needed so many areas in my life to grow. They had become dead, dried up, or washed up. The me I really wanted to become was empty. She was lifeless. And I knew a lifeless vessel couldn't weather the storm with three--soon to be four--small vessels following her. I made a list of all the relationships that needed weeding, all my weaknesses that needed pruning, and all my strengths that needed fortifying, and I got to work. The work was hard and tiresome, and I gave up a few times in the middle, but now at the end of the year, I see a small, budding garden of people I've grown to love and weaknesses I've grown to be strengths.

In the midst of my personal gardening if you will, I learned a very important lesson--I learned to accept things/people/relationships for what they are and not for what I hoped they'd become because the hoping they'd be more than they actually were was oh so exhausting. For example, I mended a relationship (that unbeknownst to the other person in the relationship) caused me a lot of heartache. I'd lie awake at night wondering how to make it better when in reality it was just as it needed to be--it just took me years to see that. I wanted something more out of a relationship that I ultimately learned exists to serve a few purposes and nothing more. I wrestled with that idea for months, but when I finally let go of my unrealistic expectations for the person and said relationship, peace filled my heart in a way I could never have imagined.

Allowing myself and others the opportunity the chance to grow brought renewed life to my soul. I started seeing light where I once saw so much darkness. Tonight as I sit in a new state, in a new house and on a new couch in a room filled with so much light, I have decided this year my word will be honor.

I intend to honor the friendships I took time to grow last year by showing my gratitude in different ways whether it be through an unexpected phone call, email, text, or letter. I want the people in my life to know how much I love and respect them.

I intend to honor my body. Since Felicity's birth, I have struggled to look in the mirror. My mind plays tricks on me, and I am finding it hard to help my brain see past what it thinks are imperfections. When I think through my 31 years on this earth, I realize how lucky I am to have a healthy and able body that allowed me to ice skate for more than 10 years, run for more than 16 years, walk hundreds of miles through the streets of Argentina and Europe, and give life to five kids, and birth four beautiful girls. It is time I start honoring this beautiful creation I've been given.

I intend to honor to my husband. People always ask me how I survive so much chaos, and I always point at Tim and say, "I make it because of him." Tim is the best person I know. He gives way more than he receives. He loves me in a way I can't really describe. He sat with me when I hit rock bottom, held my hand, past no judgment, and without saying a word--he pushed me to higher ground. I am going to find ways to honor him and our relationship.

I intend to honor my girls. They are growing so fast. Tonight I was running my fingers through Genevieve's curls as I sang her bedtime songs, and I couldn't believe how long her hair was. It's like she grew a foot in a day and her hair grew too. All the girls are in different stages. Some of the stages make my blood boil, but for the most part, the stages are fun and interesting. I love seeing who they are becoming, and I love being a part of it.

I intend to honor myself. There are so many things I want to do--like I want to start drawing again and I want to cook for 50 people and I want to read 10 books and I want to be more consistent with my blog writing and I want to learn how to do about a million things (like start our grill for example), but I never do any of them. I claim I don't have enough time in the day. And it's true, my time--you know the minutes I actually spend alone--are very few. If I'm not with the kids or making meals, I am working. If I'm not working, I am usually putting off work to cuddle with Tim because the man just needs a good cuddle every now and again, but then I get stressed that I put off work and I work double time the next day. It is a vicious cycle. But this year, I think I am going to try and organize my life a little better so as to find ways to develop talents and return to old interests. I'm tired of not doing what I intend to do because of excuses. Excuses are the worst.

And lastly, I intend to honor my God. Just as soon as Felicity's schedule begins to take shape, which I anticipate happening rather soon because it's already beginning to happen, I am going to go back to some sort of normal scripture reading pattern. I was doing really well with my early morning readings until November 18th. I just need to find a new schedule and a new way to squeeze in some one on one time with the man upstairs.

Well, there you have it. There's my word for the year. Felicity is screaming for food upstairs so I better go. Be kind to us 2015! Please be kind.

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"Be kind and considerate with your criticism... It's just as hard to write a bad book as it is to write a good book." Malcolm Cowley