Thankful for 2016, Ready for 2017

2016. What a year! It certainly had it's ups and downs, but it's a year I'm thankful for and one of my best yet.

2016 will always be the year Tommy and I made a promise before family and friends to love each other always, through the good and the bad times. I'm really thankful for that!

Here are a few other highlights from this year:
• we spent a good bit of time preparing for our wedding & marriage; we went on a pre-wedding retreat and also met with an awesome couple who went through pre-marital counseling with us;

• we attended lots of weddings and got to watch many good friends make the same promise we made;

• we finished planning our own wedding and the day finally came!!;

• we enjoyed an amazing honeymoon, my first trip to the Caribbean;

• we moved into a cozy apartment and get to start and end each day together;

• we spent a lot of time with family;

• we went to the beach a handful of times (always something to be thankful for in my book);

• I passed the one year mark at a job I love and took on some new responsibilities at work;

• I found time to hand-letter more;

• I saw a lot of growth and progress in my lettering;

• I got to do some great freelance design and lettering projects;

• friendships grew;

• we studied the Bible and really became part of an awesome small group community and church;

• I got a mentor! and there's a really cool story that goes along with that. Feel free to ask me about it.

As I’ve reflected on 2016, I've also been looking forward to 2017. There's a growing trend to choose one word to focus on for the year, and I've decided to hop on board! And, I’m going to give it a slight twist. Call me indecisive, or as I prefer to think of it, creative – I’m going to go outside the one-word idea and choose two.

There are several reasons I'm choosing two words, but it comes down to the idea that I want to focus on growing in different ways in different areas of my life. There were a lot of related words I was considering – here are some of my brainstorming notes:

one word:
gracious / grateful / content / grace
adventurous / bold / not afraid / make moves
growth / maturity / take a deep breath
patient/ content / understanding / generous
kindness / thoughtful / hold your tongue
transformation / perseverance / building

While different words are particularly meaningful and a particular growth goal in different areas of my life, they can also be applied in different ways to each area – they seem the most relevant for where I am in life in the most ways. I'm mostly thinking of this in terms of work/my job/profession, and hobbies/personal life/family/friends. These words compliment each other well and I'm excited about how they apply to me personally; where I am and where I’d like to be going. I sat on them for a couple of weeks and still feel pretty good about them.

So, here are my words!:

Bold & Gracious

Here's why I decided to choose them:

• because i want to be more understanding;

• to talk less, listen more;

• to pause before I speak;

• to be consciously aware of my words and the impact they have;

• to be patient and think of myself less;

• to be content with what I have;

• and to use my gifts well.

• To have grace to know I won’t always be right;

• to be able to accept when I’m wrong;

• to be able to be kind if it turns out I’m right and someone else is wrong;

• to have grace for others and myself.

• because I want to stop letting fear hold me back;

• to speak up and reach out;

• to share my thoughts more;

• to use and steward my gifts well.

• to start something new (more on that next week!)

• to not be afraid of failure;

• to be bold in the way I love others, whether I know them or not;

• bold in the way I speak;

• bold in my willingness to try something new, to step outside my comfort zone;

• bold in my/our goals, with a growing confidence in myself.

There is a kindness and graciousness that requires boldness, and a boldness that is softened and magnified by a gracious spirit. That’s what I hope to grow towards.

Cheers to 2017. I’d love to know what your word (or words) is/are!