Ian and I recently had dinner to celebrate his birthday and we started talking about this year compared to years past. It has honestly been a great year. Nothing crazy has happened, but we’ve just had some great moments and have learned and grown a lot. Compared to the hard but great years we had in 2015 and 2016, 2017 was a year of reflection, contentment, and growth. I am thankful for it.

My favorite memories this year, in no particular order

Being able to take a road trip across Canada with my family and having my grandparents meet Cove for the first time. It was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been, and I definitely want to go back again.

Launching The Southern Trunk Shop. I remember spending new years day last year brainstorming and working on new products with Ian and then in the spring, we were able to open up the shop on the site. I’ve learned so much about blogging & business this year and feel so honored to be able to continue doing something I had once dreamed about doing for so long. The shop was something Ian and I talked about for a while beforehand, and a fun project to do together. Along with that – I truly feel giddy seeing people wearing and using our products. The Local Sweatshirt is my absolute favorite and it makes me so happy seeing people out and about in it.

Finding out we were pregnant. We didn’t put a lot of pressure on ourselves on when we would have a second baby, because it was so hard the first time. I honestly couldn’t live through it again. I had some health issues in 2016 that we thought would make it even more difficult, so when the Lord blessed us with a baby boy at the end of this summer, I was incredibly encouraged by Him and how his plan is always better than mine. It couldn’t have been more of a happy surprise and just the best timing. I’m so thankful for a healthy pregnancy so far and that Cove will get to experience brotherhood.

Celebrating 5 years with Ian. I don’t know why, but this was a huge deal for me. I have loved every second of our marriage and getting to do life with him. Celebrating five years was just so special and in thinking about all we’ve experienced together, it’s truly humbling.

Taking Cove to St. Simons. I feel like every trip we take is a favorite memory, haha. I guess that’s because we have time to make so many memories together in a new place. It was special to have a little beach trip right after we found out that I was pregnant. It was like we had this secret between just the three musketeers. I loved it, even if I was sick most of it.

Life Lessons

This year, we grew a lot in both of our businesses. While I am so grateful for the blessings, it really refined and taught Ian and I a great deal. Success is defined differently by everyone you talk to, but to us there is more than just doing “well” in your career. It’s truly about finding balance and keeping your priorities straight.

In order to do well, it’s important to take time for the things that matter the most and to fill yourself up with things that will continue to propel you as well as keep you humble. We’ve also learned to shake off some of the distractions that can hinder us from doing things well. For example, laziness, comparison & relationships that are not edifying. I don’t know if all of that makes sense, but I feel like I’m constantly reflecting with Ian and mentors to make sure I don’t get too big for my britches and I am working hard for the right reasons.

I also learned a great deal about boundaries. I shared a little bit about that here, and how the lack of boundaries even started to affect my health. This year was the year of putting what I learned into practice and making healthy changes for my family and for myself. I’ve had some really unhealthy relationships that have sucked so much life out of me and I felt like I couldn’t say no to, but learning to set boundaries has truly been freeing and I’ve seen the effects of it spill into other areas of my life.

This year, I made more of an effort than ever before to stick to a quiet time for myself and it honestly changed my outlook and helped me stay grounded more than I’ve ever felt in my entire life. In the past, I felt very inconsistent or I just didn’t have a plan that I stuck to every day. Staying in God’s Word, and truly learning how to study it, is something that makes me excited to wake up every day. It also helps keep my mind on truth instead of emotions and listening to “your gut” when making decisions.

Something that’s really stuck with me that I heard from a mentor is, “How do we expect to hear God or know him when don’t spend any time with him.” It’s the same thing with our spouses. Most of us didn’t think we could ever love them more than we did that day we said “I do.” But I know from five years of experience and talking with my parents who have been married for thirty that you love your spouse more and more each day than you did on your wedding day. Unfortunately, we wouldn’t know them or develop that love if never spent any time with them, or if we went off and lived a separate life never sharing or talking with them. We know and deeply love them because we live all our moments alongside them, share with them our hearts and learn from them. It is the same thing with God. We can know and love him more by reading his Word every single day. Not just five minutes, but making it a lifestyle to be in conversation with him and meditating on scripture.

I feel like I could write an entire post on what I’ve learned regarding motherhood this year, but I’m not going to. I am just going to share that this year has been refining in the sense of learning to discipline out of love, instead of out of anger, as well as how incredibly important my example is. I don’t think the first year showed me that as much as this year did, with my little sponge and buddy next to me all day long. It’s so easy to be a reactive parent instead of a proactive one, but even as a toddler, kids can learn what expectations you have for them. And yes, they will mess up, but you’ve got the most important job, and that’s to be consistent and loving through it all.

I hope that wasn’t too transparent for you all, but I wanted to be open with you about the work God is doing in our lives. I hope you all have a wonderful 2018 and that more than accomplishing goals and resolutions that you live intentionally every single day.

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