faith : my one little word for 2013.

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It took me a while to decide what I want my focus for the next year to be. I predict that there will be some struggles that come my way over the course of the twelve months to come, and I tried to find the perfect word to get me through them.

While “strength” or something like it would have probably worked, I decided to go with something that I thought would truly help me be strong at the end of the year. I’ve been thinking a lot recently about how I’ve lost my relationship with my faith in the past couple years, and there’s no better time than the present to get it back.

I’m looking forward to the next year. While I know there will be trying times, I’m excited to reflect on my experiences in 365 days and remember all of the good things that came my way.

I have faith that I will be a better person after everything that 2013 will bring me. And I’m excited for the journey.

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cherish : a reflection on 2012.

A year ago, I decided to follow in the footsteps of many bloggers whose thoughts I read frequently. They all embraced an attitude shift at the start of a new year instead of the tangible resolutions most people attempt. I chose to have cherish be my guiding force through a year that I knew would include a lot of change.

I could not be happier with how successful it was.

At the beginning of January, I was an official graduate of Marquette, a university that had transformed me from a girl who looked at the sidewalk as she walked to class into a woman who smiled at strangers walking down the street. I was a brand new alumna of Pi Phi, an organization that helped me understand the true meaning of friendship. And I was unemployed. Because that’s what happens when you graduate in December with a teaching degree.

But I had a long-term gig lined up starting in June. I’d spend the summer living in Tulsa and the next two years living in Kansas City. I knew I needed to enjoy all my time with everyone here for the few months I had left and I’d figure out how to make it work once I left.

About two months into the year, I started apartment hunting. During the nine hour drive I had a “come to Jesus” moment and realized I was running away from the type of happiness I was always hoping I’d find when I picked up and moved to some place far away after reaching real adulthood. I told the folks in charge that I changed my mind, and when telling people at home that I was going to stay a Sconnie, I hid behind a million reasons that made me sound like the independent woman I always claimed to be. In actuality, a really close friend brought me back to reality and helped me realize that it would be silly to move 500 miles away from the kind of love I’d been dreaming about for years to have a job that I could get anywhere (thanks, T).

Fast forward to August, crying on the couch with all the lights off as I tell a cat and dog that I’m going to be unemployed forever. It wasn’t my finest moment. But forty job applications and ten interviews with “you were a really close runner-up” results will do that to a person. There is a part of me that believes if I hadn’t had cherish getting me through, I’d have stopped applying for jobs and tried to adopt stay-at-home-mom status with my two furry friends. But instead, I found the positive in each experience and kept moving forward.

Thank the lord.

Two weeks before school started, I got a blessing of a phone call. Not only do I work with amazing and encouraging people every day in classrooms filled with students who make me happier than they could probably ever realize, but I walk the halls that my grandpa did as a teacher for 27 years. Hearing stories about him from people who had him as a teacher or colleague is what gets me through the hardest days, and I am so grateful to have that.

I’m starting 2013 happier than the average 23-year-old living in a small town in the Midwest probably is. I 100% believe that it’s because of the attitude shift I sought a year ago. I am so much more focused on the good of the present moment than I used to be, and I’m completely looking forward to everything that continues to bring over the next twelve months.

Happy (belated) new year!