Year End Review: 2013

I love putting my goals into writing and I love going back over them at the end of each year. It’s a great opportunity for personal reflection and it helps me to have a fresh perspective for the coming year.

This past year I did a LOT of blogging, but am SO behind. Life happens and we had a good bit of things go on that just put me off from being on track. So I know this isn’t technically the end of the year but it’s the end of my year of blogging from 2013 so here goes πŸ™‚

This is always a rather long, very personal post. I made a list at the beginning of 2013 of what my goals were for the year and here is how I did at meeting those goals!

  • Be like Christ. In all areas and aspects of my life. Have it so when people think of me, they think of Him This is one of those things that’s hard to judge about yourself. I do think my Christian light has become brighter and more bold over this past year. I pray that I have helped others on their walk and have been an example of Christ in their lives. More importantly, I hope I have been that for my children. I know this will be something I will continually be working on…but I’m proud of the growth I experienced over this past year!
  • Become a sponsored blogger…hopefully with the BlogHer network but if not then with another good fit for me! This did not happen…you can only submit your application for BlogHer once every six months and I’m due to submit it again. I do feel like with the combo of my new blog design, better involvement on social media, presence on Pinterest, and growth in readership that I’m on the right track to get there!
  • Find an organized system for my “office” space and keep it clutter free Haha. This was legit a goal of mine? I must have written down this goal and then immediately forgot about it! My desk is always pretty messy. It’s hard b/c my “job” is SO MANY jobs in one! Bills, blog stuff, kid stuff, family stuff. So it’s tough to organize. 
  • Be more of an active, involved member of our church family I love my Wed night bible class and have enjoyed getting to know those women so much better this past year. But overall as a family I don’t think we are involved enough. We are in a tough phase of life to be able to be super involved in all church activities, and that is something I’m learning to accept! We do our best and while we can’t always attend everything, I personally focus a LOT on the Lord and Bible Study in our home and feel we are doing a good job of raising our children along a path of righteousness!
  • Continue using Advocare products and take the time to share those products with others Gah I LOVE Advocare products!!! I can for sure see us using them for life!!! The business side of it grew and grew for me and that hasn’t ever been something I really had a goal of. I love sharing about the company and the products with others, but I am a full time mom. I don’t want any other job, even if it’s a “side job from home.” I don’t want anything to take away from my time with my kids and I think I’m at a great balance now with the Advocare stuff. I am happy to answer questions, mail samples, help others, etc but I don’t actively try to “sell it” to anyone. I am still enjoying the extra income from just sharing it naturally and organically!
  • Be patient with my toe healing process and accept whatever the solution may be for the best results This makes me sad. Who knew when I wrote this over a year ago that I’d still be sitting here today with foot issues. I am doing my best at being patient and I do think overall with this process I’ve been pretty patient about it. I’ve had to be! I pray that this is resolved and that I will one day know a life where my foot isn’t a concern anymore πŸ™‚
  • Catch up and stay caught up on Facebook photo albums I think right now I’m on Oct of 2013 for my FB albums. Def didn’t keep this goal!!! Oops! I do like to have Facebook albums though and really the only reason for it is free storage. I like having my images backed up and it’s a great place to keep them!  
  • Do not allow myself to fear the future. Life will have struggles, but there is GOOD in all things.  WOW. I cannot believe I wrote that!!! I feel like my THEME of 2013 was “God is GOOD all the time.” When Austin died I just really realized that. God isn’t why Austin died. God can’t be associated with darkness. Or bad things. He is ALWAYS good! And if God is ALWAYS good, then that must mean there is also GOOD in all things. Even the things that hurt us or are hard for us. Obviously I applied that a lot this year in the tough things with my family. So much of that came to a head and I’ve really had to begin healing through it. Having the Lord is HUGE in that process and I constantly remind myself of His continual blessings and goodness!
  • Get motivated to WORK OUT so I can look my personal best for the 10 year reunion I really did like how I looked at the reunion!!! Working out wasn’t really in the cards…again…hello foot πŸ˜‰ But I am applying that to my pregnancy and do want to continue to exercise throughout this time!
  • Respond in a more timely fashion to emails, facebook messages, and blog comments I have improved on this BIG TIME. Not with emails. But if you write me a message on the blog Facebook page…I WILL respond VERY quickly!!! 
  • Do better managing my free time. Be more productive, less random time on Facebook I also think I’ve done better in this area. Having an IPhone really helped. I’ll check Facebook in the bathroom (tmi?) and then be able to stay focused on getting done the bills, blogging, and other things I need to do during naps.
  • Continue to be mindful of the amount of time I spend connected on my phone while the kids are awake…be focused FULLY on them! I also think I’ve done better with this. Zach and I both got iPhones in 2013 and I would like to implement some family rules about them but for the most part I really try to put it down and stay focused on the kids. I do NOT however feel guilt over the times I use it. I plan to write a post on this eventually but I remember as a kid my mom talking on the phone ALL THE TIME. It is MUCH better to have the iPhone where I can respond quickly to a text and then give my kids my attention again than it is to be distracted talking on the phone and having a full conversation. I very rarely talk on the phone, I try to avoid it at all really. I feel it’s a big distraction and much prefer texting!
  • Learn how to curl my hair using a straightener, the way Zach likes it πŸ™‚ Another one to make me laugh πŸ˜‰ I tried y’all. I REALLY did. I got a wand and I watched You Tube videos and I even had Renika (my hair stylist) help me. I’m just a lost cause on cute hair. I can’t make it happen and I have accepted that it’s not my talent!
  • Focus on my relationships with Courtney and Casey and build stronger connections with them I would say that another theme of 2013 was “The Year of Casey and Jordan” I mean SO MANY of our family memories were made with them along side us! I LOVE the bond we share together and I pray it only becomes stronger in the coming year when we all have new babies! I spent a lot more time with Courtney as well and am thankful to have her as a sister in law!
  • Post 365 blog entries and try to blog once a day I thought my goal was 350 and I was SO proud and pumped when I did it!!! But it was 365 so I was 15 short haha. Oh well! I still did amazing at blogging consistently!
  • Be an encourager to others This is truly something I have to WORK ON. It doesn’t come easy for me. I am naturally very snarky and tend to poke at others and have to really try to be nice and find positive, uplifting things to say. I have found that it’s best for me to say the positive thing right as I think it! Social media is really a great way for me to be an encourager. I try to “like” a lot of posts and comment often and just try to be that positive, shining, Christian light!
  • Pay off all medical debts and being saving for new cars, Britt’s big girl furniture, etc: It’s CRAZY to me that when I wrote this goal we hadn’t started our Dave Ramsey journey yet. I can’t believe it’s been less than a year! Not only do we have ALL medical debts paid off (pretty huge considering back surgery, Kye’s surgery, foot surgery…) but we also have enough to be able to possibly buy our new car in cash!
  • Organize the house and continue to make improvements in our home Zach did great with this over the year! And a lot of the projects will be finishing up here in the next month as we get ready to transition rooms!
  • Continue to stay strong in my convictions. Remember that the choices I make are for my children and do not waiver on the things I know are right. Continue to walk in Faith and trust God’s plan. Boom. I rocked this. It can be hard at times to stay strong for the kids. I’m still a person too and I still hurt for my own selfish reasons. I also hate seeing my children hurt. And sometimes it’s tempting to change course only so they won’t have that pain. But I know that in the long run I’m 100% doing what is best FOR THEM. I do trust in God’s plan and I am confident in the decisions I’ve had to make. Even though they are difficult ones, I have not wavered. And I have been VERY tested this year. Each time I’m knocked down, I only come back stronger πŸ™‚
  • Have the attic converted into the playroom and the other attic space well organized. Also begin the planning process for the kids new rooms! Playroom is almost complete! I actually just organized the attic space this past weekend and we are well on our way to getting all the new rooms established!
  • Finish reading Shepherding a Child’s Heart and put the principles into practice I think I finished it? Like back in Dec of 2012. It was a great read and I have altered some of my ways of disciplining thanks to that book!
  • Do a better job of washing Kye’s hands after using the potty…try to even start washing them before meals… I suck at the washing hands thing! We never do it before meals! Oops! I do think Kye washes them after going potty? He’s old enough now that i’m not really in there with him!
  • Share my personal testimony on the blog and with others I still haven’t done this. Sharing my faith is something I’ve always been insecure about. Now that I’ve been a Christian for almost 10 years it’s time for me to get over those fears and insecurities and sharing my testimony on here is something I think about often. It will be coming!
  • Discipline Britt immediately when needed, keep a spank stick more readily available at all times I’ve done much better with this! I keep all the spank sticks in a certain spot in the kitchen so they are easy to grab and every time Zach goes to Lowe’s I have him grab a couple more. She requires a good bit of discipline at this stage of life and I do my best to stay on her about it!
  • Talk with the Lord, share with Him, lift others up in prayer constantly I’m thankful for the avenue of prayer and am a big believer in it’s power. I love hearing Kye pray. They say that a child’s prayers are a reflection of how they hear their parents pray and I truly have always tried to look at prayer like I’m just talking to Jesus. I love that Kye prays that same way! 
  • Buy myself a gun, learn to use it, feel comfortable using it, and get a license to carry it with me Still need to buy this…
  • Continue to do my best to help out new moms or others who may come into my life and could use my help in someway This is another one that you guys would be a better judge of, but I think by answering my blog Facebook page messages quicker that I have been able to help more new moms. I have also become a member of a secret group and have helped moms through that avenue. I truly look up to Kye and his naturally servant heart and have done a much better job this past year at living my life that way. 
  • Write a new will Still need to do this!!!! And pronto b/c we wrote our will back before we even had Kye! Yikes!
  • Hurt when I need to hurt. Vent when I need to vent. It’s okay to be sad, it doesn’t make me a weaker person and feeling those emotions helps me heal. I firmly believe this statement. And I have times where the sadness just washes over me. And I let it. I let myself be in that funk for a time and then push through it. Having kids is such a blessing during times of struggle b/c you don’t want them to feel your hurt so you naturally get over things quicker!
  • File all Aflac claims Done!!! 
  • Continue to work on being the best mom I can possibly be for my children…especially focus on teaching them to BE LIKE JESUS! I have more confidence in myself as a mother than I’ve ever had. I think being forced to make some tough decisions really made me realize what a good mama I am. And I’m thankful for that. I have enough areas in my life where I have doubt, but my mothering is not one of those! I do feel like I focus on the Lord in all areas of my parenting. My #1 goal is to raise my children to be like Jesus. Period! If I can do that, then everything else will naturally fall into place in their lives! I love our daily bible reading together and love hearing them talk about God!
  • Work on changing my entertainment choices to things that GOD would find approval in! I pretty much do not listen to the radio at all anymore. I don’t know what the current top songs are. I haven’t watched a single awards show this season. I have fast forwarded inappropriate scenes on tv shows I’ve watched. I think I have changed a TON in my entertainment choices. It’s a journey but I’m getting there!
  • Don’t argue over stupid, small things with Zach. Focus on our blessings and on the big picture. Overall we do well with this. We are so close to Casey and Jordan and they are so new in their marriage and I think seeing the things they go through helps us to appreciate where we are in our relationship more. Marriage at a year or two in is SO much different than it is at six years in. It makes me excited to continue to grow together! We are both pretty much “big picture” people but because we DO agree so much on the bigger things in life, we tend to fight about smaller stuff. I came a LONNNNG way this year in letting things go and trying not to sweat the small stuff!
  • Instead of building “wide” with my friendships, focus more on building “deep” with the ones I already have Overall, I think I did this. I have some wonderful friends and have built stronger relationships with them! I’m truly blessed in the friend department!!!
  • Try not to stress over finances. Trust Zach and the Lord and know that both will come through during the rougher times! Dave Ramsey was the KEY to this for me!!! Now that we KNOW exactly where all our money is going it is SO much less stressful! We have an amount Zach needs to make each month and he did that every month this year!!! So proud of him and so proud of us for taking control of our money!!!
  • Do everything I can to help Zach make the NYC trip, and if it doesn’t work out have the savings in place so we can go ourselves! We did it! I hate we didn’t actually make the Aflac trip, but I loved getting to visit NYC during Christmas πŸ™‚
  • Research and decide the best new camera for me Also did it! And am LOVING my new camera!
  • Be more cautious about the content I put on the internet and look into possible options for further protecting my images and blog posts. Ugh the stalker. I’m thankful that that situation seems to be resolved and that no legal action has had to be taken as of yet. I’m hopeful that I can put that behind me but I am going to remain cautious in the future. I am ready for security to catch up to the technology because there aren’t many easy options to truly be protected!
  • Continue to grow in my walk with the Lord and focus more on reading from His Word in my daily life I still struggle with this. Ugh. It makes me disappointed in myself because God gives me SO MUCH so I have NO EXCUSE not to give HIM my time each day!!! I read the Bible every day with the kids (we’ve read completely through 4 kids bibles now I think?) but I do terrible at reading it for myself!
  • Have Britt fully potty trained by the end of the year, or at least started on the process: She’s not night or nap trained but she’s 100% fully day trained!
  • Take time each day to truly SEE Zach. Touch him. Even if it’s a light rub on his arm. Connect with him in some way each day. I was doing really well at this, until I got pregnant! Pregnancy just doesn’t make me feel super lovey dovey?
  • Accept that our family may not be able to travel as often anymore…focus on making each trip we take the best it can be and focus on finding things in our community to keep life FUN! I think we had a GREAT balance of travel but also of just doing things locally. With us being more focused on our financial goals it does mean less random trips, but travel is still SUPER important to me and I do feel like we did our fair share of it in 2013!
  • Read the entire children’s Bible with the kids: We got through an entire one and are almost done with a second! 
  • Enjoy this time of not being pregnant, not nursing, not having a newborn. Get myself back to “Emily” before starting the entire process again! I was only in NORMAL Emily mode for 10 months. I weaned Britt from nursing in Jan and got pregnant in early November. Not very much me time huh?
  • Completely catch up on blog books Done!!! Yay!
  • Be mindful in not overloading my plate and only take on tasks that I truly want to I’ve gotten SO MUCH better at this. I’m careful with the things I commit myself too and am mindful to not overfill my plate. Sometimes it just happens and I can’t do anything about it, but usually I can keep it under control which really has a huge impact on my stress levels!
  • Continue making a healthy variety of lunches for the kids each day! I personally believe our kids eat healthier than majority of America’s youth! I stopped doing an afternoon snack this year for the kids and think it’s really helped them to eat better (and healthier!) overall!
  • Look cuter for Zach…wear my “cute” pjs on pj days and fix myself up even when he’s the only one who will see me other than the kids I have come a LONG way with this!!!!!! Yoga pants entered my life this year and def helped me look more casual cute around the house πŸ˜‰ I think Zach appreciates it!
  • Back up my photos regularly and find a good system that works for me Ehhhh. I slacked on this one. I mean I have a backup external for my computer, I have carbonite, I print blog books, I also upload to Facebook, and Google actually stores all the images I upload on the blog on their site too, but I still feel like I need more back ups?
  • Keep a thick skin and remember the more I put myself out there, the more “haters” I’ll acquire but that there is more good that comes from sharing my true self than there is bad! I have grown a TON in this area. Negative blog comments used to REALLY bother me. Like crying, losing sleep type upsetting. But now, I brush them off. If someone takes the time to write a mean comment then it says more about them than it does about me. I try to keep it in perspective and not let things bother me too much. Plus I have had a LOT more hurt and pain from people in my life that DO know me, so why would I let strangers get under my skin???
  • Drink more water throughout the day instead of just at meal times YAY! I have done AWESOME at this! Especially during my pregnancy so far! And it truly does make a BIG difference!!!!
  • Find a budget app or plan or something that works for us to help track our little everyday spendings so we can do better at spending smart Hello Dave Ramsey! TOTAL game changer for our family!!!!! If you STILL haven’t read Total Money Makeover then get it, you won’t regret it!
  • Be more accepting of change This is hard for me. Even good change is hard. But my whole “God is always GOOD” motto has made it easier for me to accept the curve balls that come my way. I still struggle with embracing change, but I’ve gotten better at adjusting to it as it comes. 
  • Encourage Zach to spend time doing things he enjoys, even if they don’t include me He better say I did good in this area! Dude joined a golf membership!!! He does stuff with Jordan pretty regularly. Heck, I hardcore encouraged him to do more guys nights. I look back at how clingy I used to be with him and it has really changed a LOT. I still don’t like to be left out of things and want to feel included, but it’s good for him to have his own hobbies and such and I think I do a much better job at being supportive!
  • Continue to be content in all the areas of my life! Keep my focus on the people who matter the most: Zach, Kye and Britt.  Yes. Yes! They truly are FIRST. And I keep them there constantly. In both my larger decision making and also just in my every day small choices. They are always at the front of my mind and they truly fill my heart. 
  • 2013 was truly a HUGE year of growth for me and I feel like in so many areas of my life i’ve grown and matured! I guess I must be nearing 30 huh? πŸ™‚ I hope that going into 2014 I am able to keep this momentum going and to only see more personal growth in the coming year! 

    Here are my Year End Reviews from the past years: 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009 and 2008!

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