I hope your 2013 has been amazing and blessed! It has felt like an incredibly fast year to me. That is sad in a way, to think that another year is over already. Yet, it is a beautiful thing at the same time because already I have the privilege of looking forward to what this new year could bring. It's so neat to think of the endless possibilities for a new year and what God's plan entails for 2014.
New Year's Eve night feels like one of the coziest nights of the year. Not only is it usually chilly outside and lovely inside- a fire in the fireplace and hot chocolate and old movies kind of night- but it has a certain nostalgia and euphoria as you look back on the year we have been through and look forward to the one just hours away!
Tonight, as I think about the past year, I reflect mostly on things I am thankful for... The two things I am most thankful for about this year are having my family to live it with and to have had a year of drawing close to God. I am truly thankful for things I have been through, the people I am thankful to have spent my time with, the books I have read, the places I have been, the friendships I have made, the faith that has grown in me. One distinct way I feel I have grown is learning more and more to be positive. Positivity. That was my "word of the year" for this year we are wrapping up. It did my heart and my faith wonders to truly make the effort to be positive in all things. I didn't always succeed, but I tried my best and I asked God to help me be positive and thankful and not ungrateful. I feel like making that effort to have a good outlook on every day made life easier in many ways, and ultimately changed the way I saw my life and the world. It gave me a deeper compassion for others and a greater sense of how grateful I should be just to wake up every day. It helped me to see that when you live positively, you live more beautifully in everything.
As far as positivity goes, it was a lesson to me to look for only the good in things and stop thinking of the negative. And I realized more than ever before that most of the time, there was no reason to not be positive. I have my family, shelter, more food and clothing than I need, things that give me joy, loving friends, and God! No matter what little seemingly negative things could happen in a new day, those things are a thousand times more than what I should need to smile and be positive every day.
I've been thinking a lot about my word for this coming year. I have thought about how good it felt to live each day with the purpose to fulfill a word and live by it, and tried to think about which word would lead me through another year in the same way. The one I chose is one I have been thinking of a lot, as it has built inside me and been laid on my heart...
I choose this word because more and more I find myself thinking about how days pass when I may say my prayers at night and thank God for the day, but I don't always stop to think about the beautiful little parts of that day. I hope to savor and soak in each moment, each blessing, each joy, each chance to give or be kind, and each memory made.
. . .
Also on my mind at the brink of the new year that is just a couple of hours away is how I've grown. It is a beautiful and sweet thing to think about how we grow individually after another year has gone by.
This year, I think I have grown most in...
my faith and love for the Lord, my heart for others, being a better daughter, being pure in heart, and getting better at the simple loveliness of things I enjoy, like baking, and even growing more passionate about my Southern heritage and my history.
I have had a year I am so thankful for. I have had more blessings in my life than I could have asked for, and I have had the adventure of creating, in homemaking, traveling, loving, aspiring, and making friends like all of you sweet girls and ladies. In blogging alone I have been blessed to find treasures such as you who I had the privilege to meet and get to know this year and last.
It has been a great year. Even the challenges have been blessings because God got me through them... things I was afraid of, but have now lived through! It's always exciting to realize that.
Firmly planted in my heart is the belief that God writes our story. I know His plan will prevail, but the dreams He has put into my heart are fun to ponder. For the new year, I hope to:
Travel more. Get lost in more books. Grow in my faith. Deepen my heart for children. Take more photos. Write more. Take time to sew. See more of the South. Explore new places. Be strong, not fearful.
What are your hopes for the new year??
I am SO excited for 2014.
May you all have the most WONDERFUL year, one full of BLESSINGS and JOY!
A few photos from the year I smile to look back on...