So for most of 2013, my life felt like this:
It was a year that can be best described as messy – it was neither the best or worst year of my life (although the best thing that could have happened, did happen), but it was a year of constantly having to deal with something, in all areas of my life. Health, work, kids, family, house, finances – I was constantly putting out fires or trying to avert disaster or cleaning up the mess when things did fall apart. It felt like I was on a carnival ride, going around and around at full speed, and I couldn’t get off.
By the time I finished work for the year a couple of weeks ago, all I wanted to do was hide away from the world and pretend it didn’t exist. Just for a little while. Just enough time to breathe, re-set and restore. But as we all know, life doesn’t work like that, and that’s when I knew that the key to living well wasn’t trying to avoid the chaos, but to find the peace amongst it.
This is a new concept for me – not one that is unfamiliar, as these are the words Paul wrote about learning to live with peace within any circumstances. What’s new for me is actually living that out in my life, which is pretty much a 180 degree turn from my usual state of being.
With that in mind, I looked back over 2013 and found the beauty that I knew was there, that I couldn’t see at the time. So in the blogging tradition of one year ticking over to another, here are my highlights of the year that was.
What I learned in 2013:
1. I am actually an introvert. This was a HUGE revelation for me, and explained so much about my personality. I never would have said that about myself, and I’m sure that the vast majority of people who know me would agree. But after taking the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment, resulting in an INFJ type, discovering that I’m an introvert with extrovert elements to my personality made *so* much sense.
2. Further to finding out my MBTI type, I also discovered the Enneagram personality types. I am an absolute, clear cut No. 9 (The Peacemaker), and the one single gem I took from the description was the difficulty in making choices and decision,and expressing and opinion, because of the ability to see the advantages and disadvantages of any option, and both sides of any argument. This has really helped me in being intentional about reducing the options and choices in my life, because the less choice, the easier it is for me to make a decision.
3. I can be perceived as quite negative, which is never my intention, it comes from seeing both sides of a situation and expressing what I think might be a more ‘realistic’ point of view. And/or somewhat fatalistic. Which is often negative. I’ve realised that this comes from my life experience, and feeling like nearly every thing goes wrong for me, therefore if I’m prepared for that, it won’t be as bad. Optimisim hasn’t been my strong suit in life.
4. I actually can achieve goals I set for myself. I’ve written before about how setting and achieving goals has never been one of my strong points, and I set out to change that last year. I completed my first Whole30 (despite the fact that it took me 4 goes to start and actually finish), and I trained for and finished a 6.8km local fun run. And I ran the whole way, without stopping. Those two achievements have changed my outlook on what I can do in my life, and I have big plans for 2014!!!
5. The Whole30 challenge really showed me how much what I eat affects my health. Dairy is the cause of my constant headaches. Wheat (and actually grains in general) and sugar are like fuel to a fire when it comes to joint pain. Eating clean is the best treatment for my arthritis, and the fleeting pleasure from eating what isn’t good for me just isn’t worth it.
6. Getting up at 5:00AM is awesome. If I don’t have my quiet time before the rest of the house wakes up, my day inevitably goes pear-shaped.
7. I actually like and need structure and routine to my day. Not down-to-the-second scheduling, but an outline of intention, with the ability to be flexible.
8. The biggest lesson for 2013? God’s promises are always, always, always fulfilled. Nearly 8 years ago God asked me to pray for my marriage to be restored, and promised that He would make the way for that to happen, and in 2013, it did. My ex-husband asked me if we could start over again, and the rest is becoming our new history.
Favourite reads of 2013:
1. My hands-down favourite book last year was Emily Freeman’s ‘A Million Little Ways‘. Her words speak life and beauty into the every-day of living, that everything we do is art and we live as artists with every breath. Go get a copy TODAY.
2. I discovered Andy Andrews, with ‘The Traveller’s Gift‘ and ‘The Noticer‘. Beautiful, life-affirming words of wisdom and direction in both books, weaved into wonderfully told stories of people living life.
3. As always, anything from Jennifer Chiaverini. I first ‘met’ the Elm Creek Quilters 14 years ago, and I feel like they’re old friends. Her foray into historical fiction with the wonderful ‘Mrs Lincoln’s Dressmaker‘ did not disappoint.
4. Gary Thomas’ ‘Every Body Matters‘ absolutely helped me change the way I see my body and my health, seeing myself from God’s perspective rather than my own. On my ‘to read again’ list for 2014.
Favourite movies of 2013:
This one, I’ve actually struggled to remember what I watched last year. I watched a lot of movies in 2013, but the one that has embedded itself into my memory is ‘The Impossible’, the amazing true story of a family separated in the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami, and their mission to find each other again in the resulting chaos. It is quite graphic in nature, but very much in context, and a beautiful story of determination and hope.
Favourite music of 2013:
1. I discovered Mumford and Sons at the end of 2012, and they very quickly became woven into the soundtrack of my life. The words, the sound, their soul, I love every. single. thing about these guys, and the gift that they bring.
2. Bethel Music. They fill me with their words of the love and hope of Christ. What more can I say?
3. More Than Rubies – Christa Wells and Nicole Witt. Love, love, love. Times infinity.
And I’m still loving JJ Heller, Tenth Avenue North, Jesus Culture, and basically anything else that makes my heart sing.
Favourite blogs of 2013:
I almost feel like i shouldn’t be writing this list, because I know I’ll leave someone off! But my absolute favourite, never-miss-a-post list for 2013;
The Art of Simple
Chatting At The Sky
Modern Mrs Darcy
A Holy Experience
Another Mother Runner
Tiny Twig Goes Out On A Limb
Young House Love
Bits & Pieces
Inspired to Action
The Handmade Home
The Clothes Make The Girl
Nom Nom Paleo
Favourite place visited in 2013:
Without a doubt, hands-down winner is our trip to the Flinders Ranges earlier this year. Stunning doesn’t even begin to describe the beauty of the Ranges, and despite two blown out tyres, a trip to a tiny local hospital after my shin collided with a rock and a day spent avoiding bees, it was one of my favourite holidays ever.
(Side note: One of my 2014 goals?? Working on my photography (and editing) skills…..)
For now, that’s it. 2013 has been put away for what it was, a year of learning and growth and insight. Despite it being a difficult period of life, it has set me up for an awesome 2014, which is going to be The Best Year Ever.
Tell me, what will you remember 2013 for? Good? Not-so-good? Lessons? Highs and lows? Come and share in the comments.
*Linking to Anne’s link up over at Modern Mrs Darcy with my favourite reads for 2013.