2016 was an incredible year. I mean really and truly, more positive and exciting things happened for me business wise that I never could have imagined. I remember last December, planning to launch this blog with the sole intention of seeing if I would enjoy it. I wanted a space to document our family, my writing and keep somewhat of an online journal. Never in a million years would I have fathomed that my Body Shaming post would reach as far as ABC, Good Morning America, the Huffington Post, UK blogs, and far beyond. In fact, I wouldn't have believed you if you told me that was in store for me. Nor did I fathom having the honor of working with the American Girl Company, being featured in their catalogue, and them using my Heritage blog post on THEIR website! Childhood Ashley would be flipping out, and honestly, adult me was anyway! This is not to brag or gloat, but it is a reminder to myself that while I set out to do something small (in my mind), the Lord had different intentions and He brought this MUCH further than my heart could see.
He is GOOD!
And I don't want to forget that. But days prior to New Years Eve, I found myself feeling really scared. I was fearful, doubtful, worried, that 2017 wouldn't be nearly as good. I didn't really HAVE any expectations going into 2016, and because my mind was blown, I feel like I should be expecting something even more radical going forward. But why? I don't think that this should be the case. Facebook told me that one of my 'resolutions' for 2016 was to eventually stay home with the kids. And guess what? My husband returns to his classroom to teach on Tuesday and this mama doesn't! I get to STAY HOME, practically for nine months. That HAPPENED! But I guess there's this part of me that is worried that that I need to book a ton more weddings, turn this blog into something huge, so that I can have the option of staying home with Reese when her brother starts kindergarten come August.
But wait, Ashley. One day at a time.
That's what my 2017 needs to consist of. So many of my friends have shared their 'one word' they believe God is calling them to live this year: Proactive, Intentional, Trust, Present, Confident; and so many more. After many nights of lying in bed praying and listening, I realize what the Lord is calling ME to do:
Will I be a good stay at home mom? Will the kids like it? Will I like it? Will I be strong enough? Will I be able to book a lot more weddings? Will I be able to take this blog further? (What does that even mean?!) Will I ever have another beautiful home NOT in our current neighborhood? Will I ever live on land? Will I have a horse? Will I go back to teaching? Will I teach forever? Will we stay in Kentucky forever?
Look at all the GOOD things God did in our lives this last year. And yes, I'm saying this firmly to myself. All of those things do not mean that 2017 is going to go KERPLUNK. I don't need to have ANY answers right now, all I need to do is to take one day at a time. Starting Tuesday, in just two short days, I will literally be a stay at home mom and working from home. That's a HUGE dream turning into a reality!
I don't really have any typical New Years Resolutions this year. In 2015 I baked a new pie every single month in honor of my Grandmother, and it's the only one I have ever kept. I have some goals to work out a few days a week, to continue strengthening my core, but more than ever; my goal is to believe in the plans the Lord has for our life. I want to be strong for my children, happy for my children, and healthy. And all the while, I want to believe that my Creator has only good planned for my life, even if and when His answers are difficult to hear.
**What about you, friends? What are you hoping to focus more on in this New Year? I don't think resolutions are a bad thing, but I think that they can be deflating; that when you mess up or don't live up to it, you suddenly feel like you can't continue on. The point of falling down is to learn to stand back up--so when I find myself sinking in disbelief, I want to remember THIS. I want to remember how great our God is, how abundantly blessed we really are. Leave a comment or shoot me an e-mail. I love getting to know you, wherever you are reading from!**
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Prov. 3:5-6