2015 is kicked to the curb, and I was ready to see it go! So excited for the new year and where I am today. Love where my husband is, and where my children are. We are entering the new year content.

Our Christmas celebration was lovely. It was relatively quiet, and for a girl who loves crowded, chaotic family celebrations, that was a little scary at first. But it turned out that quiet is good – we hosted a small Christmas Eve get together with neighbors before leaving for dinner with family, and it was such a fun way to start the celebrating – laughing and chatting and eating and drinking (I should share that recipe for Peppermint martinis) with good friends – that we’ve decided that “friend-mas” will be an annual event.

And now here we are on January 1 and I’m so happy about what’s to come. Looking back, if I could write a note to my January 1, 2015 self it would go a little like this:

1) The first part of this year is going to suck for you. You are going to experience those valleys that you’ve read about in scripture; that your friends have experienced; that you’ve mostly avoided until now. But, you’re going to get through it. You can do it. God is with you. You’ve got all the tools you need – use them. God will lead you, and you’ll feel that. If you listen closely, you’ll know just when to speak up and just when to rest and feel peace.

2) You are not going to lose 20 lbs. Just get that in your head right now. You’ll lose a little and then gain some but you’ll pretty much end the year right where you started. Get over it.

3) You’ve got great friends. Lean on them. They are wise, they are comforters, they are warriors, they are comedians. You will take from them this year more than you give. Let that be ok.

4) Through the good and the bad, you will experience deeper connectedness with your children and your husband and extended family. You will talk with your children about tough issues and you’ll see that they are maturing into people full of love and grace and strength. With some teenage attitude mixed in.

5) You’ll think that because of work and life and commitments you can’t make that Tuesday morning Bible study group – but stick with it.

6) You’re going to meet some fabulous new people who will enrich your life. (You are also going to meet some kooks.) You will to get to shop in some very cool cities. You’re going to travel. You’re going to have one of the best summer vacations ever.

7) You will gain a deeper understanding of grace and love – God’s, your own, and others’.

8) Don’t return that black dress you order from Nordstrom. You’re going to wish you had it for December parties.

9) Don’t order the rare burger at that new restaurant in August. Trust me.

10) Send the notes and the cards and the flowers to people when you think of it, before you talk yourself out of it or get busy and move on to something else.

11) You will discover the power of the Psalms and wonder why you never read through them all before.

12) Two of your nearest and dearest will have cancer scares. They are going to be ok.

13) You won’t believe it, but when you look back you’ll see way more good in the year than bad. Like, to a surprising degree. You’ll try to tell yourself you had a “tough year,” but when you really think about the people and the situations and the experiences you’ve had, you’ll feel nothing but happy – ┬ábecause you’ll see so much good. You’ll see strong relationships… Deep faith… And big plans. So tough it out, keep looking forward, don’t look back.

14) It’s all very, very, good.

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