a year in review, a year in Preview.

To be perfectly frank, 2016 was exactly nothing I was planning or expecting. Not in the least. And yet it has been one of the most amazing years ever. Before I get into the nitty gritty of the year and how I remember it, let's look back at the goals I set for the year and see how I did: January: Two nights a week, after Monkey is in bed, spend at least an hour editing/re-writing chapters of the book (continue this until the book is ready to go) - CHECK. February: Go on at least one date night with Anthony <3. Consistently publish two blog posts a week. - CHECK. March: Celebrate Monkey’s first birthday (even if it does fall on Good Friday)! Redesign the blog/format. - CHECK. April: Finish reading another novel. Take a photography class – even a free one. - Nope. Not even close on either of those. May: REPUBLISH BOOK UNDER MARRIED NAME. God willing, I’ll have it done by May 15th since that will be three years (!?!?!?) since it was originally published. - UH...yes, it just didn't actually happen until June. June: Read a spiritual book. Go on overnight trip (away from Monkey?) for our anniversary. - I did read a book that related to my spiritual life, but the overnight trip away from Monkey didn't happen until November. July: Announce secret book-related project. Party big time for my baby brother’s wedding. - Still haven't gotten around to that secret book project I've been dreaming about for years...but my brother's wedding was a BLAST.
(c) Joshua Paul Photography (c) Joshua Paul Photography And, yes, there was crazy swing dancing even though I was 20 weeks pregnant, just no aerial moves.
August: Survive the transition of Anthony going back to school. Take at least one small family road trip before he returns to work. - Anthony never went back to teaching. And if by 'family road trip' I somehow meant move to Idaho, then I can mark that one complete. September: Pray about writing another book. (It is somewhere in my heart, I’m just not sure where…or what it will be about, but I need to spend some serious time discerning it) - CHECK. Done and written, being edited and sent to test groups now! October: Take a Mommy-Monkey day/road trip out of state. Adventure! - CHECK. It actually happened in September when Monkey and I went to Portland, Yakima, and then back to Boise. So. Much. Fun. November: Start working on goals for 2017. Consistently write three blog posts a week, at least twice a month. - Nope and nope. December: Establish/write down OUR family Christmas traditions, our goals for the Advent/Christmas seasons. - Negative. A LOT of things changed in 2016, things I never could have predicted when I made my goals this time last year. Instead, here's how I remember 2016: January: Go on a family walk. Encounter Mormon missionaries. Get the crazy idea to become missionaries ourselves. February: Submit applications to become Catholic missionaries with FOCUS. March: Interview to become missionaries. Find out we've been accepted as missionaries. Celebrate Monkey's first birthday. April: Find out we are pregnant again! Start packing for missionary training and an eventual move to a campus that we don't yet know. May: Anthony finishes out the school year and we drive - yes, drive - 30 hours to Florida for New Staff Training (NST). the trip itself was crazy, but awesome. We also celebrated our two year wedding anniversary by dancing to our first dance song...during a break of classes at NST. :) June: New Staff Training. Living in a dorm with a toddler and me being pregnant for five weeks. Made amazing new friends and got totally pumped for life as Catholic missionaries. Found out we'd be moving to Boise, Idaho. July: Drive back to Colorado. Fundraise our salary for the year. Pack our house, find renters, prepare to move to Idaho. Celebrate my brother's wedding. August: Find out we are having another girl! Move to a townhouse in Boise, sight unseen. Start work with students on campus. September: Road trip with Monkey to Portland, OR and Yakima, WA. Get more pregnant. October: Start finding a routine with family life and missionary life. November: Road trip to Coeur D'Alene to gather with other missionaries and re-fuel for the rest of the semester. December: Have baby. Celebrate our first Christmas without any family nearby and establish some new traditions, like baking brownies for Jesus' birthday. :) It was crazy, nothing like I imagined, and yet one of the most beautiful years yet. It was challenging in more ways than I thought I would be, but as I sit here with only a few days left, I know this year led to more growth than I ever dreamed possible. I let go - not always easily or quickly - and let God and it has been incredible to see what He can and will do. With the knowledge that He's totally in charge in mind, I still like to set goals for the coming year, so, here's what I'm hoping for in 2017: January: Get Mistletoe baptized and blog about it, mostly because Maronite baptisms (chrismations) are amazing. February: Get back into blogging once a week. I might need to get better at one handed typing, but I'm still setting this goal and we'll see what happens! March: Celebrate Monkey's second (?!?!) birthday. Publish my bible study book! April: Hopefully by the end of the month we will find out which campus we'll be at next school year (2017-2018). Start researching housing, doctors, etc. Start packing our townhouse. May: Travel to Colorado at least for a little bit, enjoy time with family and friends. Relax. RELAX. June: New Staff Training in Florida. Living in a dorm with 2 small children for 5 weeks. Sounds awesome and you are totally jealous, right? Right. But in addition to not needing to cook or do dishes for over a month, I also get to hang out with ~1,000 missionaries and spend time with other missionary families. Sure, there are drawbacks to training, but there are definite perks, too. And, unlike last year, we plan to fly rather than drive, so that will be nice too. My goal is to make new friends and not spend five weeks complaining about living in a dorm with kids and/or the cafeteria food. My other goal may be to figure out how to feed us using dorm approved appliances. July: To be determined. Potentially some time in Colorado, potentially a trip to visit Anthony's family in Lebanon, something else super exciting that hasn't been announced yet, and preparing to move to fill-in-the-blank campus. (Even if we do stay in Boise, we'll be moving out of our current townhouse, so either way we'll move!) Whatever ends up happening, my goal for July is to prepare for another move without losing my mind. August: Move. Fall outreach. Meet students. Find our new normal as a missionary family. Personal goal: 30+ active minutes a day with the girls - at the park, walking the local trails, whatever. Get out and get active. September: Re-find my blogging groove and get back to blogging two times a week, consistently. Kind of sad that this goal is a full 9 months away, but I'm being realistic! October: Secret Worthy book related project announced/introduced? Let's shoot for that. Also, I'd like to read one book. One non-children's book. Spiritual or not, doesn't matter, I just want to read one book in one month. November: Create monthly personal, professional, and family goals for 2018. Spend one night away from the girls - date night away with Anthony! December: Celebrate Mistletoe's first birthday! Continue making family traditions during Advent and Christmas. (Truth be told I am really excited for Advent next year, I feel like (I let) the end of pregnancy steal my focus from Advent to get-this-baby-out-of-my-belly.) Find some way of getting out of the house and being active, even if we are in some snowy climate that is frigid. And there you have it, my resolution-free, goal-oriented look back at 2016 and look ahead to 2017.

What goals do you have for 2017? Did 2016 go how you thought it would or were you taken by surprise by what God did in your life?

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