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Last week I wrote about my end of the year rhythm of reflecting, restoration, and recreating. It felt so nice to get it all on paper and create worksheets for myself to use in the coming years to do these things I've slowly added into the last few weeks of the year, then I had several people ask about my personal reflection, restoration time, and recreating myself for the next year.

To start, I find myself in constant conversation with the Lord after the current year and what to take into the next year. It seems to begin in November, and by Christmas, He has given me most of what I need to know to head into the next season. It's always so reassuring that He gives me what I need to know, and allows me to experience again the last year and cement in my mind what I was supposed to learn.

This year my word was Arise. I didn't fully understand what I was to do with it until this fall when I decided to take my health into my own hands, which included figuring out what was causing my severe eczema and being intentional about my mental health.

I wasn't healthy in either sense.

My skin was visibly disgusting. I didn't want to leave my house because I didn't want to explain to people what it was or have them look at me in pity. It physically hurt to use my hands. I couldn't carry anything remotely heavy or itchy. I couldn't leave the house without specific lotions and creams and ointments and nitrile gloves and hand sanitizer (because I couldn't trust any hand soap other than what we had at home). I experienced the worst of the worst while at a retreat in October, then the real worst of the worst a week later, and I finally understood topical steroid addiction and withdrawal. I began the Autoimmune Protocol Paleo diet with the help of a local coach and began to pull myself up. I began seeing a functional medicine doctor to dig deep and figure out what exactly is causing this. I'm still thick in this fight, but I'm standing up and taking steps forward. I have more good days than bad.

And my mental health wasn't great either. I mean, I'm not sure anyone has lived in 2020 and been super wonderful. The isolation is horrible. The judgement and lies and downright nastiness on both sides is disgusting. Plus our business was expanding and growing which is wonderful but also stressful thanks to new responsibilities and learning new things daily and just the growing pains. I didn't have dedicated work time because we didn't have consistent childcare, so I constantly felt behind at work and like I was ditching Josh. Then we hired a nanny, who is so wonderful and exactly what we and our children needed. I suddenly had some time to work uninterrupted and I was much more effective and invested in our business again. I recognized when we hired our nanny that I was not in a good place and needed to stand up and take charge in that area also.

Another way I reflected this year was a new one for me, brought on by my sweet friend Emily of Stella Imaging. She texted me and Alix, our other friend who makes up our Life Raft (our accountability group assigned to us by the power woman herself Caroline Lunne of Resurrected Collective and Wing Woman Co), and gave us the verses Romans 5:3-5 to reflect on, then journal the low points in our year and write out what we learned from them. It was so powerful for me to look over the hardest things of our year then turn them into good. Waiting on our coffee shop was the hardest thing I think we'd ever done in our business, but we learned to wait on the Lord patiently, we learned to go to the Lord constantly so that we knew we were in tune with Him. Then we opened our shop and the hardest thing we'd ever experienced was the buildout of our shop, and it taught us to stay close to each other, to prioritize family over work (hint: we didn't do this well this year), and to hire well.

To do this, I literally wrote down the lows of my year (v) , then an up arrow to what I learned (^).

v waiting on the Lord pre-coffee lab and COVID

^ patience, thoroughness, reassessing that we are following the Lord, not our own plans

v buildout of coffee lab + COVID/summer

^ brought Josh and I closer, boosted our business and brought Josh on full time

v rough transition from public school

^ brought our family closer as a whole, God changed my heart towards my kids, discovered our love for nature and the local state parks, we've had a lot of fun homeschooling

v my health challenges

^ experienced Josh loving and serving me in sickness and in health and it was beautiful, kids have a close connection with me and know how they can serve me, I have more compassion for those who are chronically ill/depressed

This year, I created worksheets for you to guide your own reflection and planning. Sign up below to receive everything in PDF format, and use them however works for you. I am the type to copy everything into my journal when I'm given a worksheet, but in the past I have also printed them on sticker paper in a size that will fit in my journal.

Reflecting on 2020 felt more important and necessary than it has in past years. I felt like I needed to write it all down, maybe because the world is telling us this year will be one for the history books. Between the pandemic, political turmoil, social media turning vapid, and other world events, we also made a lot of personal and family changes this year that will alter the course our family was on.

Then the last week on social media has seriously stressed me out with all of the New Year's challenges and hustle culture that's running rampant right now. I don't want to feed into that and live there like I used to. I want to use easy tools that I love to create a great plan, and I genuinely love doing it at this time of the year. I have a friend who does hers on her birthday every year. I simply want to share tools and experiences to help you dwell in that wonderful place of joy, rest, and rhythm.

I'd love it if you joined me.

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