THINGS I LEARNED IN 2015
Having a teenager in the house is quite fun and entertaining, despite what I'd been told. (People said the terrible twos would be a nightmare, and I loved that stage, too. So I guess I've learned not to heed the grim warnings about the allegedly horrible stages of child development. I'm the imperfect mom of an imperfect kid -- and I love him big and I'm just enjoying the ride.)
The harsh, judgy thoughts that I assume others have toward me are pretty much never legit. And life simply goes better for me when I don't behave as though they are.
The two most life-changing and impactful decisions we can ever make for ourselves: 1) God is real (even when we doubt) and 2) God is good (even when we don't understand).
Refusing to hope does not protect us from disappointment -- rather, it pretty much guarantees us a disappointing life.
Gratitude is a choice, and recent research has shown that gratefulness actually changes our brains and helps to balance neurotransmitter activity. The coolest part: The brain-balancing benefits are not dependent upon us actually finding something specific for which to be grateful; it is through the process of searching that the healing and rebalancing occurs. (I love when science catches up with Biblical wisdom.)
Hope deferred is still hope. ("Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life." Proverbs 13:12)
The scriptures tell us that God is love. And up until early last Spring, I had always blown right past the truth of that. God IS love. Therefore, any time in my life when I have felt or experienced love, I have felt and experienced God. This simple, foundational truth has impacted me profoundly this year; it has shown me the lengths to which God has gone to reveal Himself and His love to me. And some of you have been the human vessels through which He has done this -- and I am so, so grateful.
It is possible to go a full calendar year without health insurance. But not advisable. (It is also possible to go a full calendar year without getting a speeding ticket. Who knew?)
Food sensitivities are a very real thing. Working with an integrative physician to discover mine has been life-changing. (Average number of headache days per month in 2014: twenty plus. Average number of headache days per month in 2015: Three. THANK YOU, GOD.)
Forgiveness always begins in truth. We cannot forgive others until we are able to understand (and willing to admit) that we were wronged.
When we invite God into our pain and get real (instead of "polite") with Him, our seasons of deepest pain can become our seasons of most enduring growth.
Lesson learned the hard way: If you happen to be a perfectionist, a Type A personality, or a classic firstborn child, seek first to KNOW God rather than to PLEASE God. (Don't go for the A+. He isn't even grading you, as much as you wish He would.) Stop trying to impress Him with your good behavior, your eloquence, or your manners. And when you pray, don't tell Him only what you think He wants to hear. We don't want OUR kids to do that; we want them to TALK to us. Same with Father God. He wants relationship with us. If He wanted trained monkeys instead of sons and daughters, He wouldn't have given us unique personalities or free will (or hormones, for that matter).
Turns out the people who love me most are not all that concerned about whether my bathrooms are clean. They aren't impressed by fresh vacuum lines on my carpet. And if they know I've just frantically cleaned or straightened up because they were coming over, the ones who really love me will call me a dork and deliberately mess up the couch cushions.
Morrow's Law: Errands, tasks, and commutes will always take approximately twice as long as I think they will.
Being a parent is humbling. In Jaden's own words, "Mom, you think you know things but you don't."
The healing powers of probiotics are way overlooked and underrated. If you would've told me a year ago that I'd be culturing my own kefir for the health benefits, I would've laughed and called you a dirty hippie. Alas, I just bought cheesecloth for that very purpose. Ain't life a trip?
Steady-state cardio is way overrated. Strength training can also have cardio benefits if done the right way, and is time far better spent in the gym... Said the girl whose trainer grounded her from the treadmill last February. (Best. Punishment. Ever.)
If you let your crockpot "soak" overnight (which we all know is code for "I'm too tired/lazy to finish doing the dishes"), everything you make in it for the next year will taste like soap. So consider the cost.
Shared brokenness builds bridges where pretend wholeness never could.
The weather outside may be frightful, but be mindful of where you tuck your instant hand-and-body warmers -- or airport security will suspect you of trafficking tiny bags of cocaine in your bra.
No matter how cynical, jaded, and overly cautious the wounds of your past may have made you, never say never. ("Never" is a word that God often seems to invite us to eat. And He's still God and I'm still not -- so really, what do I know?)
Here's to another lap around the sun in 2016… Let's be careful out there, kids, and make it a good one!