It’s that time of year when I debrief on how my “Word” worked its way through the journey of my life in the current time.

Last year, I selected the 2023 word, Energy. I thought about how I wanted to spend my energy. I’ve noticed that as each year passes, I have less energy in all the things. Even with 8+ hours of sleep, I lack energy. Even with daily exercising, a healthy diet and yearly physicals, I need coffee. I am getting older and lack the energy I used to have!!

Therefore, how I spend my energy on a day-to-day basis is important.

Energy – How it went

2011: Peace
2012: Balance
2013: Grace
2014: Grow
2015: Content
2016: Play
2017: Connect
2018: Intentional
2019: Focus
2020: Beauty
2021: Light
2022: Rise
2023: Energy
2024:

PERSONAL
I’ve prioritized my mental health this year. There were many things that happened in my business that I can not publicly discuss, but tried to suck everything from me. These situations tried to take me down. I wouldn’t let it. I stuck to my routines so that I could carry on for my family.

I never considered myself a big fan of television. I enjoy watching movies with my husband Dave (drama, suspense or rom-coms). I like a good documentary too! However, I’ve found myself watching shows that leave me feeling pretty BLAH. This year, I spent so much more time reading. Reading with our son on the couch before his bedtime and then after! I surpassed my goal of reading 60 books on Goodreads by reading 70 instead!!!

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MARRIAGE
These last two years, Dave and I have traveled out of the country without the children. Outside of those trips, we have made time for each other in the mornings before the kids wake up with a cup of coffee together. Dave joins the dogs and I for walks, maybe two out of the seven days I walk them. It’s so easy to get lost in the schedules and busy days of life but the foundation of our family begins with us.

Dave and I have had the same conversation around finances for 18 years now (that’s how long we’ve been married!) and we’ve worked hard to change the narrative in 2023. I am proud of us 🙂

FAMILY
Spending one-on-one time with our kids is my favorite. There’s no arguing between the kids and I get to really focus on listening to what they are saying to me instead of being interrupted by someone! I’ve put energy into making more one-on-one time with them. Dexter likes to take the dogs on walks with me and lift weights. Leah likes running errands with me. She likes to clean and organize too! Ruby and I spend a lot of time in the car since she works three days a week and has a singing and youth group another two days. I feel so lucky we have this time to build on our relationships.

HEALTH
I’ll be honest, it’s a lot of work managing my health and the health of our children and pets too! There are appointments to make and keep. This year I put energy into getting organized in this realm. I now get reminders to make appointments for the kids yearlys and my follow-up appointments. This allows my brain to not have to think about it!

WORK
In order to find the energy to do the work I needed to do, I re-engaged a nonprofit my friend Meg and I started back in 2007 called Making Spirits Bright. From the outside, putting work into the nonprofit plus working my publishing job, looked like I was burning the candle from both ends (isn’t that a saying??) But, I found so much JOY in the nonprofit work that I couldn’t help but do it!

The nonprofit helps get books to children and adults in areas that lack access. We collect, sort and distribute relevant, diverse and almost new books. We partner with larger nonprofits that take our work in book distribution to the next level by providing programming around literacy development. This is done through parent education and tutoring. It’s been such a blessing to me that some of my close friends helped me get Making Spirits Bright back into the world! It has provided me with the energy needed to fight some tough battles in legal junk happening with Cardinal Rule Press.

FRIENDSHIPS
Friendships are important for adults too! I have a beautiful variety of friends that I get to spend time with. Book club meets monthly. This year, a few friends from the book club encouraged me to join Planet Fitness with them! We workout one or two times a week together!

I have my friends from college too. We talk a lot using the app Voxer and get together a few times a year for holidays and birthdays. Dave and I have some friends we’ve made from the kids’ friends too. We get all the families together throughout the year. Sometimes just the parents go out too! There’s a very special group of mamas that I’ve been connected with for a long time. We call ourselves The Recipe Club. We share what we are cooking every week, among all the things that moms go through in a text chain. We get together for a weekend a few nights out sprinkled here and there as well. Lastly, I have my neighbors that are near and dear to us. Becky and I walk the dogs and Sanj and I have coffee at her place (she makes the best coffee!!)

There was a time that I was overwhelmed with work and kids that I didn’t always prioritize these friendships. Our time together was much more limited but I’m not putting energy into looking back. We go through different seasons in our life and I find joy in each of them.

This year’s word is: SIMPLE

Here’s a quick look at my words over the last decade+

2011: Peace
2012: Balance
2013: Grace
2014: Grow
2015: Content
2016: Play
2017: Connect
2018: Intentional
2019: Focus
2020: Beauty
2021: Light
2022: Rise
2023: Energy
2024: Simple

Why did I choose Simple? I’ve noticed over the last few years I haven’t been keeping my things as organized as I used to. We often tell our kids that your space is a reflection of your brain and it’s energy. I want to simplify my stuff. I’ve built and grown a business and can do a big DELETE on many of our online and hardcopy files. I need to do some more brainstorming on how the word simple will translate to other areas of my life like marriage, family, health and friendships. That’s what New Year’s Eve is all about. We get together with some family and talk about these things. I am looking forward to that time together!