What a year y’all! Unexpectedness was rampant, joys overflowed and the Lord’s faithfulness was proven true (once again). It never ceases to amaze me just how much the Lord can teach and lead over the course of one year. So by the time I’m 80, I should be one, wise ol’ chickadee. 🙂
2017 was significant in so many ways.
In December 2016, I suffered the first (and hopefully last) health crisis of my life. You can hop over here and read all about my 22 day stay in the hospital and the almost 3 months the Lord forced me to “lie in green pastures.” And if you know me well, you know I’m not much of a “lie in green pastures” kind of gal. HOWEVER, I’ve felt in my spirit for quite some time, the Lord calling me to a slower pace. In late 2015, I put some significant changes in place to help with this, but obviously the Lord was telling me it wasn’t enough. While I don’t believe for a minute He caused my health to bottom out, I DO believe He used this crisis to teach me a valuable lesson. I’ve had to be VERY careful (as my health improved) to not get trapped in the very same rut I believe He is working to deliver me from. There’s only so much “go” a body can take and I’ve learned this year of the DIRE importance of REST. I am happy to report, that I’m completely healed and my surgery was a success (albeit extremely stressful at the time)!
I successfully reached the proverbial “mid-life” this year. 40. As I look back upon things I can remember from 4, 14, 24 and even 34 years old, it breaks my heart to ponder fast time flies. At some point the last year or so, I read this obituary and one quote grabbed me:
Isn’t this the truest statement you’ve ever read? It takes my breath away when I think about it.
Because I’ve realized just how short life is, I spent an ENORMOUS amount of time this year with my parents. Starting with the nearly one month stay in Atlanta (my mom there constantly and my dad flying back and forth), followed by 4 months of living with them during my recovery, HOURS spent working on my cottage, an EPIC trip to the Midwest (Can “epic trip” and “Midwest” be used in the same sentence?!) to visit The Ark Encounter, Creation Museum, Cincinnati Zoo, Underground Railroad Museum, plus much more, and I’m sitting in front of their fireplace as I type this, the day after an incredible Christmas celebration. Call it silly if you will, but I pray for them to live to at least 150. Or for the Lord to just come back first. When I reflect on the last 40 years and how quickly they’ve flown, I don’t want the next 40 to go by and to think, “Gosh, I wish I would’ve spent more time with my parents.” So I’m soaking them up as much as possible.
In addition, I’ve also significantly invested time in friendships and family this year. Y’all, I’ve said it before but this life IS. NOT. ABOUT. THINGS. Sure, I love a new purse and outfit as much as the next person, but please give me relationships and memory making opportunities over things any day of the week. Recently, I was able to have lunch with about 8 friends from high school, and even though it’s been over 20 years since graduation, I love how we haven’t missed a beat! It was such a precious time! And I loved seeing SO MANY OF YOU at the Minden Historic Residential District’s Annual Tour of Homes. I can’t count how many times I screamed when I opened the door and saw friends and family I hadn’t seen in years! (And thank y’all for allllll the kind words!!!! I was truly floored by your compliments and praise. <3)
Perhaps the greatest blessing of 2017 has been the completion of my little cottage. It was AGONY during 2015/2016 as I waited and waited for everything to fall into place. I desperately wanted to be back in Louisiana, but for a reason unbeknownst to me at this juncture, the Lord chose to delay my move….a 22 month delay that tested every bit of faith I had. But, I can tell you, without a doubt, I’m sooooooo glad I waited and didn’t move on a house I wasn’t totally in love with. The whole time I was waiting, even though I carried loads of doubt, I just felt in my bones it was going to work out. And I couldn’t be more pleased with the way everything has transpired! I’m overwhelmed by the outpouring of the community both in Minden and online. The story of this little cottage has resonated with so many. It’s an anointed little piece of Louisiana, I tell you. The Lord has already used it to bless others in ways you can’t even imagine, from the people who lived here before me, to the contractors and crew who worked tirelessly, to little ol’ me.
2017 also brought the usual travel both for work and pleasure, although it wasn’t quite as extensive as in years past. I spent a TON of time with my west Texas friends as well as a LOT of time in Arkansas. I also found myself in Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio (during the epic Midwest trip), Nashville, as well as California and Portland, Oregon (where I took my usual trip to dominate the world).
It’s definitely been a rewarding AND exhausting year! I’m not sure how I managed to juggle all the above and work my day job, but somehow I did! I’m THOROUGHLY enjoying this week off work, spending time with friends and family and recouping for what’s shaping up to be a very busy 2018.
Here’s some things I’m pondering for 2018:
- I’m pretty sure my #OneWord365 for 2018 is going to be REVEAL. I can’t explain it, but I feel like the Lord is going to show me something new in 2018. So I’ll be petitioning Him to REVEAL His plans for me. I’m asking for some pretty big God-sized doors to swing wide open. (Ephesians 3:20)
- What’s next for Simply Southern Cottage? I can’t say for sure yet, but I can tell you without a doubt I want to restore other houses. (Isaiah 58:12)
- I know that worry and fear are not of Jesus, but if I’m keepin’ it real, I still struggle with this and am going to work VERY hard this year on laying down these two life-sucking vampires. Ugh, get behind me Satan! (Philippians 4:6-7, Isaiah 41:10)
- My exercise routine this past year suffered GREATLY for a variety of reasons. Just before surgery I ran my first 5K (and didn’t finish last, whoop whoop!). Since surgery, I’ve barely ran. As soon as the weather warms up, I plan to work back through Couch25K (C25K) and to run another 5K later in the spring. AND, since I LOVE tennis and there happens to be a tennis court in the park directly across the street from my house, I want to start playing again. (1 Corinthians 9:26-27)
- I want to write more. Both here on Simply Sara and over on Simply Southern Cottage. Countless of you have shared how you’ve missed my posts this year. I’m slow as Christmas and it takes me a good 4 hours from start to finish to crank out one post!!! (I usually work on it on and off for about a week.) I’ve literally not had those 4 extra hours per week, all year. Hopefully now that the cottage is complete, I can get back to writing. (Jeremiah 30:2)
You guys have no idea how much your love, support and encouragement means to me. I can’t tell you how many times this year the Lord confirmed the decision to move home to Louisiana. Now, onwards to 2018 and all the wonderful surprises He has up His sleeve. Love you guys SO much! Now, y’all come see me and let’s sit on these porches and drink some sweet tea! <3
I would love to hear from you guys!!! In the comments below, share some of your greatest accomplishments from 2017 and some things YOU are pondering for 2018. <3