Happy New Year! I love even-numbered years. Except for the fact that I wasn't born on one, most of the wonderful things in my life have happened on even-numbered years (met Jason in 2010, married in 2012, Swanson in 2014, Brighten born in 2016, etc.).
For the last several years, I've chosen a word that I wanted to represent the year ahead. The first year that I did this was 2016 and the word I chose was R E A L . Our first placing agency for our Ethiopia adoption had just closed and I was really at a loss for where to go from there. I wasn't okay, and I was really tired of saying I was "fine" when someone asked how things were going. I made a decision to start telling people how I really was feeling (within reason), and it was a huge year of growth and learning transparency.
In 2017 my word was F E A R L E S S . For many years I struggled with almost paralyzing fear and what Jason calls "worst case scenario syndrome" or WCSS. I think there's a lot of things that fed into this, some of which I had no control over, but regardless I knew that this is not how I wanted to begin my journey into parenthood.
This new year, my word is H O P E . I'll be honest, I've really struggled with this word because I've always chosen words that seemed unique and not cliche. But hope is real. And hope is fearless. And hope is the reminder I need in my life this year.
H is for Haiti
As crazy as this probably sounds kind of weird, but I am struggling to hope big for our Haiti adoption. Jason and I went on a little lunch date a few weeks ago and were talking about all of the exciting birth announcements that we've seen lately. Many of our friends are announcing their second or third child, and we couldn't be more happy for them. In the back of our minds though, we're doing the math and feeling a little behind. We're told the process will likely be about three years, but we haven't started the clock on that yet because we're still updating our paperwork from Ethiopia.
2018 + 3 = 2021
We started our Ethiopia adoption in December 2013, and really only spent about 6 months between the Ethiopia process and Haiti process where we were praying through what was next and we weren't actively in an adoption process. Even though we understand why it'll take a few years, have accepted that, and aren't complaining, the reality of 2021 is difficult. It's hard to find hope in that right now.
So, this year I'm praying for Haiti, to grow to love this country the way we love Ethiopia, and for our future child from Haiti - who could possibly be born this year!
O is for Optimism
Part of continuing to have courage and conquer my WCSS is making a conscience choice to choose optimism. While I think we have the ability to choose to be optimistic and find the best in things, I also think that we can set ourselves up for success by filling our hearts and minds with God's word and praying for joy. This year, I'm trying to prepare my heart and mind daily to be able to make the choice to find good, see light, and seek truth to find the best in each circumstance.
P is for Perseverance
I also want to persevere in my business that I started last year, in raising my daughter, in developing my blog, in strengthening my marriage, and in being a more caring sister and friend.
E is for Engage
When Jason and I started dating in 2010, I began going to church with him at The Church at Brook Hills. They were in the middle of their year-long Radical Experiment. I jumped in for the last quarter of the year, I but I certainly missed a lot. A few years ago I went through the bible reading plan on my own and I really enjoyed having such an intentional plan.
This year I am planning to do the full Radical Experiment. The Radical Experiment is a year-long commitment to five specific challenges:
- To pray for the entire world (using Operation World online)
- To read through the entire Word (using the YouVersion bible app plan)
- To commit our lives to multiplying community (by investing more into our Gospel Community group at church and investing more deeply in friendships)
- To sacrifice our money for a specific purpose (we are always looking to find new places to be more intentional with our finances)
- To give our time in another context (we want to serve others in another context as a family somehow this year -- suggestions to do this with a toddler?)
Overall I'm looking forward to what's in store for 2018. I have a lot of things I want out of this year, and I'm praying fervently to see them come to fruition.