What Happened In 2014

"At the threshold of the new day stands the Lord who made it." - Life Together, Bonhoeffer

2014 will be marked as the year of immeasurable changes and coincidentally immense growth. This survey of the year was originally found on Becoming Jolie and I thought would be a beautiful manner to document another year. I hope to continue in future years as a unique way to remember important memories and moments. 

1. What did you do in 2014 that you’d never done before?

SO many things. In the beginning of 2014 we were still living with my in-laws raising our financial support for our ministry. By mid-February we reached our goal, moved to another state, and started working in campus ministry. Each step was a step we had never taken before. Each step brought with it new challenges and transitions. But each step came with greater growth, greater trust, and dare I say new freedoms in Christ! I also attended for the first time The Influence Conference and had the opportunity to meet so many women I've met online in real life. So much of the growth on my blog and in my writing I attribute to these women and The Influence Network. 2014 also was my first full year writing the Bi-Weekly Newsletter for the network, a role I love for the growth it's given me both graphically and in my writing, but most of all I love that it resources so many women with all The Influence Network is resourcing them to succeed in the gifts, passions, and places God has them in.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I did! I never shared them over here, but many of my goals were met halfway through 2014 and if there's anything I would do differently it would be resetting goals mid-year (instead of waiting till January 1st of the next year). I plan to set goals for 2015 and share later (probably in 2015) on the blog!

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

We welcomed a new nephew, Bennett, in February, and in October we welcomed a foster nephew, Owen to the family. We love both these sweet boys, their sweet (truly they are the sweetest) demeanors, and each holiday and outing we had the opportunity to spend with them. Outside of family we had no new babies. 

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Not in 2014. Although we had close friends lose family members to tragic circumstances.

5. What countries did you visit?

Spain! 2014 was the year of transitions and the year of traveling. In May we traveled internationally on a 10-day Spanish trip with the my husbands immediate family. We visited Granada, Nerja, Seville, and Madrid, spending 2-3 days in each city. This was our first extended time spent in Europe and we can't wait to do more in the future!

6. What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?

I would like to be more intentional about the time I spend with the Lord in 2015. Not just setting aside a few minutes here and there, but truly establishing a norm of putting other tasks and to-do's aside (even when pressing) to spend intentionally quality amounts of time with the Lord. With 2014 holding so many transitions I don't beat myself up over the lack of habits established, but it's almost been a year since we moved and a nudge in the right direction is in order.

7. What dates from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

Mid-February // reached 100% of our support goal and moved to Milwaukee. We started our new jobs shortly after our move. 

End of May // travelled to Spain with the Johnson Family! 

Mid-June thru July // lived in an extended stay hotel in Orlando, Florida while taking four seminary courses for our ministry. This was a refreshing change of pace after making so many adjustments during our move to Milwaukee. 

August // joined our staff team for our first "Lake Days" and started our first full year on campuses in Milwaukee.

September thru November // Completed my first fall semester in Milwaukee which included discipling upperclassmen women at Marquette, launching a new ministry at Alverno College, and growing relationships with international students in the community.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Surviving. But truly, when we arrived in Milwaukee our boss met with us over lunch at this little Jewish Deli and he shared that success this year would be defined by "surviving and still walking with the Lord by the end of December". At the time I thought that sounded insane and I could accomplish so much more than that, but I have been humbled time and time again how difficult transitions and change can be on our lives. I'd say sometime this fall we transitioned from surviving to thriving in Milwaukee and I call that a major achievement only achieved by God's grace.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Not keeping up with long-distance relationships as I had hoped I would. 

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

No injuries or major illnesses and for that we are very thankful.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

Honestly the best things we bought we never really bought (at least not in 2014). Instead, we spent many spring weekends refinishing what we already owned; our dining room table and chairs, our office furniture, and the entry way table. These weekends were some of my favorite memories of the entire year and I had the opportunity to use my power sander for the first time (I love my power tools!).  

12. Where did most of your money go?

Well 2014 brought some pretty major expenses outside the everyday bills. With moving states came some significant moving expenses, deposits on our apartment, a few furniture purchases, and by August, also the purchase of our Toyota Highlander in place of our former Chevy Malibu. Each were expenses we had planned for, but phew I'm hoping 2015 is a bit less eventful in major life purchases.

13. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Reaching our full support goal in mid-February was really, really, really, really exciting. Almost a year after leaving my job at the architectural firm, reaching our full support meant so much to myself and Guy. We continue daily to be humbled by the Lord's provision for our family and ministry. 

14. What songs will always remind you of 2014?

Budapest by George Ezra, Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran, Oceans by Hillsong, World Spins Madly On by The Weepies, and The Broken Beautiful by Ellie Holcomb. 

15. Did you make any new friendships?

New friendships were abundant in 2014. Moving to a new city introduced us to a new team of coworkers, some of have become great friends in just a few short months and a new church, with families and individuals we've shared meals with and friday night studies. Our community in Milwaukee, particularly our church community has welcomed us into their homes and introduced us to their friends and honestly have made Milwaukee a tough place to leave if ever we have to.

16. Did you go on vacation?

Remember lots of transitions and lots of travel? In March we travelled (aka roadtripped way too many hours) with our students to Florida for our ministries annual spring break conference. Then in May we travelled 10-days in Spain and almost immediately upon our return we drove to meet our closest friends for camping in the beautiful Warren Dunes State Park in Michigan. About one whole week after camping, we packed up the car and once again made the long drive to Orlando, Florida (for the second time in one year). This wasn't a vacation, it was for work, but we had the opportunity to spend our weekends at the beach and for that I'll count it as an extended vacation. We finished our travels by spending the end of July in Minnesota, visiting all the family we could in a short amount of time. This was truly the year of travel, both internationally and cross country road trips...2015 is not shaping up to be as eventful.

17. What do you wish you had done (more and less) of?

More time with the Lord, building relationships, dating my husband, and developing my gifts and passions (like writing, web and graphic design) and less time on social media, surfing the web, or just being plain lazy.

18. How did you spend the holidays?

We rotate holidays in our family and this year that meant Easter with mine at my brothers new home, Thanksgiving with my husbands, and we'll end the year with Christmas at my parents lakehouse (the first Christmas we've celebrated together on Christmas Day in more years than I can remember!). 

19.  What new food did you discover?

Smoothies with Spinach. So much so we melted our magic bullet and upgraded to a Ninja Blender. 

20. What was your favorite TV program?

The Mentalist. My husband snagged the first four seasons a year ago on black friday and we've been slowly making our way through the seasons ever since. We've made it through season five so far. 

21.  What was one of your favorite experiences of the year?

A new venture I can't share with you quite yet, but I'll be sharing more about in 2015! and updating this answer when I do...

22. What was the best book you read? 

Loved the Divergent Series at the beginning of the year, Notes from a Blue Bike, and The Creative Habit (probably going onto my 'favorites of all time' list).

23. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Spotify. Does that count? Spotify has introduced me to so many fantastic artists this year. Honestly I'm not a music snob, but enjoy folk music with a twist of 80's pop here and there. 

24. What was your favorite film of this year?

Not a film, but a 2-Season documentary, City Ballet, it was so well done! Here's to hoping they are in the process of filming a Season 3!

25. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 25 this year! I spent the morning having the most wonderful breakfast at French Meadow Bakery in St. Paul, MN with Guy and then going for a walk around Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis. It was a simple and sweet morning and my favorite part was receiving my birthday card from my husband with the verses he chose to pray over me for the next year. 

26. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2014?

Simple, minimalistic, with a color palette including black, white, grey, and a few soft blues. 2014 will be the year I finally stopped over-buying clothes and began shopping for classic pieces that can be worn for more than a year. ...And I discovered Everlane!

27. What kept you sane?

First and foremost, my relationship with Christ. I'm not sure how I would have walked through each of the transitions in 2014 without the constant reminder of God's faithfulness, sovereignty, grace, mercy, and forgiveness. 

28. What political issue stirred you the most?

I wish I could remember political issues from the entire year, but mostly I'm saddened and struggling to know my place in the recent race discussions going on in our nation.

29. Who did you miss?

Family and our closest college friends. Moving away brought so many blessings, but also pulled us away from family and friends who we saw regularly while living in Minnesota. It continues to be the hardest part of the transition. 

30. Who was the best new person you met?

Erin Nausin and Kailey Rogers. Two ladies I roomed with at The Influence Conference and are both just crazy amazing women. (And there are so many other wonderful blogging friends I met this year like Amy, Rachel, and Anna!)

31. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014.

2014 has been a year about control, or rather relinquishing control and simplifying (I wish I had another word that wasn't so trendy, but it best describes my thoughts).

  • In regards to control, goodness I've spent far too many days, weeks, months, and years attempting to control every aspect of my adult life. And 2014 was the year I finally realized and fully comprehended that I am so far from controlling life, and it's futile to even try. From witnessing the Lord provide our full ministry support, to experiencing a smooth move to Milwaukee, to even experiencing a spring that had absolutely no similar schedule from week to week (which was incredibly challenging and hard), I saw the Lord provide through it all. If anything, I experienced so much freedom in 2014. Freedom in Christ that meant exploring and experiencing the gifts, passions, and places He's called me to. 
  • And in regards to simplifying, moving (for the 5th time in two years) has refined my perspective on material possessions. While I already felt this way before we moved, 2014 was the year I finally acted on my values and paired down throughout our home. And the process of simplifying went beyond just our possessions. I learned how to say 'no' to activities and roles (some of them very good things) that took away from our families defined values or goals. We shifted our diet to include ingredients that may take more time to prep, but meant we knew every ingredient we were placing in our bodies. And we started to think long-term, big picture, about some radical goals we'd love to achieve together someday; goals that will require simplifying in more ways in 2015.

There you have it...another year documented (albeit briefly). With all it's changes and transitions I am still abundantly thankful for 2014 and excited for what 2015 will hold for our family!