(Side note: I started this post before 2019. I had been reflecting these past few weeks, and hadn’t gotten around to posting this. So, some of the text below is from pre-Christmas, but I want to leave that in to give the authentic truth of how I felt while writing this. Hopefully you can just breeze through that part about Christmas :) )
As I’m writing this, it’s two weeks before Christmas, and I’m sitting here thinking to myself, “Where has the time gone?” I’m getting ready to work on setting my goals for 2019, but it would be remiss of me to plow ahead to the next year without accurately reflecting on the past.
In general, I find I tend to be more of a private person. But, I don’t want you to come to my blog thinking my life is always rainbows and butterflies. Amidst gift guides and Christmas shopping, there are triumphs and trials in my life. More often than not, I just don’t choose to display them all. Looking for fun gifts and compiling outfits is a creative outlet for me, and frankly, sometimes it’s just more fun that way. But I want it to be clear, my life, just like anyone else’s, is full of ups and downs. While this blog may forecast the “highs” of my life, please don’t think that this is real life. Social media and the blogging world are amazing…I’ve met some truly wonderful friends and been able to flex my creative muscles. However, it can also be a dark place for comparison.
With that being said, let’s look through the highs and lows of 2018.
I spent some absolutely amazing quality time with my family this year. I was able to take a trip in early summer to New York with my Dad & Grandma to visit their childhood homes. I honestly think this is a trip I will cherish for the rest of my life. I am so beyond thankful I had the chance to spend time walking through my Dad’s childhood with him. I celebrated milestone birthdays with family members, exciting engagements, and loving on my cousin at two of her bridal showers. I got to have a weekend sleepover with my Mamaw and celebrated my birthday with family at home. To top it off, I spent two weeks with my mom traveling through Europe. Because we live apart now, it’s not often I get one-on-one time with her. Spending that time with just her was so good for my soul, and I’m so thankful we had the opportunity to share those special memories together. I have so much to be thankful for with my family, and I never want to forget that.
Like I mentioned above, I spent a major part of 2018 spending some amazing quality time with my family. Because we live apart, much of that family time was spent traveling. In 2018 I traveled to Exumas, Bahamas, numerous trips home to Virginia and our river house, Raleigh for a weekend with my forever high school friends, Chapel Hill for the Making Things Happen conference, New York and New Jersey, plenty of trips to watch the Tigers play in Clemson, played tourist in our own city of Charleston, and the ultimate European vacation in France, Italy, and Monaco with my mom.
My husband and I moved to a new (to us!) house! We bought the ultimate fixer upper and are so excited to have more room. We moved from an 850 square foot house (see more on that below), and we both finally feel like we have room to breathe. Our new house is a very traditional, brick Colonial (which, surprisingly, is a harder to find house style down here!) and reminds me of home in Virginia. It really is my dream style house. She’s a diamond in the rough, but I know will shine bright once we polish her! Honestly, after a year of questioning where we should live, this house is a blessing from God. I could so clearly see His hand throughout the buying and selling process, and I’m so thankful for that. We have a ton of work to do to make her our own, but we are just beyond thankful.
I took a new job in 2018 that I’m loving. For privacy reasons, I won’t share exactly what it is, but I am very thankful for it. It’s not glamorous by any means, but I’m slowly learning that my identity does not rest in my job title. My job gives me the ability to provide income for our family, save for the future, and put money towards our renovations…. things that are all so valuable. So, if you might feel like you’re in a rut with work right now or not working at a high-end, glamorous job (and maybeeee comparing yourself to others on social media!) please know that you are more than your job title. Being back in a routine has also been wonderful for me, yet I’m thankful for a little flexibility within my role. I also became a Beautycounter consultant (you can learn more about that decision here!), which I have loved! The group of girls I work with are honestly phenomenal. They are so intelligent, kind, and supportive! I love being able to share about safer beauty products (something I’ve always been genuinely interested in!) and getting to contribute extra spending money to our family.
Honestly, in a hard, hard year, my faith has been the one thing I can depend upon. I am so thankful I have a loving God and can rest in the fact that ultimately, He is in control of my life. We officially joined our church (honestly, one of our biggest blessings in Charleston), and I started attending a women’s bible study. We have continued to dive deeper into volunteering and getting involved at our church, which has made all the difference in really feeling at home, and given us the chance to deepen our faith.
Let me be very clear, living 6+ hours away from home is hard. It tests me more often than not. Sometimes I feel literal pain having to drive away from Virginia. While I did have some absolutely amazing times spent with my family, it never gets easier living away from them. Having grown up with an extremely close family, I miss them daily. While I often showcase the happy side of living in Charleston (it really is beautiful, and I am thankful to live here), I miss Virginia quite often. Thankfully (and what I truly feel like is an answer to many, many prayers) I finally have started to feel at home in Charleston and in our new house, and more than anything, I know this is where God has called us to be right now.
Because of being on the road so much while traveling to see friends and family (which were great and amazing times!), we really neglected our own sense of home. It’s so easy to say “yes!” to always wanting to spend time with extended family (all good things, right?!)…..but we learned the hard way that in the end we were putting our marriage and our home on the backburner. It’s hard to make a new city feel like home when you’re gone more than half of the year. In addition, our previous house we lived in for most of 2018 was 850 square feet. Yes, you read that right. My apartment in college was bigger than our first house! Our old house had SO many positives: in a great, walkable neighborhood, so much 1940s character, and it was easy to clean in less than 30 minutes haha! However, the size really affected me. I oftentimes would feel like I was suffocating just because there really wasn’t enough space. We limited what we brought in to the house (which was a great learning lesson about needs v. wants!) but ultimately, the space was just too tight for us. I realize this is not truly a “problem” as so many face so much worse, but this is just a true experience I struggled with this past year!
I hinted on this above, but I don’t think anyone really mentions how hard the first few years out of college can be, especially in a world of rampant social media. Your whole world has been uprooted, and everyone is just trying to make it through… I would be lying if I didn’t say that I would compare my (non-existent) career path with the likes of others. I struggled a lot this year with just really figuring out what I wanted in life, what my skill sets were, and where I could see myself down the road. However, I am thankful that God opened up my current job opportunity (see above) and I’m learning that my identity & worth does not rest in my job title or career path.
I’ve never really done a “personal” post like this, but I wanted to be truthful as I start devoting more time to this little corner of the internet! I always love reading posts like these on other people’s blogs (it always helps me feel a little less alone when I realize someone else feels the same way!) so I hope y’all enjoy it! Wishing each and every one of you many blessings in 2019!! I feel so hopeful going into this new year, and I know that God is sustaining me. I hope and pray you feel the same way.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13
Stay tuned over the next few days as I share my “word of the year” for 2019!