The year is ending and I’m sitting with my cup of coffee at my desk (because the office is still open today) while I playback all that occurred in 2013. This has been a challenging year, but probably one of the most intentionally successful ones.
I’ve learned so much about myself as a person let alone the many roles that I play daily. We went through a lot of change this past year from settling into a new home, balancing two dogs and a baby, building a youth ministry, being a shop owner/blogger, and learning what it means to love without emotions – and understanding/accepting Christ’s love in my life…because the truth is it is a daily acceptance and commitment of growth for me. I can say this year has been for our benefit as a family and especially for my own growth.
These are my top 5 lessons of 2013:
1. You only fail when you don’t try: Most of the most successful decisions I’ve made have been out of trying this year. Even when I had absolutely no idea how to, just giving it a shot put me right where I needed to be eventually. I’m extremely hard on myself combined with an intense passion for perfection – which often leads to me spinning my wheels nowhere fast or quitting before I start. My shop opened with the help of my sister starting it for me while I was at work and even creating my FB page. It took off when I joined the Mug Swap and fell in love with hand designing mugs… I had no idea and made many errors (faded mugs, broken, and burned mugs), but had 107 sales from October to December! It blessed my socks off and I didn’t sleep haha (thank God our little one starting to sleep through the night!) But I’m so glad this year I just started what I’ve wanted to for a long time…including this blog! I sat on WordPress for hours at night (no wonder why I was so exhausted ha) and played with templates and googled a million blogs. I saved my favorites and eventually buckled down and bought a template on Etsy (best investment)… It wasn’t necessarily in our budget, but in good faith I bought a sponsorship on one of my favorite blogs and she even allowed me to pick her brain! It has taken serious time to understand and a million mistakes later, but I can’t wait to refine taking risks more this year.
2. Find the worth in your story: I used I wish my name wasn’t Carmen simply because it’s one of the most common Spanish names…but when I learned I was named after my grandmother who unselfishly cared for my mother after her birth mom left her on the doorstep for my grandfather to care for (yes very true)…never once telling my mom she wasn’t her biological child until she was 23 and officially adopted her – I realized the value in my name and have carried that story in my heart since then. This year I’ve learned to value my story as a woman – my perspective, faith, mistakes, heart aches, and triumphs. Not only seeing that my story will never be like yours and not basing readership, likes, or comments on that value either has been very hard for my natural people pleasing heart – but a lesson I know I’ve needed for a long time. My greatest posts have been from my heart and from some of the most vulnerable places in me. I can only believe it’s because that’s where my true worth and value lies in the broken not so pretty places that God wants to show Himself in – and that’s what allows me to free up my own prejudices and love myself more…
3. Slow Down! You can’t do it all! The shop taught me this among many other lessons. November and December were my busiest months – I NEVER thought it would be that busy…and in turn out of my own poor planning/lack of balance with life – still working full-time outside of home I found myself running like a chicken with my head cut off. In turn I made silly mistakes I could have avoided such as sending an order to the wrong address and even sending the completely wrong design! I’m beyond grateful for my customers and their grace (seriously). I didn’t leave room for life at all… Kai got sick multiple times during those months, I got sick, I still was trying to spend condensed quality time with my family AND get some sleep. It just didn’t work and simply because I can’t do it all. I struggle with asking for help and with planning. I used to be extremely organized then I fell off the wagon hard…so I gifted myself with a blog/shop calendar and have been organizing my work space little by little. I know I can avoid another mess with two simple things:
The word NO & Time Managment!
4. Live! This year our little one has taught me the biggest lesson of just living. We choose how to define success and too many times it equates $$$. Sure we say the best things in life are free, but don’t really see the truth in that. My best day out of this season was going to the park the other Saturday and seeing our little one love life with us. I can’t buy that time. One of my resolutions this year; more of a promise is to capture those moments more. My husband bought me a camera for Christmas and I can’t wait to snap away…not just for me – but for us as a family.
5. You’re not alone: I believe that’s why people enjoy social media. As a mom I’ve felt alone most days, especially with working outside the home and seeing my friends be able to stay home and raise their children. In the late nights or early mornings when my hair is a bird’s nest and I can’t find the stupid pacifier or my husband insist on bringing little one into our bed (there just isn’t room…) I’ve found solice in seeing all you other moms have your struggles too and being open and vulnerable about it. It’s helped me stop being hard on myself when I can’t figure out that screaming means juice or banana – or the realization that I am that mom at the store with a screaming toddler who wants the pack of Cheerios we didn’t come to buy… Thank you. I love the community I’m a part of and hope to continue to grow in it for years to come.
2014 I can’t wait for the wonder you will bring and the deeper vulnerability you will require of me. I hope I am that much more intentional than this past year in growing in Christ and focusing less on my own definition of success.