Don’t Expect Anything New In A New Year

New Years Day of years past was filled with high expectations of myself and other people and situations. When those expectations weren’t met–by myself or others–I became angry, and I took out this anger on those close to me, usually my husband. I was struggling with things I couldn’t put into words–namely, my mental health–and I was allowing the world to affect the way I viewed my life.

When we have expectations, we set ourselves up for disappointment.

Not this year. I didn’t create resolutions, and I didn’t tell myself I have to be a certain way or do a certain thing in 2019. Going into 2018, I felt God was telling me the coming year would be better than the last, and it was. And going into 2019, I feel that same message. So that’s my only goal: to be better. And I hope that’s yours too.

Instead of expectations, create goals.

You can have a combination of goals, or goals for just one “category” of life, or goals for every “category.” Here are a few of my goals and plans for 2019:

Blogging

  • Offer Bible study groups (keep an eye out for February!)
  • Transition to a new hosting site
  • Begin collaborations/working partnerships
  • Continue finding and developing my niche

Physical Health & Fitness

  • Have a better relationship with food
  • Consistently choose healthy options
  • Lose 5 pounds
  • Gain muscle
  • Run a half marathon (February!)

Business

  • Launch website
  • Gain 2 clients

Personal & Writing

  • Pay off credit card debt
  • Go through Financial Peace University
  • Go on one type of adventure a month with Belle
  • Write one article a month
  • Publish with local magazines 4 times
  • Travel twice–road trip and flight–with Belle
  • Work on book once a week
  • Write in my bullet journal daily
  • Read one Bible verse a day
  • Continue to grow in my faith and trust in the Lord
  • Be better at controlling my responses — respond with grace, not frustration

And when you meet a goal, create a new one! After all, there are 365 new days ahead, with at least 365 new opportunities. Struggling to think of goals to set? Send me an email (digitalinkandparchment@gmail.com) and we can work through developing your goals together.

What goals do you want to set and achieve in 2019?

Ringing In A New Year

The start of a new year is a time for reflection and determining what you want out of the next year. And I’ve certainly had a lot to reflect on.

In 2018 I:

  • Began taking my writing more seriously by really dedicating time to my blog
  • Got a (full-time!) job as a Content Writer and Editor for a local business
  • Have been published on online platforms and in local magazines
  • Started a book (it’s still a WIP, but still!)
  • Made new friends
  • Took a road trip with Belle
  • Invested in my faith by growing in my church community
  • Found the purpose of my blog
  • Registered my business

This past year was far from perfect, and it’s definitely not where I had thought I would be at 27, but the Lord has blessed me in this season of long suffering. He has shown me that He can, and does, use pain and waiting and anger and frustration for good.

The past year has shown me I am stronger and more capable than I ever thought.

I want to encourage you: if you are facing something right now that you aren’t sure you can get past, God has you in the palm of His hand. The new year is your opportunity to start fresh and to recommit.

I pray this new year would bring you peace.

. . . . . .

Is there something you are praying for? Let me know, and we can join together in prayer.

“There are all kinds of courage”

“It is our choices…that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” – Albus Dumbledore

As you know, this year has been rough. It didn’t start off that way, and I didn’t anticipate that it would be, and yet…well, here I am. With the new year quickly approaching, I have been reminiscing. While it is, of course, sometimes quite painful, I have begun to see that I have choices. I have a freedom I didn’t see before, and I accept that.

This hardship has given me an opportunity to learn about myself and to accept myself in ways I maybe didn’t before.

My mom insisted I open my presents on Christmas Eve, as we were leaving Christmas Day for Orlando. She told me I had to specifically open a large, rectangular package. As I sat on the floor, drink next to me, and opened this box, I began to realize what she had gotten me and why she wanted me to open it before we left. Lifting the cardboard lid, I pulled out replica Hufflepuff robes. I bounced up and down, hugged her, and cried my thanks. Literally, I think there were tears in my eyes.

Maybe it was wearing the robes and being able to represent my house. Maybe it was using the interactive wand and watching the scenes in shop windows move. It all felt more magical this time.

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I think, though, the reason it felt that way was because I allowed myself to be more…well, myself. I was excited. I was having fun. My mind wasn’t whirring with what ifs or trying to connect dots that don’t make sense. I didn’t feel like I was being judged by anyone, even when my mom and I went to the hotel’s rum bar for drinks and the bartender simply said “You know, I don’t see a lot of Hufflepuffs.” For once, I simply took it as a comment on my t-shirt, without a hidden meaning of a passed judgement.

As the new year fast approaches, I have begun to make my own type of resolutions. The biggest being:

  1. I am going to stop trying to make sense of something that doesn’t make sense
  2. I am going to be unapologetically me

and

  1. I am going to make plans I want to make

It’s been on my mind for a while—years, actually—but, for some reason, my most recent visit back to Diagon Alley sparked my desire to begin planning a trip to England. I texted a close friend of mine to see if she’d be interested in joining me, and, to my surprise, she said yes. We haven’t even hammered out actual dates, but just the simple idea of getting to plan such an adventure with a friend got me really excited. I don’t think I’ve come down from the high yet.

For me, this is huge. A few months ago, I could barely fathom planning a semester. The key here is planning things I want to plan, things that bring me joy. Yes, I still have to plan for my courses, but this makes it easier somehow.

I still don’t know what will happen this year, but I know it is through God that I am beginning to have some sense of clarity and patience. It is only thanks to God that I have seen I have choices, too, and I can stand by what I believe. It is only through God I have the strength I have.

As it is a holiday weekend, of course there is a Harry Potter marathon on TV. (I swear this particular station plays a Harry Potter marathon for everything.) As I’m still on my “Harry Potter high,” I’m eagerly watching as much as I can.

At the end of Order of the Phoenix, Luna gives us some wisdom: “things we lose have a way of coming back to us in the end, if not always in the way we expect.”

As I said, I have realized I have choices. So, this coming year, I am choosing to take Luna’s outlook. The alternative is depressing.

I don’t know what this choosing says about me. That I am a true Hufflepuff, “patient, true, and loyal”? That I have more faith than I thought? That I am stronger than I think? It tells me I have more power than I thought I did. It tells me I am growing. And that is a pretty decent way to start a new year, if you ask me.

As Dumbledore tells us: “There are all kinds of courage.”