“For me, words are a form of action, capable of influencing change. Their articulation represents a complete, lived experience.” – Ingrid Bengis
When I first decided to give up New Year’s resolutions, people literally kind of thought I was crazy. Heck, I kind of thought I was crazy. But they just never worked for me. Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of setting goals at the beginning of the year and working toward something. But as a classic Type A personality, my resolutions were always too literal. So two years ago I decided to do something a little different. Instead of a list of specific goals, I choose a word that I want to embody for the year. A theme to set my year to. In 2016, I chose “sparkly”. I had some lofty dreams in 2016 and I wanted to it all to be exciting and to find beauty in all of my decisions. I wanted everything to feel sparkly. And (for the most part) it did. 2016 challenged me in ways I never knew I could be challenged, and like a diamond under pressure, I feel like I made some pretty sparkly decisions.
2017 was “gusto“. I wanted to approach the year with zest, enthusiasm, and an abundance of joy. No fear, no reservations. And boy, did I ever. You know that saying “be careful what you wish for“? I think someone must have been talking about my 2017. 2017 brought me a new job, a third move in three years, a crazy boom in my photography business, some of the best people I’ll ever meet, my all-time highest highs and all-time lowest lows. But that’s the thing about gusto – it’s a mindset. I kept my head down and poured myself into work, my family, my marriage. I took on big projects, dreamed bigger dreams, and came out the other end of the year feeling so excited about all of the progress I’d made. That’s the beauty of the yearly word. Even when it doesn’t look like you think it will, it still seems to embody your year. A guiding light through all of the crazy, beautiful choas.
But this year it took me a little longer to find my word. I thought I had found it a couple of times, but it never felt quite right.
Do you ever have the moment when you taste something incredible after not knowing what to eat? That feeling of this is exactly what I wanted to eat? That’s how it felt when I said my word out loud for the first time this year. It just felt right. Like it answered every question I had when I thought about what I wanted from this year. My word for 2018?
Webster’s defines grace as 1) simple elegance or refinement of movement and 2) to do honor or credit to (someone or something) by one’s presence.
There are so many things that resonate with me about those two definitions (as different as they may be).
First and foremost (and definitely most obviously), I want to make sure that all of my decisions this year are made with grace. Simple, calm, poised, deliberate. I’m a chronic over-thinker and I tend to second guess myself at every turn. 2018 is the year when I learn to trust my instincts and know that any decision rooted in grace and good intentions is enough.
But when I read the second definition I felt like I had been struck by lightning. Because that is exactly how I want to live this year. There are so many places that I want to infuse more grace into my life. Here are a few:
We have a saying around here on wedding days: Tired bodies, sore feet, full hearts. (Yes, we totally remixed that from Friday Night Lights). But that’s exactly how we feel after a wedding. No matter how sore or tired we are after a wedding day, we can’t stop smiling the whole way home. Because we truly love our couples and are so humbled by the privilege we’re given on their wedding days. Our goal from first meeting to final delivery (and well beyond) is to empower, encourage and celebrate our couples’ marriages. My goal in 2018 is to heighten that experience for our couples. To breathe grace into their wedding day by reminding them of what’s truly important, celebrate this first of many milestones with them, and honor their marriage with the experience we provide for them.
2018 will see my fifth wedding anniversary. It’s really kind of unbelievable when I think about it. My husband and I have been together since we were 18. For nearly a decade, we have watched each other grow, have been each other’s shield from the rain and have built such a beautiful life. But marriage, just like life, isn’t always neat and tidy. Any married couple will tell you that marriage is work. And that actively choosing someone else and putting someone else’s needs before yours day after day isn’t always easy. But I truly believe that it’s because it’s hard that marriage is so beautiful. The thought that even on our worst day, my husband still gets up and chooses to love me, to put me first, to pick up the Pizza Rolls with just cheese instead of pepperoni because he knows those are my favorites… that’s the stuff that makes life worth living. So in 2018, I want to pour grace into our marriage. To honor my marriage and my husband with my choices. To strengthen our marriage with my choices, to speak kindness and love into his day and to make our marriage better with my presence.
Truth time: as a working momma, I find myself feeling guilty all of the time. Seriously, mom guilt can be a serious you-know-what (can I get an amen?). When I’m working long hours and chasing my dream, I feel guilty for missing time with my daughter and husband. When I spend a weekend focusing on my family, I feel guilty for not paying more attention to my business. I’m constantly evaluating how I could be a better mother, wife, sister, friend, daughter, business owner, teammate. So my biggest goal in 2018 is to breathe grace into my own heart. To find a balance in it all. To know that my daughter is only little once, that the snuggles and the Tangled reruns are short-lived and that everything else can wait. To know that my business won’t crumble if I miss an Instagram post or if I go a little longer between blog posts. But also to know that it’s okay for me to want things for myself. That it’s good for my daughter to see me work hard and achieve, that my husband supports my dream and what I’m providing to our family. And that sometimes it’s okay to put myself first. That there’s nothing wrong with doing a spin class in the morning and having a glass of wine (or two) at the end of the day. In 2018 I want to honor myself through my choices. To make decisions that promote my physical, mental and emotional health. Because you really can’t pour from an empty cup, and this year I have a lot of grace I want to pour.
So here’s to another year without resolutions. Cheers to 2018 and cheers to grace.