I love the opportunity that comes this time of year to reflect on the 365 days behind us and look forward to the new chapter opening ahead. As I think back on the goals and aspirations we had for this year, it honestly exceeded almost every one. We may not have met every single “resolution,” but our goals are overall reached and surpassed in ways that were both expected and completely surprising. It was a year of hustle and hard work, and we are tired, but it was also a year of intense personal, professional, and relational growth. I’m also more confident than ever that I married the right man for me. Our teamwork has been more important than ever in 2016, and he is truly the best partner for me. God knew what he was doing when he put us together.
In many ways, 2016 was a chaotic and catastrophic one for the world. I recall many times that I mourned as I scrolled through the news and threw my hands in the air as I saw the way that people treated each other online. I’m convinced more than ever that I need to be confident in what I believe and loving toward those who disagree.
There’s a lot more that could be said about 2016, but I think the easiest way to sum up my year is by sharing some of my “favorites” of 2016.
1. Starting Peach & Pine Home
This is a no brainer! We started 2016 with almost buying a farm (something I’ve never documented here, but I plan to do so soon), and although the deal didn’t work out, it was God’s way of helping us realize that renovating and designing homes was more than just a hobby for us…it is a passion. So we spent a few months brainstorming what working together on a side business could look like, and out of that came Peach & Pine Home (read more about the start here!). The first project of the business was the West Side Single Story. We started an Instagram account that has been growing slowly but surely, we have worked on projects around our home and other homes, and we have some exciting things already on the books for 2017!
I was away from home about 104 days this year for both my job in the music industry and pleasure travel. That included about 60 cities and 25 trips. Jeremy was gone around 140 days as well. For a self-proclaimed homebody, that made for some travel weariness, but I absolutely loved the opportunity to see new places and visit old ones. Some highlights were Iceland (this highlight can’t be overstated; posts here, here, and here), a friend vacation to New Orleans, the Blue Ridge mountains with my family, my first trip to Seattle, Labor Day in NYC with my sister and brother-in-law, Michigan in the Fall, and Tampa to visit my parents’ new home! God made some pretty amazing places in this world. I feel like I saw it in more vivid color than ever this year. That sounds abstract, but the more I travel and the older I get, the more true joy I take in seeing all that God has created. We already have a couple of other countries and quite a few exciting stateside trips planned in 2017.
Something I don’t often share about on this blog is my love for music. I would say my passions are very clearly for home design and for music. Singing has been a huge part of my life forever, and this year was an important year for me. I released my second EP (short album) in February, I have traveled to lead worship at other churches, and I was able to become a part-time staff worship leader for our student ministry. I’m back to singing multiple times a week, and it is filling a musical void that I’ve been feeling the last few years. Such a joy!
4. Gettin’ Healthy
I’ve been a self-proclaimed health nut for quite a few years. I love studying about healthy eating, cooking healthy meals, and finding a way to eat deliciously and nutritiously! But this year we took it to a new level. We started January with our first round of Whole30 (we are doing another one starting tomorrow!), and Jeremy lost a bit of weight due to getting really serious about his healthy eating. I also started running for the first time ever, and in the last month or two, I’ve gotten more serious about the gym by trying out weight lifting and plyometric workout classes about five days a week. I’m excited to keep up the fitness routine in the new year.
I've also gotten more serious about putting my best foot forward with makeup and fashion this year. It may sound frivolous, but I got into a bad habit of rushing my getting ready routine in the mornings, and the feeling of not being "ready" affected my motivation. I now work hard to plan my outfits, I've invested in clothes a little bit more, and I'm working to finish my makeup before I leave the house instead of in the car. Honestly, feeling put together helps me feel more confident to conquer my day.
I have no aspirations of becoming a professional photographer, but this year I have gotten more serious about taking good photos of our home. We invested in some new lenses for our DSLR, a new tripod, and some new video camera equipment. I’ve really enjoyed learning to document life more
I hope to do a post soon to sum up all of the reading I have done this year (like I did last year), but I was able to cross nearly forty books off my list thanks to my Kindle, airplane travel, and the invention of audiobooks. I am a lifelong learner, and I absolutely love all the reading I’ve gotten to do. It’s a good feeling to know I’m ending 2016 with a little bit more knowledge in my noggin.
7. Student Ministry
We both volunteer as leaders in the student ministry in our church. I have a group of 8th grade girls and Jeremy has a group of 8th grade guys. We also lead worship weekly as mentioned on number three. My students have become more than just middle school girls to me, they are friends. I love getting to do life with them! From weekly meetings to girls retreats.
8. Snowpocalypse 2016
You know you’re from the south when one single week of snow makes your top 10 favorite things of the year list, but Nashville got about 10 inches of snow in January and then it stuck around for nearly a week which meant a week of no work and a week of Narnia-like magic for me. That was actually the most snow I’ve ever been in. If you are from the North, you will laugh at me. But it was one of the most relaxing and fun weeks I can remember…stuck in the house with nothing to do but watch the snow fall and go sledding. I hope we get another good snow this year!
Of course family is always a highlight, but I am especially grateful for the fact that I have been able to see my family so much this year despite the distance between us. My parents have lived in Houston, Texas my whole life (14 hours away; although they moved to Tampa, Florida two months ago), Jeremy’s parents are 4 hours away in Atlanta, and we have siblings in Louisiana, Texas, North Carolina, and NewYork! I usually look to the future with a sense of uncertainty as to how much we will actually be able to be with our family. Those distances can seem daunting! But God is so faithful to provide us with ways to see them. Hardly a month went by without seeing at least someone from our family! Work travel brought us to them and them to us, and airline miles allowed us to squeeze in some fun trips as well.
This also seems like a no brainer. Everyone loves their friends. But I am truly grateful for the rich friendships that we have developed over the years. I’ve never been the kind of girl with a million close friends. I have a lot of acquaintances, but for deep friendships, I tend to be the one-on-one type. I like to invest deep in those serious friendships, and there have been some really sweet “investment” moments this year.
This election cycle was crazy, but we have a text thread called “Team America” with me, Jeremy, and a couple of our friends Kate & Amy, and somehow the ability to text things through kept me a little more sane. Our Team America even solidified our love for America by taking a friend-cation to New Orleans to tour the World War II Museum in August (worth the trip, by the way).
We have dear friends having babies, and getting to spend time with those babies is so fun. One of my best friends from high school is a lifelong soul sister (we talk almost daily even though she lives in Houston), and she is pregnant with baby #2, so she brought her precious one-year-old Emma Kate to visit in October. We also went to a mountain cabin with our Nashville besties and their one-year-old.
There are more friends that I can’t fit in this blog post. All those who take the time to invest in our lives, we love you!
This has been a highlight for a me four and a half years and running, and I hope it’s always a highlight. My sweet husband is just too good to fit into a paragraph. As I sit here typing this blogpost, he just did the dishes, made me dinner, and deep cleaned our refrigerator. That is the type of guy he is. Working as a team this year has been so fulfilling. From leading worship together weekly to working together to release my EP to starting Peach & Pine, hustling is better when I’m holding his hand.
I feel like I’ve found my stride as an adult more than ever this year, and life has felt really full and rich. God’s work in our lives has been so clear; it’s like I can almost see a hand guiding our steps. He is so faithful. His plan is so superior to our own.