This is the seventh year I’ve shared a recap of the year ( 20122013201420152016 and 2017 ). I’ve tweaked this form a bit a lot so this edition is not even close to the original.

If I had to describe 2018 in one word it would be ROUTINE. I’ve felt a sense of machine-like predictability this year, like I’m in the same groove to maintain momentum. With the exception of a few high points, 2018 has been quiet. My life has remained steady – I’m not complaining! – at home, at work, and with friends. Overall, 2018 was good.

Compared to this time last year, are you:

Happier or Sadder?  Happier.
Thinner or Fatter?  
Richer or Poorer?

What – or who – are you most thankful for?
Definitely thankful for Husband and Kamden, I cannot imagine my life without them. They drive me bonkers but bring me so much joy and make me laugh every single day. I’m also extremely grateful for my colleagues at FUMC Joshua. Our staff is PHENOMENAL and we all work really well together. I’m not making nearly as money as I did in corporate marketing but enjoying your career and the people you work with every day makes ALL the difference in the world. Besides, the work we’re doing is important … it’s Kingdom Work!

What single achievement are you most proud of? 
Jenny designed our Cultivate brand (including logo) and I created every marketing piece. It was a daunting task and a lot of items on my to-do list got ignored, but the final products are really nice. Before we began this stewardship campaign, I explained to Dale and The Cultivate Team that if I was going to be responsible for all aspects of communications, there had to be a consistent, seamless brand. Using our fresh-looking logo and modern design, I got busy creating letterhead, envelopes, square magnets, stationery, social media graphics, a  vision brochure and detailed booklet and a few other pieces that were all professionally printed at I had never created a booklet before but it turned out really nice and encompasses our church’s hopes and desires to eliminate debt and focus on cultivating a Christ centered legacy for next generations.

Who was your go-to person this year?
Jenny. She may live in North Dakota but she’s always available. We’ve laughed, cried, cussed, struggled and celebrated with one another this year via text message and in-person when she came to Texas for the Women of Joy conference in San Antonio. She makes me want to be a better disciple of Christ, wife to Husband, mother to Kamden, friend to my tribe, and influence in the community. She’s insanely creative and if you think I have a girl crush on her, you’d be correct.

What one event will you tell your grandchildren about?
Thursday, December 6, 2018 – Kamden and I drove to Millican, Texas, about 20 miles south of College Station, to see George H.W. Bush’s funeral train. It was an incredible moment that I will never forget. I realize Kamden is too young to understand why a train would be so popular, but when he’s older we’re returning to Bush’s Presidential Library at Texas A&M University.

What book or movie made a profound impact on you?
Cultivate by Lara Casey. Hands down one of the best books I have ever read. Funny story about this book … I had had it in my Amazon cart for months – maybe a year? – and one day (after I had talked to Jenny about our Cultivate stewardship campaign and thoughts I had about branding and logo designs) the book cover caught my eye. I had been talking to Jenny and the campaign team for WEEKS about cultivating a legacy for future generations. I ordered this book and it was the affirmation I needed (the whole team really) to move forward. In the context of stewardship and goal-setting for a church on the move for God’s Kingdom, Cultivate could not have come at a better time. I purchased several copies and they’ve been passed around by folks on The Cultivate Team. Plus, all our small groups are going to read it a study in 2019.

I Can Only Imagine is a movie based on a song by MercyMe. It’s a true story full of hope and a powerful reminder on forgiveness.

What little things did you most enjoy during your daily life?
Bedtime stories with Kamden. There is nothing sweeter, or more sacred, than this quiet time spent cuddled with my son. We laugh and share parts of our day with one another, read Bible verses, and I pray words of adoration and affirmation over him until he says, “Mommy, rub my hand.”

What was your favorite moment spent with family?
Husband and I took Kamden to SeaWorld in San Antonio for our first family vacation. Even though it was hotter than hell, it was wonderful to get away and create memories that Kamden still talks about today.

What’s the best gift you received this year?
This Bible … I plan to make it a Legacy Bible for Kamden and fill its margins with letters and study notes.

What activities made you lose track of time?
Facebook and the Kindle app!

In which area(s) did you thrive?
I’m pretty sure I had a similar response last year, but I really LOVE my job. People frustrate me but every once in a while, God gives me a truffle from heaven and I reclaim my passion for outreach ministry. The paid and unpaid servants at FUMC Joshua have accomplished A LOT this year as the body of Christ … I’m really proud of them, grateful for them, and consider it a blessing that I get a front-row seat of witnessing a congregation and community transform into the people God has called them to be.

In which areas did you struggle?
I don’t want to label my obesity as a struggle because I haven’t done anything to change it. As much effort as I put into trying to be organized, I still struggle with delegation and time management. I have trouble letting go of the reins and letting others help me. Next year, I want to implement strategies to keep stress at bay and Post-It notes under control.

Who are the best new persons you met this year?
Like the majority of my close friends, I connected with a lot of people online and then had opportunities to meet them in person. One opportunity I’m most excited about is the Mom Up book (releases January 1, 2019) and being on the launch team with author Kara-Kae James. I’ve connected with moms all across the country and even had lunch with a few who live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. We’re planning to get together again on New Years Day (January 1) when the book officially launches to the public and celebrating this major milestone with Kara-Kae. I’m also on the launch team for Margaret Feinberg’s Taste and See book that releases January 22. I’ve been anticipating this for a while and could not be more excited or proud of Margaret for sharing her gift of writing and teaching. I got to hug Margaret (and her husband, Leif) in San Antonio in October too – it’s always a joy to hear her teach on stage and introduce her to friends.

What single thing did you do this year that will matter most in ten years? In eternity?
The Cultivate Campaign is a church-wide effort to reduce debt and live obediently and confidently as the people God has called us to be. With that in mind, being on the leadership team has made a profound impact on me personally and professionally as I try to improve myself physically and spiritually. I know eyes are on me and I want to be a great example of a disciple who loves, grows, serves, and gives abundantly always and in all ways.

What was your favorite place you visited in 2018?
Millican, Texas

Who encouraged you the most this year?
Courtney F. I’m supposed to be her mentor but she motivates me!

What did you do that was meaningful for others?
I delivered a meal to our neighbors when their children were sick and life was throwing curve balls. I gifted Bibles to two people. Kamden and I baked cookies for troops and he also gave a box of cookies to the garbage truck drivers we see every week.

What was your biggest financial accomplishment this year?
I contributed monthly to retirement.

How did you celebrate your birthday, and how old were you?
I celebrated my 35th birthday with dinner at The Ranch in Las Colinas with friends and then treated myself to a solo sushi lunch at Blue Saki on my actual birthday.

What will you remember about 2018?
I love being a family of three. It’s funny looking back at 2017’s review and one of my goals for 2018 was to spend time as a family of three as often as possible. That was definitely accomplished! I’m incredibly thankful that Husband stepped out of his comfort zone this summer for a few days in San Antonio. We learned a lot and are planning a repeat in 2019, but not in July!

What are you most looking forward to in 2019?
Per the recommendation of our pediatric dentist, Kamden has an appointment with a speech therapist in January to evaluate his tongue tie. Husband wants it clipped immediately and Dr. W wants all the t’s crossed and i’s dotted before a major surgical procedure. I want all of this to be over and done with and I kick myself for trusting the jerks at the previous dental office. FUMC Joshua is hosting a livesteam of the IF;Gathering in January and I’m looking forward to attending and sharing the experience with friends. To get my office put together as quickly as possible, I’m considering “hiring” a friend who enjoys decorating. I want a smaller desk, area rug, softer lighting, and pictures (including my college diploma) hung on walls. The church is also getting a new and improved website and I’m looking forward to working with our design editor to keep material fresh and updated. Creating a Legacy Bible for Kamden is top of my priority list. I still plan to read Scripture daily but I want to be intentional about writing letters and study notes in the margins of Kamden’s special Bible.

What is your number one goal for 2019?
Use my planner regularly and efficiently to track daily habits, meal plan, and organize my personal/work calendar.

Before you go, leave a comment about your favorite memory from 2018. Or, if you posted a “year in review,”, share the link so I can read it!