New Season, New Month, New Plan

To say I have fallen off track with this blog would be the biggest understatement of 2016. I could make a million excuses about why I haven’t kept up, and sure, some of them are probably legit. But that doesn’t change it. What will change it is acknowledging what went wrong, learning from it, making a plan, and sticking to it.

What 2016 has been thus far:
2016 has been a whirlwind. A beautiful mess of madness; the best days and the most stressful days of my life all rolled into one. We’ve accomplished so much this year, yet we’ve failed more this year than any other. So how is it possible to have so much success and so much failure all at once? 
I listened to an audio book earlier this summer called Go for No. While its premise is about network marketing, I found that so many of the concepts related to general life as well. In summary, the author talks about how in order to get what you want (a “yes”, or a success in whatever your goal may be), you most likely will have to go through a few “no” responses, or failures, along the way. For instance, if you are wanting to learn to do a front flip off the diving board, odds are you will experience your fair share of flops, splats and not so pleasant landings before you have a polished and perfected trick. Make sense? So what I’m saying here is that my failures this year have brought on many of the triumphs. Without many of these failures, I wouldn’t be finally moving forward. We all have a tendency to create this picture in our heads of how our lives will look. How life looks daily, annually, or long term. And all of us have had life look like the picture a few times, and nothing like the picture more often than not. 
So what was my picture for this year? If you look back at my posts from January, I had some pretty good goals for blogging. I also had noted some things I wanted to work on to create more balance and happiness in my life personally. By February, we were announcing our big move. Some of the moving and new homeowner-ness was picture perfect. We felt like we could breathe again by having more space, my heart was so happy to see the dogs loving their new found freedom in the back yard, and there was some serious pride in knowing that this place was ours. All ours. But it also came with a lot of responsibility, expenses, to-do lists, and a few things you just can’t always foresee. We spent most of the Spring working on our project list and making this house into our home. Lots of painting, organizing, unpacking, new floors in some rooms, new lighting in others. A new garden, new furniture, new tools and a new truck, and even a new business venture. All things we wanted or needed and that served a purpose in our new full blown life of adulting. Great, right? June was a full bathroom remodel done entirely by the two of us. July was lots of overtime at work for Jason and a big Hutton family trip we had been looking forward to for almost two years. We barely landed from the Bahamas before we went right into three straight weekends of visitors or being out of town again. Life was full of awesome, wonderful things that we are so blessed to be experiencing. 
And then it happened. We both hit a wall, and within about 3 days of one another to boot. We snapped. We had moments of weakness much like a toddler who missed nap time three days in a row. We realized that we couldn’t take anymore. Any more projects, any more commuting, any more commitments, and any more travel or visitors. We needed to slow down. You see, it’s not that we don’t love each of those things. We absolutely do. We love working on the house, I love the family I was helping in the city, we love traveling and are so fortunate to be surrounded by friends and family that want to see us, stay with us, and spend time with us. I also love ice cream. Pretty much every flavor and every topping. But if I pile all the flavors known to mankind in the same dish and  cap it off with 35 toppings, the whole thing is much less enjoyable. That’s what we had spent the first six months of home ownership doing. Trying to do everything, with everybody, all at once. And maybe it wasn’t giving me a literal stomachache like that monstrosity of a sundae would have, but it was stressful, overwhelming, and draining us mentally, physically and emotionally. We had been bickering more than ever before, starting fights about the stupidest stuff. We were so swept up in the “things” that we weren’t giving ourselves or each other the grace, compassion, and affection that we desperately needed.
So we vented. We sat on our bedroom floor surrounded by three large baskets of laundry to fold and we just ranted (and maybe cried… don’t judge). Letting go of bottled up frustrations that had been weighing us down, loudly proclaiming all the selfish wants we were missing. Things like “I just want to tinker in the garage on a Saturday by myself” or “I just want to paint my toenails and watch Netflix in my pjs” or “I just want to sit out back on the patio and drink at two in afternoon because I can” and “I just want to go for a long bike ride with no distractions.” I realize a lot of that seems petty, and the answer to a lot of it seems as simple as “so just do it!” Oh, how simple that sounds. The truth boiled down to one, admittedly simple, concept. We needed boundaries. 
In order to be able to enjoy all these elements and seasons of life, we had to start saying no and drawing lines. Accepting this was that “failure before the success” I referred to earlier. In order to make changes that would get us out of this rut, we had to acknowledge where we screwed up or what was going wrong before. For us, this meant that we had to know our limits. We had to decide that in order to have the balance we were looking for, we couldn’t keep giving away every minute we had. This meant being a little more selective about how many times a month we were willing to have weekend guests or travel out of town. It meant saying no to certain favors asked of us by others. It meant agreeing to work late only one or two times a week instead of four. It meant taking back our time to spend it how we wanted to. 
This gave me a bit of anxiety, I won’t lie. I’ve always been one to speak my mind but I also love to please and help others. I feared that our friends and family would think I was being selfish or rude for not being overly accommodating. I feared that I would struggle internally about saying no to something then later regretting that decision. I couldn’t have been more wrong. 
This breakdown and reassessing process taught me a lot about myself and about Jason. It opened my eyes to the fact that I can’t pour from an empty cup. In order for others to get the best I have to offer, I have to take care of myself first. For the next month, I poured into my own personal growth and development. I took the time to reflect on what was working, and what wasn’t, looking at things from a different perspective and trying new approaches. Some areas of life will always be a work in progress, and others feel like they are finally where I hoped they would be long ago. 
All of this has led me to here. To telling you all that through this process of failures and triumphs, I’ve been able to better determine what I want to do next. I’ve decided to refocus on how I’m managing this blog. Moving forward, you’ll start seeing lots of great recipes appear again, and you’ll also see some new and exciting things I hope you all love as much as I do. For those of you who’ve stuck with me this past year, through all the inconsistency and lack of content, thank you. If it weren’t for you, I probably wouldn’t be driven to be better. ❤️

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