The Year of Being Brave

Courage, dear heart
              –C.S. Lewis


No. I thought. I’m tired of being scared.

I want to be brave this year.

And with that, I pointed my skis straight down the mountain, and flew.

Ahhh. 2015! It’s a shining new year, and I have a formal chance to scrape off that frothy layer of gunk that sits stale in my mind and obscures my dreams. Now I can begin again with an ambitious and fearless mindset, and I can make my once-upon-a-time dreams become a reality. I ended 2014 and began 2015 in a lovely way– surrounded with good friends and lots of laughter. I saw fireworks explode in an icy sky that reminded me of shattered glass, and I ate extra-yummy Reese’s with my best friend in her familiar kitchen, in the middle of a quiet and peaceful neighborhood. With that, I know 2015 will be a good year. Blessed and bursting with opportunity and joy. And chocolate and peanut butter.

This year, I’m not making any specific resolutions, just some abstract goals that I hope will enhance the colors already on my canvas. I’ve determined that I don’t want to use pastels this year. I’m going for full on splatter paint in intense, passionate colors. And after I’ve splattered, I’ll roll around in the wet paint until I become a masterpiece myself. Then everyone I touch will be stained with color too. It’s one of those years.

2015 will be the year of being brave. I guess if I could pick a “word of the year,” it would be brave, or courageous, or audacious, or gallant, or spirited. Even if I can’t travel all over like I want to, I’m going to imagine more often. I’ll dance more, and sing louder, and make an effort to love myself. I want to recognize and appreciate the small and precious moments that are sprinkled throughout my days. I want there to be fire in my lashes, and like Mary Oliver, I don’t want to be demure or respectable. Let me be wild and free. It’s the most glorious and mysterious thing to be alive and healthy, in a world and life that means something. I won’t be perfect this year, but that’s not what I want either. I want messy and beautifully breathless.

2014 was a life-changing year. The experiences still tickle my heart and my tongue licks the sky to tell about them. It was a year of growth and finding who I am. It was chock-full of pure magic, joy, freedom, heartache, passion, fear, insecurity, anxiety, hope, and most of all, faith. But oh how lovely it was. I know I’m growing into someone, even though I’m not quite sure who she is yet. I’ve had my heart drop ten stories and splatter all over the place, but I’ve also had my heart feel like a glistening and musical beehive. And the bees lift me up, and I fly.

~2014 end of year recap~

My favorite experiences:
~Giving a personal talk to a group of middle schoolers on a church retreat. My talk was about prayer, and I found freedom in sharing my story. I hope it inspired those kids as much as they inspired me that weekend.
~Summer camp in Georgia. ( my blog post about that amazing week tells more about it). I grew so much in my faith. Pure peace does exist my friends! 🙂
~The peer counseling retreat. A lot of my favorite moments have been on retreats, but there’s a reason for that. They help me realize there’s more to life than the artificiality of reality!
~Going to six awesome concerts with even awesomer friends

My biggest accomplishment:
~I wouldn’t say just one big thing, but a bunch of little things that string together like pearls to make a glowing, ivory chain of silvery memories. I guess keeping straight A’s has been an accomplishment, with AP classes and such. Maybe getting my first job. Starting a blog has been incredible, and the response to it has been so humbling and dream-come-trueish.

My favorite place to visit:
~California, hands down. I feel so at home there. I loved going back last February and seeing California in Winter (another post that sums it up 🙂 and, of course, smiling endlessly in the magical universe that is Disneyland. And Ethan’s Bar Mitzvah was a neat adventure.
~Chadron, Nebraska has a place in my heart as well. The prairie is the most non-judgmental landscape ever, and I pour my heart out to the grass silently as we drive through it, with the sky as our destination. (read this post to understand exactly how I feel about the prairie)

Chadron in Winter. View from Grandma and Papa’s window

The best meal is:
~Beau Jo’s pizza in Idaho Springs. I had it for the first time this year, and holy Lord in heaven above. I never understood why people got so excited over pizza until now. I mean, you dip the crust in honey! It’s a meal and dessert all in one!

If I have a free day, I like to:
~Cuddle up with a book and read, write, go running.

My favorite book:
~Okay, I’ll just make a list of favorite books I’ve read this year, because how am I supposed to pick just one??
A Thousand Splendid Suns By Khaled Hosseini (sooo heartbreakingly good. It’s about two women in Afghanistan during the 1980s/90s, and cuts deep into what sisterhood and love really are, and the tragedies women endure in that part of the world. I highly recommend if you want a book that leaves an impact.)
The Glass Castle By Jeannette Walls (Okay, so, I actually had to read this as my summer reading book for school, but it’s so so good. It’s a memoir about the author’s childhood, and how she grew up with lunatic parents who knew nothing about parenting, yet she was able to break free and follow her dreams.)
Vampires in the Lemon Grove by Karen Russell (If you get tingles simply from reading a rich, delicious, artfully crafted sentence, read this book. It’s a collection of grotesque and intriguing short stories, all to leave you breathless because of the author’s ability to form a descriptive, beautiful sentence. I loved this one.)
Blue Horses by Mary Oliver (I got this for Christmas. It’s a collection of poems, and they are so real and phenomenal and I want to be Mary Oliver when I grow up.)
The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd (She’s another one of those authors who is incredibly talented and can form a luscious sentence. The story is captivating, and you won’t be able to put it down. It’s about slavery in Charleston in the early 1800’s, and about the bond between the slave girl and the young girl who owns her.)

My favorite movie:
~I saw Pretty in Pink for the first time this year. I’m obsessed with her outfits in that movie!

One way I’d like to grow in 2015:
Spiritually–digging deeper into my Catholic faith. And of course, there’s always more need for prayer and surrender.
Mentally–be braver, take more chances
Physically–I’d love to run a 10k this year. Maybe?

Other goals: less Facebook and Pinterest, more reading and writing. Less comparing myself, more appreciating what I have. Less stressing, more praying.

I desperately want God to take over my year. I want him to tell me what to do and where to go. I’m not allowing anyone else, not even my parents or friends, do this for me. I want him to lead me where he wants.

Here’s to being brave. And flying on skis.

Happy 2015!

So, to start with my resolution of being brave, I wrote out all the things I’m stressed/scared about for the upcoming year. I put the list at Jesus’ and Mary’s feet, so to speak, and every time I see it, I trust that they are taking care of it. I guess now it’s time for me to be brave, no burdens in sight!
 Peyton gave me an Olaf waffle maker for my birthday. An Olaf waffle maker. How can you not be completely overjoyed when eating an Olaf waffle??

 For Christmas, Grandma made each of us granddaughters a quilt. Mine is a Heritage quilt, so each square means something about our family. Notice the Elvis square…
 I’m in love
How exciting is this! A custom clipboard with my blog! And look how pretty it is!

On my birthday, Grandma and Camryn sewed a giant stocking for me so I could lay in one like I did as a newborn. There you go. 

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