To Stretch, To Strengthen, To Be Meaningful.

It's 7:09 on New Year's Eve and I am curled up in our brown leather chair, feeling the warmth of the roaring fire beside me.  The girls are upstairs playing for their umpteenth hour straight, I just mastered the making of our first prime rib, and my jammies are getting a little too worn after the winter chill in Dallas has kept us in most of the week.  Dick Clark's Rockin' New Year's Eve is lighting up the living room as Adam turns to me and asks, "Do you ever miss that?"  At first, I wasn't even sure what he was talking about.  I looked up to see the crowds of millennials swarming the stage as it pans out to Times Square where folks of all generations are bundled up waiting for the ball to drop.

I am pretty sure he was asking if I missed that life.

And the answer is a resounding no.

Snuggled by this fire, hearing the giggles of a four and seven-year-old above me, with the one who has had my heart for 17 years is exactly the best place I could ever imagine being.  Those youthful days were fun.  But these days are better.

As 2017 comes to close and I reflect on the year, I feel grateful.  We've definitely struggled through hard years in the past, but for our family, 2017 was mostly {and finally} a year of rest.  We both rejoice in this year with thankfulness as well as prepare ourselves for the adventure that 2018 is sure to bring.

Looking back, twenty-seventeen was a year of stretching.  

Combing through the months, so much stands out. My youngest's concussion.  Blowing our goal away for Walk-for-Wishes.  A new nephew in Houston!  The months we spent carefully and thoughtfully mulling over the decision to leave everything we've ever known in Texas and head west to the sunny skies of Southern Cali.  Graduating Kindergarten, hopping on an RV and laughing our way to 30A.  My parents moving from the house we grew up in.  A summer full of late nights, lots of swimming, and soaking up every second we could with dear friends.  Losing teeth, becoming a first grader, changing preschools and having my writing discovered.  Celebrating the youngest Prewitt's nuptials to an awesome guy in November.  Surprising Adam with a trip to the Cottonbowl!!

Each one of these highlights strengthened and stretched us in a different way.  Some obvious, some unsuspecting. 

Getting back out there and writing with a different audience and more intention was harder for me than it may seem.  I felt vulnerable, I felt exposed, I felt heartache.  Never in my wildest dreams would I ever put a part of my life's story out there to hurt another, but I cannot control how other's take my words.  Still, knowing I hurt someone hurt me in ways that lingered long after the smoke had cleared.

But most of all, I think what changed and stretched us most is when we realized our life had one of two directions to go and the one that was best for Adam's career took us from everything we had ever known.  The sudden idea of not being neighbors with my sister, not having the luxury of spending time with my mom and dad at any given time, and taking my children away from the friends {and their mamas for me} whom they are convinced are actually family, had a way of changing my perspective.  It made me so much more grateful for my community, whom I share this life with, and my husband for his focus on what is best for our family, not his career.

My writing was stretched to new levels {more on that in 2018!}, my heart was stretched to new perspectives and my stomach was stretched new directions after driving twelve hours in an RV on day ten that never had it's bathroom chamber changed.  :)

These ways of stretching produced a different me.  Someone with different perspectives. Changed priorities and a new set of lenses. 

Here I sit tonight, facing the breaking dawn of 2018, collecting my visions for what I hope encompasses 2018.  The word that just keeps coming to mind is meaningful.

The stretching, the growth, the strengthening that occurred in 2017 leads me to bigger and greater things in 2018 that I hope to find a deeper meaning within.  Our dreams for this year are but mere seeds waiting to be rooted deeply into the ground.  Seeds that will be scattered as the days of 2018 pass away.  But more than anything, I want these days, these dreams, the mundane and the purposeful to be meaningful.

An unknown author once said,

"A meaningful life is not about being rich, being popular, being highly educated or being perfect.  It is about being real.  Being humble, being strong, and being able to share ourselves to touch the lives of others." 

While many goals swirl my mind as we leap into 2018, nothing is more or a priority than living a meaningful life that touches others.  

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