It is hard to believe we are already at the end of the year. In the last couple days before the new year, I always love taking some time to reflect on the past year and look ahead to the new one.
I have been doing these yearly reflections for 3 years now. It really is a wonderful way for me to not only reflect in the moment but to be able to come back to my words a year later and see the areas in which the Lord moved. You can give my 2020 reflection a read here.
For 2021, I chose the word peace. And I have really felt the Lord’s peace. My outside circumstances were not dictating how I felt. And that can only be from the Lord. There have been a lot of moments this year where externally things felt chaotic, but internally I felt peaceful. I can even remember early on in the year questioning why I would choose peace as my word when I was currently in not the most peaceful season. It can be hard to find peace when you have a 2 1/2 year-old that wakes up early and is constantly tugging on you for attention. It can also be hard to find peace when you are waking up multiple times at night. Yet, the Lord gave me a lot of peace this year. He gave me a lot of moments of calm even if the house was a mess and I was running on broken sleep. He did not fully remove all the anxiety, but He helped me handle all the chaos around me with greater ease and peace than I have ever experienced before.
Peace can be yours too. You don’t need to wait until the kids are all out of the house or until you actually can sleep a full night’s sleep. It can be yours even when your bare feet hit the cold floor in the middle of the night to the sounds of crying (again). It can be yours in the middle of your toddler’s tantrum. It even is yours for the taking when yet another thing goes not the way you planned or imagined.
Peace is not some intangible thing that we need to chase down with a quiet room and lit candles. This year taught me that true peace is not based on circumstances at all. True and lasting peace can only be found in Him. He is my peace even when nothing around me feels peaceful.
I also learned that sometimes peace means letting go. It means being okay to take a step back and not always “fixing it.”
Peace is also rarely found on social media (at least for me). Scrolling on my phone almost always leads to distraction and dissatisfaction.
For me, peace is usually found in simple places. On a run. At the park with friends. At church. Sipping coffee. The simpler, the better. This year was a relatively simple one. We did not go on major trips. We spent a lot of our days relatively simply. We cut down television time for Hudson. We cut out a lot of the clutter. We spent a lot of time investing in what was right before us. We taught H how to swim and spent hours this past summer with “swim class.” For me, I got back into running postpartum and found a healthy rhythm with movement again. Lance picked up surfing and we found ourselves drawn to the beach again and again. These simple places and routines brought a lot of peace to our home this year.
Of all the things that happened this year, the moment I felt the most peace was the moment Thatcher was placed on my chest. Everything felt calm. I could finally breathe. It was such an anxious road leading up to his delivery, my heart finally felt at ease holding his warm and perfect body.
2021, was a good year. Actually, it was a great year. It was the year Thatcher was born. The year Hudson matured and thrived in being at a wonderful preschool. It was the year I laced up my running shoes yet again and started dreaming (looking forward to running my second marathon this spring). And it was the year Lance really stepped into his calling and worked on his own businesses.
It was also the year I did less. I ran less. I cleaned/cooked less. And I also wrote significantly less. Only 11 posts for the year. Part of this is because I spent a lot of time working on finishing up the A-Z Tot School Curriculum. The completion of both this curriculum and the process of going through a letter per week with Hudson was very special. I am really proud of this and it has been rewarding to see others purchase and implement this curriculum with their toddlers. In my 2020 reflection, I wrote about how starting this TpT shop was a big step for me. I am still a year later really proud of this little shop of mine and hope that it can continue to grow in the year ahead.
Okay, now time to look ahead. For 2022, I have chosen the word present. Simply put, I want to be more present this year. I want to have clearer vision to all the beautiful things right before me. I have a tendency to be very reflective and that can keep me in the past. I also have a tendency to be a planner and that has me living in the future. This year, I want to really dig into the present. I want to be more present to my family and my little boys that are already growing way too fast. Quick side-note here: Thatcher is already full on crawling and Hudson dresses himself in the morning and chats with me in full-length sentences. Just those things alone has me feeling like time is passing by just a tad too fast.
I also want to be more present to the Holy Spirit. I want to be able to better feel and listen to the nudges put on my heart. I want to feel the Lord’s presence on a more moment to moment basis and I want to carve out more intentional time of just sitting with Him and listening.
To cultivate this, I am committing to a few tangible things:
1. I have officially deleted Instagram off my phone! This has been on my heart for a while. It really has sucked a lot of my time away and more so than ever, the content has been hard on my heart. I often leave Instagram feeling disconnected, left out, and discouraged. One of the reasons I enjoyed Instagram was because it allowed me to connect with people + share important moments of my life. I realized that connecting via texts, calls, and in-person coffee dates is so much more fulfilling than Instagram connection. In terms of sharing the important moments, my plan is to spend a lot more time here on this little space to share what’s going on.
2. Returning to a rhythm of sabbath. We have lost this important weekly practice and we are committed to returning to it.
3. More outdoor adventures. On the day before New Year’s Eve, Lance and I went on a long walk in the rain together. We walked along the beach and through a stream of water and hiked over tide pools and even climbed up this cliff. And it was wonderful. It felt like adventure. I want more of this in the year to come.
4. Read more. Specifically, my Bible! These past few months I have relied mostly on my daily devotional, but I really want to get back to being in the Word daily. For the month of January, the plan is to read a chapter per day from the book of Proverbs. I’ve been reading from the Alabaster version and loving it. I also want to read more novels. I love getting lost in a good novel. This past year, I really enjoyed reading In Five Years and Malibu Rising. I placed a TON of novels on hold at the library and they are slowly beginning to trickle in. Looking forward to sharing the ones I enjoyed most on here later. Starting the year off with Midnight Library and I’m currently not loving it, but we will see.
Those are 4 main ways I am hoping to be more present. We will see how it goes. The heart behind all of this is that I desperately do not want to miss out on all that the Lord has before me. There is so much goodness packed in each day. I really don’t want to be too distracted to not soak it all in. I want this year to be the one that I was able to really enjoy and treasure all that I have right now.
On Tuesday, only a few days into the New Year, I found myself already distracted and out of sorts. It was a long morning but once we finally got out of the house, I was able to have clarity and finally for the first time that day actually be present. Maybe it was the sunshine or the salty air, but once we finally were out at the beach, I could see with perfect vision how beautiful my present is. From the way the sand perfectly coated Thatcher’s tiny toes to the little voice of Hudson pretending to bake up a batch of cookies. This is where the ordinary day has its spark.
My days definitely don’t always go as planned. Things certainly are not perfect over here in the Capel home, but man, it is a beautiful spot to watch God move. And I sure am thankful to be right here for it.
Happy 2022 to each of you. I am so honored you take the time to read these words of mine. It has been such a gift to watch this space grow this past year! I can’t wait to see what it becomes a year from now.