20 Questions for 2017

Before the ball drops and we sing our way into another January, it’s only fair that we take some time to reflect on 2017. Maybe it was an amazing year and all your dreams came true! (And if so, just shut up and enjoy being a Disney princess.) Or maybe this year completely sucked, and you’ve been ready for 2018 since June. Either way, we can’t successfully walk into the future without making peace with our past, whether it was good or bad. Over the last few years, I’ve seen several other bloggers do different versions of this reflection exercise, and I absolutely love it.

What was the best thing that happened this year?
Hmmm…that’s hard!! There was a lot of goodness in 2017. But I think our Alaska trip takes the cake. Glaciers, anniversary pictures, mountains, delicious food – pretty difficult to top.

What was the most challenging thing that happened this year?
To be real? Infertility. I haven’t talked about this publicly at all, and it’s scary to put it out there. But I would be lying if I answered this question with anything else. We’ve been dealing with it for awhile, but it really kicked me in the teeth this year. It’s almost impossible to explain to anyone who’s never experienced it. But we know that the Lord has not overlooked us, and we trust His timing. ♥

Who were my most valuable friendships with?
I consider all my friendships valuable, of course, but the newest friendship value came from our foundation group! We host a group of young married couples at our house every week, and they truly have become our tribe. We’ve seen each other through a lot in just a year.

What are some new skills that I learned?
I learned that I CAN be disciplined about food. Keto changed my life. Seriously. We aren’t doing it currently, but I have never felt as good about my body in my entire life as I did when we went on Keto. I learned how to cook differently and treat food with a healthy perspective, and I’m so thankful for both of those things.

Pick three words to describe this year.
Wait. Hope. Heal.

What was my biggest personal change from January to December?
Probably switching jobs. I finally moved from an entry-level position as a college recruiter to more of a mid-level position as an HR Communications professional. Intimidating, but rewarding, and definitely a big piece of my adulting process this year.

What was the best book I read this year?
The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller.

What did I do to serve others this year?
The biggest ways were (1) participating in activities with the young adult ministry at our church, and (2) serving my new mom friends by hosting baby showers, taking them food, and helping around the house.

Name a couple of positive memory-making experiences from 2017.
1. Our cruise to Alaska
2. Colorado with the Simmas
3. My niece Karis and “nephew” Cole were born
4. The MONAT Vegas trip
5. Absolutely everything about our foundation group

What 2017 accomplishments am I most proud of?
Losing 30 pounds on Keto and earning a free trip to Vegas!

What are some things I’ve learned to accept this year?
I don’t know that I’ve fully accepted it…haha…but I’ve learned that I’m not really in control of anything in my life. I try to be, really really hard, but ultimately, everything plays out exactly the way God designs it. My job is not to control everything and make it make sense, but to continue to walk hand-in-hand with Jesus and trust that what He does is always right.

In what ways did I grow spiritually?
I have a deeper understanding of how powerful and purposeful prayer is. It’s not about getting God to do what we want if we cry and beg and plead enough. It’s about communication: talking AND listening. Telling Him our joys and sorrows, asking Him for things while accepting that He may not give them to us, affirming His faithfulness and goodness, and truly being still with Him so He can speak back.

What did I gain in 2017? What did I lose?
Gained = new friendships, new job, and a stronger marriage.
Lost = time. I wasted too much of it by worrying.

Name a difficult situation I overcame.
About halfway through Keto, I hit a weight plateau. Daniel had gone off of it because he met his goal and was still losing weight (the jerk); meanwhile, I was stuck gaining and losing the same pound for more than two weeks, only FIVE POUNDS from my goal. It was miserable. I couldn’t understand why I had stalled, and I just wanted to be done. I finally figured out that I needed to adjust my macros and eat less calories, since I had lost weight, and lo and behold – it worked!! I finished Keto just in time for our trip to Vegas. :)

What is something I want to do better in 2018?
Write more. I get out of the habit and forget what a great outlet it is.

What was the best thing I did with my time this year?
Spend almost every Monday with Dara, Sheridan, Kendra, and Brianna (and their husbands). I really can’t overstate how special these couples have become to me this year.

What was the single biggest time-waster in my life this year?
My phone.

What am I most grateful for in 2017?
Two things! First: the chance to travel to so many new places. 2017 was a wanderluster’s dream come true. Second: after experiencing some awful personal tragedies this year, I have never felt more loved by our families and friend community. Their prayer support was overwhelming, and I will never forget that feeling.

What do I want to leave behind in 2017?
My lack of trust in the Lord, (many) moments of failure, fear about the future, and tears shed over all three.

Who do I want to be in 2018?
A woman of wisdom and courage. ♥

I can’t think of a better year to close the book on 2017. Feel free to join in and answer them for yourself, if you want!

6 Questions to Help You Clean Out Your Closet

You know that awful feeling when you walk in your closet and it’s jam-packed with clothes, but you still feel like you have nothing to wear? Welcome to my pre-married, single-girl life. Before Daniel, I didn’t really know how to shop for quality pieces yet. The amount of money I wasted on cheap clothes is cringe-worthy. My only “guidelines” for buying something were: (1) I kind of liked it at least a little bit, and (2) it was cheap or on sale. Those were ter-ri-ble guidelines. Higher standards would have prevented me from filling my wardrobe with things I only half-liked that either fell apart, shrunk, or faded within the first few washes.

Within the first year after Daniel and I got married, I learned a lot about his buying habits, and I started to adopt a few myself. One of the best things he has taught me is picking items of good quality – be it furniture, a type of steak, or a pair of shoes – at a cost that doesn’t break your budget in half. If you’ve spent any time around him, I think you’ll understand what I mean when I say that the guy has a genuine gift for finding insanely nice stuff for ridiculously low prices. Thanks to Daniel, I have learned that it’s okay to spend a little extra on something well-made, because it will last longer and stay in better shape.

The problem was, even after I started adding nice things to my wardrobe, I still didn’t feel happy with my closet. It finally dawned on me that the reason I felt like I had nothing to wear was because my closet was full of things I never wore! Right around that same time, a friend of mine had a virtual closet sale on Facebook and had great success with it, and I thought, “I can do that.” And thus began a new tradition in the Hendrickson household! A few times a year, I pull everything out of my closet and sort through it using the following questions:

  1. When was the last time I wore it, and how likely am I to wear it again?
  2. If I went shopping today and saw it, would I buy it?
  3. Do I feel good about myself when I wear it?
  4. Does it actually fit me? Is it too big or too small?
  5. Is it still in good condition? Is it worn, torn, faded, or stained?
  6. Is it a ‘special occasion’ item, like a cocktail dress or costume?

These questions have already helped me quickly purge my closet at least 5 or 6 times in the last few years. And before you start to think of me as a soul-less machine, believe me – I totally understand the whole “develop a sentimental attachment to every piece of clothing you try to get rid of” thing. I’ve told myself every excuse in the book. But the reality is that if I haven’t worn something in six months (not including a costume or formal dress), if it’s not in good condition anymore, if I don’t like how I look in it, and if I wouldn’t buy it again right now, it doesn’t belong in my closet. The best part is that after I weed out all the stuff I don’t wear, I actually feel like I have more options in my closet, because I’m only seeing stuff I genuinely love!

When was the last time you went through your closet? Is it easy for you to get rid of stuff, or do you get sentimental?