2023: Unplanned

“What if this is the year you DON’T plan?” my coworker suggested.

I chuckled good-naturedly and then quietly died of a heart attack. Don’t…plan? What do you mean, ‘don’t plan’?? Laura Hendrickson is the queen of plans. I plan parties, I plan for tornadoes, I plan my vacation wardrobe three months in advance. (Don’t ask me to meal plan, though – I will smother you.) How could someone possibly convince me that NOT planning would be a good….well, plan?

And yet, that’s exactly what Chelsea did. She convinced me.

If you’ve kept up with my blog for a while, you may have noticed that for the first time in seven years, I didn’t publish a post sharing my word for 2023 and annual list of personal goals. At the end of every year since 2016, I have felt a strong pull toward a certain word as my focus for the next year, accompanied by the motivation to be intentional with my time and work toward achieving specific things each month. But for some reason, December 2022 came and went and nothing came to me. January and February passed by too, and my mind was as blank as a clean chalkboard.

I didn’t want to manufacture something from nothing and *make* myself pick a word, because I didn’t want it to feel forced. It was never like that before. As silly as it may sound, I believe with all my heart that God presented each year’s word to me, and every one was a perfect fit. My new lack of drive and lack of direction was super frustrating. Without planning, how was I supposed to know what to do with this year? When it came time to sip champagne and ring in 2024, how would I know if I did anything worthwhile with my time if I didn’t have a way to measure my success?

Cue my conversation at work.

I was talking to a few coworkers about all of my big question marks for 2023. The biggest question mark was about foster care. At the beginning of the year, we were still in the thick of the application process and had no idea how quickly everything would progress. I felt a little unsteady and nervous about all the unknowns. After telling my work friends about my mental block around personal goals, Chelsea smirked and asked me the question that made me want to both laugh at her and burst into tears: “What if this is the year you DON’T plan?” I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it ever since.

For many people, a state of ‘not planning’ would be enabling. Those people SHOULD plan more. However, I have learned that I find too much of my worth and identity in my ability to produce, to achieve, and to make other people proud of me, and dang if I’m not tired. Chelsea’s comment felt like a nudge from the Holy Spirit to let go. My intent isn’t to stop planning (or caring) altogether and live a lazy life. It’s simply to loosen my grip on what I am *supposed* to be able to do, what is *supposed* to happen, and just accept what happens with grace, patience, and a sense of purpose.

Not having a word for the year or specific goals for the year is abnormal for me. But I have had a feeling for a while now that 2023 is going to be wholly abnormal. I suspect that when it does come time to sip champagne and ring in 2024, I will look back in awe at how everything unfolded.

In the meantime, I decided to continue my tradition of chronicling particularly meaningful or important moments that happen this year, so I can go back and remember the good, the sweet, the funny, the once-in-a-lifetime, the seemingly mundane little things that actually turn out to be big things after all. Maybe someday, I’ll go back to concrete lists and defined timelines, but for now, that simple habit feels good.

And since I know some of you were wondering…..


  • Complete the 40-day sugar fast. ✓
    This was such a good experience! I knew before I even finished it that I would want to do it again, and I DID do it again in August. I think it will be something I do at least once a year from now on.
  • Spend time writing at least once a week.
    This one was a major struggle. The only month in 2022 that I spent time writing every week was January, and I essentially quit writing altogether from the end of May through the rest of the year. The worst part is, I don’t really feel bad about it. I just felt bad for NOT feeling bad about it.
  • Start tracking the number of ‘wears’ for my wardrobe items. ✓
    Paige from Style This Life does this, and she inspired me to find out which items in my closet I wear the most and which ones I wear the least. It has been very revelatory, and it has also made me want to reach for things I used to never reach for. I’ve gotten even stricter with my purging over the last few months, and I’m really trying to only keep items I genuinely LOVE. This helps so much when I’m looking for something to wear, because I only see things I actually WANT to wear.
  • Make a difficult recipe.
    I honestly can’t remember if I did this or not, so I’m ruling this as ‘not complete.’
  • Start learning the basics of another language.
    I technically didn’t do this until January or February, but I downloaded Duolingo and started learning German to prepare for our Switzerland trip this summer!
  • Do some professional/personal development for work. ✓
    In the summer and early fall, I completed the Lean Practitioner, Green, Black, Master Black, Scrum, and Project Manager certifications for Lean Six Sigma! I also completed Mod 1 of the iPEC executive coaching program with my team.
  • Go to at least five live performances (concert, comedy show, Broadway play, etc.). ✓
    I should have made it to five, but Taylor Tomlinson cancelled the show I was planning to go to because she got COVID-19. I rescheduled and went to her show in Dallas in March 2023 though, so I’m still counting this as complete.
    • The Popcast Live! in Dallas with Sheridan Burns and Sarah Hughes, April 2022
    • Mean Girls Broadway show in Dallas with Brittani Blankenship, May 2022
    • Pitbull concert at the Durant Choctaw Casino with the McCains, September 2022
    • Bill Burr comedy show in Dallas with the Grays, September 2022
  • Finish our living room refresh.
    We still have a few things left to do before I consider this project truly finished (paint, new curtains, coffee table, etc.).
  • Make a calendar to keep track of family and friends’ birthdays.
    I already have birthdays, anniversaries, and other important events captured on my phone calendar. I’m still considering making a physical calendar to be better prepared in advance for gifts and cards.
  • Pick up a new hobby. ✓
    Daniel and I started playing golf with friends this summer! It wasn’t something I ever thought he’d be interested in, but we had a great time.
  • Take a class with Daniel and learn something new together.
    Still on my list of to-do’s! He signed up for MasterClass last year, so that’s probably a great place to start.
  • Start reading the Dune book series. ✓
    I read Dune and really enjoyed it! I can’t wait for the next movie to come out this year.


FOSTER CARE: All we have left is to review our completed home study and sign contracts, and then our house is officially open for placement!! I’m fine. *heavy breathing*

WRITING MORE: I feel a very strong push to write write write this year, so I’m following God’s lead. I don’t know what’s going to come of it, but God knows, and that’s more than good enough.

TRAVELING: Daniel and I have so many trips on the calendar! We just got back from New York, we’re going to Colorado with my parents and siblings, and we’re taking our first long-haul flight to Switzerland to celebrate our anniversary and YES I’M FREAKING OUT SO HARD.

TAKING CARE OF MY BODY: Overindulgence, punishment, overindulgence, apathy, distaste, punishment….I’ve been doing this stupid dance long enough. I feel ready to take care of myself, and I’m excited to feel better.

What are you looking forward to in 2023?

3 thoughts on “2023: Unplanned

  1. Mariah says:

    The Holy Spirit urging you to not plan is a great primer for the world of foster care. You will look back on these “little” occurrences and thoughts and see how beautifully the Lord has orchestrated everything. It’s truly mind blowing. There will be difficult moments, but there will also be joy you can’t even wrap your mind around. :) Enjoy an unplanned 2023. It will be incredible.


  2. Patty says:

    I always enjoy reading about your life and thoughts. You inspire me to write and slow down to think and listen. I love you! You are very special to me! ❤️


  3. Mary Kelemen says:

    I enjoyed this blog a great deal. You have inspired me. I am looking g forward to becoming better acquainted with my husband in 2023.💟


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