A Review of 2017, My Word for 2018, and Some Very Important Lessons

I spent the final weekend of 2017 in bed. A weekend spent in bed meant finally getting into “This Is Us” (ahem, a great show and one I frequently refer to as “My Family” because you can’t help but feel like the characters are family). Hear: “Marco, want to watch My Family?” 

In one of the earlier episodes, a doctor says “When life gives you lemons, try and make *something that resembles* lemonade.”

I love this quote, because with some of life’s lemons you cannot make that perfectly sweet lemonade that all of us imagine when we think of lemonade.

You can only do your best with what you have. You CAN use hard things for good, but some of life’s crummiest crumbs, like, losing someone you love or something so unfair happening in the world… make it impossible to come out the other side with that perfectly sweet lemonade we all know and love.

I remember when I was about to lose my mom, a client, who’d lost her mom, said to me after I asked her if life would ever feel normal again: “You will get a sense of normalcy back, but life won’t be the same normal you’ve always had. You’ll have a new normal. A normal without your mom. You’ll want your old normal back so, so bad, but this new normal will be okay too.”

And so it’s been. We have a “new normal” now. It’s not as sweet as the normal we had with our Dot-Dot. I’d choose having her with us everyday, for the rest of my life. But, provided the circumstances and that we cannot control everything in our lives, this new normal that 2017 has given us has been, as I believe, as good as it could be.

Our resemblance of lemonade (our “new normal”) has been sweet and my Dot-Dot has shown up in huge and powerful ways not just for me, but for my cousins, my dad, my aunts, my brothers, and for many people she knew and loved.

I like to think that anytime something good happens or someone makes it through a challenge in our family, that our Dot-Dot had a little something to do with it.

So, here’s a letter to this past year.

Dear 2017,

You gave me a few of my sweetest moments early this year with my mama, right before she passed. You also handed me some of my most heartbreaking moments, right before she passed. You also handed me some of my most out-of-this-world moments the day she went to heaven and the two days following, when I sensed her spirit with me heavier than ever.

Feb 11, 2017

Since then, you’ve grown me into a woman.

You’ve sent me on trip after trip after trip. You’ve had me travel more than I ever have. You sent me to Shaver Lake, Santa Cruz, Columbus, Catalina, Colorado, Tahoe, and Reno, to name a few. You showed me my first superbloom in Carrizo Plains.

I know I’ve said it before, but you were the first year I had to navigate life without Dot-Dot on the other side of my phone or drive to Ventura, 24/7. That’s still sort of hard for me to believe. Even as I write this to you… my heart keeps interrupting with a big “WHAT?” a big “Seriously? Really?”

You sent me on many, many trips in the Four Wheel Camper with Marco.

You had me attend friends weddings, celebrate engagements, birthdays and more.

We went to many concerts during you.

You sent us on yet another wonderful trip to Catalina. In fact, this years trip, in my opinion, was our best, most relaxed one yet.

You gave Marco and I one of our favorites trips of the year. A simple getaway in our friends Ojai backyard.

You allowed me to stand (well, somewhat stand – I fainted during the ceremony, but that’s a story for another time) by my friend Jen as she got married. You blessed us with such a fun bachelorette party for her on the beaches of Ventura.

You blessed Marco and I with yet another favorite trip to Lake Tahoe, CA. Ah, this trip was incredible. This trip actually marks the feelings I have of “fresh start” and “new beginnings” and lots of hope in 2017. This trip rejuvenated us in ways we didn’t know we needed it.

You gave us a new love for Tahoe and Reno, which led us down a path of many more visits to each place.

You sent us on a three week adventure through the mountains of Colorado which showed us more beautiful views than I knew possible.

You taught me that even though adventure means a lot of packing, a lot of travel and a lot on our calendar, adventure is what makes life rich and beautiful.

I am so grateful to you, 2017.

Through the tough and muddy waters of losing my best friend and mom…

You were a year that taught me to RISE.

A year that taught me CONFIDENCE beyond measure.

You gave me VOICE.

And the courage to let my YES’s mean YES and my NO’s mean NO (Matthew 5:37).

I stand firm in you, 2017.

Strength & MamaDotDot

You dealt me some of life’s hardest moments (which were tied with the entire year of 2016 – the absolute hardest year of my life). But you were incredibly beautiful.

You were a springboard, a new beginning for the rest of my life.

You’re springing us right into 2018 and here’s a list of the things I want to continue and the things I want to introduce.

In 2018, I want to continue:

  • hiking and getting outdoors
  • camping
  • traveling and booking trips with Marco
  • embracing change
  • being excited about things
  • knowing when I need alone time and taking it to myself
  • planning each day
  • exercising in ways that feel good
  • cooking at home as much as possible
  • fully enjoying eating out when we do
  • keeping my house simplified and clean
  • being intentional with my relationships
  • truly trusting my intuition, in every way
  • spending my mornings with Jesus (and coffee)
  • getting dressed each day according to how I want to feel
  • learning to cook new foods

I want to get better at:

  • taking photos of humans (not just food) and capturing memorable/candid moments
  • being intentional with the holidays and seasons and really celebrating
  • trying new and different foods
  • to be continued 

My word for 2018:


I thought my word for 2018 was going to be JOY, until I came across the word “ZEST.”

I also thought about the word “embrace.” Because, by this age, I know how life can be and change unexpectedly, and I also know I feel best when I embrace each season, no matter what it is.

But zest feels kind of fitting right now… and I like how fresh and spunky it is.

As I quoted in the beginning of this post, “When life gives you lemons, make something that resembles lemonade.” And while life will never the same sweet, soft tasting lemonade that it was with my Dot-Dot, with her presence with us we can feel a new, different lemonade in the making.

When I can use nothing but the zest of a lemon, I’ll still choose to use that zest.

The word ZEST reminds me of…

  • adventure
  • crisp clean air
  • fresh water
  • mountains
  • being outside
  • love
  • showing others love
  • fun
  • excitement
  • new beginnings
  • being present
  • soaking in goodness
  • embracing any season
  • LIFE
  • #winning

I want to say YES to:

  • life
  • change
  • embracing new seasons
  • finding joy in challenges
  • making the most of each day
  • traveling with Marco
  • learning new things (eek!)
  • getting a puppy? (this is a maybe!)
  • confidence (which 2017 gave me a lot of)
  • adventure
  • building memories
  • clients who are EXCITED for coaching and EAGER to show up

I will say NO to:

  • things that exhaust and deplete me
  • unfulfilling items that just “fill” my schedule
  • sh!t I don’t want to do that I only do because I “feel like I should” 
  • investing extra energy into relationships that don’t invest it back
  • people who show no grace (my tolerance is lower for a-holes these days)
  • bad coffee

A note on saying “NO”…

In order to get good at saying no, here’s what I have learned…

Saying “no” is not a joy ride. It’s not a “I’ll start doing this and all of the sudden magic will appear and my life will feel HAPPY.” It’s actually really friggin’ hard and sometimes it’s not fun to say no.

In fact, with saying no you also will need to be okay with disappointing others. You might somewhere along the way disappoint someone, and that’s okay. You are not, and CANNOT be responsible to meet everyone else’s expectations for you.

YOU are responsible to set up your own expectations and boundaries for yourself. 

SAYING NO is necessary.

Because what is the alternative?

  • You continue to say YES to that relationship that depletes you and makes you and your spouse fight. Then what?
  • You continue to work with that client who doesn’t appreciate you and you feel stressed before every meeting. Then what? 
  • Every single day, you show up to a job that doesn’t appreciate you, that over works you and brings you no fulfillment (or proper income to compensate you) whatsoever. Then what?
  • You repeat the same stupid diet or exercise plan that leaves you burnt out, tired, and uninspired. You continue to set the same goals that fail you over, and over, and over. Then what?

What are the things that you NEED to begin saying no to? 

Not because it’s a happy/easy thing to do, but because it’s time. It’s necessary.

In review:

  • 2017 came with challenges, some of the hardest moments, and also some of the best moments
  • Life isn’t perfect, and hard things are usually do feel (or ARE) “unfair”
  • But we’re the only ones that can choose, for ourselves, to keep going
  • If it’s all you can do to use the ZEST on that lemon life gave you, use it
  • Keep going. Keep moving. Life needs YOU
  • Start showing up, TODAY

P.S. I will be posting 31 days of eats this month, as requested, starting with the very next post. Lord, give me the strength to remember to take photos of all my food like I used to 😉

P.P.S. Now booking Discovery Sessions for open coaching spaces starting in January and February. Ready to do this? Book your session – just enter your name & email here.

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