To know me is to know I rarely keep traditions. It’s not that I don’t like them, it’s just I’m forgetful. Anyway, that’s what makes this blog post extra special. Because of your reminders, this is my 3rd annual “19 Things I Did (Or Didn’t Do)” blog post and, although random, it seems to be a huge hit with y’all every year!

You can check out what I said for 2016 and 2017 if you’d like. Then hop back over to read this year’s list…

19 things I did – or didn’t do – in 2018

  1. DID experience my first Mother’s Day with children. It was m a g i c a l.
  2. DIDN’T blog much. This baby was neglected, but that’s OK because there were real babies in my life who needed me.
  3. DID seek out feedback and learned a lot from it.
  4. DIDN’T run the Chicago marathon.
  5. DID survive after we moved the twins out of our home to reunite with their mom.
  6. DIDN’T scale back on my consumption of Oreos & milk.
  7. DID self-publish one of my books!
  8. DIDN’T do as well speaking from stage as I thought I would.
  9. DID make the toughest confession to two people.
  10. DIDN’T spend as much quality time with my family or friends as I could have.
  11. DID open a joint bank account so that our 17-year-old (another “little” love we had) could learn how to manage money.
  12. DIDN’T utilize my gym membership much.
  13. DID begin a sustainable Sabbath routine. (Thanks to reading The Emotionally Healthy Leader & one of the best leaders in my life, Kelly.)
  14. DIDN’T figure out a way to maintain my composure in stressful times.
  15. DID travel to Hawaii, San Diego, and Los Angeles with E.
  16. DIDN’T continue doing things or spending time with people out of obligation.
  17. DID go on my first solo solitude retreat. Can’t recommend this enough!
  18. DIDN’T allow anxiety or depression to swallow me.
  19. DID have the opportunity to baptize a friend.

2018, for me, was a year of becoming a more conscious human and follower of Jesus. With a lot of transitions once again, I was forced to lean into others, rely on God, and let many things fall to the wayside. I learned that even when something is heavy and dark, bringing it to the light is the right decision. I learned that my world doesn’t stop spinning just because I make mistakes. I made hard decisions and am ending the year with enormous peace.

In my leadership of self and others, 2018 was truly a growth year. I am deeply grateful and none of this came from my own doing or striving. It’s been the people in my life… Kelly Skiles, Rocio Vallejo, Jeanne Stevens, Hannah Leadley, Kristin Scarth, my mom, and my husband who lead up, ask good questions, and never give up on me. (Of course there are many others so this list could go on and on.)

In the words of another writer whose heart I adore, “Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” – Brene Brown.

The latter half of this year has been really generous, light and fun. I truly believe it’s because I explored the darkness within myself. The stuff we all want to avoid or pretend doesn’t exist. I came face to face with my shadow. I owned and confessed junk that I’d kept buried deep inside. Grace matched me step by step the entire way. It’s almost as if I got to test what I’ve always claimed to believe and God proved me faithful once again.

In 2019 I’m most looking forward to being self-employed… the freedoms, challenges, and opportunities that await. I cannot wait to welcome many more little loves into our home and begin the process of adopting a child out of foster care. I plan on writing a lot more consistently and releasing content instead of holding back in fear or out of a place of pride. I am anticipating continued growth and increased laughter in my marriage. I am eager to complete anger management and let you all know what it did for my struggles with a short fuse and hot temper. I can’t wait to see what the Spirit has in store for me in the space of my days.

Maybe my ramblings don’t make sense or mean anything to you, but it felt good to do a brain dump at the end of another year. As we close this book and crack open a new one, I invite you to reflect too.

#1 What did you do (or not do) this year? Gut instinct, don’t overthink, go.

#2 What did you learn this year? Like REALLY learn?

#3 What are you most looking forward to in 2019? Speak it all into existence! 

I love when this is a two-way conversation, so share some thoughts on your own reflection in the comments below!

Light and love,


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Manda's weekly letters on faith, marriage, motherhood, soul care, social justice - and occasionally the collision of it all. 

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