She wrote it as an announcement; a praise of thanksgiving. (Truth is, I probably would’ve done the exact same myself. A hard pill to swallow.)

Burning, my eyes read the caption beneath her perfect photograph: “2016: I got married, we bought our first house, remodeled, moved into our new home, launched my online boutique, and announced WE’RE PREGNANT!!! What a year it’s been. <3”

Feelings of inadequacy crept in, filling my heart like a hose in the kiddie pool. Envy and self-doubt flooded my soul and I couldn’t suppress the lump in my throat. I began drowning in these yucky thoughts and emotions of jealously. What’s happening to me, God? I don’t struggle with jealously. I’m happy for others. I’ve always been genuinely happy for others. My life is great! Who am I anymore?

I suppose nobody’s really exempt from the comparison trap. I’ve been trying to be more conscious of what I share and why I share it. Normally it’s the time of year when I share lesson’s I’ve learned in these last 12 months or my goals for the year to come, but I feel like that’s so unnecessary. Again, a resounding theme for me this advent season: #ImpressingIsExhuasting that’s why I’m done.

Reflecting, I’m super humbled as I look back on this year.

Without further ado, here are 19 things I did or didn’t do. I hope they encourage and maybe make you laugh a little, too.

19 things I did – or didn’t do – in 2016

  1. I didn’t get a book deal.
  2. Totally justified guacamole as my serving of veggies, a lot.
  3. Didn’t conceive or adopt or foster a child.
  4. Let go; of clothes, a job, shame, and a few people I once called friend.
  5. Whenever I was at a crossroads between a chain restaurant or hole in the wall, I always chose the latter.
  6. Read a lot of books, but rarely stepped out of my comfort genre.
  7. Didn’t respect my husband nearly as much as I should have.
  8. Ate more Chips Ahoy cookies than doughnuts. *gasp*
  9. Moved out of the small town I’ve lived in my whole life.
  10. Laughed – instead of cried – when people were mean online. (And all God’s people said Amen.)
  11. Didn’t get invited to several reunion parties with old high school friends.
  12. Spent a lot more time in the kitchen with a few wins and a lot of frozen pizzas.
  13. Attended interactive social justice talks about people who are homeless.
  14. Tried wearing eyeliner on the bottom lids, for like 4 months then I snapped out of it.
  15. Didn’t get nominated or win any awards.
  16. Changed my hair color numerous times because: impulse.
  17. Learned secrets I wish I could erase from my memory.
  18. Watched more TV than I’d like to confess.
  19. Confronted someone by calling them up, not out.

Phew. 2016 holds a lot of great memories, but was also a tough year for the whole world. In the words of another writer whose heart I adore, “And while God never asked us to give an answer of all of the pain, he did ask us to be prepared to share the hope that we carry.” -Rachel Kincaid.

What did you do (or not) this year? What are you most looking forward to in 2017? Share in the comments below!

// Manda

Let's stay connected!

Nothing beats a handwritten note, but this is the next best thing. 
Be the first to hear exciting announcements, get my Tuesday letters, and receive major discount codes for my shop and online courses.
- Love & Oreos, Manda

Thank you!