Not that all of 2013 felt that way. Much of it dragged on more than I would have liked. It was definitely a year of ups and downs. So even though I am not exactly sad to see 2013 go, I am glad for the stretching and growing that I experienced. As we embark on this new year and look for ways to start fresh, I think it’s a good idea to also look back on the previous year and what can be learned from it.
Looking Back at 2103
As I look back on the year, some highlights (good and not so good) come to mind that I would like to share with you. I also want to give you a glimpse of what I am planning for this year.
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Unemployment and Finances
The year began as my husband and I continued to deal with how we would move forward after unexpectedly finding ourselves unemployed and in need of government assistance. It was not always easy but we stuck together and did our best to put our faith in where the Lord would lead us.
My husband worked hard finding jobs to bring in some money and after a lot of research and planning, I finally started this blog as a way to work from home. We were also grateful when he was offered a temporary position that would take us through the end of the year. Thankfully, he is still able to keep this job and we are hopeful this employer will be able to offer a permanent position soon.
Though I would not wish these type of financial burdens on anyone, I have come to realize that it has been a blessing because we have learned to be better stewards of the money we do have. We paid off our only credit card this year and are working toward paying off student loans so that one day we can be completely debt free. We are also working on building our savings and emergency fund.
I hope to continue to share more about our unemployment journey as well as tips for saving money and living frugally.
2013 was also a year of new friendships. I tend to be an introverted person but I also thrive on personal interaction. Since staying home full time I knew I needed to find a way to interact with people more often so I finally took the step of connecting with other local women by attending my first women’s bible study and being a part of Praise and Coffee meetings in my hometown.
I have also been very blessed with many new friends that I met through my blogging. I wrote my first post for Young Wife’s Guide just a couple of months after starting this blog and I plan to continue writing as a contributor this year. I have also enjoyed working on various projects with other bloggers. I contributed to the real food recipe cards with Jami, Elsie and Jaime last fall. I also collaborated with Crystal and Jane, the other two women behind the Advent devotional, Unwrapping the Gift.
I have met many other fantastic bloggers as well. I hope to keep building these online friendships and working on more collaborative projects this year.
I also began my journey to healthier living. After a couple of years dealing with various health issues, mainly chronic fatigue and TMJ, I finally made the decision to get healthy. I started by making small changes like being more conscience of ridding my diet of processed food. I also started using essential oils and coconut oil is now a daily staple in my diet.
Over the past six months or so I’ve been doing a lot of reading and researching about natural living and real food. I have learned a lot and hope to keep learning more. I am excited to share with you more changes I plan to make this year!
In the Kitchen
I also learned to love cooking even more than ever. A new passion for working in the kitchen sparked in me when I began switching to eating more real foods. I already cooked from scratch a lot to save money but I loved the fact that it was also a way to be healthier too! I’ve read a lot of new cookbooks and gained a lot of new skills. This Christmas, I asked for a new cookbook and some new kitchen tools that I can’t wait to start using!
I have made a lot of new recipes and even created some of my own. In fact my most popular post is for my Slow Cooker Zuppa Toscana. I plan to utilize my slow cooker more often as well do some freezer cooking this year.
I also love putting up recipes on the blog so you’ll be in for a treat with all the new dishes I want to share with you this year.
Dealing with Fear and Anxiety
Just a couple of weeks before Christmas, I witnessed a terrifying fire that destroyed much of the building directly across from me and claimed the life of one elderly lady. Seeing this brought to light my struggle with fear and anxiety. For the most part, I had learned to push this aside but had never really dealt with it. I am grateful for some friends who encouraged and me helped through this. With their help, I am learning to lay these fears down at the feet of Jesus and trust in his truths. And sometimes I just need this reminder.
I hope to write more about this experience in the future and share with you some of the things I have learned from it.
Time Management and Goal Setting
Lastly, as I look toward this new year I have found that time management and setting goals have never really been a strong suit of mine. I admitted this in my time management series and I have been fairly open about my short comings with setting and keeping goals.
However, if I learned anything last year it is the importance of good time management and the value of having goals. So I will continue to work on both of these for this new year. Be on the lookout for more home management and goal setting posts this year.
Last year had it’s ups and downs but I think I am ready to start tackling this new year and am hopeful for some good changes personally and with the blog. I have lots if plans brewing for what I want to share with you this year! Along with what I mentioned above, I plan to offer you more free printables, share some books I plan to read and keep bringing you encouraging posts. Also, as always, you can expect anything that falls under the umbrella of the name Joyful Thrifty Home. I hope this new year finds you blessed with many possibilities ahead!
What was one highlight of 2013 for you?
What was an important lesson you learned in 2013 or something you are working on for 2014?