The post today will be taking a question and answer format, and be comprised of thoughts from both Kate and Sandy. It’s time we heard from Kate again anyway, isn’t it? Read on, and tell us what you would have said in answer to some of the questions!
What was the single best thing that happened this past year?
(Kate) 2015 was an incredible year for my business. I never knew that being an entrepreneur could be this rewarding and fun! I never set out to build my own business. I always wanted to be a stay at home mom….I never knew about this exciting world of a stay/work at home mom! In 2015, I saw my business build enough so that I could finish maternity leave and not go back to my day job. I earned a trip to Jamaica (which I am on right now!!) while on maternity leave, which is something that still amazes me. I also hit one of my biggest goals for my business in 2015, and that was getting promoted to Executive Director. Being 1 of 11 Executive Directors (and the youngest one) with Steeped Tea is just incredible and I am so thankful every day for my job.
(Sandy) This is a tough one. 2015 was a year that rolled along without any major highs or lows, for the most part. In 2015 I did a lot of introspection and self-analyzing, and through this process I was able to conquer a life-long habit of worry, so I suppose that should be a major high for me! In that journey I made a couple of new, wonderful friends, and I’m sure they would appreciate being noted as a high of my year. You know who you are.
What was the single most challenging thing that happened?
(Kate) We have been transitioning as a family a lot over the past few years, mainly in the way of finances and our schedule. At the end of 2015, we saw my hubby go back to work after being off with a back injury for two and a half years. We are now in a place of trying to get our finances back on track and start tackling debt after a few years of financial turmoil. Debt is no joke. It is not fun, it’s not easy to deal with, and it can be really draining. We also have been having to adjust our schedule frequently as a family with one car and my hubby’s changing shifts, preschool for our son, my tea parties and business, volunteering, etc. There is a lot more that could be said to this story, but I will leave it. 2015 was the start of getting things back on track, and I am looking forward to how 2016 progresses these things!
(Sandy) Going back to my answer to question one – hand in hand with freeing myself of worry and taking a good, hard look at myself, I found I needed to make a lot of decisions regarding how I allocate my time, for instance, splitting time between family, volunteer work, and actual work, and deciding on the value each of those things has in my life. Sitting down with my husband and crunching numbers to see if the work side of things could be decreased to allow me to follow my passions (which include this blog!) was a valuable exercise. I am a creature of habit and change, even good change, is hard for me, so this was a challenging exercise, and it will be even harder to jump in with both feet and implement the changes we decided on.
In what way(s) did you grow emotionally?
(Kate) Believe it or not, some of my growth came through watching “Inside Out” with my hubby. We watched that movie and were both just wrecked. Haha I think that movie just reiterated for me, after years of trying to push through chaos, job changes/losses, and financial bumps in the road, that it’s really hard to be happy all the time. Besides that, I mean BING BONG…seriously Inside Out, that was brutal!!
(Sandy) Releasing worry has allowed me to calm down inside. I highly recommend it! I think, too, that I have grown emotionally in becoming a kinder, more empathetic person, and a better listener.
In what way(s) did you grow spiritually?
(Kate) Quite honestly, I feel like I am still finding my stride (again) with maintaining a good routine of devotions and that was something that was a struggle in 2015. I love routine, and adapting to change is not one of my strengths. As a mom, I have found this weakness of mine especially difficult. You start to find a stride and a “new normal” and then your child gets a little older, learns to crawl or walk or talk and then everything changes again. You start to find a new normal and then you start potty training. You start to find a new normal and then your husband’s shift changes and your child’s nap schedule changes… I don’t like the way that my spiritual routine was in 2015. I did, however, finally have the time to attend the women’s bible study, being on maternity leave and having a car for a while, and through that have found some wonderful friends to grow with and with whom I can talk honestly. 2015 was a year of growing in my faith. God has continually been showing us that He will provide, and our faith is strong through all the ups and downs of 2015.
(Sandy) I grew spiritually in 2015 in a few different ways. First off, I have realized the value and importance of being quiet and listening for God. Starting my day with this makes a huge difference in how the day goes. I am at the point in my life where, once my husband leaves for work, it’s just me and the dog at home, so this is an easy habit for me to develop. I have also stepped into a leadership/mentorship role in one of the programs we run at our church, and this has been a focus of my past year. And finally, I have become more comfortable with the idea that my idea of having “enough” may not be God’s idea of enough, and that He may be asking me to take a step back from work, and a step further into volunteering. This would be a leap of faith, because we aren’t wealthy people, but if this is what God wants, He will provide!
What was your single biggest time waster in your life this past year?
(Kate) This one is funny, but…not making lists! I have too much on the go and I can’t do it all. The days when I write down my lists or goals, I am more productive, efficient and organized. Otherwise, I find a million ways to waste time. Starting off 2016, I want to (I need to!) get back to one of my loves…my lists!
(Sandy) Kate is so her mother’s daughter – I do love me some good lists! There is almost always at least one list on my counter. Grocery list, to do list, long term goal list…..the list goes on! Ha, ha. As far as time wasters go, the biggest culprit is television. It is way too easy for me to get sucked into one program, and then roll into the next, and the next…… I found towards the end of the year, through the Christmas season, I was most happy when I had gentle music on while I baked, read, did a puzzle, did housework, etc. I need to remember that feeling as I head forward and work towards less visual distraction.
Create a phrase or statement that describes 2015 for you.
(Kate) In a word? 2015 was challenging. However, I feel like I can use this adage to sum up the efforts of our 2015 – “Life is like a cup of tea…it’s all in how you make it!” I think God has shown us much grace as we’ve fumbled through a few years of uncertainty and has really grown us into more faithful, trusting, patient people. As I begin 2016, my word for the year (something trendy that seems to be catching on) is “Revive.” No more just getting by. It’s time to revive our finances and pay off some debt. It’s time to revive my devotion and find a better personal schedule. Time to revive my love of physical activity. Time to revive my organization within my home, schedule and business.
I am looking forward to good things in 2016 and I say…bring it on!
(Sandy) Hmmmm. I think perhaps 2015 was “confusing”. I tried to come to terms with different things like worry, distraction, fear, work, and family. However, making a decision to deal with things like this and being able to do it are two very different things. Some things, like worry, distraction, and fear are all on me, and I need to, with God’s help, work on and correct them. That is not easy, but at least I am the only one involved. Things like work and family are definitely more involved, since they involve household finances, possible extra burden on my husband, and major life changes, and in the case of family, a struggle with the desire to still hold my children as tightly as I did when they were younger vs. allowing them to fly on their own and be independent young married couples. For a person who had their greatest fulfillment being a mom, that’s tough!
For 2016 my word will be….faith. Faith that decisions I come to will be the right ones, faith that I raised my children well and that they can now, in turn, create their own loving, Godly homes, and faith that if I continue to be still and listen, God will show up in amazing ways and guide my life!
As Kate said …….bring it on!