I’ve posted my annual List and Review in backwards order because I’m slow this year. Also, I’m flying solo in the household with 4 children as JJ roots on the Buckeyes. But even as I move forward with making small changes for 2015, I need to give some review and commentary on the attempts of 2014list

1. Proofread. I could still do some work on that. I’ve seen small improvements, but just yesterday I sent an email draft to a client without going through looking for basic edits (like the “k” in “5k”) which makes me want to kick myself. Just pause, Michele. I’m no Speedy McDuck but apparently I think hitting Publish or Send is a race and I must win all the trophies.

2. Live Generously.  This addition to my life in 2014 became the richest gift to myself, and likely those around me. I don’t need to pay off anyone’s debt, but buying a drink or a book or a cast iron dutch oven was a good place to start. I (WE!) tithed relentlessly, even when I really didn’t want to. I worked in a “business” arrangement in trade, one in which we don’t keep score because both of us are enjoying the fruit of the other’s gifts, which requires trust and generosity and – allow me to say – because of that, it has been by far the best business partnership.

These practices have loosened my grip on things and, in turn, things – even money and the concern about it – have began to lose their grip on me.

3. Sing more, yell less. I have seen much improvement, discarding the last 60 hours. (After nearly 5 weeks of confinement, my kids and I are loosing our patience with each other.) But before that, I would give myself higher marks. I realized a considerable amount of time I yelled, it was because my kids actually couldn’t hear me, either because they were born that way or (and!) they were attuned to something else. I was raising my voice instead of raising my presence. And in all seriousness, singing helped. I could sing out their names, they would realize I needed their attention and then I could talk like a sane person, instead of ranting and raving.

I must also mention that I’ve seen notably less anger in my life outside the parenting realm. I’ll still waggle my arms about anything concerning, but somehow I’ve stumbled into a place where I begin with understanding and even sympathy before heaping blame. I start with the good before moving into the bad. Can I just say that this is a far better place to live? I’m no where near perfect (today’s naptime adventures will say just as much), but my strides have lengthened and I’m covering so much more ground now.  I have to recommend this practice to anyone.

4. Live honestly. Again, I scored an A+ to this. I had a particularly difficult end-of-summer/early fall which caused me to really come to terms with myself. I learned more about my core identity in 2014 then any other year of my life. Not only did I learn, but I accepted. (Kudos to Brene Brown and her book for accelerating the process. Two thumbs up on this read – a must for any organization or anyone involved in groups of people, families included.) I still feel as if I apologize for myself much too often (and notably more so than any male counterpart, as a point of discussion) but I’m making progress. I even allowed a few special ladies access into my “real self” and we keep a standing rule that we cannot apologize for who we are, only what we do. It’s been freeing and encouraging to continue to be loved for my nerdy, overwhelming self.

5. Take a class on the Adobe suite. Utter failure and I’m fine with it. I will continue to outsource such needs in my life. Professionally, things continue to evolve and I’ve given myself freedom to lean on others more adept with the visual needs.

So there is 2014, in a nutshell. Overwhelmingly challenging and fruitful.

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