What a year! Friends, I am SO grateful to have done my PowerSheets over the last few weeks. I wept, I prayed, I learned, and I feel energized by my goals for the year ahead. Before going through the process, I would have told you 2022 was the hardest year. Period. That’s where the sentence would have ended. I lost my Dad. I had a sleepless season with the business acquisition. Despite my best efforts, I experienced health challenges. There were layers of grief and pain. After writing and reflecting, I see a deeper truth: it was the hardest and best year because God was in it all. Reflection reaps rewards.
My spot the last few days with my PowerSheets…
I’ll share my goals in three parts this year: Looking Back, Looking Forward, and finally, my 2023 Goals. Affiliate links are used in this post. Enjoy!
Here we go!
Looking back at my 2022 Goals was encouraging. Even in a year with unexpected challenges, I made progress on all of them—some significant. I was shocked reading my list! Most of my goal progress didn’t happen the way I thought it would (hello, “Sabbatical Year” at work), but that’s the beauty of prayerfully setting goals and letting God direct our steps each day. I didn’t need to know the plan, just the direction. For more on God + Goals, see my YouVersion plan here. I recorded audio for you each day, too. Enjoy!
I experienced what felt like three years in one during 2022. These distinct periods of time held vastly different experiences. There was the first part of the year as Dad’s health began to decline, and God awakened us to the fleeting gift of time with our children and each other. Then, there was the second part in due diligence with Cultivate. God took me on a wild and unexpected ride that stretched me to my limits. All the while, Dad was dying, and I was fighting hard for time with him. And then came the third part: Dad’s homecoming and figuring out life after it all.
— I focused on small habits throughout the year. Little by little steps added up in a year I really needed it – quite literally. I took 14k steps each day. Many of my morning walks turned into times of prayer and tears.
— I read the Bible daily, finishing the Old Testament in 2 years plan we did with friends and moving on to the New.
— I got consistent with weight training after 10+ years of flailing. I did weights every other day and core on the days between. I was tired of feeling weak and determined to do whatever I could to help support my neck. Frustration can be good fuel, friends! When we traveled, I’d use whatever I had: cans of soup, rocks, anything.
— I went to what felt like 846 doctor’s appointments and had 5 MRIs, one neck injection, and a partridge in a pear tree.
— In January, Dad went to the hospital. He never quite recovered.
— Our kids got in a car accident, totaling our van. The other driver wasn’t looking and t-boned our car on the way home from school. The kids had whiplash and were quite shaken up. It was a hard experience for them.
— We felt God telling us that life is short. We sped up our timeline for getting an RV.
— Dad crashed his 1994 Tahoe, the end of driving for him and the end of a memory-filled legacy with our family car.
— Ari and I celebrated 16 years of marriage and spent it with my parents in Florida. This ended up being our last visit all together.
— The kids had many firsts: a sleepover and a special parasailing adventure with me for Grace; baseball, soccer, and karate for Josh; gymnastics and swimming for Sarah. They loved it all.
— The kids learned knife skills in the kitchen and how to cook. Josh is quite the kitchen whiz!
— Everyone took up rock climbing.
— In April, after a pivotal visit with Dad in the hospital and many years of prayer and counsel, we started the process of Cultivate being acquired. We spent an unprecedented 90 days in due diligence (most acquisitions take 6 months to a year, for good reason) and made it through by the grace of God.
— During this time, we somehow learned how to use an RV, made all the mistakes, and took trips to Gatlinburg, Roan Mountain, Williamsburg, Maryland/DC, Corolla, a horse farm in Aberdeen, and a state park near Charlotte. I missed much of these trips, spending them on Zoom or the phone, moving things forward. I knew in the big picture, I was going to get more time with my family, and it meant risking the sacrifice of time in the short term. This was one of the most taxing things I’ve done, but I knew it was what God wanted in the long run.
— I had my last Cultivate shoot. I savored that time creating with dear friends.
— Cultivate was officially acquired on June 30th.
My world changed.
— Dad went to the hospital for good.
— I helped my mom sell my Dad’s ophthalmology practice of 50+ years.
— The garden grew. A favorite: the brilliant blue forget-me-nots.
— Ari and I spent many days apart, juggling childcare with dad in the hospital. I spent most of the late summer going back and forth between North Carolina and Florida, most of the time with kids and some of the time without when Dad got very sick. It was a hard balance to keep their spirits up from the heaviness of it all and be fully present with Dad. There was a lot of spiritual growth that happened in our kids during this season. We decorated Dad’s hospital room, sang to him, told him jokes, and helped my mom. I took a total of 64 flights to be with Dad in the hospital. All the Skymiles I’d saved for many years went to the best use to have this time with Dad.
— I read Being Mortal. It changed how I experienced the last months with Dad and how we helped him live his best days in hospice.
— The kids learned how to fish, continuing a generational legacy in our family.
— The garden continued to grow in NC, thanks to the care of friends, kind neighbors, and my sweet husband. We had a “free flower stand” in honor of Dad one weekend.
— We went to Colonial Williamsburg and came home with colonial COVID.
— Days later, in August, Dad had several more strokes and seizures. We made the difficult decision to bring him home for hospice. Bringing him home was hard and a huge gift. There it is again – both/and. He wanted to come home, and we wanted to give him his best last days.
— I cleared my COVID test and flew back to Florida for the most memorable days of my life. I praise the Lord for the gift of this intimate time with Dad, my mom, and my brother.
— While Dad slept, my brother and I cleaned out his closet and books. It was eerie to do while he was still living, yet necessary to ensure my mom didn’t have to do it alone after he passed and we had all gone home. There wasn’t even a conversation about it – Stephen and I instinctively did it. We knew it was the next right thing. Dad didn’t have much stuff and never wanted material possessions of his own. He did have some favorite books, though: Mere Christianity, Don’t Know Much About the Bible, and several stacks of poetry and history. He wrote notes in the margins. I brought many of them home and treasure his scribbled reflections.
— We celebrated Dad’s 87th birthday on August 26th. He was surrounded by friends.
— Two days later, on a bright Sunday afternoon after church, I walked Dad home.
Life was different now.
— I wrote Dad’s obituary. I gave his eulogy.
— School started two days after Dad’s funeral.
— I tried to go back to normal life. Nothing was normal or the same, though.
— I couldn’t drive a car. I’d forget things. I’d lose track of my phone.
— I got mad at all the stuff in our house and grieved as I cleared things out. I took many trips to Goodwill.
— I pulled out the garden for winter and planted a new winter garden in honor of Dad.
— We grew lettuce for the first time and collards, kale, and rainbow chard. Somehow, it all felt healing in this season, going out in the garden to get food God grew for us for our meals.
— I tried to be easy on myself, yet was consistently unsuccessful. I did my best to lower my expectations. God is growing me here.
— We continued our homeschool journey. Some days felt impossible to teach in the midst of grief, and on others, I was given courage by our reading.
— I took a grief retreat. It was one night, and it was needed.
— I tried to help our kids grieve, too. We talked about Grandpa David and normalized grieving in our home. We took walks. We spent time in the sunshine. I took them to the fair. We did Halloween. They camped under the stars for the first time.
— I read books. I learned new things.
— I started listening to podcasts for the first time in my life. I never had brain space for it before. I am thankful for the gift of learning.
— Thanks to my reading, we got rid of several toxins in our home and kitchen. I thought we were a pretty healthy bunch, but we made some changes to help us all thrive (think sneaky food dyes and chemicals). A few new favorites: these dryer balls instead of dryer sheets, KOS organic protein + Ancient Nutrition Multi Collagen instead of my beloved Vega powder I used for years, Molly’s Suds laundry powder, and these sprouted almonds are a hit in our house.
— I started cooking. I mean, really cooking. My creativity was often employed at work, and I transferred some of that to our family meals. I’ve learned new things and it has been worth it. For the first time in my life, I have been meal planning. Emily, I know you are proud 🙂 My french chef mom is, too.
— With a diet and supplement overhaul, I got my iron levels in check after years of chronic anemia. This iron supplement has been a life-saver, and I even take it on an empty stomach. This has been a win for my energy in this second half of the year, and Lord willing, for the rest of my life.
— Our church family continued to be a blessing in our lives and the lives of our children.
— We had Thanksgiving without Dad. I read poetry in his honor at dinner.
— We planned a minimal Christmas.
— I started writing again here for the sheer joy of connecting with you. It has felt like the old days, and each encouraging comment has meant the world.
— We sold our RV to a wonderful couple who had also walked through a year of grief and loss. It was a gift to meet them and send our Wayfarer off to new adventures. What a blessing it was to our kids and us this season. We’re considering a trailer for a future season.
— Ari celebrated a year at his new job. His company was also acquired this year. My mom, Ari, and I have lived parallel lives this year with companies passed to new hands. I don’t think this was a coincidence – we were able to support each other through the challenges, and mom and I were able to thank God and grieve together. While it is a blessing to have a business move to new and wonderful hands, it’s also a loss of what we’ve known for so long. There has been a lot of both/and in 2022.
— Our kids lost a collective 13 teeth. The Tooth Fairy is ready to retire.
— I got a sewing machine. Generations in my family have sewn with great love, and I finally feel ready to learn. This sewing machine, and all it entails, is the marker of a turning point. My mom is coming for Christmas, and I’ve already asked her to teach me while she’s here.
— Ari and I enjoyed our annual holiday dinner with the local Cultivate ladies and their gents. 13 years and counting, I hope to continue this tradition forever and ever. This is a special time, recounting God’s faithfulness in our lives together, no matter what comes our way or what changes.
There’s so much more to write—so much I didn’t write. What I couldn’t capture in words is the living between these milestones: the faith grown, the life shared, and the love of generous friends. I am ending this year knowing more about my need for Him and His love for us. God was in it all. In that, I count this as the best year.
Next up in my PowerSheets goal series… looking forward.
Your turn! What were some of your challenges and good things from 2022? What rewards did you reap in reflecting? I’d love to hear!