Welcome to one of my favorite traditions of the year! My annual recap of things I loved, liked, learned and lost…I actually don’t think there’s anything I lost on this list, I was just going for the alliteration.
Every year I do this on my birthday. It’s like a digital scrapbook. It’s fun to go back and read past ones, starting at my 22nd year of life and see that A. I’ve actually been blogging that long…what?!?! B. So many things are still the same. C. So many things are very different. D. I’m thankful for this tradition and the rhythm of reflection it initiates.
Here are 30 things from my 30th year of life:
1.) I have a new niece! I’m officially an auntie to 7 blood nieces and nephews and a few other nieces and nephews-in-love and it’s just the best. Makes Christmas more expensive and I’m racking up those airline credit card points, but it’s worth it.
2.) I started the practice of lighting candles every day as a way to be present and center myself.
3.) I became gluten free. Ugh. I could go on, but who likes the person that talks incessantly about their food allergies. No one, that’s who.
4.) Two of my friends and I moved a literal tree that fell across a road that was blocking our path to get to a conference. It was raining, one of us had a boot cast on and it was dark. At one point I said, “we can’t do this.” Sara looked at me and said, “Don’t say we can’t because we can.” And then we moved the tree. Now we have a new life mantra and don’t worry, we can draw so many life metaphors from this experience.
5.) Tried using an all electronic calendar system. Didn’t work. Paper planners for life!
6.) Sought to learn from and listen to more non-white people and those of the global majority especially black and indigenous women. Really was confronted with my own racism and what it means to truly engage in anti-racism work and what it means to do my own work of uprooting that racism and white supremacy in my own life. Part of this is learning that discomfort is a gift and it’s okay to be uncomfortable. Some people I’ve learned a lot from this year: Rachel Ricketts, Rachel Cargle, Christena Cleveland, Layla Saad, Kaitlin Curtice, Saira Siddiqui and Austin Channing Brown. Listen to them, learn from them, and compensate them for their work.
7.) I bought a new to me car. I love it and am grateful for it every day.
8.) I signed up for TSA pre-check. Best decision I made all year. I did a lot of traveling this year and TSA pre-check was a game changer.
9.) I went on a great vacation to one of the best places on Earth (Northern Michigan) with most my family except for the Chapman’s because they were busy having a baby (Refer to point #1). The WHOLE family was together for Christmas…16 people under one roof. We just love each other even more after all that time together…also, we now all currently have colds.
10.) I began a job as the Assistant Director of Coach Approach Inc. and Day 7 Ministries. We help nonprofit professionals and pastors get connected to self-care resources so they can lead healthy and sustainable lives. I also went back to my marketing job for a couple months to cover for my former boss’ maternity leave. And was trained in a new role as a Search Specialist with Ministry Architects. I’m grateful for all that I can learn from my various employment opportunities!
11.) Some movies and TV watched: Black Panther, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, Avengers, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Queer Eye, Outlander, Supergirl, The Hate U Give, Son of Patricia - Trevor Noah, Patriot Act with Hasan Minaj.
12.) I went to Argentina with a group of Trevecca students. I know I can’t know exactly what it’s like being a mom, but leading a group of college students across the world definitely gives me a glimpse.
13.) My business is alive and well. I get so much joy out of everything I get to do with Abby Buter Coaching. I was able to speak, lead workshops, work with organizations, host retreats and meet with clients one-on-one this year. I will never take for granted the honor it is to walk alongside others and hold space for them as they learn more about themselves.
14.) Lake Michigan will always be my peace place and center me. I was in Chicago for a conference and I was wandering around outside. I didn’t realize we were so close to the lake and as soon as I turned a corner and saw the lake, it’s like my soul was home (even though we all know that’s not the good side of Lake Michigan…). It’s kinda weird, but mostly magical.
15.) I packed a carry on for a ten day trip across three climates and three cities. One of my greatest accomplishments this year.
16.) ASMR Harry Potter rooms. Look it up. Listen to it when you have to concentrate or relax. You’re welcome.
17.) I realized I love wearing lipstick. You can feel like you’re falling apart, but a good, bold, red lip brings it all together.
18.) Some podcasts I listened to: The Popcast with Knox and Jamie, Doctor Death, 36 Questions, Truth’s Table, Code Switch.
19.) I learned what it meant to show inner hospitality to all the parts of myself. The good, the bad, the ugly, the beautiful, the shadow, the light…they’re all a part of me. Showing them hospitality and acknowledging them has led to so much healing and growth for me.
20.) I saw Hamilton again. Worth. Every. Single. Penny.
21.) I continued going to spiritual direction monthly. If I had to point to one decision and regular rhythm that has made the greatest impact on my life the last four years, going to spiritual direction would be it.
22.) I found the Imaginarium community. I could write a lot of words about this. But all I’ll say for now is this is a community and people I’ve been looking for and I’m so grateful.
23.) Some books I read: Anam Cara by John O’Donohue, Becoming by Michelle Obama, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, So Close to Being the Sh*t, Y’all Don’t Even Know by Retta, What is the Bible by Rob Bell, Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, We’re Going to Need More Wine by Gabreille Union, Whisper by Lynette Noni, Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology by Leah Remini, The Glittering Court Series by Richelle Mead. I read a lot…I tried to shorten this list, which this is the shortened list. I just really liked all these books.
24.) I went to Ireland! It was beautiful and magical. It has a special feel to it that’s hard to explain. I loved it.
25.) Tried to make slime with two four year olds…wouldn’t recommend it. When it’s not working and you’re frustrated you may hear one of those four year olds say, “Auntie I think you put too much moisture in there.”
26.) Some music I listened to: Johnnyswim, Hamilton, Avett Brothers, Janelle Monae and the radio.
27.) Went to NYC to celebrate Jenn’s 30th! It is my favorite city and I just love it! I’m going back next weekend to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (ah!!). If you would like to witness how terrible I am at saying no, ask me to go to NYC with you. I’ll always find a way.
28.) Attended the Evolving Faith, Liturgists Gathering, the Festival of Faith and Writing and a few Enneagram workshops - these were all significant experiences for different reasons. The content, the speakers, the people I got to attend with and just the overall experience was special.
29.) I stopped writing this year. I guess for a lot of reasons. But I learned that I’m more fully alive and human when I’m writing. It’s like breathing to me. So the plan is to start that as a daily practice again.
30.) My word of the year was abundance. I shed a lot of my scarcity mindsets and saw abundance around every corner in many ways.
I loved being 30. I think I’m going to love being 31 too. My word for the year is Intentional and I’m excited about what’s ahead.
Here’s to year 31 and all the cups of happy!