Dear Friend,

This year has had it’s ups and downs, twists and turns, but looking back, each and every moment is an important part of the puzzle… it wouldn’t have been the same if anything was different so I thought I’d finish it off with a Check-In (basic rules apply):


This year, I felt as though I did a much better job at listening to my body and taking care of myself. I lost approximately 20 pounds and have kept it off, I trained myself to “hear” when my body was telling me that it was full, I started working out on a regular basis, etc. But the TYPE of food I was putting into my body hasn’t always been the best, especially when I am eating on my own, just because it’s hard to put together, and motivate myself to make healthy meals for a single person. It’s hard to make it through an entire head of lettuce, or bag of grapes, etc. and one of my biggest pet peeves is wasting good food, so that made it really difficult. I improved as the year went on, but still. I also have begun to find a much healthier place regarding body image and feeling good with what I look like and loving my body the way it is. I’m not sure what has been making the difference, and I still have bad days, but I’m glad to be feeling more at home in my own body.


Umm… This has been really strange this year. I have read my Bible more this year than ANY year previous (only including personal reading, not reading for class) but have also missed significantly more weeks of church. I love my church, but feel a little out of place now that I’m in college, and don’t really want to teach Sunday School to elementary schoolers, so I struggle to motivate myself to go. Relationships are my best motivator, and right now, the relationship aspect that I had in high school is lacking. I did enjoy going to convention with the MYF, and would consider being a youth sponsor in the future… side note: high schoolers are amazing, they inspire me so much… I think that becoming more involved would help.


This year has been ridiculous. Let’s imagine that hope is like fire… and that I had this candle of hope that I had been struggling to keep aflame. But then, I had finally accepted that it was time to let the flame go out, only to have someone pour gasoline on it and then walk away leaving me to deal with a roaring bonfire of hope, which I then struggled to bring back down to a candle… That just about describes the emotional rollercoaster I experienced this year. Through this process, however, I’ve been realizing that I tend to live as though everything will eventually work themselves out (because, let’s be honest, they will)… but that sometimes I need to be more proactive in communicating with people so that this process isn’t prolonged unnecessarily.

I struggled this year with self-care. I am really good at knowing when I am struggling, or that I’ve taken on too much… I’m also pretty good at knowing what I need to improve the situation. I am HORRIBLE at asking for what I need. I’m horrible at asking for things in general. There were several times this year when my being willing to ask for help or patience would have alleviated so much stress, but I didn’t do it.

In particular, living on my own has reminded me of how important it is for me to get enough social time to be a functional/happy individual… but having house guests, also reminded me that if I don’t maintain some alone time, I will go insane (and I do mean insane.)


So every year, I tend to put together a list of resolutions, goals I want to achieve and things I want to do. I usually don’t accomplish any of them. This year, however I was able to successfully achieve several of the items on my list. I lived in an apartment rather than moving back in with my parents, I read over 24 books that I enjoyed (Rather than text books), I maintained a relatively usual workout schedule, and I even went to convention! Now that isn’t even half of the list I put together, but it’s something! This year, I wanted to put together a list of goals, but I didn’t want it to just be a list of tasks, but also a facing of those areas where I struggled this past year, so here goes…

  1. I want to continue taking care of my body, to keep listening, keep exercising, keep loving.
  2. I want to ask for what I need. Even when it’s hard to do, because I know it will help me be the best version of myself possible.
  3. I want to be purposeful about setting aside more time for being social, while admitting when I am overwhelmed.
  4. I want to continue reading the Bible, but also resume my church attendance…
  5. I want to stand up for myself. To remember that I am worth standing up for.
  6. I want to be more open and honest in conversation with other people. To continue listening, but to also be willing to share my own feelings, frustrations, and desires…EVEN when I feel as though there might be differences.

In conclusion, I know this was a long post, but if you’re still with me, I hope you’ve enjoyed this year as much as I have and that 2014 treats you even better!

Lots of Love, Mandi Jo