At the start of 2018, I put together this Vision Board with goals which I said I would tackle throughout the year. I’ve been doing this for the past several years and just like having a weekly planner, I swear by this. It really sets the tone for the year and it’s nice to look back on every few weeks and months to see how it’s all progressing.
2018 was all about finding strength and building upon it. Of all the years I’ve been working with a Vision Board, never before have I been able to cross off as many things as I have this year. As a newly widowed Mom, I felt it was more important than ever to make sure things were moving forward for the kids…. so the hustle was on.
So how did I do in 2018? Here’s how it all went down:
1. Buy a home
This has been on my Dream Board for the past several years. I’ve been wanting to get out of the pit of renting and paying for someone else’s mortgage. It just makes financial sense to live in something we can call our own and consider our Forever Home.
With the passing of my husband, I felt more urgency to get out of our apartment and give the kids a change of environment in a home which they could grow up in. We are no longer bound by the unpredictable nature of renting, let alone the chaos and drama that goes along with having neighbors downstairs, next door and across the hall. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve had some really good neighbors, but then again we’ve also had the not-so-good neighbors. For the kids’ sake, I felt we needed more stability and peace. We were all crammed in a 2 bedroom apartment and now we each have our own space to wind down in, create anything our heart desires and make more memories with family and friends.
I honestly didn’t think I could make this happen in 2018. I thought it would take me at least another year or two before we would be able to move into a home of our own. But I had it down on the Vision Board anyway and look where it got us! Not only did we move into a home, but we had our very first home BUILT from the ground up! The kids were engaged in just about every single piece of this process and it was definitely exciting for them!
I’ve always volunteered from time to time in the past. This year, I wanted to intentionally devote more time than usual to give back and help others in the community.
My kids volunteered at the end of last year and wanted to do it again. My daughter did a few activities with me before, but it was the boys’ first time. I reeled them in again for a few other opportunities this year and tried to get them involved as much as I could. If there’s one thing I want the kids to learn, it’s to develop the habit and the heart to help others without expecting anything in return. Every time they volunteer, I see their hearts softening, their eyes opening up and their minds going through the realization that not everyone has what they have.
I’ve taken up a new role as a Community Volunteer Coordinator for an organization starting in 2019. Therefore, I’m definitely going to be volunteering more again next year and will be getting my kids and others engaged in helping out too.
3. Spend more time gazing at the stars from the beach
This is something that we used to do with my late husband a few times a year. The kids and I haven’t been able to do this at all this year. Either it was just too much of an emotional thing for me or we’ve been really busy with packing, moving and getting settled into the new home. Living a bit away from the beach doesn’t make it as easy as the 2 minute drive we used to have. So this is something we definitely have to plan for. This is going on my 2019 Vision Board. I definitely want to spend moments with the kids underneath the stars, while listening to the waves crashing in.
4. Workout regularly / Lose weight, feel great!
I attempted this at the beginning of the year, then it it fell out of my priorities. This year I focused more on our spiritual, mental and emotional health. While my physical health is an important requirement of “feeling great”, the amount I weigh and my physical appearance was a lesser priority. Now that I’ve knocked out at least a year on strengthening my spirituality, mental and emotional health, I will be putting more emphasis on working out and shredding the weight in 2019.
5. Read to my kids nightly
I’ll give myself a 90% on this one. Studies show that kids who are read to at bedtime do much better in school. Not only does it help their performance in school, but it’s such a good way to wind down and spend time with the kids at the end of the day. I love reading to the kids, but realistically it’s almost impossible to read to them EVERY single night of the year. Sometimes I work in the evenings and the timing just doesn’t allow for it and sometimes I’m just plain exhausted. My youngest became such a bookworm and often insists on reading himself, versus having me read to him. Other times, the kids will read to each other and it’s cute watching them from the other room.
6. Ignite the talents of my kids and instill confidence
My kids are talented and I wanted them to discover that for themselves. As they uncover their passions and their strengths, I’m hoping that they build confidence in themselves and learn about the positive activities that bring them joy. I think having strength in their emotional core is going to be vital for them as they grow up and come across moments in grief and in the hardships they may come across later on in life.
For the first time, all of my kids were signed up for the extra curricular activities of their choice. They tried new things on their own and we also took on projects together. We experimented with activities that were new to them and learned about what they liked and disliked. I found out what they were most interested in and I did what I could to fuel that fire they had within them. Whether that meant providing them with the resources they needed, driving them from place to place, or just simply giving them words of encouragement…. I wanted them to see that there were no limits in what amazing things they could do.
7. Lift others
I cannot express enough how much others have been there to lift my kids and I up in the past year and a half which we’ve been in grief. The thoughts, prayers, meals, time and even quick messages have made things easier to get through.
In 2018, I extended the support I received to others who were going through rough times. I found opportunities to help others, lend an ear and provide support when they needed it. I was intentional about doing more ROAKs too, just to make others smile.
8. Trust in the Lord with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding
2017 taught me that the dreams I had were not in God’s plan. The course of our family’s life changed before our eyes and rather than get upset with the way things turned out, I’ve learned to let go and to trust the Lord. 2018 was dedicated to putting my heart into trusting His plan and going with the flow, regardless of whether I understood them.
9. Cook more. Eat out less.
I made improvements this year with cooking more at home. Now that we moved into our new home, I finally have a kitchen that I enjoy cooking in.
With our busy schedules, it wasn’t always easy to prep our meals and have them ready to cook in time for dinner, so eating out was often something I resorted to. While I made more of an effort to cook at home this year, I still have more work to do in terms of being fully committed. Filipino food nights was a good start to making sure I cook on Mondays. Now I just need to figure out what I’m going to be doing consistently for each day every week.
10. Start each morning in the Word
I usually turn to the Bible app on my phone to read the content for the day before I even get out of bed. If I didn’t get a chance to do so, I would read a day’s worth from 100 Days to Brave.
11. Smile More / Give myself permission / Dance as though no one is watching. Love as though you’ve never been hurt. Sing as though no one can hear you. Live as though Heaven is on Earth.
I’ve been through a few online groups for Widows and it’s unfortunate to see some people have not done anything with themselves since their significant other passed away 10+ years ago. Some have never been outside of their home in decades and have never done anything to treat themselves to something they enjoyed doing before. While it’s my mission to show my kids what life has to offer, I can’t do that while being the kind of “Widow” who is always seemingly down and miserable. My kids deserve more. They deserve the best they can get from me. I have to show them strength and positivity so they can carry themselves with their own strength and positive outlook as well. I think my husband would want to see us smile when he looks down upon us anyway. Therefore, I promised myself in 2018 that I would smile more, that I would give myself permission to dance, sing and live! I made some effort, but don’t get me wrong… I still have my moments.
Stay tuned. I haven’t quite finished my 2019 Vision Board yet. Have you? I’d love to see it! Or… Do you need any help getting started? Let me know.