photo by Stone Crandall


I think i’ve learned more from you than any year prior.  More about who I am, who I am not, and who I want to be.  In a lot of ways, it’s been a tough year for me.  I’ve struggled to find my balance, I lost my second baby in April, Sam left a secure job and a consistent paycheck to chase his dream of owning his own business (which I whole heartedly supported),  for the first time I’ve battled real debilitating anxiety, had a few health scares, and overall, have been left feeling like nothing I do is quite right.  Don’t get me wrong…there has been a whole lot of good mixed in there too.  But if I am completely honest….there has never been more that I want to change.  As I look back, we had many victories and many challenges…it’s been our year of high highs and and low lows…..and in regards to the state of my heart, this year has felt heavy.  I’m ready to leave it behind and move on.

Over the last few days, I’ve thought a lot about the ways in which I want to live differently this year and the word that kept coming back to me was BREATHE.  Not necessarily in the physical act of breathing, though that plays a role as well….but more as a lifestyle.  More than anything, allowing myself to slow down and live in the present instead of always looking ahead to what is next.  I need to trust in God’s plan for me and not fall into the rabbit hole of ‘what if’.  Not everything is in my control, and I want to learn to let go (breathe), and be ok with the unknown.  I want to intentionally pursue the things that are life giving to me.  Getting outdoors, discovering ways to better love my husband, going on more adventures with my daughter, spending more time by the ocean, more time with God, serving, exercising and strengthening my body…..in all ways, learning the breathe.  I don’t want my work and my inbox to rule my life (as it so often feels) and I certainly don’t want social media or technology to get in the way of real conversations and interactions.

One thing I have always, always, struggled with is taking care of myself and focusing on my own needs….physically and emotionally.  It feels strange to even write that because in some ways it feels selfish.  But so far, not giving myself what I need hasn’t done anyone a favor.  I hope that this year I can flip it around.  It’s always easier said that done, and I am still trying to figure out a realistic plan for accomplishing some of these goals…..but I am determined to make a change.

Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste the food when you eat, and when you sleep, really to sleep.  Try as much as possible to be wholly alive with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell.  And when you get angry, get good and angry.  Try to be alive.  You will be dead soon enough.  – Ernest Hemingway

You’re Turn!  What are some of your goals / plans for 2014?

–  First, head to each of the hostess’ sites, check out their posts!
-Share your own answers to one of the following prompts ( or all of them)! 
1. What is something you want to change, or a goal you want to set for the New Year, and what is your plan for making it happen?
2.  Many people choose a word to reflect on, live by, or aspire to for the New Year.  Let us know your word, how you decided upon it, and how you hope to incorporate it into 2014.
3.  I will make 2014 count by…
-You will then link up on any ONE of the hostess’ sites.  Our links will be interlinked which means that your post will be displayed on all of our sites.
– Share on instagram with the hashtag #making2014count
*** This is a fun way to get some inspiration, make new friends, increase your readers and hopefully find some sweet ladies to connect with! ***

How to link up?

1. Write your blog post
2. Copy your URL that links back to your blog/post
3. see where it says “click here to enter” ? Click there and follow instructions!
4. Mingle other posts and make new friends!

Click through to link up….


  1. Chastity

    Love this post! My big goal/change for the new year is to stay away from media around my little one. It seems that I am looking at my phone/ipad more often than I think. I just don’t want him thinking that whatever is on my phone is more important than him!

  2. Elisa {With Grace & Eve}

    Love this post. Beautifully expressed. I’m reminded of a lesson I only learnt a few years back – that without loving, nurturing and giving to myself I can’t fully give to others. My 2014 guiding word is honour – to serve as a reminder to honour my body, heart, emotions and wherever it is I am at xx

  3. jessica tingle

    What a beautiful word for 2014! I definitely needed to read this, the things you said really hit home for me. I get so caught up trying to create a life that I forget to actually live it. I also need to be pursuing life and giving my fullest to the present moment. You’re right, sometimes it feels selfish to think that we need to nurture ourselves to serve others, but it is so true and you are definitely not alone in that struggle! Hope your 2014 is full of exactly what you want it to be.

  4. Alecia

    love this, what a great idea! I will definitely be doing this next week. Thank you for your honesty on what this last year meant for you. 2013 was a huge struggle for me as well, and I have not wanted to admit that to myself. I am wishing and praying that 2014 brings you and your family joy and growth!

  5. Stephanie @ NewlyMynted

    Although it was not established, that had to have been my word for 2012. My life had crumbled around me, and I was angry, feeling like God had just sat back and let it. Why didn’t he do something?, I wondered. I shut my heart off to Him and refused to listen. I (attempted) to control everything. If I could maintain control, it wouldn’t fall apart, right?! (ha,ha!) Then in December 2012, every last thing that distracted me from listening to God was taken from me. Within a week! One day I lost my job, then two days later my car, then my computer. It went on and on. Every excuse I had to put distance between Him and I was removed. And God’s words to me were simple: He reminded me that He had not forsaken me, that He pitied me. He assured me that His love for me was greater than I knew, but that I needed to be willing to trust.

    The moment I let go, I felt like I could finally BREATHE. I did not have a burden carried around with me anymore. I didn’t feel anxious and stressed. I did not feel stretched thin. I can’t even tell you the state of my health prior. Let’s just say I gained 15 lbs and my dad was thrilled.

    I guess just remember, God can move mountains, but not when we’re standing there leaning against it with one hand, coaxing him to merely nudge it a little at a time.

    Much love on this beautiful day!

    P.S. New follower from Casey!

  6. Rachel

    Praying for a year that you feel no anxiety. That your heart will feel light and your breath will come so easy. A Life full of simple pleasures and you feel so close and secure in the Lord!! xo

  7. Victoria | Oh So Pretty

    I love your heart, Kelli. As I read your post, I saw so much of myself. I haven’t been able to open up like you, so I love and appreciate your honesty and courage to share everything with us. Last year was really a struggle for me and my family – we went through life changing events that really flipped our world upside down. One minute you think you got life all planned out, then the next, you see it really isn’t your plan, but ultimately His. It was a struggle and really tested our faith, but it never faltered – I mean, all we could do was let go and put our faith in Him. I truly believe God always has a plan, it may not be what we want, but what we need. Sending you all my love and wishing you and your family a very Happy New Year!


    • kelli

      I couldn’t have said it better. So much of the time I think I know what I want and what is best for me, but in hindsight, it’s not what I needed at all. God knows best…i’m learning to trust in that.

  8. Karin - The F Girl

    Breathe. A beautiful word to live by. Inspiring to. I can use a little more of quiet breathing in my life as well. I am in the middle of a process of learning to do that more, of letting myself just be, and be okay with who I am at any certain point. Thank you for this post, it was another step in the right direction for me! xx

  9. Alison Ambrose

    Loved this post! I think the concept {and action} of breathe is so needed in all of our everyday lives as it gives us that extra time to cherish and love and appreciate, not just jumping from moment to moment. I also loved the Hemingway quote you included! Thank you for sharing!

    Alison, http://lavieambrose.blogspot.com/

  10. Jade Topper

    I will make 2014 count by not allowing money to make my life decisions. And by falling back in love with our creator, the one who sets me free of worry and the “not good enough” attitude. Thank you for being inspiring and thank you for openly sharing your love for God. Blessings to you and peace of mind in this new year!!!

  11. Alana

    Your words “allowing myself to slow down and live in the present instead of always looking ahead to what is next” reminded me of myself after I hit an emotionally taxing time a little over a year ago. It was truly taking this idea to heart that allowed me progress in a positive way, and enter 2014 with a happy and accomplished state of mind. The transition was grueling, but completely worth it. Hang in there! It’ll change for the better sooner than you realize. Simplicity is the key.

  12. natalie

    beautiful words. you are an inspiration. and so nice to host and inspire a community of bloggers as well, so thank you!

  13. M

    Thank you for sharing, Kelli. I have been reading along for the better part of this year and didn’t realize that you had been through so many trials. I feel so often like I let the Internet trick me into thinking that what I need to be paying attention to is people I throw on a pedestal– people much like you (your style is so PERFECT!)– when in all reality I need to be throwing MYSELF up there much more. Take better care of myself. Do more for me. Live more in the moment. Anyway, I’m glad that you and the others decided to do one word for the year and make it count… My sis and I are challenging ourselves to pray every single day in 2014 and document it on a blog. (I just hope I last through January, honestly). Good luck to you, and thanks for the vulnerability.

    • kelli

      Thanks for this. I certainly deserve no pedestal. My life is far from perfect….but you are right, the internet has a way of leaving you feeling inadequate at times. I like to keep some parts of my life private….and I guess, it’s mostly the hard and ugly parts that I don’t like to share. (don’t we all like to hide from those) :) But I definitely don’t like to portray myself as perfect or having it all together all the time. Hence, this post :) There is a lot, a lot a lot…..that needs improving! Cheers to a new year!

  14. Amy Jack

    You are a very strong women, an inspiration. I have felt so useless in 2013 and reading this has inspired me to be brave and EMBARK on my adventure.

    It’s hard to look at the present, when their’s so much we want to do, every now and then we must stop and appreciate what we have. We are so blessed!

    Thank you for sharing your story. Wishing you and your family a lovely 2014

    • kelli

      amen sister. appreciating what I have is the ultimate goal of this year….i hope we can both learn to improve on that together.



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