the journey of a year

I am a New Year’s resolution addict.
Every year I make a set of goals and a plan to achieve them. Like 92% of Americans I fail and forget what my resolutions even were by the time I get to Valentine’s Day.

Tired of the vicious cycle of making non-transformative resolutions, on January 1, 2014 I looked out on the looming calendar NOT resolving to:
1. Lose weight
2. Run a half marathon
3. Move closer to the city
4. Get a promotion at work
5. Find the perfect guy

Yet I have done all of those things. I can pat myself on the back for being stronger, wiser, and more accomplished that I even wanted to be. But that is not what this is all about.

Rewind the clock 365 days. I was not looking to embark on another path of resolution failure. I found a blog about girl who said ‘NO’ to making cliché resolutions. Instead she chose one word to journal about for the entire year. She’d write down her thoughts about the word, quotes, things that happened in her life, anything that related to the word.
This was something I could get into. Now I just had to chose a word…

I was at a very good place in my life. I had a doting boyfriend, a good job, loving friends, and a healthy body. Everything was going so well that I felt guilty! This guilt of not having any struggles prevented me from fully enjoying those times. It was this guilt that inspired me to choose the word ‘SACRIFICE’ to study in 2014.

I pulled out an empty journal from my desk and wrote the word, SACRIFICE across the cover with a black sharpie. On the inside cover I wrote the definition:Screen Shot 2014-12-30 at 2.29.26 PM

Inside I began to fill the book with witty sayings,
Bible verses and names of people who demonstrated sacrifice.

I walked into this year blind and full of false expectations. I anticipated absolutely nothing that would happen over the next 12 months. There were things I thought I wanted. There were the things I thought I would get. None of that would actually happen.

Three weeks into my year of learning about ‘sacrifice’ I was diagnosed with a torn meniscus, and sent into the operating room…again. Two years after my first arthroscopic knee surgery I had managed to re-tear it.  I’d have to go under the knife, this time to have it removed.

“You’ll probably get arthritis really young.” -doc, post operation
Not what you want to hear as a 20 something year old runner, skier and figure skater.

One month later my colleague quit, forcing me to take over her job as well as mine. I was reluctant and opposed to this change. It meant that I would now be the editor of the show as well as the public relations liaison. The responsibility was daunting and oppressing. I was overwhelmed.

Three months into this year of ‘sacrifice’ my boyfriend dumped me. I had never been more shocked in my life. At the time I didn’t comprehend that people change, or at least change how they feel about you. I can sit here and say that I should have seen it coming, but I didn’t. I didn’t have the capacity to even think that way at the time. My life was on course. Nothing could derail that. Things would turn out exactly the way my 25 year old self thought they would, right? Turns out that decision wasn’t up to me.

Weeks after that happened I lost a friend. She didn’t die or anything, but our friendship was broken. I was hurt, and when you’re hurt it’s really easy to dwell on that. Once you start focusing on your sadness and how you’ve been wronged, things only get worse. I began walking down a path of bitterness and un-forgiveness, all the while saying I was neither of those things.

Halfway through this year of great ‘sacrifice’ life was nothing like I had planned.
I had no idea what I wanted anymore.

All I knew is that now it was summer, and I had a list of things to do, things I had never done before. I bought a ticket to my first country concert, went tubing down the creek by the mountains, drove a boat on the lake, and let strangers take me out on dates.

By the middle of summer I was having fun. I had totally forgotten about my journal of sacrifice and sorrow. I was living in the present and loving life.


I decided to put aside my selfishness and hurt to make amends with my friend. Finally I was sacrificing something. I can’t believe how many weeks and months it took for me to realize that sacrifice was not just a word for me to learn about but one that I might actually have to practice. I put aside my hurt and put on forgiveness. It wasn’t easy; but the more days I acted on that decision, the easier it became.

And then, I met someone. That person who irrevocably changed my perspective from the minute he opened the door of that yogurt shop. I knew that once we met my life was going to take a new course. He intensified the freshness and new outlook that I had been creating for myself. He asked me to look at things differently, so differently that I didn’t understand him at first.

“There is always a way, Jana. You are always making a choice for something; you can always change the thing you are choosing. From where I’m standing I can see it.
You can’t see it yet because you’re still on the wrong side of things.” -James

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Now, as the days pass and we learn more about each other and I learn more about life I feel my horizons opening. I’m starting to see things with a new lens.
The possibilities for the future are boundless.

I can look back at the year saying three things:
1. I regret nothing that happened.
2. Whether you make change happen or someone else makes it happen for you, you still have to decide how to deal with it.
3. I still know nothing about what the word sacrifice really means.

God has undoubtedly worked in my life. He brought changes that made me angry, and that hurt but they were necessary to make room for the new good changes. I think that the word that best represents 2014 is CHANGE rather than sacrifice.

He orchestrated these changes, but ultimately I was the one that had to decide to accept those changes, bad and good in order to be where I am today.

Here’s to this year and the fires that made me shine.
Like most of them
2014 was a year of marriages and births,
separations and deaths,
tears of joy and of sorrow.

In 2015 I look forward to a new year,
a new word to learn about
and more changes that I can conceive of.


crazy girl

Crazy girl, don’t you know that I love you…
My mind is so full of wild memories with you. Singing our hearts out in the truck, skating our souls out in ice skating practice, crying at our losses and laughing about the good times until it hurts. Who knew what a beautiful, wild life we’d have? When I see you today and I’m amazed by the person you’ve become, so caring and loving.

2014-05-18 18.43.47The next thing I think of is: I’m sorry I haven’t always been there for you. I’ve been silly and distracted. Seeing that now makes me so sad!

Its funny how life changes, unexpectedly and all at once and it leaves you sitting on the cold hard floor looking around wondering where you are and how you got there.

When I found myself there I looked up and Jesus was smiling, telling me to get up and that everything would be okay. As He helped me up from my puddle of tears and brokenness; He wiped my eyes and pointed at the setting sun.

There it was, setting on a chapter in my life with flames of orange, pink, and yellow that licked the rugged Rocky Mountains and drew silver linings around the deep blue clouds above. A part of my life had ended and I smiled as I watched the vibrant colors fade to purple and then deep blue and finally gray. That part of my story was filled with pages of laughter, tears, achievements and failures.

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One of the most glaring failures was my neglect of you little sister. Who was there, in the depths of my despair…yep, it was lil K-ditty.

When you’re going through life at the speed of sound and everything is crazy and normal sometimes the most important people in your life become like the living room furniture. You walk right by them and you don’t even see them. You sit on them, spill things on them and after a while they get messy and start falling apart.

Just like a dilapidated house falls apart, each nail becoming rusty and every little layer of dust piling upon itself, relationships don’t fall apart suddenly.

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Society hands us a cell phone smarter than the supercomputers that got us to the moon; gives us 300 channels to watch on tv; tells us to climb ladders to build our careers; take extravagant vacations; nurture our perfect little families; party it up with our fabulous friends and then post every glorious moment on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for the world to admire and envy.


But lets not transfer the blame to where it doesn’t belong. Society is a problem, yes, but who lives in that society? What people have built this society…? Something bigger and much closer to home is at the root of all of these shenanigans…

We are often so selfish that we can’t even see past our Insta-filtered noses to realize that WE are our own biggest problem. I can sit here for hours and blame my friends, my ex, my job, my church, my fitness routine …my…my… for the reason I neglected one of the people that means the most to me.

It was my fault. My problem.

Jesus is always saving me from myself. Sometimes it takes drastic measures for Him to get my self-absorbed attention, but He always knows what He needs to do. I believe that every good and perfect thing comes from above, and that God is not capable of doing bad things.

It takes some heavenly perspective sometimes to see that what He is doing is ultimately for the good and sometimes He is gracious enough to show us what He’s doing. I’m so thankful that He cared enough to wake me up to show me what I have and what I was looking right past.

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So here’s to making more memories, learning from the past and laughing about every crazy thing that happens to us. Happy Birthday little sister! I love you so much and for all the glorious years to come!

lasting success

There once was a girl who had a great life, but she always wished for more.

She loves her family and friends, has a good education and a good job but her search for the next best thing borders on un-gratefulness.
One day, this young lady was offered her dream job. She became a producer for NBC Universal Sports. They immediately flew her out to cover the upcoming Olympic Games. She loved it and worked her heart out.


There was a trip every week, or at least every other week, for a year. She covered all the major sporting events and spent time doing in-depth athlete stories in the off seasons. All this wasn’t enough.
Her relentless pursuit of happiness and success drove her to want more. One connection led to another and she found herself with a dream-come-true offer to direct shows for the Travel Channel. She eventually got her own travel show to host. Our damsel became happier and wealthier than ever before. Her passport filled with stamps from the most beautiful, exotic locations in the world. After a little while that same disconcerting itch always came back. She couldn’t help herself, she still wanted more. She wasn’t successful enough yet.

How could she not be content?

It didn’t make any sense to her either. Something was not right in her heart, in her soul. There was some inherent drive that she couldn’t quench or satisfy.

She sits in her apartment overlooking the Florida Gulf watching the sky fade to an ominous grey. Growing waves crash dangerously close to the stilts of her beach home. The torrential downpour of rain soon shuts out every other sound and thought from her mind and she races to evacuate.


Three weeks later she finds herself standing in front of the wreckage of what used to be her home.
Resting on the beams that remained of her neighbor’s house she surveys the almost total destruction of their homes. The steady swell and break of the waves on the now peaceful white sands of the beach lulls her into a trance. As the wind howls a self centered day-dream fills her thoughts.

As an accomplished woman with a star-studded resume and glorious career she was in a word, successful. Women define success in many different ways. Some want to marry well, becoming wealthy and by virtue of their adoring husbands. Others’ primary goal is to have a family and raise children. For many of the fairer sex making a lot of money and having a competitive career is vitally important. More pious ladies find fulfillment in doing charitable work. The wander-lusty damsel mounts the highest peaks and surfs the wildest waves to find her personal satisfaction.


Some of these things our heroine had achieved; some she cared little for, but that one thing in her soul was very noticeably missing. This crucial and often absent piece of every woman’s story often goes un-missed. The dear girl can get so lost in the list of things that need to happen she forgets her purpose for being on this earth.

The wind, blowing so gently, had enough force to free a tiny sheet of paper that had been wedged in a wooden crevice. The paper floated by her feet and was nearly swept out to sea when she leaned forward and snatched it.
As she unfolded the water-marked, wafer thin sheet, she could barely see if anything was inscribed upon it. But as she held it up to the yellow rays of the sun she could make out one sentence amid the dozens of letters on the page.

“For ME, to LIVE is Christ and to die is gain.”–Phil 1:21

Meditating on this for a moment she was stunned; this is what she was missing! Here was the definition of eternal success.
Nothing she had ever done or ever wanted to do in her successful life really mattered in eternity.
She had done it all with a self-serving heart.

It was all for her. Well she had done a few things for others, but never had she ever done anything for Christ. Not even volunteering at the Denver Rescue mission at Christmas time, or singing in the choir at church on Sunday morning, or helping that little girl at the mall find her parents mattered. As she had done each of these things her goal had always been to get some good karma coming her way. Everything here on earth gets washed away and dies, but the soul and heart deep things we do for Him, those are the things that will last for all of eternity.


As she sat there reflecting, the weight of sadness for a life not fully lived weighed on her shoulders.
There was no need for her to bear heavy burden of disappointment and failure.

So our fabulous heroine got up from her seaside perch with a lift in her step and peace in her heart.


Because she knew that from then on whatever she did and wherever she went she could do all things to HIS glory. Down the road her heart fell back into its selfish ways, but as long as she remembered God’s love and closeness to her she could call out and ask Him to help her bring her back.
And it was then that she found true, lasting and meaningful success.