This New Years was a quiet one, which is a stark contrast to the way this year has been. This is my 5th New Years I’ve spent with Kamalu, and each time, we spend it just about the same (if football doesn’t get in the way), I make a dinner at home for the two of us, crack open a bottle of my favorite cheap champagne (& sparkling alcohol free champagne for Kamalu); then, we sit up and talk about the way year went, and pray for our hopes for the upcoming year.
During our conversation, there were smiles at fond memories – like the time we sailed the Caribbean together for the first time. There were some tears as we reflect back at some of the painful moments we’ve experienced – like Kamalu losing his job with the Texans, and having to do long-distance for the first time. There was thankfulness as we reflected back at all the stressful moments we’ve overcome – like Kamalu traveling from team to team in search for a job, and eventually being picked back up by the Patriots. There were lots of laughs as we though back to the many funny moments we’ve experienced – like the time we were still potty training our dog Courage and I slipped on a “present” he had left for us in the kitchen… and so many more moments to talk about and reflect on. One special moment in 2018 I’m especially proud of is the starting of my blog, AnnaOu.com, because it has given me a space to share some of these moments and favorite things with you all.
Yes, 2018 has been filled with just as many stressful moments as there were happy moments, and so many more different moments in between. Even so, we’re grateful for everything 2018 has brought our way because the blessings are always greater than whatever negative events may have happened. Though our moments and memories vary from the good, to the bad, to the stressful, to the funny – just knowing we got through all of these moments together and with our faith is already more than I could be thankful for.
I’m not really one to make big New Years Resolutions because I don’t believe you need a whole new year to start over. Every new day, every new second, every new passing moment is a new beginning. Instead, I have an ongoing list of things I’m trying to better at each day. My list isn’t a destination of where I want to be at, it’s an ongoing journey that progresses and gets better as life goes on. So these things are what I want to get better at with each passing moment of this year, the next and hopefully the rest of my life.
- Holistic Health– Last year, I spent a great deal of time getting in better physical shape; I had no idea how much it would affect other areas of my health, and I want to keep progress going throughout 2019. I started working with a personal trainer at Dynamic Sports, trained with Kamalu during the off season, continued with my own at home workouts, and even started my own 30 Day Challenge back in October. All of that did wonders for my physical health, but the change I was most excited about was how much it affected my mental health. I was sleeping better, my moods were more positive, and I noticed I could handle stressful situations better. In 2019, I pray for more progression on the betterment of my physical, mental, and emotional health.
- To be more rooted in my Faith– You can never be to close to God. I believe that, like life, is an ongoing journey. Being more rooted in my faith is easier said than done. Sometimes being obedient to God can be hard, or there can be missteps along the way. I really want to take these coming moments to get closer to God’s word, my bible, and be fervent in prayer. God has already given me so much, and I am thankful and long for a closer relationship.
- To have more patience and understanding– Having patience can be hard when it comes to things we want. It can also be difficult to trust in God’s plan and timing when you’re unsure of what’s ahead. This past year has definitely taught Kamalu and I that our timing is irrelevant to God’s timing, and that we shouldn’t let our own selfish desires blind us from what God is trying to do. It’s all about having patience, keeping an open mind, always keeping our faith, and to roll with the punches as they come.
- Stress Management– When it comes to stressful times, I’m no stranger to a breakdown or two (or three) – but hey! Sometimes a good cry is needed. Managing stress is and always will be an ongoing practice of mine because life is full of stressful moments – but it’s how we react is what’s important. 2018 was full of its fair share of stress. Thankful doesn’t even describe for all the friends and prayers that helped alleviate some of that. My focus on working out also helped a great deal!
- To take things as they come, and be okay if they go– If 2018 has taught me anything, it’s that no matter what the moment, nothing last forever – all we can do as people is just live for the moment, and learn from it, and move onto the next. This year has been full of all sorts of good adventures, and bad times, but the one thing that they have in common is that they didn’t last. When we sailed the Caribbean, oh how I wished those moments would last forever. When we went through a stressful time when Kamalu lost his job with the Texans, that moment couldn’t end soon enough. Both moments came, and both moments went. Even this moment we are in (with Kamalu playing for the Patriots), it’s an amazing and exciting moment to be in, yes, but even this moment won’t last forever- even if he does have a successful career here. We just have to keep pushing, keep learning, keep searching, keep growing through all walks of life, through each passing moment.
- To love more/be more kind– In a world that can be full of so much hate, this is a much needed addition to my “growth” list. I’m not perfect – I’ve said hurtful things, I’ve judged people who most likely didn’t deserve it, and there were definitely some moments where I wish I was nicer/more empathetic. Every now and then, I need a reminder to treat people the way I’d like to be treated – even if I think they don’t deserve it. John 13:34-35 (NIV) says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” This scripture is what inspires me to do better, to be better. I know on the journey, there will be times I may wish I could have handled things better, but I will always try to know better and do better.
- Find one thing to smile about today– There were a ton of hard times during the past year; but through it all, I couldn’t forget that there’s something to smile about each day. Whether it was something big like Kamalu having a good day at work, or something small like the dogs playing nicely (for once), there’s a bit of happiness throughout each day. It’s so important to keep track of what blesses you, rather than just what stresses you, because God’s blessings are always greater in power, even if they are fewer in number.
- To take more chances/stop telling myself “no”– I tend to be a homebody and afraid of adventure. This vacation Kamalu and I went on earlier in the year was a huge break from our usual because Kamalu and I tend to err on the side of caution and reservation. Taking more chances and not saying no to ourselves is a big thing we plan to work on this year because life is too short! Also, life is already full of people ready to say no to you, so why I’m earth would you want to say no to yourself too? So whether it’s taking a chance on a vacation adventure, or a chance at law school with taking LSATs, telling ourselves no is will definitely be limited in the moments to come.
Looking back at the past year, there were so many amazing moments that I had the privilege to experience and capture. Down below are a slide show of some of my 2018’s favorite moments, recipes, and adventures.