10 Things I Have Learned in 2013

Happy New Year’s Eve!

Got any fun plans for tonight?! We are heading over to our friends’ house to hang out, drink some wine, and play games. It should be a good time.

Yesterday Paige wrote an awesome post about what she learned this past year. 2013 has been a huge growing year for me that taught me so much, so I thought it’d be fun to share what I’ve learned this past year as well. God has definitely had His hand in our lives this year, and it hasn’t gone unnoticed.

1. God is good. ALL the time.

This year was tough in a lot of ways, but one thing I’ve learned through it all is that God is good – ALL the time.

Hunter was born (BEST thing that could ever happen to me), but with his birth came a lot of complications and a very sick baby. It was the scariest and hardest thing I’ve ever gone through in my entire life. God showed Himself, as He always does, and completely healed our baby boy. Not only that, but people all over the world (that we didn’t even KNOW!) showed their support and love beyond what I could’ve ever imagined.


Another really tough thing that I went through was the death of our church’s senior minister. I mentioned awhile back that he had cancer, but he ended up passing away early this past fall. This man wasn’t just a minister to me, he was also my boss for a couple years (I was the Children’s Director at our church before Hunter came along), my mentor, and my friend. Actually, he is the one that used to tell me the above phrase, “God is good. ALL the time.” This man definitely left an impression on me, as well as many others. Of course it is so sad that he passed, but I’m glad he is in heaven free of pain and suffering. It has been incredible to see God’s hand in it all.

2. I am meant to be a mom.

I have never been more at peace and content than these last nine months. This is how I know I am right where God wants me. Being a mom to Hunter has brought me more joy that I could’ve ever imagined. Of course we have our hard and stressful days, but overall, I have my “dream job” and I couldn’t be happier about it.


3. God’s timing is perfect.

I could give you numerous examples of this throughout the year. The major one being that there was a possibility Cody could’ve taken a new job in the Phoenix area at the beginning of April. We were so bummed to hear that he didn’t get it, but after everything that happened with Hunter, it was truly a blessing that he didn’t get the job. God knew I wouldn’t have been able to deal with the physical and emotional pain of Hunter’s birth and sickness by myself. Cody was my angel during that time – I truly believe that!


4. My body is smarter than I ever realized.

I look back on all the years that I didn’t give my body enough credit and hang my head in shame for it. Recovering from hypothalamic amenorrhea, getting pregnant, going through pregnancy, giving birth, and recovering from childbirth all have showed me just how incredible our bodies are! I’ve vowed to take good care of it and trust it from here on out.

5. Home is where my family is.

We’ve gone back and forth this year as to where we want to plant our lives and our family. Yes, we’ve established a good life here in Utah, and yes, we’ve made incredible friends here that are practically like family. But home is still where our family is – back in Arizona. Eventually that’s where we hope to be.

6. I can’t be perfect.

I’m continuing to learn this, and I’m sure I will be for my entire life since I have a perfectionistic personality. However, this year I have really learned a lot in this area. I’m getting a lot better at stepping away from “the comparison trap”, allowing myself to just breathe, and simply being okay with the fact that everything won’t be perfect.

Comparison is the Thief of Joy

7. I NEED nearby girlfriends.

Ever since moving to Utah almost four years ago, making girlfriends has been tough. The culture here is totally different than any place I’ve ever experienced, and our church doesn’t exactly have a young congregation. I have friends from high school and college (and blogs!) that live all over the country, but I knew I needed some more girlfriends where I currently live that are also in a similar phase of life as me. A few months after Hunter was born, I finally decided to take the plunge and join a nearby MOPS group where I knew absolutely no one. I was nervous going into it, but joining the group has been one of the best decisions I’ve made all year. I’ve made some amazing girlfriends, a couple of which I’m sure will potentially be lifelong friends.

8. I’m more extroverted that I ever realized.

This kind of goes along with #7, but even more than that, I’ve learned a lot about my personality this past year. I knew I’ve always had some extroversion in me, but I don’t think I ever realized how much until 2013. Going through some depression and anxiety on and off throughout college put a damper on this, so I think finally getting my “zest” back for life this past year has made me realize just how much I love PEOPLE! Of course I occasionally need my alone time, but overall, being with people makes me happy.

9. I need to be surrounded by positive people.

I’m realizing more and more how much I am influenced by the people around me. The negative, pessimistic, complainer-type people can really bring me down and don’t help me be my best ME. I’ve learned that it’s not that I can’t have these people in my life, but I do need to limit my time with them. Fortunately, my husband is one of the most positive and optimistic people I know, and I get to LIVE with him. I’m one lucky gal. Winking smile

10. I’ve learned to embrace my inner girly girl.

This may sound silly, but I used to always be afraid of being the “girly girl”. I grew up playing sports and never wanted to be the girly, ditzy, clumsy one. (Although some may argue that I am just that. Ha! Don’t worry, I’m cool with it.) This year, I’ve finally learned to be proud of my love for fashion, pink, blonde hair, and sparkles. I realized that I can in fact be smart, strong, athletic AND be a girly girl all at the same time.


Just like most years, 2013 had its ups and downs, but overall, it was one of the best years yet. I learned more about myself that I ever thought possible, and I’m more content and at peace than I probably have ever been.

I have a feeling 2014 could have the potential for some major growth and change as well, and I say bring it on!

Cheers to a NEW YEAR!


P.S. If you would, please VOTE (<—click on link to vote) for Hunter in a photo contest! It’s super simple, just one click and you’re done! He’s in the running to win, and we need all the votes we can get. Thank you so much!

Do you have any plans for this evening and/or tomorrow?

What is something you’ve learned this past year?

What are you looking forward to in 2014?

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  1. says

    I would definitely say you have grown so much in the past year girl! I 100% agree with you, God’s timing and plan is always perfect and our wants just get in the way. I too want to trust God whole-heartedly in 2014 and try not to question Him as to why things happen the way they do. He knows better than me! 😉

    I am so so thankful for your friendship girl and I wish you nothing but happiness and love in 2014!

  2. says

    Great post! I’m so glad you had such a meaningful 2013. You have already learned lessons that I’m working hard to learn right now, so your blog is motivation to me in every post.

    Happy New Year!

  3. says

    every year, I affirm just how important my girls are to me. ryan and I thought briefly about relocating but I couldn’t possibly do it because I would be too far away from my friends. my friends are my family that I get to choose to have in my life and they are the best people in the world

  4. says

    I love this post and I know that 2014 is going to bring amazing things for you! I can totally sympathize with you on needing girlfriends nearby. I honestly didn’t have a good group of girlfriends for the entire 4 years we lived in Minnesota (until the end when I met some blog friends :) ) and it was so difficult. I’m so much happier being in Chicago and actually having friends I can call to just do “nothing” with!

  5. says

    Love this post! I’m definitely learning the “positive people” thing too. I transferred schools for nursing and didn’t get started off with the best people at first. Joined my university’s Cru (Campus crusade for Christ) and I’m loving it! And I voted for your little cutie!

  6. says

    We don’t have any plans this evening or tomorrow – putting a baby to bed haha. I, too, learned a lot about myself as a mother this year. I have learned to be more present and not stress as much. I am also carrying that over as a resolution to stay more in the present and not stress about the future! I have a little way to go.

  7. says

    I love all of these so much…. thanks for posting! You sound very similar to me…..my hubby and I live in LA, away from family and friends…so I know what you mean about having girlfriends around! Happy new year!

  8. says

    This is really awesome, Ashley! #1 is my favorite. He is so good. ALL the time!
    I’m looking forward to graduating from high school and going to college in 2014! But besides that, I hope to have less anxiety by slowing down and appreciating each moment God gives me. I also can’t wait to keep growing as a blogger!

  9. says

    I’ve recently realized I have an extroverted side as well! I think it comes with confidence as we age and except ourselves for who we are, but it is so nice to finally find that side!

  10. Katie says

    Tonight I decided I just want to lay low. We decided we are going to have date night later this week instead of celebrating tonight, which I’m excited about. I have been so go-go-go lately, rest is much needed. I can’t wait to sit down with a magazine & glass of wine. I learned this year that GOD is GOOD & His timing is always right…I remind myself of this daily. Oh & that I LOVE being a mom… :) I’m excited this year for Drake’s first Birthday, Buying a house & Our wedding in Sept!

  11. says

    This is a fab post–I loved reading about what you learned! :) I definitely have learned quite a bit too–so this was a fun post to read about!

    p.s. 2014 is gonna rock because we’re gonna hang out more & more, mmmmkay?! :)

  12. Nicole says

    Happy New Year Ashley! Tonight, the BF and I are going out to dinner at a nearby golf course. It should be fun! :)

    I, too, have learned the importance of surrounding yourself with positive, real people. Something else I am in the process of learning is how to trust my gut and not try and consider everyone’s thoughts before my own.

    In the coming year, I hope to have a healthier relationship with sugar, get my back/leg healthy enough to get back to marathon running (and, hopefully, FINALLY, BQ!), and get a new job where my skills are better utilized.

    Sending cheer for the new year!! :)

  13. says

    This past year I have pushed myself farther than I knew I could. Now I know I can go further! Marathon training here I come! I’ve loved following you through 2013. You’ve accomplished so much. We are all proud of you!! Bring on 2014 and all the adventures it will bring to us all!

  14. says

    It’s hard to believe that tiny, sickly little baby has grown into the beautiful, healthy little boy Hunter is becoming (well, as much as I can tell from your blog anyway)! You’ve had such an amazing year, it’s so great that you can see the lessons you have learned from the tough times you’ve had. Hope 2014 is an easier year.

  15. says

    You are so inspiring. Your little world is beautiful. And yes, God is always good. Sometimes I really think God has a giggle at the way we people claw at our surroundings and fight the impatience; – he knows exactly what he is doing. God is the one with the roadmap. God knows everything. Sometimes we have to just battle our own determination against faith the only big guy who truly knows where we are headed in life…
    Tash xo

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