A Year In Recap: 2018's New Year's "Intentions" and 2019's

A Year In Recap: 2018's New Year's "Intentions" and 2019's

So December certainly got away from me…

I think we all need to petition for the holiday of Thanksgiving to be moved to earlier in November so that there’s more time in between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Between holiday parties, gift shopping, holiday card-addressing, gift wrapping, decorating (which I fought this year), and hosting…. there’s just never enough time and every year it makes me more and more jealous that I wasn’t born a male. (My friend LQ says that her husband refers to being male as “hitting the gender lottery” and during the holiday season I certainly think he’s right). 

And here we are… at the end of December, which has me looking back on the memories of 2018 and looking ahead to plans for 2019. Isn’t it funny how the last week of December works? All that push to get things done for the holidays- and here you are in the last week…probably off from work, with not much left to do but sit and think about all the memories and what you’ve accomplished these last 12 months. While I’m not a fan of the weather, it certainly is a beautiful week to replenish the soul, close out the year, and get ready for what’s to come.

Resolutions vs. Intentions

I was never really the “New Year’s Resolution” type…it sounded so “firm”. I felt like if I didn’t truly complete my resolution, then somehow that year wasn’t complete and to be honest, some “resolutions” just can’t be completed in one year. I also never truly comprehended (until a few years back), why it took the symbolic turning of literally just one day to the new year, for people to get motivated to accomplish more or be a better version of themselves.

Then last year around this time, I came upon an old friend’s instagram page, which really helped to frame my mindset regarding resolutions in a different manner. Toni, who I had waitressed with at a restaurant with 15 years ago (15!! Can you believe it?), had talked about how she liked to think of “resolutions” instead as “intentions” for the new year.

It sounds so simple, but I loved the sound of “intentions” much better. I looked up the definitions of both and you’ll notice there are subtle differences:

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Resolutions: Firm decision

Intentions: an aim or plan

I also found the second definition of intention interesting: “the healing process of a wound”. I mean how fitting is that for some of you as you turn the page of a new year? How many of us make a goal as a way of healing a wound?

So for the first time in a very long time last December: I set out to write down my “intentions” for 2018, and posted them on my Instagram for all to see:


I tried to make these intentions and goals for different areas of my life: Family/spiritual, Travel, Home Decor goal (of course), and personal.

And last week while sitting in an extremely long and boring “teacher-training” session at work: I learned why it was so important that I published these intentions for all to see.

I literally took away one and ONLY one thing from this 1.5 day conference… if you have your students publish their products for all to see- including the community- it takes on more meaning for them and they work harder (in theory) to accomplish that product.

So in theory- I owe the accomplishment of 2018’s New Year’s Intentions partly to my intrinsic motivation- and partly to the fact that I published these goals for all to see.

Here’s a look back on 2018’s Intentions:

No. 1: Jaxon WILL beat Cancer.

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This intention’s a tricky one- and truly left up to God. For those of you who know my family- our amazingly sweet and happy nephew Jaxon- was diagnosed with cancer at 11 months old. Today he is 2 1/2 years old. His parents, my little brother Glenn, and his wife Laura- have been amazingly strong through the entire process thanks in part to Jaxon’s upbeat personality and smile. We are happy to say that in April this year Jaxon finished his last round of chemo, and in September of this year he completed radiation. We will move this intention to 2019 as well- as we wait and pray to get a “cancer-free” declaration from his doctors. We appreciate all of your prayers as well!

No. 2: Travel- The Grand Canyon.


This intention actually came from a conversation with my good friend and co-worker John. He was coming upon his 50th birthday and I asked him if there’s anything he had thought he would have seen or done by 50. He responded with “Well you know Barbra, I would have thought that I would have seen more of the United States by now- like the Grand Canyon.” And from that conversation alone- I thought- wow you just blink and you’re 50. So since then I’ve tried to make traveling a goal and priority in my life each year. This summer Shad and I visited Arizona… Sedona, the Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon (which I’ll be writing a blog post on in the next week or so). We also got the chance to travel back to Utah, this time with my parents in tow.


No. 3: House Project- The Basement

This project tested my marriage and wood-working skills so much, that you’ll notice I have ZERO house projects in the works for my 2019 intentions… Shad and I still need to get over the pain of this basement renovation…(kidding, but not really), so maybe there will be a tiny project here or there but nothing big in store for ‘19.

No. 4: Pay off my Student Loans


I was never so happy to NOT have to write a check out to Sallie Mae (or Navient) EVER again. I still remember driving out to Scranton once with Shad and seeing “Wilkes-Barre” PA on a sign… and I cringed. This was the place I had addressed all those Sallie Mae payments to- prior to online banking becoming popular. In January, I started with just under $8k left in student loans, and made it my mission to pay it off before the year’s end. In May, on exactly the 11th year anniversary of graduating from Marist College with my Bachelor’s Degree, I paid off my grad and undergrad loans!!!

No. 5: Expand my Decor Blog

Insane… I started this blog 13 months ago after an inspiring and motivating conversation with my best friend Eric, who was in town on business. When I first put myself out there, I thought- who would want to read what I have to write? I remember I use to get excited when I saw that more than 10 people had read my blog in one particular day, and even more excited when my loyal friends Lindsey and Kerry would always comment on my blog. Then when I discovered the “geography analytics” part of my blog I was even more amazed that people from all over the world were somehow finding my blog with the help of google search. My year to-date reads (minus the last day of the year December 31st of course) was a whopping 19,265 reads!! (Although I always joke that 1000 of them are me neurotically checking my spelling and grammar… ha ha).

AND that’s only THANKS to all of you!! Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for reading my blog and helping to build my confidence for putting myself out there !!

What’s the “Plan" or “Aims” for 2019? Here are my intentions for 2019 in short:


No. 1: Jaxon WILL BEAT Cancer:

of course is going back up on the board- because we’re going to keep on saying it and praying it until he gets word that he is officially cancer-free.

No. 2: Travel: TN, VT, WY+ MT

We’re still on the “Tour De United States”. Therefore, on the agenda for this year is Nashville, Tennessee, Vermont to ski (and I hate the winter- but Shad is forcing me to take on skiing and embrace it for the first time ever), Wyoming and Montana: we plan on visiting Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton this summer.

No. 3: Get Healthy and Fit

Between my new position at work, the blog, and decorating taking off… my health and fitness truly took a back seat. I feel like after doing fertility for a while, I completely fell out of a pattern of working out and taking care of my body. While I don’t wish to lose weight, I definitely want to focus more on getting my body strong again. (My Ah Ha Moment: I was shaking salt and pepper on my eggs a few weeks back and my arm started to jiggle… I was like what in the hell is going on here?)

No. 4: Drink more H2O

I used to drink so much water!! And as a teacher you have to have your bathroom trips planned out. Now I’m in the high school on a rotating schedule- so when I can actually make it to the bathroom literally changes each day. Therefore I got out of a routine of drinking lots of water- because that meant lots of bathroom trips. So basically one of my goals in 2019… is to have a lighter pee color… haha (TMI).

No. 5: Take on Less and Relax

This is a huge personal goal for me this year. Sometimes (most times) I put too much pressure on myself to have perfect and fun lessons for my day-job and I put a lot of behind the scenes work into getting the perfect space decorated for my side-gig. This takes SO much time. With my new position at work- I took on the same amount of clients with the side-gig and I discovered that I just didn’t have the same amount of free time as I use to, to get all of this done. (So I’m sorry to everyone that I said I would get to by November… note: I’m literally just getting to you now.) It resulted in a lot of stress, anxiety, and pressure on myself to do it all. And guess what I learned: I Can’t ! (I mean… if I had 10 extra hours in each day, I definitely could… but unfortunately there’s only 24 hours in a day). So this year my plan is to take on a lot less- and dedicate just a little extra time to myself. Sounds selfish- but I something’s gotta give- or I’ll die from stress and I won’t get to anyone’s house… lol.

And there you have it…So what are your “Intentions” for 2019? Will you “post them publicly” to “make them more authentic”? (Actual words from 8 hours of my life that I can’t ever get back.) Feel free to comment below or make them public!!

Thank you 2018 for a great year!! And thank YOU from the bottom of my heart, for all of your continued support for this little adventure and dream of mine. <3 I appreciate all of you!!!

<3 Barbra

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