See ya 2018!
I know it’s the most repetitive thing said towards the end of December every year… but where did that year go? Seriously, I feel like January 1st was last week.
I typically try to write a few “end of the year” blog posts, dedicating each post to a different area of life. But this year, I’m just throwing it all into one big reflective post.
2018 has been a year of transition, of messy growth, of beautiful redemption, a year that surprised me in just about every way. Entering into this year my biggest prayer was that I would move into a season of joyful growth, rather than growth and beauty that was side by side with painful healing. I was ready to take a breath, to release the tension, to love myself more, to prioritize rest and care.
I started the year with taking a much needed (and surprisingly longer than anticipated) break from running. During that time I focused more on yoga, learned what it looked like to talk well to myself during exercise, and also jumped into the Whole30 for the first time ever. While doing the Whole30 I learned that I could physically feel better than I had ever felt if I just slowly took the time to evaluate how the food I was putting into myself actually affected me. I had always considered myself a healthy eater, but i was doing it blindly, not based on what I, as an individual needed, and the moment I started learning what my body loved and hated it was a game changer. It was a whole new form of self love, a balanced approach to healthy eating, with no numbers and no scales, just an awareness of how I felt daily. While doing this I was participating in Yoga with Adrienne’s 30 day yoga journey, daily yoga that focused on self love, positive self talk, and showing up. While doing this I realized that the way I was speaking to myself was quite opposite from how I speak to myself during marathon training, hence that break from running becoming a bit longer. I promised myself that month that I wouldn’t start running regularly, and I definitely wouldn’t be signing up for any races, until I would talk to myself as if I was talking to a friend running. Months later, after watching my dad run through some of the worst Boston Marathon conditions ever, I signed up for my hometown marathon with no pace goal, just a goal to run the streets of my hometown and cross the finish line with a smile on my face. September 29th was one of the most redemptive, beautiful, 26.2 miles I have ever ran - I can proudly say I spoke to myself as if I was speaking to a friend from start to finish.
January was also the month that I began a whole new work schedule… that included three jobs to make ends meet. I began taking clients at The Circle Salon in Wicker Park three days a week at the end of December, assisting my three mentors at Thrive Hair Collective in West Loop one or two days a week and managing their social media daily, and nannying two little girls once a week. Needless to say, I was quickly exhausted, but I tend to be someone who pushes through and ignores the burn out that is clearly happening. A few months in I recognized the need to take away a couple days a month of nannying, and by the summer I took it out completely, realizing that I wasn’t going to be able to give the best version of myself at the salons if I kept it up. By the end of summer I told two of my best friends at a creative retreat in Michigan (a favorite moment of 2018 - I’ll eventually get around to sharing more about every moment of that restful weekend), that by the end of the year I needed to be at one salon only. That started a journey of a whole lot of reflection, conversations, lists, and praying. By October, I knew that if at all possible, I wanted to begin taking clients at Thrive Hair Collective full time. And by mid-November I was giving my two weeks at The Circle Salon and announcing to friends and family that I would be going through another salon transition. I can confidently say, that decision was the best decision I could have made. My time at Circle was wonderful in so many ways, but I am now at home at Thrive. I feel empowered and inspired in so many ways, I believe I’m now in a space where I can grow and thrive (ha!) in all the ways I dreamed of when moving from Akron to Chicago. I am beyond excited to see where this new step in my career takes me.
While still on the topic of my career, it’s also been a year of finally speaking big dreams out loud. Rachel and I have learned the power in sharing our dreams with other people, of showing up, and of leaning into our God given gifts. We’ve been lucky enough to work side by side on many weddings, whether it’s just hair and photography, or flowers and set up. We’ve began to see the reality that the “passion projects” we call fun have the possibility of becoming much more than that. So we started prioritizing meetings, and with that people started showing up right in front of us with all the same dreams as us. We have a heart and desire to create space for people to collaborate and start to believe that they are called to use the gifts God has given them.
One other big transition that happened in January, was that I moved from Lakeview to Wicker Park. I moved in with two ladies, Hilary and Kamila, very close to my heart. In the last year we’ve learned what it looks like to do life together. We’ve drank a whole lot of coffee together, had a whole lot of heart talks and stoop hangs, hosted many people in our community together, drank wine together, supported one another amidst confusion and transition. We’ve also learned that life together doesn’t always look picture perfect, and we’re still learning what communication looks like for us. It’s been a huge year of growth for me in learning what it looks like to truly do life with people in your home. It’s also made the fluff child, Jimmy, much more social - big year for him.
My community has grown and shifted in so many ways this year. First of all, two of my best friends from Ohio moved here!! It’s been the biggest gift to have people who know me so deeply here in Chicago with me. While that has happened I’ve also dove even deeper into my Missio Dei community, seeing what I call my Chicago family shift and evolve. I’ve learned, yet again, that showing up matters in so many ways. I’ve been lucky enough to witness, and be a part of, many ladies I love dearly saying “I do” to their person. Bringing up emotion and change and celebration (every other weekend - ha!).
As for my family, it’s been a year of growth and celebration. 2018 has been a year of making challenging circumstances work, of believing in ourselves and reminding one another to lean on God. I believe I’ve witnessed redemption in many areas and I see God working in every corner of our little fam. Plus, I have a new puppy sister - Boots! She’s just about the cutest thing in the world.
I prayed for a word at the start of 2018 and “rest” kept coming to mind over and over. It made me laugh because looking ahead at my year it looked like the opposite of rest. So as I prayed more over it I began to realize that rather than rest being sitting on a couch with Gilmore Girls, maybe it meant resting in the Lord. Resting in His provision, in His guidance, in His strength. There couldn’t have been a more accurate word for the year, it was a repetitive theme in all areas of my life. This year I learned what it looked like to faithfully rest in who God is, and I saw how much He shows up if you walk through life with open palms ready to accept what He has for you. It’s been a sweet season of learning more about who I am, who God has created me to me and what a deep genuine relationship with Him looks like. I jumped back into counseling this year and that was probably the best decision I made all year. I’m at a God-centered counseling space, with a woman guiding and empowering me to do the hard work to heal myself at the core and hold myself accountable to who God has made me to be. It’s been challenging and beautiful, and God is in every bit of it. Praises for a year of diving into Him and being given eyes to see the world through His lens more and more.
Last, but certainly not least, in June this year I sat down next to a man named Joe Ambrose while watching the NBA finals with some of my Ohio friends who live in Chicago. He asked me questions about my career, why I was doing the Whole30, running, Ohio, and made sure I had my water cup filled the whole time. As Jess and I walked out of the bar that day, she exclaimed “uh.. He’s cute!!!” and we proceeded to only talk about him on our walk to my bike. A few weeks later we had coffee together, and the next week we went on our first date - which included biking, tacos and donuts. I was excited and majorly guarded, resulting in me telling me I was a big fan of him when he told me he had feelings for me, and telling him he’ll have to wait longer to call me his girlfriend when he asked. But, in true Devin style, once I started dropping my guard I was all in. It’s been a sweet season of learning what it looks like to have someone who respects me, loves me well, shows up, and balances me out in so many ways. I’ve learned more about who God is through Him, and been assured that God knows me far more than I know myself. I prayed for a man to show up who would be willing to walk through life with me, even when it’s messy and not picture perfect - and Joe’s repeatedly shown me that He’s by my side ready to share life together.
I wasn’t joking… 2018 was a big one. So many changes. So many transitions. So much celebration and joy. So much growth. I always appreciate the end of the year, appreciate the chance to pause and reflect on what’s happened in the year. I’m looking forward to seeing what 2019 brings, Cheers to the new year.