2019 was a big year! I know they all seem big, but when I sat down to actually remember all that happened, it seemed like an especially big year. I turned 40, I did a lot of traveling (both as a family and by myself as I spoke different places), James started a new therapy we’d been waiting a year for him to start, and so much more. David was in a couple plays, Lee preached lots of sermons, I read stacks of books, and James hit some big milestones (new potty skills at 11 years old should be hugely celebrated!).
To wrap up the year, I thought it would be fun to recap my nine favorite discoveries. Whether is was a product, book, or lesson, these discoveries were part of what made 2019 so great!
- The Seattle dog – I’m a big hotdog fan. I eat them so often that I need new toppings so I don’t get bored. A Seattle dog has cream cheese and sautéed onions. I also add mustard and sometimes bacon. It’s so good!
- Chipotle honey vinaigrette dressing – I made lots of homemade salad dressings this year, but this is my favorite. You can also use it as a marinade for meat. (If you want to see other recipes I’ve tried this year, you can check out my Pinterest board! The apple, bacon, cranberry, kale salad was also really good!)
- Wrinkle cream – I listened to Jamie Golden on Laura’s podcast 10 Things to Tell You, and I decided it was time to take better care of my skin. I currently use Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair at night (and have always used Clinque’s moisturizer each morning).
- The truth about BMI – I read the excellent book Burnout by sisters Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski and learned that we shouldn’t trust that BMI score we hear so much about. They write, “The body mass index (BMI) chart and its labels—underweight, overweight, obese, etc.—were created by a panel of nine individuals, seven of whom were ’employed by weight-loss clinics and thus have an economic interest in encouraging use of their facilities'” (pg 108, they quote from Ernsberger and Koletsky, “Weight Cycling”). When I did my physical this year all my tests came back great, but the doctor still suggested I lose some weight based on my BMI. I don’t disagree that I could increase my physical activity and eat less sugar, but I’m not going to stress myself out over 10-15 pounds. (Disclaimer: It’s a secular book, so there are ideas I don’t agree with and language I wouldn’t use, but the lessons are still valuable).
- Wit and Wisdom brand pants – my friend Stephanie was giving me fashion advice before I spoke at a conference, and she shared Nordstrom links to these jeans. Then I got these pants. I love them both!
- ISPs – Pastor Daniel at FBC Houston shared this idea in a conference session focused on special-needs ministry. An ISP is an individualized spiritual plan. Similar to an IEP, it lists goals we wants our kids to meet when they are at church. You can hear more about them in my tour of our special-needs ministry rooms.
- How well house rentals (like Air B&B) work for special-needs families – It’s hard for us to stay in hotels because James can be loud (especially when he knows we want him to be quiet) and he doesn’t sleep well. It stresses me out anytime we have to do it. But I don’t want that to keep us from traveling. Over spring break we went to The Grand Canyon and Joshua Tree National Park. At both places we rented home from Air B&B. We could spread out, make noise, cook in the kitchens (instead of eating out every meal), and even have friends over who were also visiting the Grand Canyon. We did stay in hotels on the drive there and the drive home, but the homes were perfect for our longer stays. (Here’s a helpful post from Lisa Leonard with tips for traveling with kids with special needs!)
- Andrew Peterson’s Adorning the Dark – It’s one of my favorite books of the year, and one that I know will stick with me for a long time. I love his
- “It’s not a kiddie pool.” – This summer I was sitting on the beach with my friend Sarah while Lee and her husband Tim were with James in the ocean. There was a man trying to boogie board, and I thought James kept getting in his way. I said something to Sarah and she responded, “Sandra, it isn’t a kiddie pool. It’s the ocean. He can move.” Since then I’ve said the phrase to myself when I need a reminder that it’s ok James takes up space in the world, even if that inconveniences someone else. They can adjust more easily than he can. Let’s go into 2020 remembering the world is an ocean and there’s room for everyone!