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Awesome idea: Cheering on my 2018 Epiphany Board

Goodbye 2017. I will not miss you, not one tiny little bit. This is a new year, and I am coming out of my grief fog. I lost my father almost exactly one year ago, and I think I have been on cruise control ever since. The whole year is a blur.

My Epiphany Board hangs across from the kitchen table so I can see it, cheering me on in the new year!

But with the new year comes new possibility, the calendar has declared me a fresh start. I bought black-eyed peas and started to make my resolutions. But then I read about the fabulous new trend of Vision Boards. A Vision Board is like a set of resolutions, but couched more as goals. Doesn’t “goal” just sound more hopeful than resolution? I thought so, too! The boards also focus on the way you want to feel for the year, and you cover it with lists and visuals to reinforce your dreams of what you want the new year to be like.

After you lay out your Vision Board, you put it somewhere that you will see it every day. It becomes a kind of bulletin board, silently cheering you on. Go, Melanie! And y’all, that just gives me all the good feels. Even though I occasionally poke fun of beauty pageants and pro cheerleaders, I secretly suspect I have that personality, the one that thrives on praise and encouragement. Sure, I like money. But when my editor Mary Dearen sends me a note saying that she enjoyed my column – or even better, that I made her cry, well that is everything to me, folks. When readers send me notes or choose to talk to me about the way my words resonated with them, I get teary and goosebumpy all at the same time. I am not going to lie, it’s a little intoxicating getting to be in another person’s life that way, if only for the few minutes.

Living with me, constantly reassuring my frailty, must wear on The Hubs. Though he would never admit it. He and my sweet momma lift me up with kindness and praise, and in their beautiful blue eyes I do no wrong. But I thought maybe 2018 was the year that I learned to go easier on them, praise myself more. Better yet, need less praise period. And then, just like a fortune cookie from heaven, I took a Facebook quiz to see what my “Word of the Year” was going to be. It predicted that my defining theme for 2018 would be “Confidence.” And I watch way too many cheesy mystery shows to believe in coincidences so it must be true!

I researched a few different methods for creating Vision Boards on Google and Pinterest. Saw a few friends having Vision Board craft parties (I was not invited), even saw the boards of successful mentor moms. And I thought, confidently I might add, “I can do that!” There are a few worksheets I used to compile my category goal lists, career, relationships, health, etc. And I left room on my lists to add and delete as my year goes along. But, due to unforeseen illness and then joyful company for a week before the New Year, I did not get my Vision Board done by Jan. 1. Sheesh, not a great way to start the new year!

Then I had a bright idea! I might not hit the Jan. 1 deadline, but I could hit the Jan. 6 deadline of Epiphany. Epiphany marks the end of the Christmas season and the beginning of “Ordinary Time” or “The Season After the Epiphany.” But there is nothing “ordinary” about this time. The Season of Epiphany is the time that Christians dedicate themselves to truly looking for God in their lives and finding ways to grow spiritually. I love this season, a beautiful time of self-reflection and action that brings us into the new growth of spring.

Once I started to examine my lists and goals and inspirations, I noticed they had a common theme. Get to know myself, my mid-40’s self, as a whole person. Not just Melanie the mom or Melanie the wife or Melanie the friend, though those parts of me are important. But the whole me. And then use what I learn to accomplish a few things. I want to be the best version of myself, the person Christ calls me to be.

So I created my … Epiphany Board! I cut out my lists and then remembered why I have been banned from scissors and glue at every job I ever had. The Hubs taped it all on for me. Because, you know, Bodacious does not need access to any stick pins. And I tried to make it kind of fun and pretty, but I am not that girl.

Then I had to decide where I wanted to put it. You want your board of dreams to be somewhere you will see it regularly, positive reinforcement. Kind of like hanging encouraging post-it notes on the bathroom mirror, or gold stars on the calendar marking the days you actually made it to the gym. Picking a spot was harder than I thought it would be. Should it be on my new fancy home coffee bar? I have given up drinking this year and wanted to re-purpose the bar space. Should I put it in my bathroom where I can see it every time I do my hair? But that’s only twice a week, so … . For now, I am hanging it in the kitchen. We spend lots of time in there, cooking and playing games. It is also where I write. I am going to give myself until Ash Wednesday, when Epiphanytide ends, to develop new schedules and habits. Surely by Lent I will be ready to give up something BIG, like self-doubt or self-loathing. Or even carbs! This week, I have been trying to get up at 6:30 each morning, which has been a total fail, but in the spirit of my Epiphany Board and a better me, I will keep trying.

Rah, rah, sis, boom bah! Goooooo, Melanie!

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