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  • Leah Outten

2023 in Review + 2024 word of the year

(I'm back for my one consistent blog post per year! 😆)

2022 was a year of extreme highs and lows, leading to 2023's word being RESTORE. And restore, He did.

What was lost was restored.

Most noticeably-- my strength renewed. I ended 2022 burned out, questioning everything and in a low place. He restored me through physical and emotional rest, and fulfilling the dream of writing my book. He also restored through a new job I love. A cat passed away, but two more adorable kittens gained that fill our hearts with joy. The healing I was hoping for and the strength (confidence) I needed for this year was restored. And many, many great memories to treasure.

The highlights

  • January to May- I did light freelance work, so I was able to focus on my family's needs (like Savannah homeschooling again) while finally have time and mental space to write my memoir

  • The most perfect job landed out of no where in my lap in May, doing exactly what I love and thrive in. I pray that it makes a ripple effect of change in hearts.

  • Successfully funded over $7,000 on Kickstarter to pay for my book's publishing needs (more on how I did that soon!)

  • Mark and I got to celebrate our 16th anniversary with a weekend away. I'm in awe of all He has done in our lives to heal and strengthen us, I love our life together.

  • Kaylee got to join our annual camping trip to the mountains with my Dad for the first time. It's our favorite trip of the year!

  • A whole month with Kaylee during July- complete with a free "yard sale" across the street we attended daily and obtained antique treasures together!

  • Fostered 4 sweet kittens (keeping 2 that we especially bonded with)

  • Attended Fireweed birth mom retreat in September

  • Visiting Nashville in November as a family for my brother in law's wedding, lots of good family time that we love!

  • A speaking engagement at a birth mom retreat, along with other virtual workshops taught and podcasts recorded.

  • Seeing new and long time friends throughout the year. Meeting fellow birth mom Raquel from McCloud Life was certainly a highlight.

  • Read 26 books (more than double my goal of one per month!) and discovered new author friends. If reading is your thing too, here's my Good Reads profile with what I've read and hope to read.

  • The Lord led us to a new church and community closer to us

  • Bringing Sadie home to homeschool as well in the new school year, while it wasn't planned, it was needed. We've had such sweet moments together just the two of us!

  • Published my book! Such an incredible feeling. There was so much emotional energy, prayer, and time poured into it through the different phases. But, it's done. It's in my hand, and in reader's hands. So far around 250 has been sold, which is a great start for an indie author (some only reach that number in a lifetime!) and the feedback has been encouraging.

2023 was a great year, I'm so thankful after the challenges of 2022. Of course, such is the rollercoaster of life and I expect 2024 to hold both joy and grief. Beauty with aches. Growth with stretching pains. Which, seems to be reflected in the word pressed into my heart:

I admit, I think planted might be a weird word for the year, but it's what I kept feeling so I'll trust it!

1. Fixed in place
2. Set in soil for growth
3. Deeply rooted
4. Placed in a particular spot

Honestly, it makes me nervous. Being fixed in place and deeply rooted sounds like being firm through trials. Yet, I know there can be beauty in growth and "blooming where I'm planted" too, establishing a strong foundation of roots where God has put me.

I always look up my word of the year in the Bible as well, and I loved what I found. I aim to make this my verse of the year as a reminder to remain close to the Lord for nutrients and strength:

"He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:8

What lies ahead for 2024? I don't know, but I know the God who does and He's always been by my side.

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