I thought long and hard about writing this post. I asked myself if anyone would care about what happened in my life in 2016. Then I realized that this is about more than people caring. This is about an opportunity for me to truly reflect on the year I’ve had–the good and the bad–and to think about what I want the upcoming year to look like.
I also realized that I get emails from women in this tribe who open up and share how much my words have inspired or encouraged them. I think these women, as well as others, actually do care. They want to know the good, the bad, and the ugly. They want to know about my successes as well as the challenges I’ve face.
So this is for myself and for all of you who care.
Quality Time with My Daughter
I started 2016 off staying at home with my then 3-year-old daughter. She was not enrolled in preschool at the time and I was juggling entrepreneurship, caring for her, taking my mom to countless medical appointments, and finishing up work for a contracted position I held. Oh, and I should mention that I felt pretty down at the time. It’s not uncommon for me to feel depressed during the winter months and last winter was particularly challenging. I just wanted to sleep all day. And it didn’t help that my 3-year-old clearly preferred preschool over being home with me. Yep, I was all up in my feelings about how my 3-year-old felt. And at that time, accomplishing my 2016 goals and keeping up with my to-do list felt impossible. I was behind on everything.
I decided to accept that truth so I didn’t drive myself nuts. I showed myself some grace and realized that some goals just wouldn’t come to light in the timeline I initially established, Life is like that sometimes. By March, my daughter finally began to enjoy her days with me and I started to slip out of my winter funk. Thank goodness.
A Visit to The White House
What do you do when you get an unexpected call about going to The White House in two days to attend an event being hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama? You try to secure childcare so you can make it happen, of course. Thankfully, my cousin came through and I made it to The White House for an event being hosted by the First Lady about her Let’s Move campaign. I was extendied the opportunity as a result of being a writer for Black and Married With Kids. I am so grateful I had a chance to go.
Being at the event was amazing. I kept saying that I wanted to make it to The White House before President Obama left office and I was starting to think it would never happen. But God came through, I got to sit right in front of Michelle Obama with a room filled with about 100 of my peers, and life was pretty good that day.
Pursuing Professional Speaking
I made a decision earlier this year to pursue professional speaking. It was a scary decision. I am still scared. But I have learned so much about myself in the last year, and I am thrilled about where this journey will lead. I hired a profession speaking coach named Cheryl Wood and she has been awesome. I have a hard time making big investments when it comes to professional development, but I decided that I would work on that this year. Boy, have I come a long way. Stay tuned because I may be speaking in a town near you one day soon (most likely after I have this baby….LOL).
A Trip to Disney World
In April I received an email inviting me to attend the Disney Social Media Moms Conference in Walt Disney World. To tell you I was excited is an understatement. It was a chance for me to attend an incredible invitation-only event with my entire family. I never experienced Disney as a child, so this was going to be my first time. And my kids had never been either so I was all kinds of excited.
My amazing husband got some time off from work, we booked our flights, and we surprised our kids with a trip they will never forget. From the Disney swag waiting in our hotel rooms at night to character meet and greets to amazing meals–this was a trip that left us all smiling at every turn. We went on rides, we laughed, we saw great performances, and I felt blessed to be a part of the entire thing.
My kids are still talking about that trip and they can’t wait to go back. I was invited to the 2017 conference, but this baby is my belly is stopping us from going…LOL. It’s all good. There’s always 2018 (I hope).
Good Times in North Carolina
We try to take a road trip once every year to visit my mother-in-law in North Carolina. We made it this year and had a great time. While we were there we enjoyed days at the pool, good food, the movies, lots of ice cream, and lots of family time. The kids were excited to be there and hope we go back next summer. I hope we do too.
Being on the Board of Directors for College Girl Inc.
On July 1st I became a member of the board of directors for a Baltimore-based non-profit organization called College Girl Inc. Talk about divine timing. After leaving the full-time world of higher education, I was wondering what I could so to still stay connected to that world since I am passionate about youth and education. This opportunity to serve came at just the right time and it’s been incredible.
Off to the West Coast
My uncle lives in northern California. He’s pretty much the closest thing I have to a dad and he is currently fighting cancer. We decided to make our summer family vacation a trip to go see him and his wife. We are so glad we did. It was the first time my kids went to the west coast and they loved it. And instead of getting a hotel room like we initially planned, we all stayed at his house. I am so glad we made that choice. That extra family time was awesome. Cookouts, the beach, Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, the Jelly Belly Factory and lots of family fun. It made for a great trip with memories we will keep forever.
So we get back from Cali and a week later I realize that aunt flow isn’t showing up. My period is so regular that being one day late is a sign that something is up. I wasn’t stressed out enough to feel like stress was messing with my cycle, so I immediately realized that I might be pregnant. We weren’t planning it, but we weren’t exactly going out of our way to avoid it either, so it was a reasonable possibility. I ran to the store, came home, and sat in the bathroom with that stick. Then I just stared at it as I realized that my third child was on the way.
Oh snap! Three kids?! What the hell are we going to do with three kids? Do we have enough money to raise three kids? I don’t have a full-time job with benefits anymore! Can I be a good mom to three people? What about everything I do for my mom? And what will this pregnancy be like… I’m almost 38? Yea, I had a moment where all kinds of doubts and fears started creeping into my head. But then I talked to my husband and he smiled. He was surprised but so happy. Then I realized that I lost my second pregnancy at 15 weeks and I remember how painful that loss was. My mind shifted. I realized that I have enough love and sheer determination to do what I need to do. I will be a great mom to all three of them. We will find a way to make more money. My business will grow. God will cover us.
Calm started to take over, and I said a prayer for the baby in my womb. I thanked God for the blessing and prayed for a healthy pregnancy and a healthy child.
Launching my new site
In June, I realized that CandidBelle was getting cluttered. I was doing too much in a space that was initially designed to deliver great content and help moms. I needed to establish a personal brand. I gave it some thought months earlier, but working with my new coach, Cheryl, really helped confirm my initial thought. It needed to happen now! So I decided to create a new site, along with new social media accounts so I could let the world know what I’m about and what I bring to the table. It was HARD. I struggle with putting myself out there, and It’s been holding me back for years. But I am glad I did it. So now, you can visit martineforeman.com to learn more about working with me as a coach, a speaker, and writer.
Getting certified as a health coach
On the last day of August, I became an ACE-certified Health Coach. I struggled with what type of coach I wanted to be and eventually settled on being a health coach because I truly believe that health and wellness are at the core of every decision we make in life. If your health isn’t right (mental and physical) other areas of your life will suffer. I am currently working with 2 clients because 3 months of morning sickness will slow a girl down big time. I am hoping to add a few more clients in January and I am launching a new wellness program in June for moms who are ready to get their sexy back. It will be a group program and I will be doing it with my clients. I’m excited.
CandidLiving: Launch and Fail
Earlier this year, I launched my first e-commerce site. It was doing okay at first, but things changed. I realized I wasn’t as passionate about the brand as I thought I would be. I also realized that marketing my products and keeping up with everything was HARD. I wasn’t ready. In September I decided to let it go. I felt like a loser for second, but I learned many lessons and I am ready to move on. Plus I took the most popular items from the shop and I now sell them on CandidBelle.
Teaching at my local community college
I taught a blogging course at my local community college in October and I am scheduled to teach 3 courses in the spring. They are continuing ed courses, so I will be done before baby girl shows up in April. Everyone at the college has been great and I am happy to be back in the classroom.
Not having a 9-5 (the good and the bad)
So this year I completely cut ties with my 9-5. It was a process that started a while ago but 2016 is the year I said goodbye for good. I have to be honest with you, I have days when I wonder, what the hell did I do… I need that check. But then I realize that’s fear creeping up. Listen, if this entrepreneurial journey takes me down a path where I have to work a 9-5 again because I need to, I will do it and I won’t be ashamed. I have kids to feed. But for now, I will keep pushing forward and praying that I made the right choice. Pray for me, ya’ll.
Speaking at Play Time is Over Conference
My coach, Cheryl Wood, hosts a conference annually called the PlayTme is Over: Women in Business conference. I had a chance to speak at that conference this year and share my story with some amazing women. The experience definitely reinforced that I am headed down the right path and that feels good. This speaker is on the rise!
Getting Published in Chicken Soup for the Soul
So over the summer I submitted an essay to the good folks at Chicken Soup for the Soul. Imagine my joy when they reached out and told me they would be publishing my essay in their next book, Curvy & Confident: 101 Stories About Loving Yourself and Your Body. I got my first Chicken Soup book from my mom when I was in college, so it’s pretty amazing to have my essay published in their series. Especially when that essay was inspired by my mom.
My Goals for 2017
Planning and hosting a wellness retreat in October 2017
I am finally hosting my first event. It will take place in the fall because I am having a baby in April and a girl needs some time to focus on family and get her mind and body right before hosting her first event. The event will take place in Maryland and will most likely be in mid-October. It’s a wellness retreat designed to help women create a life they love. I can’t wait to share more details and I hope you can be there.
Completing and publishing my book (finally!)
I have been working on this book for ages. AGES. Like I can’t even remember how long. But I am determined to get it published in 2017. I will actually be working on it over my holiday break (because writing doesn’t feel like work to me). I can’t wait to share more details and a release date with all of you soon.
I am more than halfway there and in about 4 months there will be a new little girl in this family. It’s scary and exciting and such a blessing. I will keep you posted and I will be sure to share when she finally arrives.
Hosting a vision party in December 2017
In addition to the wellness retreat, I will be hosting a Vision Party in December 2017 to help you prepare for 2018. Yes, I am thinking that far ahead. It’s because I love you. So stay tuned. This event will take place in Maryland as well.
Having my work published in a national print magazine
Working on it and you will be the first to know when it happens. I am declaring that 2017 is finally the year!
Launching new programs
I have a few new programs in the works. From live coaching to virtual workshops and coaching, there is a lot being planned. Lifestyle Shift is the first of many things I will be offering in 2017.
Doing some consulting and writing for clients (just some)
I actually do some business consulting and writing on the side. It’s not a major part of my business but it’s something I have been asked to do a lot so I spend about 10% of my time doing it. It’s tons of fun and I work with female entrepreneurs who either just launched a business or are getting ready to launch one. I plan to continue this work in 2017 (yes, only 10% of the time).
Launching new e-commerce site
I don’t know why this is here because I won’t share any details, but I just had to tell you it’s happening. I plan to launch the site and share more with everyone a couple of months after the launch. I just need to do it this way. CandidLiving didn’t work out the way I expected, but I think the lessons I learned will make this much more successful because I am far more prepared this time around.
Release 2018 Planner
You know that free goal setting guide I create every year? It won’t be free next year. 🙁 I plan to expand the guide and create a 2018 planner that you will love. It will actually be available in time for my vision party next December. Yay! And don’t worry, I will create another amazing free offer to replace the guide.
I have been working on this so I will definitely be doing a few speaking engagements in 2017. I have one booked for March, but most of them will be after I have baby girl. If you live in DMV area, check me out at The Pink Event on March 5, 2017.
Adjusting to life with 3 kids
I will definitely spend a lot of time adjusting to life with 3 kids in 2017. I am still not clear on how I will manage my family and make all these goals happen, but I will. Thank God for my amazing tribe. I will be leaning on them more than usual and they know this!
I saved the best for last. Honestly, this is a goal every day. If I’m not right, nothing else is right. I have to exercise and eat well and read books and chill with my girls if I plan to do any of the things listed above. Without making self-care and wellness a priority, I know I will fail. I don’t plan to fail.
I hope my year in review gave you some insight into what 2016 was like for me. And I should share that I had the year I had while still managing motherhood, marriage (a happy one, too), pregnancy, and my mom’s care (she has been hospitalized 14 times since last November).
It’s not easy. It never is. And I don’t think I have it all. Frankly, I don’t need it all. I have what matters, though. And that’s enough to keep me going and keep me happy. So when the challenges come and the tears flow, I pray. I focus on all the good in my life and I lean on the people I love so I can pull it together.
I hope you had a 2016 filled with blessings and lessons, and I hope you are ready to set a few serious goals for 2017. If I can do anything to help you make your 2017 goals come to life, I will. Doing that would certainly add joy to my year.
This is my last post for 2016. Till next year, my friends! Oh, and have a glass of bubbly on New Year’s Day for me. 😉
So what were the highs and lows of your year? What are your plans for 2017?