Saturday, December 31, 2011

20 Questions for a New Year's Eve Reflection

I received an email the other day from (in)courage concerning personal reflection for 2011. In the email, 20 questions were given a spring board to get the reflection gears grinding. A printable free pdf version can be found at Simple Mom's website. If you aren't on (in)courage's mailing list, please consider doing so. Every email is so uplifting and glorifying of the Lord.

1. What was the single best thing that happened to you this year?

Without a doubt the single best thing that happened to me this year was rededicating my life to the Lord.

2. What was the single most challenging thing?

Most challenging would be related to #1. It was challenging to change my way of living to reflect a life which glorified the Lord. It was easy to talk the talk, but I found it much more difficult to walk the walk--especially in the beginning.

3. What was an unexpected joy this year?

An unexpected joy this year would be making so many new friends at church. I've been intentional about surrounding myself with others who believe similar to my beliefs. Meeting and getting to know so many women in bible-study was a wonderful, unexpected joy. I tend to be very quiet and reserved around people I don't know well. Many of these women took me out of my comfort zone and helped me grow spiritually and personally.

4. What was an unexpected obstacle?

We dealt with some family issues at the first of the year. Many feelings were hurt and tempers flared, but we survived--and we still love each other. Also, finding out in Nov that my department was being outsourced, and I would no longer be working with my work "family."

5. Pick 3 words to describe your year?

Overall, I'm blessed

6. Pick 3 words your spouse would use to describe your 2011 (Don't ask them! Guess based on how your spouse sees you).

Should slow down

7. Pick 3 words your spouse would use to describe their 2011 (Again without asking them).

Experiencing spiritual growth

8. What were the best books you read this year?

I didn't read as much as I'd hoped, but I loved the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. Right now, I am reading 90 Minutes in Heaven by Don Piper and Cecil Murphey. It has been so good too! I did finally break down and read Twilight this year!

9. With whom were your most valuable relationships?

I am blessed to have many valuable relationships. One relationship that I found to be most valuable this year was with my mom. I realized this year how often I have taken her for granted in my life. She exceedingly goes above all of my expectations of what a mom/Nanny should be. (Mom, if you are reading this--I love you so much! And, I appreciate every thing you do for me and the boys even when I fail to tell you so! Just know that, okay?) I also grew in my relationship with my sister. She and I tend to be from very opposite ends the spectrum. But, I realized this year we are more often alike than not. (Leigh Ann, if you are reading this--I love you too! Thank you for asking for my advice. It makes me feel important to you. Thank you for being a wonderful sister and friend.)

10. What was your biggest personal change from January to December of this past year?

It may sound silly to some people, but this year I found my breaking point with my "trash in-take." I found myself deleting people on FB who posted inappropriate stuff. I switched TV channels when risque stuff came on. I changed radio stations and now listen to contemporary christian all the time. I decided that it would be easier for me to reflect a Christian's life by monitoring what I was taking in--and guess what?!? It seems to be working (and a lot easier than I would have ever thought it would be)!

11. In what ways did you grow emotionally?

I learned to have lesser expectations of people and to expect more from myself.

12. In what ways did you grow spiritually?

I started and completed my first bible study. I've only taken one other study which I did not finish. I was so thankful to have been apart of the One in a Million study by Priscilla Shirer.

13. In what ways did you grow physically?

My hair color changed at least 3 times! Does this count? Seriously, I can't think of any physical growth--mainly emotional and spiritual growth.

14. In what ways did you grow in your relationships with others?

It's kind of the same as #3. I met many wonderful people this year at church. I've grown very close to many of these women. My relationship with my husband also changed this year. I found myself falling more in love with him as I watched him turn his life around. I also learned that in order to maintain relationships, you must dedicate time to each one. This is so hard with the busyness of my life, but something I plan to be more intentional about in 2012. A big way I have experienced growth in my relationships is by praying for other people--especially my sweet friends who are still in waiting on their miracles.

15. What was the most enjoyable part of your work (both professionally and at home)?

Work: My co-workers!!!! Home: My Family!!!

16. What was the most challenging part of your work (both professionally and at home)?

Work: Staying on task =) Home: Staying caught up with housework

17. What was your single biggest time waster in your life this past year?

Probably all of the time I spent on FB. Shocking, I know.

18. What was the best way you used your time in this past year?

Using my blog to witness for Christ and record private thoughts and memories for my family.

19. What was the biggest thing you learned this year?

To give people flowers while they are alive instead of when their dead. (read into that further). I also learned to choose my words wisely and to evaluate an entire situation from all points of view. Lastly, I learned some things never change and you have to just say, "it is what it is" and be done with it.

20. Create a phrase or statement that describes 2011 for you.

I copied this from one of my friend's FB status' but I couldn't have said it any better myself:

‎2012 is hours away. As I reflect on 2011, there have been highs and lows, good and bad times, tears and laughter, losses and gains, deaths and births. Through all of it, I have been gently cradled in the Lord's arms as He carried me through the lows. His footsteps were visible as He walked beside me in the highs and good times. 2012 I will continue to trust "His Unseen Hand" and "Give Him the Glory".

The truth is, I have experienced His Unseen Hand in my life--probably more times than I realize in 2011 alone. I've experienced God's Grace and His mercy. So 2011 was a great year. I'm looking forward to the next!

Happy 2012 Sweet Friends! May this be the year the Lord returns!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Goodbye 2011...well, almost!

Hello 2012! Where did you come from? Overall, 2011 was pretty kind to me. Here’s a quick timeline of our year:

In Feb, this little man turned TWO! Can anyone guess what color icing was on his birthday cake!?! HA! Kade is becoming a big boy, which makes me happy and sad simultaneously. He has a rock star personality, and he constantly keeps us on our toes. He’s so sweet at times, but is Mr. Independent. During times of frustration, I remember that these days are going by too fast!

In April, our nephew, Dawson turned 14! He also began high school. He’s officially a Greyhound! That’s him, #70 below. If I were #89, I think I’d just run the opposite direction!

Alex and Dawson both love hanging out with Nate. He becomes one of the boys when they are around, but you can also tell that Nathan loves them both so very much by the time and attention he gives them. Camp Saint Nate for life =) (I know the Killian’s will get that!)

My sweet niece, Sarabeth, was born in May! She’s my chunky monkey! One day, she’ll probably hate me calling her that. But seriously, she’s got the cutest, chubbiest cheeks on earth. And, I could just kiss them off!!! I love her soooo much!

My nephew, Josef, become Kade’s BFF somewhere along the way in 2011. When Joe walks into the room, the world stops spinning for Kade, and Kade becomes Joe’s shadow. I love that they are so close, and I pray that they will always be.

In July, our nephew, Alex, came to visit. He lives in Montana! We love him so much, and every year while he’s in NC we try to convert him over to a Duke fan. As you can see, he’s a Turdheel…

Last year at Christmas when he came to visit, he left his appendix here! I told him next time he wanted to stay longer, he just needed to miss his flight!

This year he’s a stud!

My older niece, Kenleigh, started high school!!! EEEEEK! It’s so hard to believe she has grown into the beautiful young lady from that sweet little baby who changed our family forever: The first grandchild! She’s so teeny-tiny compared to her classmates, but she’s a feisty little thing! I love that about her. I love that she’s also cheering at East Burke! Go Cavs!

Isn’t she pretty?

My parents celebrated their 35th anniversary in June. My mom keeps the boys during the day so Kyle and I can work. They are the best parents in the whole wide world! You couldn’t convince me otherwise. They spoil my boys rotten and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

And they couldn’t be prouder of all FIVE of their grandkids!

My sweet hubby and I celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary in August! He is my knight in shining armor. We were able to celebrate our anniversary in Jamaica! It was wonderful! We are already saving for our 10th anniversary where we will return to the Dominican Republic. Our favorite destination so far is the Excellence Resort.

On Oct 29, I said goodbye to my Grandpa. Following a period of declining health, he passed away. I don’t think I realized how much I loved him until after his passing. I have many regrets in our relationship. For a long time I blamed him for failing to be the grandpa I thought he should be. But, I was never the grand-daughter he deserved either.

My sweet baby boy, Kohen, turned one! He’s such a blessing to our lives. He is the happiest baby I’ve ever seen….a little spoiled…okay, a lot spoiled, but sweet as can be.

This has been a good year for my sister, Leigh-Ann, and I. It finally feels like we are friends and not just sisters! We balance each other out now—what a huge change from childhood when we drove each other CrAzY! She found true love again and we are so happy for them!

There were many visits with the Killian Family in 2011. I love my in-laws! They accept me for who I am, flaws and all, and they choose to love me despite that! They are my in-loves and I’m very blessed to be apart of their family! I’m trying to help it grow and grow! ;)

These little/not so little guys keep the Killian grandparent’s very, very busy!

It’s been a great 2011! I wish you all well in 2012! We are closer to the return of Christ, so that makes me just giddy!

Love you all!

Kyle, Elaine, Kade, and Kohen

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Truths...

I’m borrowing this idea from my sweet friend, Kristen. I love her blog, and I enjoyed reading her list. I thought I would share my own list of Christmas truths. And, nothing speaks lists like bullet points…

  • I drive many of my co-workers crazy because I tend to start counting down the days to Christmas in July. Even in the midst of 100 degree weather, I can get excited about Christmas being 6 months away.

  • I’ve been known to play Christmas music as early as August.

  • As a kid growing up, we would always play Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton’s Christmas CD while decorating our tree. I still have this CD today and I enjoy it so much when I play it. The music floods me with so many fond memories of my childhood holidays.

  • Every year, my mom’s side of the family will meet on Christmas Day and eat Oyster Stew. This tradition is older than I am. As a kid I can remember not even willing to try it. I always had a hotdog or BBQ instead. But, I do like it now, and I even introduced it to Kade last year.

  • Last year at Christmas, my dad was recovering from having a stroke. Since then, he has been so fortunate to make a full recovery.

  • In 2008, we buried my Aunt Cathy on Dec 17 after she loss her life from having a severe asthma attack. The asthma triggered a heart attack. She was only 43 years old.

  • I’m guilty of reminding my kids that “Santa is watching.” By the way, it hasn’t worked thus far.

  • Santa came and took Kade’s gifts away two weeks ago. While I was cooking breakfast, he decided to open one. Kade has been told that Santa will bring them back on Jesus’ birthday.

  • For the past two years, our nephew Alex has been able to spend Christmas with us. He lives in Montana, so we’ve really enjoyed this time with him.

  • This Christmas will be my niece, Sarabeth’s, first Christmas.

  • I’m actually finished Christmas shopping.

  • My kids are spoiled! Kade and Kohen are getting mostly gifts together since we have every toy known to man for kids 2 and under. I feel like Kohen is getting cheated just a bit, but I know he’ll soon grow into the older toys.

  • I’ll be wrapping gifts on Christmas Eve.

What are some Christmas truths you have?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Prayer Request

The last few weeks at work have been really stressful.  After multiple interviews, I found out that I will be moving to Customer Service effective Jan 31, 2012.  The Lord graciously answered my prayer request by giving me a schedule that did not interfere with church, school, or family obligations.  However, by accepting the position I am also putting someone who was part-time out of work.  


I’ve been really struggling with this decision, and I humbly ask you to join me in praying for this situation.  I am a student and do not have plans to make a career with my company.  In fact, I returned to school because I was continually told that I lacked working experience despite working for my employer for 13 years.  It’s the only full time job I’ve ever had. 


This past fall, the bottom fell out of the economy and teachers were being laid off by 100s.  I prayerfully decided that now wasn’t the time to student teach and quit (what I thought was) a stable job.  I would risk being unemployed after student teaching.  I rationalized this decision by my lack of experience in education too.  By postponing student teaching, I still knew that finishing my degree would be a priority for me.  How could it not?  I had taken so much time away from my husband and children that I owe it to them to finish.  I had also assumed additional student loan debt.  I will finish my education degree.  It’s what God has called me to do.


Now, even though I know my employer isn’t going to provide a career for me, something feels wrong about taking someone else’s job away.  I know I have to do what is right for my family by continuing to work until I can student teach again in Fall 2013 with another cohort.  So, I feel like I made the best decision I could for my family by staying with M*I.  So, how can something which feels right also feel so wrong?


Please pray for me.  Pray more-so for the person who will be unemployed soon because of the predicament I’ve been put into.  The whole thing stinks.  I DO NOT LOVE THE WILDERNESS!


I began blogging several years ago in search of new friends who, like me, were having a difficult time getting pregnant. Five years, 2 miscarriages, 4 failed IUI's, and a doctor who told us "It will never happen" later, we are the proud parents of Kade and Kohen. They are each an example of God's absolute perfection. We thank God where medical intervention stops, Divine intervention begins.