Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Reflecting on 2012

I wrote this post last year on New Years Day.  It was fun (and often difficult) to reflect on 2011.  I will use the same questions to reflect on 2012.

I received an email from (in)courage concerning personal reflection... In the email, 20 questions were given as a spring board to get the reflection gears grinding. You can click here to get a free pdf. printable of the questions if you want to answer them yourself or with family. 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?
Being asked to teach Sunday School--God revealed Himself to me in a big, BIG way at that time.  I was struggling with finishing some last minute classes on my Middle Grades Education degree, and I was beginning to question whether God was saying "No" or "Not now."  God opened a window into my being able to do what I'm passionate about (teach).  It's even more special that I get to teach on Who I am most passionate about:  Him.

2. What was the single most challenging thing?
I'm still challenged daily in my walk with the Lord.  I strive to live a life that is pleasing to Him, and I tend to fail more often than succeed.  The most challenging thing for me was most likely being at the hospital with my friend Shellie when her newborn son passed away.  I wanted to be there for her because I love her and her family dearly.  However, during this time I was taken aback at how ill-prepared I am to handle tragedy.  I completely froze in this moment.

3. What was an unexpected joy this year?
My job was outsourced in late 2011, so I began working for a new department within our company in late February.  It was a forced demotion for me, and I'll be the first to admit that I wasn't very happy with the transition.  However, it has been so much better than I ever imagined.  I love my co-workers, and we have blended so well together.  I get to work 4 ten hour days so I have every Wednesday off (probably my most favorite unexpected joy).  And, my boss is so great to work for. 

4. What was an unexpected obstacle?
The death of my friend's son, Styles.  He was born 8 weeks premature, and he lived 28 days.  He was so tiny, but absolutely perfect.  I've never experienced anything like this so close to "home."  It's be so hard on Shellie, his mom.  Will you help me pray for her?

5. Pick 3 words to describe your year?
I said this last year, but it still fits:  Overall, I'm blessed!

6. Pick 3 words your spouse would use to describe your 2012 (Don't ask them! Guess based on how your spouse sees you).
Busy, Tired, Grouchy

7. Pick 3 words your spouse would use to describe their 2012 (Again without asking them).
Busy, Tired, Grouchy :)

8. What were the best books you read this year?
I would love nothing more than to read, but I seriously don't have the time.  When I pick up any book, Kade will say "Read me the 'This Little Boy Named Kade' book."  Every book I try to read, he thinks is about him.  Instead of reading, I make up stories like, "This little boy named Kade really needs to get his sleep at night so he will grow up to be a big, strong man like Daddy."  Precious moments--and wouldn't trade them for anything!  I do plan to "try" to read more this year.

9. With whom were your most valuable relationships?
My husband--we've had an open line of communication this year.  It's nice to know that I can go to him and talk about absolutely anything.

My mom--she goes above and beyond to take care of my children so I can work.  She has a hard job keeping my two boys and my niece Sarabeth.  I honestly have no idea how she does it... 

The Women of Grace at my church--I've developed so many friendships in 2012, and I'm thankful for the wisdom, guidance, and prayer of these women.

10. What was your biggest personal change from January to December of this past year?
My job transition in early 2012 and still monitoring/eliminating all the trash I'm taking in...

11. In what ways did you grow emotionally?
I said this last year, but it's still relevant:  I learned to have lesser expectations of people and to expect more from myself.  The only thing I would add for 2012 is:  Some people will never be your friend no matter how much you wish/want them to be.  Move on to the people who will and appreciate every second of those friendships.

12. In what ways did you grow spiritually?
I completed the bible study "No Other Gods" by Kelly Minter with my church.  It opened my eyes to some present day idols I have in my life.  I realized that I was putting so many things before the Lord, and even though I've completed this study--I still feel like there is something I missed, so I plan to do it again sometime in 2013.

13. In what ways did you grow physically?
I trained for and completed my first 5k.  My goal wasn't to be the fastest.  My only goal was to survive.  I've had to stop running right now because with my asthma, I can not breathe in cold air.  I do plan on restarting the Couch to 5k in early spring and (hopefully) I will be able to run the entire 5k next year.

14. In what ways did you grow in your relationships with others?
The biggest growth in my relationships occurred by taking time out to appreciate the people in my life and their differences.  I have prayed about ways I can be a better friend, mother, wife, daughter, etc and I can see God working in those areas of my life.  So, although the relationships themselves may not have experienced growth, my role in those relationships did.

15. What was the most enjoyable part of your work (both professionally and at home)?
Professionally:  My co-workers.  We have a great time and work well together.
At Home: Hearing the laughter of my kids and husband.  Knowing that we are all safe, together, and happy.

16. What was the most challenging part of your work (both professionally and at home)?
Professionally: Staying on Task =) (same as last year)
At Home: Keeping my house up (also, same as last year).  This year, I plan to accept that with two small children, there will always be something that needs to be cleaned, tossed out, or put away.  I.Will.Find.Balance.In.2013!

17. What was your single biggest time waster in your life this past year?
Same as last year:  Probably all the time I spent on Facebook.  Shocking, I know.  A close second would be all the time I spend watching TV.

18. What was the best way you used your time in this past year?
I tried to send more cards this year.  I tried to text people more often too.  Edifying others.  (There will be more of the same in 2013!)

19. What was the biggest thing you learned this year?
Life, as unfair as it may be at times, is so precious.  We should literally approach each day having purpose.  Another biggie is that it's time to let some things go.

20. Create a phrase or statement that describes 2011 for you.
I copied this Facebook status in 2011, and it's still very relevant for my 2012 year:
"(2013) is hours away.  As I reflect on (2012), 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 (and blessed me with the highs).  His footsteps were visible as He walked beside me in the good and bad times.  In (2013) I will continue to trust "His Unseen Hand" (and give Him the honor and glory that He rightly deserves.  I will commit to living my life with purpose.)
**I added anything in ( ) for 2013.

Happy 2013 Sweet Friends! May this be the year the Lord returns!  Looking for the King in 2013 =)


Team Harries said...

Happy 2013! It's such a blessing to follow your blog! What a fun post!

Piper said...

Love this post Elaine!! I think I need to answer these same questions. I am so glad that God has brought you into my life. You are a blessing to me!
Praying for you and your family!

Anonymous said...

Elaine, love reading your Blog...SO Blessed to have a Daughter like you in my life...

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.