I really dislike New Year resolutions. I just know that they don’t work for me. I used to be really into new starts, new beginnings, and starting over. But shouldn’t we be living life that way everyday? I guess one reason I don’t like resolutions is because we tend to look at what we have not been able to follow through with from the year before. I know from my experiences, I have the same resolutions every year! What good does that do?
One of my favorite books of all time is “Anne of Green Gables” by Lucy Maude Montgomery. I love “Anne with an ‘E'” and all the situations that she gets herself in pretty much everyday. But one of my favorite lines in the book came after one of her epic blunders. Anne says, “Marilla, isn’t it nice to thing that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?” So true and so nice to know that we start new everyday!
So, I am going to live each day to best of my abilities and not dwell on my mistakes, but know where I need to improve. I have learned to embrace those mistakes and learn from them. And trust me, there have been many of those embracing moments!
The only thing that I have committed to is to live my life for Christ. That’s it! And I will try to do that every moment, every day, and every new year. So embrace 2012 with living for Him and by His saving grace, we are covered by His blood. Because of Christ, ‘tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes’.
Happy New Year’s Eve Eve! Whether you’re headed to a party or headed to the living room with a bowl of popcorn, New Year’s Eve is a great day for reflection. A whole year has passed since the last one. You’re a year older. Are you a year wiser?
Below are 20 questions I use each year as a springboard to reflect on the past 365 days. Use these Reflection Questions however you see fit over the next few days. Feel free to think over these throughout your day. But if you’d like to be a bit more intentional with them, every year I provide a free PDF download over on Simple Mom—head over there to download the document, fresh off the press.
Want to answer these questions solo? Grab a cup of coffee and a pen, and use the space provided on the first three pages of the free download.
Want to chat over the answers with your spouse or with friends? Use the last page of the PDF to cut each question into squares, and then toss them in a hat to draw, one at a time.
In early January, I’ll share another round of questions (and another PDF) on Simple Mom. This time, they’ll be to help plan your goals for 2012. What are your plans? Your hopes? What would you like to happen for you personally, for your children, for your family? I like what Dave Ramsey says—“A goal without a plan is just a dream.”
But for now, use the next 48 hours to reflect on the past 365 days…
20 Questions for a New Year’s Eve Reflection
1. What was the single best thing that happened this past year?
2. What was the single most challenging thing that happened?
3. What was an unexpected joy this past year?
4. What was an unexpected obstacle?
5. Pick three words to describe 2011.
6. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe your 2011 (don’t ask them; guess based on how you think your spouse sees you).
7. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe their 2011 (again, without asking).
8. What were the best books you read this year?
9. With whom were your most valuable relationships?
10. What was your biggest personal change from January to December of this past year?
11. In what way(s) did you grow emotionally?
12. In what way(s) did you grow spiritually?
13. In what way(s) did you grow physically?
14. In what way(s) did you grow in your relationships with others?
15. What was the most enjoyable part of your work (both professionally and at home)?
16. What was the most challenging part of your work (both professionally and at home)?
17. What was your single biggest time waster in your life this past year?
18. What was the best way you used your time this past year?
19. What was biggest thing you learned this past year?
20. Create a phrase or statement that describes 2011 for you.
Happy reflecting! And pass over that bowl of popcorn.
15 years tomorrow. It marks the anniversary of the serious car accident that could have taken my life. I don’t really want to go into all the gory details of the accident, but I must share some to really understand the incredible miracle that I am still here.
We were a little over two weeks away from our wedding day. I was in Illinois and Brian was still at the children’s home we were working at in Missouri. I had taken some time to go and get ready for the wedding and spend some time with family. I was actually on my way to have lunch with my cousin when suddenly the vehicle in front of me was gone and a semi-truck parked in the road was in my path. I swerved and the corner of the trailer came into my car. My right arm was lacerated and I was terrified. The corner of the truck was about 12-18 inches from my head. I could have been easily died if I hadn’t swerved. If there had been any passengers with me, they would have been serious hurt or killed. I had wedding gifts in the back of my car from the bridal shower that I had that previous weekend. And to this day I still have a few items that survived the crash. Soon the ambulance was there and I was conscious through every moment. I recall saying “Is my arm ok?” and “I am getting married in a few weeks…am I going to be ok?” Of course, at the time, I didn’t even realize the severity of this accident. It wasn’t until much later that I realized how blessed I really was to be alive.
We arrived at the hospital and what seemed like eternity, I laid in the emergency room. No one was there. I had them call my grandparents and asked for my aunt who was a nurse at that hospital. I was still there all alone. Finally they took me to x-ray for my leg that seemed jammed and for my arm, of course. My aunt did come and she stayed with me until they took me to surgery. As they were prepping me for surgery, my dad and brother arrived. I was so scared to lose my arm.
I had the surgery and the doctor was pretty sure that my arm could be saved. He felt as though there would be some grafting that would take place, but full use of my arm would be intact. There was some skin that died, but not as much as he had anticipated. He prepared for a second surgery that would require a skin graft from my leg. So a second surgery was done and he did a fantastic job. There were a total of 99 stitches in my arm. To this day, I have full function of my arm and sometimes, I don’t even notice the deformity.
That was a very scary time for me. Not only could I have been killed, but this was just a few weeks before our wedding. I couldn’t finish anything for the wedding because of my health issues. It was difficult. We had the option to move the wedding, but I said no. This is our life together and we will be stronger because of it. On our “Honeymoon”, Brian was the doctor, changing my bandages and making sure that the infections didn’t get any worse. I laugh about it now, but in all seriousness- wow, God is good.
Looking back over the last 15 years, I am just thankful. Thankful that I was able to marry the love my life, Brian. Thankful for the children that I have been given to raise and nurture. Thankful for the ministry opportunities that have been provided by God. Thank you, God for saving my life.
He really has used us for His glory and I know that He isn’t done with me either. As long as I live, I will serve my God. So tomorrow I will celebrate. I celebrate the life God has given me and opportunity to praise Him each and every day.
The past week or so, I have been sorting and looking through pictures of my family. A majority of them are my parents as I am putting together some things for their 40th wedding anniversary and their 40th year in ministry celebration. It has been fun to look at these pictures and think about where those 40 years have gone. I am personally wondering where the last 20 years have gone! Time goes by so fast. I feel very old and I feel I have missed a glimpse of my life along the way. Where has the time gone? I will be celebrating 20 years from graduating from high school this year as well and it just seems like it was yesterday. So many memories and sometimes it feels that it was a completely different life.
But my question to myself is what have I accomplished? What have I done for Jesus? Does God have more in store for me and my family? I truly feel that there are areas in my life where God has used me and used my family for His glory. There is no doubt. But when I look at the blessings of where God has placed us in the last 15-20 years, I am saddened and full of joy all in the same thought. There has been pain and joy. I wonder what the next 15-20 years will bring to me and how is God going to use each of us.
One thing is for sure, I never could have imagined where we are right now in our lives. When Brian and I got married, we had dreams and plans for the future. And none of those are currently where we are. God had different plans for us and the plan is still not complete. It is exciting and a bit scary to know that God is not done with us…with me. I think about one of my favorite verses…Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” No matter what may be in store for the future for us, I am sure to be in the hands of God.
I hope the next 20 years will be full of joy and life, but also to remain in Him and draw closer to Him.
If you know me, you know that I do like order. BUT to obtain that order and organization in my life is yet to be seen. I want it, but can’t seem to get there. My husband, Brian makes fun of me all the time because of my list making tendencies. I love to make a list and check it off when it is completed. I really do desire to be organized, but it just isn’t happening.
I have been reading a book entititle, “The Organized Heart” written by Staci Eastin. I really feel that she had me in mind when she wrote this book. Seriously, I cannot put into words how much this book spoke directly to me. She focuses on 4 different areas of organization; perfectionism, busyness, possessions, and leisure. Staci puts it all out there and really makes it about our hearts that causes us to be dysfunctional in these areas.
So, I am challenging myself to obtain an “organized heart”. I am not going to come up with a new way of organizing my life, but I am going to work on my heart and relationships. It really starts with our relationship with God. I have a relationship, but I want a deeper one. I remember when I was growing up, my dad would always have a quiet time in the morning. I would come downstairs in the mornings and dad would be on the front porch with his Bible and coffee. I want to be that disciplined to set aside a time to spend with God.
I am not a morning person, but I am willing to try to be. I think that I could be if I really wanted to be. The reason that I want to do the mornings is that I want my kids to have an example of a relationship with God. Most of the time right now, I spend time in devotion or reading at night after the kids go to bed. I am realizing that I am missing an opportunity to be an example for my kids as my dad was for me. So, first thing on my list is that this week, I will get up at 6 AM everyday and spend time in God’s word.
On my way to organization…beginning with my heart.
I remember many times in my life when people have stated to me how strong of a person that I am. Sometimes I feel like such a fool when I hear those words. In appearance, I come across strong, but oh so many times I am weak. Self-esteem gets the best of me too many times to count. It could be anything- my looks, my skills, my talents- anything. I think we all get to that point at one time or another.
When I get into one of those “moods” of low self-esteem, I try to imagine myself through the eyes of God. Zephaniah 3:17 says, “The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing”. Isn’t that beautiful to know that God sings over us?
I can’t help but think about my children when I think about this verse. I love my kids more than anything else in the world. I remember rocking them to sleep and singing sweetly into their ears. It was calming and relaxing, but more than anything it gave them a sense of security. It is the same when God sings over us and delights in us.
I have carried a tradition from my childhood with my children today. My dad would torture me by singing to me. My dad couldn’t carry a tune if his life depended on it, so it was torture! But I have never forgotten this game of ours. He would sing, “Have I told you lately that I love you?” He would then proceed to chase me down and kiss me all over my face. I now do that with my children. I don’t know why it meant so much to me as a child, but now looking back I think it showed me how much my dad really did love me.
God loves us in the same way, but not with kisses all over our face. He sent his only son, Jesus Christ to die for each of us. There is no greater act of love than what God did for us by sending Jesus to the cross so that we might have eternal life with him. He wants to delight in us for eternity!
Looking through God’s eyes makes that self-esteem problem a bit minor. I take great comfort in knowing that he delights and sings over me. And you…
Today I had the privilege to attend a Good Friday service with husband and dad. It was a community effort and they had different ministers taking part in the service. My dad enjoys going and has been apart of the service in the past. As the scriptures were being read, I came to an understanding of what we do as “denominations” of the church. We still serve the same God and we still celebrate the Holy Week of the Resurrection of Jesus. We may go about that celebration in different ways, but have that bond of a Risen Savior! I have great hope in that!
We may not all believe in the same way or practice our faith in the same way, but we serve a Risen Savior!!! And one day, we will all sit at the feet of Him!
Happy Easter to all!