Sunday, December 31, 2017

Relections on 2017

It's been kind of quiet around here lately.

This blank page has been beckoning me, but somehow I keep pushing it aside.

First it was I was too busy...

then didn't feel like I had much to say.

Today, though, is the end of this year, a perfect time for reflection.

To look back at all that went wrong and evaluate, and to pat myself on the back for all that went right.

At the end of last year, I was relieved. My family had went through our own personal war, and we were tired. We were in shock. We stumbled out of 2016 thanking God for new opportunities.

In the face of death and all that it took from me in 2016, I resolved to LIVE.

I didn't know exactly what that would look like... just like I didn't know what purpose would look like in 2016, or love would look like in 2015, or be would look like in 2014, or grace would look like in 2013...

but God did.

He knew I'd need the reminder to pause and appreciate each minute, even if Caleb and Wallace were getting on my ever loving last nerve. He knew I'd need a reminder to get up early and hike, even when maybe I didn't feel like it.

And He knew that in July, there'd be change, and living means embracing change, even if you don't necessarily like it. To live means to fully appreciate every opportunity, and for the most part in 2017 I'd like to think that I did that.

Before the year started, I chose 17 "goals" to concentrate on .
1. Because I've chosen "LIVE" to be my word for 2017, focusing on Galatians 2:20, being crucified to self but alive through Christ, my first goal is to live to the fullest. Embrace life. Die to myself. Take deep breaths and enjoy the experience. Too often we only survive... and while it sounds cliché, this is my year to thrive! (Or at least enjoy the floundering as much as possible).

2. Exercise. Walk 10,000 steps a day, exercising at least a minimum of 30 minutes per day 5 days a week. Also I want to hike as much as possible, do some Pound at least once a week, and just move more in general. Wallace bought us a kayak so that's on the agenda once the weather gets warmer. And I'd love to run a 5K- a goal I've had for several years, so...

3. Read through the Chronological Bible.

4. Bible studies- Scripture memorization through the book Matters of the Heart, and the Scripture Memorization team through Living Proof Live. Other Bible studies I have include All Things New by Kelly Minter, Mark by Lisa Harper, Hosea by Jennifer Rothschild, and Entrusted by Beth Moore. Lifeway is praying through the Psalms the first 40 days of the year.

I want to do it all!

5. Explore KY- visit at least 10 new counties and do something fun and different in each of them, or something unique to that county.

6. Write every day. I'd like to *gasp* write a book. Maybe a devotional, or a collection of stories from my family... I'm debating, but I'm hoping to put some pen to paper and actually get started.

7. Learn something new- Spanish, piano... I don't know. Just learn.

8. And be intentional about learning. Acknowledge what new things I was introduced to. Look for opportunities to learn... about things I didn't really think I'd want to learn about.

9. Random/unrandom acts of kindess- Things that I can do to make life better for other people.

10. Be more intentional about friendship. Reach out to at least one person a week. Facilitate relationships with people of different ages and interests.

11. Read 130 books. This is always my favorite one!

12. Snap a pic every day- make memories

13. Count 1,000 Gifts- Be thankful- and Be the GIFT (giving it forward today).

14. Laugh.  Hard. Everyday.

15. Three 15s a day- 15 minutes to plan, 15 minutes to reflect, using it to grow. 15 minutes of picking up the house every day.

16. Make time for family. My parents. Siblings. In-laws. Grandma. Aunts, Uncles, and cousins. And also those who may not have family.

17. Live out Micah 6:8- Seek justice. Love mercy. Walk humbly with God.

Some of them I completed, some of them I didn't get close to. I gained weight instead of losing it, didn't get as much exercise as I'd like, and didn't complete a 5K. I didn't memorize much scripture or complete as many Bible studies that I had hoped, and I didn't even meet my goal for reading this year... I didn't count 1000 gifts on paper. I neglected this blog and didn't write much in general. I didn't snap a pic a day, and had to stop piano lessons with the move, so there went my something new =)

but I hiked, a lot. I soaked in God's beauty. I kayaked and explored Kentucky- 23 counties (97 to go!) I crossed something off my bucket list when I graduated with my DNP. I visited the beach and our nation's capitol and laughed... a lot. I spent time snuggling with Melody when she'd let me, and took Will to church and watched Caleb transition to a new school in amazement. I took a leap of faith and left my comfort zone to teach at Morehead, gaining some new friends in the process. I looked for ways to intentionally  love others and though I didn't get it right all of the time, I'd like to think I did, some of the time.

I learned that sometimes you NEED to put the book (or Kindle) down and look somebody in the eye to listen.
I was reminded that family is the greatest thing, and that when you don't have anything else left, you've got enough.
I learned that Christmas plays really are the best with lots of kids under 12 to fill in the parts (although my Aunt Dana may disagree).
I learned that every sign in the Red River Gorge has an inaccurate estimate of how long the trail is... and you always end up hiking longer than you thought you would.  Also, hiking in the rain isn't really that bad when it's not too cold outside.
I learned it is NOT  a good idea to take Caleb Bates on his first kayak trip down the river late in the evening when the trip is 8 miles long.
I learned that Kentucky has lots of interesting places.
I also learned one should always google "events close to where I am staying" when traveling to other cities.
I learned that the beach is always beautiful.

It seems the older I get the more excited I get about the new year. With the advent of social media, it seems all of our posts and pics and reading plans and exercise plans and *insert your form of information overload here... we all seem to be excited.

It's a blank slate.

A new chapter... and I've got my pen ready.