Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Year in Review

1. What did you do in 2009 that you’d never done before?

Write for a magazine
Design and present a workshop
Make scones from scratch

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

My resolutions for 2009 were 1) practice reading with Lucy 15 minutes a day and 2) try one new recipe every week. Lucy really took off on reading at her own pace, though we did practice quite a bit together last winter. I gave up on the one new recipe a week idea early on and wrote about it here. We like our old recipes. Though I occasionally try something new…

My resolutions for 2010 are: 1) keep a log of every book I read, 2) organize the closet in our little library. It’s a total dumping ground right now, but it has built-in shelves that will be great to store more books. 3) I'm going to start gardening.

3. What places did you visit?

We went to Mackinac Island in June, Door County in both July and October, and Memphis in September.

4. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?

More organization (consistently) and more ministry opportunities

5. What days from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

Certainly some sad days—discovering my mom’s diagnosis and being with her in the hospital. But also some really happy days—one day in May when she felt great and was able to walk all around her neighborhood: there were violets everywhere, and their perfume filled the air. Seder night. Lucy’s kindergarten graduation. My cousin Joseph coming to visit and celebrating our 40th birthdays together. Pool party with the girls at Aunt Julie’s. Hanging out in Door County with our best friends. Having Julie Kittredge take our pictures. Having lunch with Barbara and Julie and my mom. Elaine finally turning 4 after she’d waited for so long.

6. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Discovering joy in (almost) all circumstances. Doing the assessment workshops with Jennie.

7. What was your biggest failure?

Worrying too much. Wasting time.

8. What was your biggest wake-up call?

Darren and I went through the parenting series by Ted Tripp, "Shepherding a Child's Heart." Upfront I will say, there were a number of things with which I disagreed in the series. But there were also many great lessons to learn. The one that was most convicting to me was when he talked about the verse from Proverbs "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing." He said the verse is a word picture of an out-of-control person, swinging a sword around a crowded room. There are so many times in my family life, at home, that I'm stressed or worried or grouchy--and I just let my words fly. Now I've got that picture of a madman, waving a sword: at the very people I love the most. A huge wake-up call for me.

9. What was the best thing you bought?

We bought some new chairs for our living room at the end of the year. Our old ones had lived a good, long life and survived two children’s wear and tear as well as being chewed on by dogs. Time for something new.

10. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Harriet Riesen wrote a great new biography of Louisa May Alcott. And Hugh Jackman stopped a performance of a play to snark on some guy for not turning off his cell phone. That’s behavior I celebrate.

11. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Some people on facebook (I won’t elaborate). Customers in stores at Christmas time. Pretty much every single person in politics. Anyone who sends me chain emails.

12. Where did most of your money go?

Taxes. Tuition.

13. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Writing about Beth Moore. The deluxe version of the Jesus Storybook Bible. Buying $155 jeans for $2. Those answers seem really shallow. Hmmm. I get really excited about hearing my girls play together and giggle non-stop (except when they're fighting). They have such a great friendship that I hope will last them their whole lives.

14. What song will always remind you of 2009?

I have to pick a whole album—Chris Botti in Boston. Darren and I listened to it so many times we’ll probably need a new copy in 2010.

15. What do you wish you’d done more of?


16. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Wasting time on my computer.

17. What was your favorite TV program?

Masterpiece—Classic/Mystery/Contemporary. The Mentalist. Castle.

18. What was your favorite film of this year?

2009 was a banner year for me and movies. I saw two! In the theater! I liked both of them, but my favorite was the newest Harry Potter one.

19. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

This year was the big 4-0. I had a low-key celebration with my family on the actual day. I celebrated quite a few times with other friends who also turned 40.

20. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009?

Jeans. Chinese clothes. More jewelry. Flip-flops.

21. What kept you sane?

Music, more than anything else. In the past several years, I’ve listened to a lot of sermons online and have really grown that way. Somehow though, when you feel really broken like I have this year, music is the only thing that gets through.

Laughing and friends have also kept me sane, especially Tuesday mornings at Meg's Daily Grind with Sarah.

22. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Charlie Sheen. JUST KIDDING. How that man gets women to marry him, I’ll never know. I can’t think of anybody, really. I sort of view celebrities as monkeys: entertain me, please.

23. What is a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009?

I learned to take some big risks—to try and work around my introverted personality, which has been even more introverted this year. But by getting out of my comfort areas, meeting new people and talking to them, I’ve gotten some great opportunities I never would have had before.

24. What is a valuable spiritual lesson you learned in 2009?

Off and on this year I’ve been working through the life of John. I’ve learned so much about him that I completely relate to. I finally understood why he always referred to himself as “the one whom Jesus loved”—because he, more than anyone else, was given Divine understanding of how much he is truly loved by God. Then he communicated it to the rest of us in his gospel, his letters, and his revelations. You can get lost in God’s love, just by studying John’s writings. I hope to do more of that this year.

25. What are you most proud of from 2009?

Well, I can't really take credit and be proud of this, but basically: that we survived. It was a really difficult year--with losing my job, starting my own freelance business, finding out my mom has terminal cancer, Darren's had some health issues, and a lot more I haven't blogged about. It seems like we were hit on every front, but we didn't go under. Friends everywhere have prayed for us. The girls are happy and normal, we're planning to celebrate our 15th anniversary in 2010, and we grew closer to God and each other. We have a lot of hope for the future--even though we already know this year will be difficult as well.

I'm also proud that so far I've avoided all things having to do with Twilight.

26. What are your goals for 2010?

I want to find more opportunities for ministry. My friend Alysa inspires me in that way. Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed by my own life that I miss chances to reach out to others. I want to do more reaching out this year.

27. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

This pretty much says it for me:

But in my mind's eye I can see a place
Where Your glory fills every empty space
All the cancer is gone
Every mouth is fed
And there's no one left in the orphans' bed
Every lonely heart finds their one true love
And there's no more goodbye
And no more not enough
And there's no more enemy
No more

From “Heaven is the Face” by Steven Curtis Chapman

Happy new year!

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