I saw these questions a couple of years ago on Mrs. T's blog, Across My Kitchen Table, and saved them for later. Last year, though, I was so emotionally and spiritually tired that I didn't have the heart to even begin to answer these questions, but this year (thanks in part to Mrs. T's encouragement and prayers this year!), I feel better able to evaluate my year. Also, yesterday morning, Wes preached on evaluating yourself as this year ends, so I thought I'd answer these questions here. Feel free to copy them to answer privately or on your blog. The older I get, the more I'm realizing that we need to look back each year and evaluate where we are . . . then formulate a plan to help us grow during the upcoming year. I'll have more on that later, but for now, here is my evaluation of 2013 . . .
1. What was the single best thing that happened this past year? Our son got married! We love his wife, Juliana, and are so thrilled with the work they're doing at this point in their lives.
2. What was the single most challenging thing that happened? A cancerous tumor was found in Wes' colon during a colonoscopy and he underwent several series of tests. Everything is fine, but I came face-to-face with the possibility of my husband having a serious illness.
3. What was an unexpected joy this past year? Having our daughter home for the summer. We loved having her here with us, although she was busy every week with ministry duties. Just having one of our children home was a joy!
4. What was an unexpected obstacle? We lost a church family this year due to a difference in philosophy. Although we tried to mend the differences, we did not gain the family back, and that was my biggest obstacle this year. Lots of tears.
5. Pick three words to describe 2013. Emotion. Assurance. Comfort.
6. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe your 2013 (don’t ask them; guess based on how you think your spouse sees you). Emotion (catching a theme here?!) Victory. Crazy woman. I know that's more than 3 words, but I also know my honey probably thought I'd been replaced by a crazy woman a few times. The joys of mid-life! ;)
7. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe their 2013 (again, without asking). Teaching. Laboring. Waiting.
8. What were the best books you read this year? What Do I Know About My God and The Diabetes Miracle
9. With whom were your most valuable relationships? My husband, my children, our church family
10. What was your biggest personal change from January to December of this past year? I have peace with where I am in my life. I'm beginning to see that the Lord knows my end from my beginning, and He is expertly weaving the tapestry of my life. I can rest in that and be comfortable with who I am . . . because of Who He is!
11. In what way(s) did you grow emotionally? I've learned to QTIP - Quit Taking It Personally. Give people the benefit of the doubt when you think they have an ulterior motive behind their words or actions. If you need to know for sure - ask. Otherwise, assume they meant well. This has been the single biggest leap in my emotions this year.
12. In what way(s) did you grow spiritually? I learned to keep a Scripture journal of God's attributes, which is helping me get to know Him better.
13. In what way(s) did you grow physically? I learned that I can control my appetite and eat in a way that helps control my diabetes - huge victory for me!
14. In what way(s) did you grow in your relationships with others? I learned to allow people to be who they are and just love them where they are.
15. What was the most enjoyable part of your work (both professionally and at home)? The people. Our ministry involves people, of course, but at home I blog - and that involves people too! And . . . on Wednesday nights I teach a class of 7 kids in grades 1-6, with a 4-year-old thrown in for good measure. The class lasts an hour and a half. And I teach it alone. So the most enjoyable part of my week is . . . Wednesday night after church, when I come home, get comfortable, and chill out, rejoicing that one more class session is done and no children were harmed! ;)
16. What was the most challenging part of your work (both professionally and at home)? Doing what's important (priorities) rather than just urgent. There are times when urgent things need to be done, but my goal is to focus on my priorities so that hopefully the urgent times will be easier to deal with.
17. What was your single biggest time waster in your life this past year? Electronic devices - my phone can suck me right in without my even realizing it!
18. What was the best way you used your time this past year? Taking time to cultivate the relationships of our church ladies and the children in our lives. I took each lady out for tea or coffee for her birthday, and that was one of the best ways I spent my time. They seemed to really appreciate the time, and I got to know them better. I wish I'd done it sooner!
19. What was biggest thing you learned this past year? That I need to learn balance in every area of my life! And that will be my theme for 2014: Balance
Some highlights of our year:
Sam and Juliana's Wedding
Early To Rise Challenge
Craft Room Makeover
Our Train Trip
Andrew's College Graduation
Spiritual Leadership Conference
Our Christmas Home
About the time you're reading this, Wes and I are boarding a plane for Los Angeles to spend a week with our children. I'll be taking a break from blogging while we're gone, but I'll also be working on my personal goals and my plans for the blog for the coming year. Lord willing, I'll be back home and writing again within a couple of weeks.
I wish each of you God's richest blessings upon your year!
Now let's welcome 2014!!!
photo credit: peasap via photopin cc