wrapping up 2014

IMG_1231I have a fun hangover.

All of our grown children came home – plus extras – for two weeks now. People slept in every room of our small townhouse. Imported belongings invaded every counter and every inch of floor space. We saturated days with fun and laughter, adventures, deep conversations, and delicious, not-necessarily-good-for-you food. We delighted in long-standing traditions and created new experiences this first Christmas in our new home. We connected at mind, heart, and spirit. It was an incredibly rich time.

My energy level is a bit low now, but my heart is full.

That seems a fitting condition for the year I christened last January with the word “fulfill”.

These family days together were a dream fulfilled. So is living in this new home and the purposeful work I get to do with my husband. One night at dinner, we all reflected on the past year and answered questions about our greatest challenges and biggest achievements and how we grew or matured or changed through both. I am satisfied with the responsibilities and goals I fulfilled last year and by the choices I made to feel fulfilled personally at this stage of my life. It has been a great year.

There have been hard times too. Death, pain, and poor decisions by loved ones crushed my spirit and drove me to my knees. The aching desire to be present in two – or three or four – places at once has weighed heavier than ever. Community, country, and world conflicts and tragedies have burdened my soul.

And so I consider my word for 2015.

What are my passions? What do I want to do? Where will I prioritize?

I’ve read many a great post about end of year reflection questions and have re-worked some of them for us here.

  • Where did you thrive last year?
  • Where did you struggle?
  • If you had to describe your 2014 in three words, what would they be?
  • What was your biggest time waster this past year?
  • Where did you best invest your time?
  • What, or who, are you most thankful for?
  • What advice would you give your early-2014 self if you could?
  • What one thing would you do differently and why?
  • What topics did you most enjoy learning about?
  • What did you learn about yourself?
  • What was a favorite compliment that you received this year?
  • What is one thing you can do next year to add meaning and relevance?

Maybe you’d like to take time to answer these  – and any other favorites you have – and choose a word for 2015. Find a quiet place, your favorite beverage, put your feet up, and enjoy the process.

I’ll post my word next week. I’d love to hear what you choose!

an end of year reflection

sunrise It is quiet this morning. No one is awake… and it is not early. A bit different from yesterday. It could feel like a let down after all the activity, but this year for me, it is peace.

It was a good day yesterday – not perfect, not without its moments of tension, missing some special people, but a good day. A Christmas reflection began the morning; family hugs, smiles and thoughtful gifts sweetened the hours, delicious foods and home-baked desserts filled every empty place, silly games caused lots of laughter, father and son playing music together finished the evening… a good day in all.

I feel reflective in this unusual silence. Remembering the days gone by. Last year at this time, my mother had just heard of her terminal cancer… but she was with us this year… weaker, tinier, but still baking and smiling and buying small presents… a gift to us.

This year brought travel to foreign places – Africa, Turkey, the Uk – where I had never been before. New friends. Teams. Great leaders. Hope for the nations. I love my work.

We made new friends, and long-time friends and family visited us in Florida. We began the adventure of exploring our new home. I am hoping that many more will come by and spend time with us in our new place in the days to come.

Our children took on new challenges… and wowed me with their accomplishments. They are truly gifted and blessed. I can’t live vicariously through them because I never even imagined doing the things that they do. I am proud of them and their dreams.

We had to say good-bye again. Steve’s dad joined his mom in eternity. We sang his favorite song last night and cried a bit. Earlier, my brother-in-law flew out to help his mom who just lost her husband. The good-bye’s are hard. Memories help the healing.

I have felt much older this year. Physically more challenging to keep up with health and make wise choices. Scary thinking that it will only get more difficult. Watching my dad fail and working through tough decisions for him with my siblings is stretching us.

All in all, I am at peace with this year. I chose “courage” as my word for 2013, and I have needed it all year long. I have seen it displayed in others. It was a good choice.

I’m thinking about next year already.

And for you… How was your year? Are you ready for 2014?