Monday, January 20, 2014

Word for the Year and Year in Review


It is the end of January. Hopefully today I will post my New Years thoughts and tomorrow we'll take down our Christmas decor. I'm gonna just say that that's about right on time for a mom of two littles who is also raising support. Right? I feel like I've barely got time to breathe!

So, last year I apparently didn't blog about New Years at all, but I picked a word for the year the way a few bloggers I follow had been doing for several years. Sarah Bessey wrote this year about having words "find" you. Well, my word last year was "faithful", and it found me, or God gave it to me, or whatever you want to say.I knew there were several areas of life where I needed steady commitment and faithfulness when it wasn't fun or inspiring and I was discouraged. Say, for instance, support raising. A year ago we were pretty low about it and daydreamed about sudden huge gifts that would catapult us to fully funded. Instead, we just needed faithfulness. Stick-to-itness that just keeps on going until the job is done, because that's what God has called us do. In a number of areas of life... or like... all of them. 

But you know what struck me? The first few months, everywhere I turned I was seeing things that talked about God's faithfulness to us. I realized I was thinking of all the things that I needed to be faithful in, and the reality to balance is out is that God is the faithful one, and it is He that gives me the strength and vision to accomplish all of this needed faithfulness... and that He is the one that is faithful when I am not. More on that at the end. 

In any case, it was a good year-long lesson. And this year again I knew what my theme for the year would be. It's "Reach Out". I'd say "Outreach" but that comes with some Evangelical baggage that I don't mean, so it's "reach out". There's so many reasons for this. First, I'm about to leave here, and in true TCK style, I have a tendency to disengage from a place in anticipation of leaving, because it's easier to leave if you don't care about leaving, right? So you withdraw a little from friendships and groups and the things you love. Looking back, I know I've lost out because of that, and I want to reach out of my shell and be fully invested and fully loving here until we leave. 

And then... then I'll be new. I'm even worse at being new than I am at saying goodbye. I smile and say hi and then go home and want nothing to do with actually getting to know people because I feel insecure and out of place and introverted. So.. again... I need to reach out, maybe before I feel emotionally ready to. I need to reach out into a culture that will be semi-new to me. I need to reach out despite language limitations, and I want to build good relationships quickly by reaching out with love. 

And then also in marriage, in a stage when we have little people and lots going on, it's easy to be on autopilot, two people going in the same direction but not engaging with each other. It's really easy for me to do that because I'm pretty task oriented, so again, I need to reach out to my husband intentionally and nurture that bond of love. 

So yeah. Reach out. 

And... about 2013. Linking up with Amy at A Chase After The Wind

1. What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before?
Became a full time at home mama. Scary.
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Well, I didn't blog my resolutions last year, but I probably kept half of them. As for next year, see above!

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
My sister-in-law, and a new community group member, and... maybe that was it this year? 

4. Did anyone close to you die?


5. What places did you visit?
Support raising took us quite a few places, including:
Chicago, IL
Fort Collins, CO
Swindon and Bristol, England
Edinburgh, Scotland (side trip during above trip for sightseeing only!)
Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, South Carolina, Louisiana - all along I-20 on a support-raising trip
Houston and Austin, TX

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?
100% support raised and tickets to Indonesia!

7. What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
The day Elly was born, of course
The visit to Scotland, a first for me. Super fun.
The visit to Charleston, the deepest South I've ever been. Also super fun.
Steph's wedding

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Hard to beat growing a child.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Failure, hmm. Well, my car failed for good in the middle of the highway, and we were really hoping it would last till we left the country. That's been a rough one. (yeah, I totally made that one impersonal... )

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Managed to snap a knife in two while attempting to cut a frozen pie, which stabbed my hand and resulted in three stitches. Awesome. 

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Hmm... the Ergo? It's always a toss-up as to whether we should invest in the funds to travel to a new spot for support-raising, but our trips to Fort Collins were really great for partnerships. 

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Isaac. Three years as a stay at home Dad, faithfully continuing with support raising even when it was rough, and snagging a job as an adjunct college proff. 

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Ehh... can't think of anyone this year, actually. Good for everyone for not being appalling. 

14. Where did most of your money go?
Medical bills. Always medical bills. Lots of people talking about Obamacare this year, but for us nothing has changed, really. It's always been bad. 

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Having a baby girl. And also when my mother-in-law suggested we do a day trip up to Scotland when we were visiting Isaac's home churches in England. 

16. What song will always remind you of 2013?
I think maybe Rend Collective Experiment's "Build Your Kingdom Here". I've done a lot of thinking about church and missiology this year, and that song reflects that and also the personal heart cry. Plus it's fun to listen to. And it has that sort of banjo-ey twang that has defined my musical tastes recently. 

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? happier
b) thinner or fatter? fatter... but I get a pass on that one. I just had a baby!
c) richer or poorer? poorer. Again... I just had a baby. Those bills are huge. 

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
hanging out with good friends

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Can't say I'm at the point yet where I'm thankful for all these hours exclusively pumping to feed Elly. E.P. is super hard! And perhaps shopping. I love to shop and spend too long doing it. 

20. How did you spend Christmas?
In Kentucky with Isaac's family. Three little boy cousins running in circles? Very fun. 

21. Did you fall in love in 2013?
Sweet little Elly Bean.

22. What was your favorite TV program?
Parenthood probably? I'm a sap. 

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Nope. I don't hate people.

24. What was the best book you read?
Fiction - Godric by Beuchner
Non-Fiction - The Forever War by Dexter Filkins

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I think Macklemore was this year? And All the Sons and Daughters

26. What did you want and get?
An Ergo? A girl. :) 

27. What did you want and not get?
My car to make it through the year. And to be fully supported. We're close!

28. What was your favorite film of this year?
Umm.... I think Catching Fire. I haven't seen much this year. 

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
31 It was wonderful. Thanksgiving with my whole family and some extended family. I treasured it. 

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Immeasurably is too much, but dang, we're so ready to be fully supported and ready to go overseas already!

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?
Heh. Maternity clothes? Yeah. I'm in transition. First I transitioned to maternity clothes and now I'm transitioning to mom wear for the first time rather than a wardrobe of professional clothes. I admit that I totally keep my eye on the moms I meet out and about to see what they're wearing, what's comfortable, and what I like. No more heels and dress pants!

32. What kept you sane?
Oh man. All the traveling and transition is crazy, and it helps to write and walk. Those are my calming factors. 

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Ehh. No one.  

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
Syria, maybe? Watching the public swing on the basis of SUCH little information about the two sides there was just painful. Reading The Forever War by Filkins just confirmed my feelings about Iraq, I'd say. 

35. Who did you miss?
I severely miss my family in this newborn stage! Super thankful for a long Thanksgiving with them. 

36. Who was the best new person you met?
Three new ladies in my community group! Super thankful for them. We also have met a bunch of people headed overseas with the same organization as us, and man, I have been so impressed with all of them. 

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013.
Since my kiddo is currently obsessed with Nemo, let me quote Dori in what I've learned on faithfulness. "Just keep swimming". 

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
On theme of faithfulness... "Never Once" by Redman

Standing on this mountain top
Looking just how far we've come
Knowing that for every step 
You were with us
Kneeling on this battleground
Seeing just how much You've done
Knowing every victory
Was Your power in us

Scars and struggles on the way
But with joy our hearts can say
Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

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