Here are a few of my favorite moments from 2013! I’m looking forward to making new memories in 2014. Enjoy!
Wow, ok. It’s already the end of 2013. How can days move so slowly, but years move so quickly? Today I had one of those moments where I tried to remember back to my teens, looking ahead to what I thought life would be like in the year 2013. I don’t remember exactly what I pictured for myself at this time, but I can tell you it’s not what I’m living. It’s funny how that happens. It’s not good. It’s not bad. It’s just different. In many ways, I’m a different person than I was in my teens, so how could I have predicted correctly?
The even funnier thing is that I’m not 100% the person I was 11 months and 18 days ago when I began this year. I, like you, am an ever-evolving being. And I kinda dig that. It’s fits well with the side of me that likes to learn.
Travel back with me, if you will, to January 11th when I launched my theme for the year—SIMPLIFY. Oh, what a day—full of excitement and hope and possibility! It was a good day.
So, now, on December 18th, what do I make of the past 11 plus months? Progress.
I will brag on myself that this was probably the best job I’ve done at keeping my theme in front of me. I had books and discussions and reminders galore. This theme was not going to pass me by! Or maybe after five or six years, I’m just starting to get the hang of things. 😉
I definitely made some improvements.
- I got rid of quite a bit of stuff. Unfortunately, new items also made it home as well. But the new did not outweigh the old. For clothes, it has really helped me want to get rid of things when I see the faces they will go to and know how much it will help them.
- I got off some email lists. I went mostly vegan a couple of months ago, though, so I signed up for a bunch of new ones. I need to get off a few of those because, let’s face it, Pinterest is mostly a wish list and not a to-do list for me. But I have not missed any of the lists I removed myself from.
- I paid down some debt, and will meet my personal goal by the end of the year. It ain’t over, but it’s less, and that matters.
- I focused on two primary volunteer activities with Not For Sale Georgia and Out of Darkness.
- I started volunteering in my church’s children’s ministry so I could meet some more people since I’ve been sick so much and unable to join a missional community.
- I wanted to continue my writing, and this blog has mostly served that purpose. I’ve come close to meeting my goal of writing something every week.
- I STILL deal with mono everyday. It’s been over a year and a half now. The truth is, it’s quite a bear to rebuild your immune system. I’ve seen a lot of improvement, but it’s not over yet. That is definitely a goal for 2014. It has really hindered a lot of things, but again, there has been some change for the better.
- Despite paying down debt, I have to get a new (to me) car next year. Unforeseen and unfortunate. But I’m trying to be smart about it.
- I started out strong with my eMeals and Bible reading plan, but got behind on both and switched to other things. I am renewing my commitments here for 2014.
So, that’s it. That is my 2013 in a nutshell. Did I SIMPLIFY? Yes, I believe I did. I made progress. I lived this year with intention. I gave more of myself in many ways. And, yes, I did a little hell-gate prevailing along the way, I’m proud to say.
But I still have almost two weeks left, and I intend to finish well. Or maybe well-er. 😉
It was a big year to be an abolitionist. I really wish I’d been ready for it! There were milestones and celebrations and remembrances—some worldwide, some national and some just for me. Over and over, I was given opportunities to honor the work that has been done, rejoice in the part I’ve played, and prepare for the fight still ahead.
Here’s a look back:
- 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation
- 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address
- 50th anniversary of the March on Washington
- 50th anniversary of the death of JFK
- Passing of Nelson Mandela
- Got more involved with Not For Sale Georgia.
- Took Out of Darkness training, and began volunteering for Solomon House.
- Attended Lobby Day.
- I heard Jason Russell speak for the first time.
- I heard Mary Francis Bowley speak for the first time.
- I heard Rebecca Stevens and John Richmond speak, both new to me.
- Gave $25 to Kiva to help lift someone out of poverty, a factor in those at risk for slavery.
- Saw Lincoln in the theater
- Release of the movie, The Butler
- Release of the movie, 12 Years a Slave
- I read a lot of great books on the movement.
Overall, it was a good year to be an abolitionist. I feel really confirmed in playing a role to end slavery.
Looking forward to see what 2014 has in store.
It was a great year for reading! I’ve already made it through 44 books this year, which is double last year’s reach of 22 books. I’m pretty proud! By the time I finish this year, I’ll hit 47. It’s by far a personal record. If I had a gold star, I’d give it to myself. 😉
And just so we’re clear, by reading I mean listening. I get through almost all of my books via Audible.com. It’s fantastic, especially if you have a long commute like I do. Highly recommend. It takes a little getting used to, especially if you are not typically an auditory learner. So, yes, there is plenty of tuning out and rewinding in the beginning. But now that I’m used to it, I love it. It makes car time so much better.
An interesting trend for me this year was fiction. I don’t generally read much fiction. Because I really don’t like to read, I typically read nonfiction in order to learn. It’s more of a means to an end because I like learning. But this year, I sort of got hooked on fiction books. And I already have several more planned to begin 2014, namely the Divergent series since the movie looks good.
Without further adieu, here’s what got my attention this year:
- Pursuing Justice by Ken Wytsma
- Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn
- In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
- Veganist by Kathy Freston
- Homeland: Phantom Pain by Glenn Gers
- The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
- Where Am I Wearing? by Kelsey Timmerman
- More or Less by Jeff Shinabarger
- The Time Keeper by Mitch Album
- The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens
- The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
- 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker
- Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery by Eric Metaxes
- The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery by Eric Forner
- Modern Slavery: Bolinda Beginner’s Guide by Kevin Bales, Zoe Trodd, Alex Kent Williamson
- Quitter by Jon Acuff
- The Land Between by Jeff Manion
- The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle by Arthur Conan Doyle
- Listening is an Act of Love by Dave Isay
- Ghost: Confessions of a Counterterroism Agent by Fred Burton
- Ruby Red series by Kerstin Geir
- Mission in a Bottle by Seth Goldman and Barry Nalebuff and Sungyoon Choi
- Your Health, Your Choice by Ted Morter
- An Apple a Day by Ted Morter
- The In-Between by Jeff Goins
- Storyline by Donald Miller
- Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Book Store by Robin Sloan
- Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins
- The Gregor series by Suzanne Collins
- The Maze Runner series by James Dashner
- This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti
- Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
- Changes That Heal by Henry Cloud and John Townsend
- The Good News About Injustice by Gary Haugen
I’m currently listening to The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkein since the second movie comes out next week. And then, I have two Advent books I’m trying to get through before the end of the year: Advent Conspiracy by Rick McKinley, Chris Seay and Greg Holder and God is in the Manger by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I think these three will be an excellent way to finish out the year.
Did you read any good books this year?
What should I put on my list for next year?
(Note: Amazon links are affiliate links.)
Now that I have put up my Christmas decorations, I feel I can adequately reflect on 2012.
My word for 2012 was PRIORITIZE. I posted it prominently on my bathroom mirror so that I saw it a couple of times each day. I think I got off to a fairly good start, too. I thought about it frequently, and tried to live by it.
And then, mono happened.
And it kept happening. In fact, it happened for six months. During that time, I definitely fell way behind on my prioritizing. A couple of things I managed to pull along with me slowly, but overall, I just couldn’t keep up. Existing was all I could do on some days—my biggest accomplishment was getting out of bed and moving to the couch. Other days were better. Slowly but surely I was able to put more time in at work and have dinner with people again and generally leave the house for a few hours at time. Then, about five months into the mono, I had to go to the ER with what I thought was just a really bad kidney infection. Yes, it was, but it was also an inflamed gall bladder full of gallstones. What followed were three days of hospital stay and the removal of this funny little organ I knew almost nothing about. Then it was more days of rest and recovery. I feel like I lived mostly on my couch this year. I joked that I should’ve designed my own line of lounge wear because that’s about all I wore in 2012.
But prioritizing never left my thoughts. I tried to catch back up on it in pieces, but mostly 2012 was about prioritizing my health. I was sick and/or recovering for about eight months during 2012. I’m not fully over everything yet. Didn’t see that one coming, as I’ve typically been someone without a lot of health issues. Maybe it was a curse to open that FSA account last January? My lasik surgery went out the window—fingers crossed for this year, though.
Fortunately, I was also able to prioritize working with the local chapter of Not For Sale. That was about the only other thing I was able to squeeze in, but it was a great experience and I’m so thankful to have done some real work as an abolitionist. I look forward to seeing where that takes me in the future. It’s a wonderful organization that’s done amazing things, and it’s nice to be a part of it.
While the health issues were definitely the focal point for this year, I continue to wonder if perhaps that was God’s way of slowing me down. I’ve never been great at that. I’m usually go, go, go. And I’m sure I’ll continue to learn lessons from that experience as I reflect more and begin to enjoy my health again. (I hope, for both aspects.)
Luckily, I was still able to fit in trips to NYC, North Georgia and California while having mono and the latter two post surgery. I would’ve been really sad if I didn’t travel, so those were definite highlights. The relapses afterward were well worth it!
I continue to discover that life is a little like a game of Mexican Train, one of my family’s favorites. You can plan and strategize and get all your ducks in a row, but things will always go awry. Life happens. People around you make unpredictable moves. You have a bad draw. Realistically, I have no control. I just have to do my best with what I have. Did I do that in 2012? I think I did ok, given the circumstances. I can always do better. Unfortunately, most everything was ruled and determined by how tired I was or how I felt. I hated that, especially when I was full conscious of it, but I couldn’t do much else. I just couldn’t think outside of it. As I’m getting more healthy and turning my immune system around, though, I am slowly making changes.
I began preparing for 2013 probably about a month ago, maybe more. I am really trying to look at what I can do with what I have. Right now, what I have is someone who is still on the road to recovery—but that’s something I can work with. There are definitely things I can do now to be better in numerous ways, and I will. I am making flexible plans. Toward the end of 2012, I started prioritizing 2013. It’s here, and I feel I am ready. After all, it begins mostly in the mind. I haven’t lost that yet. 😉
So what will my word for 2013 be? Stay tuned!