Saturday, December 31, 2011

Questions for 2011 Reflection

Yesterday I did a lot of blog reading and ran across some questions for 2011 reflection. I didn't make note of where I got the questions and I can't find them again this morning after much searching. So...if you read my blog and realize that I "borrowed" these questions from you, please, let me know; I'd love to give credit where credit is due. Thanks!

I thought about not posting the questions ('cause I hate to "borrow" and not give credit), but after sitting down last night and answering them myself, I felt they were too beneficial to not share.

I'm all about making new goals (maybe a post for tomorrow?), but I have rarely looked back on the previous year. These questions are a great exercise to help you see where you've been and what you've learned. I hope they will be a fun exercise that will help you focus on what you'd truly like out of 2012.

Without further adieu,

1. What was the single best thing that happened this past year?

2. What was the single most challenging thing that happened?

3. What was an unexpected joy this past year?

4. What was an unexpected obstacle?

5. Pick three words to describe 2011.

6. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe your 2011 (don't ask them; guess based on how you think your spouse sees you.)

I didn't answer questions 6 & 7; it was my reflection, but if you're interested, I included them because they were on the original list.)

7. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe their 2011 (again, without asking.)

8. What were the best books you read this year?

9. With whom were your most valuable relationships?

10. What was your biggest personal change from January to December of this past year?

11. In what way(s) did you grow emotionally?

12. In what way(s) did you grow spiritually?

13. In what way(s) did you grow physically?

14. In what way(s) did you grow in your relationship with others?

15. What was the most enjoyable part of your work (both professionally and at home)?

16. What was the most challenging part of your work (both professionally and at home)?

17. What was your single biggest time waster in your life this past year?

18. What was the best way you used your time this past year?

19. What was the biggest thing you learned this past year?

20. Create a phrase or statement that describes 2011 for you.

*Side note - my answers to # 5 & 20 took me by surprise and helped me put the year into perspective.

Adios, 2011!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas Recap

Hang on to your seat!
We're taking a look back at our Christmas season!

Rhett got to hang the first ornament on the Advent calendar this year since he'll be away at college for most of December next year.  Thanks for the goofy face!

We went to my parents house to trim their tree and a few other things.

Experts at work!

The finished tree.

Tara (center) sang in my children's choir for the Homeschool Christmas CoOp concert.

My handbell group performed three Christmas pieces.

We cut down our own Christmas tree this year...

then had to drag it FOREVER to the barn to pay.
(The only one complaining was the mom taking pictures. Hm.)

Time to trim our tree at home. 
Grandpa and Rhett hammed it up with their "manly" ornaments - a teddy bear and angel.

Tinsel and Garland, Man!
We dig it!

Baking Day -  with a snitch getting caught in the picture.

Love Pinterest!
Made the cutest name placards out of candy canes.

Best Gift EVER!
When I was a small girl
I loved to play Pegity at my grandparent's home.
I inherited the game, but the game board was falling apart so sometime this fall I offhandedly mentioned to my son how cool it would if he made me a wooden board to replace it...someday.
Then I promptly forgot about the suggestion.
He spent the two weeks before Christmas in the basement (with Dad and Mark as helpers) designing and creating the gameboard with drawer underneath (to hold the pieces).
I do have a picture where I'm blubbering like a fool, but I have a little too much pride to share it. :)

Since our 9 month old puppy loves to chew,
we enjoyed watching her chew off the wrapping of her new toy!

Tara got an American Girl doll...

and Katie got an IPod!

Mark got a pitchfork and then posed as the stoic farmer icon that he is. Ha!

Dad and Mom loved my tears over the Pegity game on Christmas Eve so they pulled out all the stops on Christmas Day and gave me two of my Dad's old toys - a play hospital ...
(The name on the front is Plasticville Hospital. Love it!)

and his Viewmaster (from the 1940's).
It works great and I love looking at the retro reels!
Lots of memories!!

None of us lacked in the present department, especially Katie.

But the best present of all was having Ashley home with her new hubby, TJ!

Hope your Christmas was a memorable one!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Mark Sings

Proud wife time! Mark's worship group sang for two of our Advent posts on December 18th and 19th. They did a great job! (My man is the one on the far right.) Enjoy!

(the 19th's post)

Good Christian Men Rejoice from McLean Bible Church on Vimeo.
(the 18th's post)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Just Jesus

I have a friend-of-a-friend who has been on my prayer list for almost 18 months now. Missionaries to a closed country in Asia, they came home for a break in the summer of 2010. They took their 7-year-old daughter to the doctor because she had been having several small symptoms that would come and go, like unexplained fevers, leg pain, and fatigue. Their world was turned upside-down when sweet Adah was diagnosed with leukemia. They spent last Thanksgiving and Christmas in the hospital, wondering if it would be their last with her. We all praised the Lord together when Adah's treatment and bone marrow transplant worked. She is still getting tested monthly, but all the tests return normal and Adah's mommy is thrilled to be facing another Christmas season with both of her girls, Adah and Claire. I'm sure you can imagine how precious this time is for their family. She recently wrote this:

Our living room looks like some nomads decided to camp for the night. Quilts and blankets hang over the couches and chairs, and a fire is slowly dying in the fireplace. The girls are snuggled into their tents, cozy. As I passed through just now, I paused to eavesdrop, unseen, on their conversation.

"But is he a baby now?" asked Claire.

"No. He grew up. Just like you used to be a baby and now you're three." (Adah replying)

"I am baby Jesus?"

"No, Claire. But you were a baby. Jesus was, too. Now he is grown up."

"But what is his name now?"

"Just Jesus."

"What does he look like?"

"I don't know. I never got to see him." (long pause) "He looks like Daddy. Except he has hair."

This mom was relating a cute conversation between her little ones, but I was struck by the simple answer, "Just Jesus." Obviously, Adah was pointing out that Jesus still had the same name, but in light of their circumstances, I thought about the significance of His name! Just Jesus - nothing more, nothing less. His name didn't change; He never changes. He is faithful, no matter the circumstances - always there, always upholding His children. In good times and bad, He is Just Jesus - all we need. May you allow Jesus to be all you need this Christmas.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Celebrating Advent

This year my church, McLean Bible Church, has put together a daily advent email. Each day I eagerly check my inbox for the email where someone from our music department sings (my hubs later in the month) or plays a traditional Christmas song followed by a written devotional. The music has been so good and the devotionals, even better. Since we're still early in the season, I wanted to give you a chance to celebrate Advent with us. You can sign up for the emails here.

If for any reason you'd prefer not to participate this way, I will be sharing some of the devotions on my blog as we go along.

May you have a Blessed Advent Season.