Since 2008, the first year I began blogging, I have almost always taken time to end each year reflecting on the previous months, experiences, and milestones.
I’ll be honest, some years there has been a huge sense of relief that the year is over. Every year, I find that by taking a few moments to reflect, I can “hunt the good stuff,” and find gratitude even amidst difficult seasons.
Here are ten questions I found online and my attempt to cover 2015 and wrap it up nicely before moving into the New Year.
- What did I learn?
This year I learned quite a lot. I read over 70 books so there was much to be gleaned from book knowledge alone. I also learned a lot about me after spending lots of time getting a better understanding of myself using Strengthsfinders. I learned I am an introvert which explains so much. I learned extensive knowledge about the self-publishing industry.
2. What did I accomplish?
Probably one of the most noteworthy accomplishments this year was completing a manuscript and seeing my own book come fully to completion. I also accomplished a return to full time teaching in the college classroom. I also set out to complete several personal goals like keeping my house plants alive, having a fun monthly activity for our kids, having a monthly date night with Ryan, and having one “modest indulgence” for myself each month. I stuck with each of those goals and saw them to completion.
3. What would have done differently and why?
If I could have replayed this year differently, I am honestly not sure what I would have changed. There’s a minor schooling commitment we made with the kids’ schooling that if I had it to do over again, I don’t know that I would choose it a second time. I think I was second guessing myself with homeschooling a middle schooler. Instead I think I should have “stayed the course” and trusted what was working. I believe there’s always a blessing and lesson in even what seem to be “wrong” choices. I’m still hopeful that those lessons and blessings will be evident to me and serve as reminders going forward.
4. What did I complete or release?
I’d say the biggest project I completed would have to be Mission Ready Marriage. I also completed a coaching session for the Engage Your Strengths where I mentored about ten women and walked them through their own assessments for Strengthsfinders. Additionally, I completed my term in May as the 2014-2015 PWOC Prayer Coordinator at Fort Gordon.
5. What were the top three most significant events of the past year?
(1.) My book release probably tops the list. (2.) Seeing Ryan honored in Washington, D.C. would be next. (3.) Going back to work would be the third event.
6. What did I do right? What do I feel especially good about?
This is one that is something that fills up much of my thought life, my waking hours, and my prayer life. I’d say if there’s one area where I see fruit and goodness from anything I have contributed it is with our three wonderful children. I’m by no means a perfect parent and we do not have perfect children. However, Mae, Kate, and Thomas are very special people. For all of the second guessing I do, I can look at our three children and see that they are becoming awesome young people. Anything Ryan or I may do right is really just an extension of God’s grace and mercy.
7. What were the fun things I did?
Travel tips my list for fun. From D.C., Hilton Head, Fort Myers, St. Simon’s, to Jekyll Island and many trips home to Tennessee, nothing is more fun to me than hitting the road for a trip. During spring, summer, and early fall, three mornings a week I’d meet my neighbor for a five mile walk. It was fun, invigorating physically, and also good for the soul.
I’d also add to this list the joy of starting to listen to podcasts; I love Happier with Gretchen Rubin, Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey, Dave Ramsey, Elise Cripe, and Michael Hyatt. Finally, on a fluke I began following my name twin, Claire Wood, on Instagram. She’s from the U.K. and we share lots in common.
8. What were my biggest challenges, roadblocks, or difficulties?
One area that I am ending the year without much noticeable change is in the area of weight loss. I had grand intentions and many, many attempts to really see a drastic change in my weight. Over the course of the year, I’d guess that I lost nearly forty pounds. Unfortunately, it was never consecutive loss, only cumulative and I’m ending the year almost exactly the same weight as I started. I’m my own worst enemy in this area.
My other challenge would be living with occasional bouts of anxiety and what feels like situational depression. I aim to be strong in mind, body, spirit, but alas those same old struggles still seem to haunt me from time to time. I’ve learned over the years that there are necessary steps I must take to overcome those difficult seasons. One foot in front of the other…
9. How am I different this year than last?
I spent some considerable time this year really learning what makes me tick. From the EYS Strengthsfinders to several other books and inventories, I finally feel like I really understand myself and who I am, quirks and all. By having a better understanding of my own tendencies and uniqueness, I can better adapt to circumstances that seem to be constantly changing in our Army life. I also truly learned the power of saying No this year like never before. There’s a line in the show The Office where Michael asks Jim to do a particular task (picking out health insurance for the whole company) and Jim replies with, “yeah, that sounds like something…that…I…am…not…going…to do…” I’ve been employing that mantra a lot and have found much relief, joy, and pleasure in saying No with the proper motivations.
Other changes I have noted in myself in 2015?
I began practicing yoga.
I began a wonderful, necessary habit of waking at least an hour before my family to have quiet time or exercise or drink coffee.
I began the application process for becoming a Daughter of the American Revolution (D.A.R.).
10. For what am I particularly grateful?
Truly, I am most grateful for my relationship with the Lord. I’ve learned my own need to rely upon Him more and more as the years roll by.
My relationships are also paramount to my state of gratitude. Ryan is my partner, my best friend, my rock. Our kids are awesome and I am so grateful for the lessons they teach me and the delight and joy they add to my days. I’m grateful for our extended families and the fact that during this assignment we have all made efforts to see one another as often as possible.
I don’t take for granted my health or that of my family. These days I know what a huge blessing it is to be well.
Finally, although it is often my most difficult spiritual and mental challenge, I am very grateful for the ministry calling God has given us. He shows me and our family His constant provision through the road we walk.
Twenty-fifteen has been a great year and as always, God is faithful!!!
Do you ever reflect upon your year before a new one begins? What has been a highlight of your 2015?