Tuesday, January 07, 2020

Reflecting on 2019, Part 2

As I mentioned yesterday, it always helps me to clarify my thinking in planning for a new year, if I can take an honest overall look at the year just past.  Here are some links to questions I've used to do this in previous years:

Four Questions to Evaluate Your Walk with God for the New Year

31 Questions for the New Year

And also the ten questions below, from Holley Gerth:

Any of these would be super helpful to anyone wanting to reflect on the year just past, or to consider how they want 2020 to look.

This year I decided to do something different and use A New Year’s Perspective from Denise Cunningham.  There are ten questions and so far I have answered five of them, so I'll begin with question 6 today.  I'll put my answers in a different color and font.

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 6.  What did I read last year?
I didn't keep track of what I read last year.  (Pathetic, I know.  I'll definitely plan to keep a list in 2020.  In fact, I've already finished a couple of books I started in December, so I can start my list right away.)  I think nearly all of the fiction I read, with maybe one exception, was by Jamie Langston Turner and were books I was re-reading.  I prefer Christian fiction when I read fiction, but am extremely picky about it.  So I tend to re-read authors that I really like.

As for nonfiction, I dipped into a number of books, but sad to say I didn't finish even one of them.  Here are some of the books I read in: The Fringe Hours, by Jessica Turner; Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands, by Paul David Tripp; Make Room for What You Love and Love the Home You Have, both by Melissa Michaels; An Everlasting Meal, by Tamar Adler; and Venturing with God in Congo, by Darrell Champlin.  I'm sure there were more, but those were probably the ones I spent the most time in.

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7.  Did I spend too much time on social media, television or videos (You Tube, Netflix)? Do I need to set limits for myself?
 I watched almost no TV (only a few minutes here and there on getaways)and only a few videos.  I do think I need to set limits for myself regarding Instagram.  What works well for me is not to look at Instagram before lunch.

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 8.  What creative outlets did I enjoy?
  I've learned that I am a person who needs to do something creative every day.  (Here is a link to a post I wrote about this topic back in 2010, and it's still true for me: Living in the Light of Creativity.)

Sometimes cooking and baking are creative outlets for me.  (Not always, though!) Throughout the year I did a bit of crafting here and there -- crocheting, sewing, cross-stitch -- and enjoyed that, though I never have as much time for crafting as I would like.  I find writing and blogging to be a creative outlet.  I also enjoy creating photo gifts with Shutterfly.  Books and calendars, in particular, require a good bit of creativity.  All of this helps with my goal to do something creative every day.  I've also found that even finding a new way to do a task, or figuring out a creative solution to a problem, scratches the creative itch.

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9.  Did I get enough exercise?  What could help motivate me to do more?
      I did get a lot of exercise last year, walking for an hour most days each week, even during winter other than some really icy days when it wouldn't have been safe or wise.  But I do feel that I need to get more exercise, especially on days when the weather or footing isn't good for walking.  I think one motivation will be having my husband home more.  Another potential motivation could be using a fitness tracker.

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10.  What area of my life brought the most joy?  The most frustration?
What brought the most joy?  Hospitality; reconnecting with old friends; conversation with my daughters and Jennifer; discipleship Bible studies; time with family; blogging; creating.

What brought the most frustration?  Housework, paperwork, and time management. Household tasks that won't stay done for more than half a day are an ongoing source of frustration for me.  Same thing with bills.  (My hubby does our finances, but I do the ones for my dad's place and trust.) I like to pay the bills when they arrive, because if I wait until I have several to pay at once, I tend to forget about them.  But if I pay a bill right when it arrives, it seems as if another arrives just a day or two later and I have to haul everything out again.  Maybe I frustrate too easily! 

Denise suggests, "These would be some great questions to pray about and later to ask your spouse or a close friend.  Some good discussion and accountability could follow!" 

She adds, "Enjoy the...  fresh New Year before you.  It has some wonderful opportunities to witness what God can and will do through you!"

And I wholeheartedly agree!


  1. It is always wonderful to sit and reflect on the past year, and certainly those questions are quite thought provoking! I didn't read as much last year as I would have liked either. I also need to be creative, I completely agree with you. It just makes me feel so much better to be doing something creative! Enjoy those walks with your husband, they are the best! My husband and I walk together as much as we can, its a great way to exercise both our body and our soul! Much love to you sweet friend!

    1. Thanks for your sweet visit, Marilyn! My hubby and I hope to start walking at sunset as you do. He retired from full time logging last Friday, but on Monday he started a short sheetrocking job with our son-in-law. It's different, at least, and the hours are much shorter, but I will be happy when he is home more and we can walk together.

      I've started writing down the books I finish reading in January on the back of my "Best of My Days" calendar cards. I think it will really help if I do that each month to challenge me to read more.

  2. I’m waffling about Instagram. It’s addicting to say the least. 🙂 There are a lot of books that I enjoy dropping into without reading cover to cover.

    1. Instagram is VERY addicting for me. I find that I can keep it pretty well under control if I restrict myself to afternoons and evenings only.

      Oh, I agree about books -- there are many one can dip into -- that one by Tamar Adler, for example, or some of the travel books my hubby received for Christmas.

      But I have some that I want to read and actually study. We will see how well I do with that! Another area where I need diligence ...

  3. What a very motivating and refreshing post! Oh how I would love to of had those questions as a guideline when we were reflecting on our past year! Since the new year is so new, I might just use them anyway. It doesn't hurt to do more reflecting.
    I didn't read as much as I wanted too either last year, though the book I received from Vee,, "The Last Of The Saddle Tramps," was one of the best I have ever read. My Dh and I read it together, we still discuss this book even now!
    I also would love to become more creative, I admire ladies such as yourself who are so creative, and share here in blogland.
    Your answer concerning what brought you the most joy was so encouraging to me, years ago we would have fellowship with church family quite often, I miss that! I have in the past enjoyed when you shared of this.
    I also enjoy reading Denise's blog!
    Congratulations to your husband on his retirement, I know there awaits more great adventures for you both together, especially when you have the devotions together!
    Thank you for visiting and for your sweet comment, enjoy your new devotional, my dh and I enjoy the mountains so much and would love to live there if we were younger,but for now, we are enjoying the photos and thoughts in our new book.
    Have a blessed day.

  4. Such wonderful thoughts and ideas for the new year. I fear I do not set very many goals, because I realize that I am not very good at keeping up with them. But I am working on doing better this year. Have started a new journal that will help me focus on these things. Thank you for your thoughts and encouragement!

    1. You are welcome, Pamela! My basic thought about goal setting is that old saying, "If you aim at nothing, you'll hit it every time." So I always try to aim at *something*.


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