on reflections of the past year

December 28, 2012 § Leave a comment

We had to take down our Christmas tree early because we had guests coming to stay and we needed the space. Normally, this would have made me cringe. I mean, what kind of person takes down Christmas on the actual Christmas day? Honestly, it felt good to put everything away. Ready to start the new year. I’m ready to set new goals.

First, however, I like to take the time to reflect on the year that has past. It’s been a good year, I have to say. Unexpectedly good. Like last year, I’m using Simple Mom’s reflection questions, answering the ones that are pertinent to me. Hope you enjoy them, as much as I enjoy answering them.


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

As always, many wonderful things happened this year. On personal, spiritual and even physical levels. But when I look back on this year, the one thing that stands out is our trip to Paris. It marked a new beginning for me, not to mention a dream come true.

What was the single most challenging thing that happened?

Ah, there are many a challenge I lived through this year. Understanding friendships in cross-cultural settings, packing up and leaving for a six-month long trip…

What was an unexpected joy this past year?

Can I bring up Paris again? Because that was a surprise I won’t soon forget… The buttery croissants, the macarons, French being spoken all around. It was glorious!

Also, parenting O has been such an unexpected joy this year. Not that before it wasn’t. But I think I’m finally coming into my own as a mommy. Plus, parenting a little boy is so.much.fun.

What was an unexpected obstacle this past year?

A week before we were to leave Turkey, the husband got really sick. It was crazy and unexpected, and yes, I was panicking. After he received some fluids at the hospital, he fell asleep and woke a new person. I was so glad! I don’t think we could have crossed the Atlantic without his invaluable help.

Pick three words to describe 2012.

fun = I had a lot of fun this year. After two years of dealing with cross-cultural adjustment and stress, I finally reached a point where I could have fun again. That was such a blessing.

morning= 2012 is the year I became a morning person. Well, not really. I did finally achieve my goal of waking up before my boys were up. To have some Bible time, some workout time, some quiet time. It didn’t happen every morning, but it happened most mornings and I’m so much better for it.

simple= it was the year of going back to basics. Finding my way back to my roots, relearning to apply my gifts and talents in new ways. Most importantly, it was the year of keeping things simple and meaningful.

What were the best books you read this year?

I always say the best book is the one I’m reading at the moment! I read two wonderful parenting books, that, in many ways, changed my outlook on motherhood. One was The Ministry of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson and the other was Wild Things:The Art of Nurturing Boys by Stephen James and David S. Thomas.

A fun light read that I thoroughly enjoyed, What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty.

Honorable mention goes to Thin Within by Judy Halliday, a book that has helped me in my journey to stay healthy and not be controlled by food.

With whom were your most valuable relationships?

Always and forever, my guys. Not a day goes by without my heart exploding with gratitude to God for these two wonderful people in my life.

Going back to my words (simple), I learned even more the value and the beauty of the relationship I have with my family. My sisters were my very first friends and continue to be my best friends. I miss them, immensely, everyday.

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

As mentioned before, I turned a new leaf. To quote Florence + The Machine:

Happiness hit her like a train on a track… The dog days are over, the dog days are done.

It was the year of many prayers answered. Big, small and outright impossible requests were seen. The God of Impossibles showed me, once again, that He is control. That with Him, the possibilities are endless. It was the year of finding a childlike faith. Gone is the cynicism, I’m not so jaded anymore. And that friends, is pure victory.

I am most certainly not the same girl that woke up on January 1st, 2012. I’m thirty, I’m thinner and I’m certainly happier (not because Im thirty and thinner, mind you!) 🙂

In what way(s) did you grow physically?

I am about the complete my 2nd round of the Insanity workouts. Just the fact that I was able to complete the first round is victory enough. But decide to go through it again and actually enjoy it? That, I never saw coming.

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

Laughing, wrestling, baking. Drawing, watching, playing. Running. Smiling. Learning. It’s been a fun year for this stay at home mom. Oh, and reaching an Advanced level of Turkish was the cherry on top!

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

Time management and flexibility. At one point I had four different guests coming to stay with us one after the other. One day the husband dropped off one of our guests as he was picking up some more friends that were coming to stay. I barely had time to throw new sheets on the bed. It was challenging, but we did it!

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

Oh, the usuals… Facebook, Pinterest. Of course this was the year of Instagram. Everybody and their mother is wasting time on Instagram these days.

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

Maximizing my times in the mornings was crucial to set the tone for the rest of the day. I am finally seeing the value in some housekeeping rules my mom taught me growing up. Finding a place for everything has helped me keep everything in its place.

What was biggest thing you learned this past year?

I learned that after a storm, comes the calm. And that in life, I’ll live through many storms still. Knowing that I have Eternal hope helps me know that there’s always light after some dark times. And dare I say it, there’s light even during it.

Create a phrase or statement that describes 2012 for you.

Joyful Endurance.

Wishing everyone a fantastic new year. 2012 was great, but I’m ready to see what the new year will bring.

Happy New Year sweet friends!



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