Thursday, January 1, 2009

Reflection Questions for 2008

I got these questions on yesterday, and have had such a wonderful time answering them that I thought I'd share them with you in the last introspective post about 2008 that I'm going to write!

1. What was the single best thing that happened this past year? Writing the "Week in Review posts"—I feel they helped me appreciate my daily life more.

2. What was the single most challenging thing that happened? Probably the playroom addition—even though it is a good thing, it required some adjustments to our routine, especially around Christmas.

3. What was an unexpected joy this past year? Getting to go on the scrapbooking retreat—I made some new friends and just really got to act like a teenager at a sleepover again, which I think I had never expected I’d do again.

4. What was an unexpected obstacle? The recession did affect Justin’s business for the last quarter of the year, but thanks to Dave Ramsey’s advice, we were prepared for the slow paychecks and now it looks like we will be able to replace that money and continue saving because the first of the year is going to be busy.

Oh, I learned from browsing in my archives that I apparently had a recurrence of my anxiety disorder in May. I barely remember it since adjusting my medication fixed everything so well. This is why people sometimes have trouble staying on antidepressants; it just makes you feel normal, and they forget it’s the meds making them feel normal, so they think they don’t need the meds. Not me, man. I need the meds…at least for now.

5. Pick three words to describe 2008. Laughter, challenge, messy.

6. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe your 2008 (don’t ask them; guess based on how you think your spouse sees you). Blessed, sleepy, challenge (yes, I do think we’d use the same word.)

7. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe their 2008 (again, without asking). Work, family, church

8. What were the best books you read this year? Fiction: Gilead and Home by Marilynne Robinson; The Used World by Haven Kimmel; The Writing Class by Jincy Willett; The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer; In the Woods by Tana French; Twilight by Stephenie Meyer.

Nonfiction: The Power of a Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian; Mystery and Manners by Flannery O’Connor; The Challenge of Jesus: Discovering Who Jesus Was and Is by N.T. Wright; Between Parent and Child by Dr. Haim Ginott; Housekeeping vs. the Dirt by Nick Hornby.

Whew! And there were a lot that I liked but just weren't quite as great as these.

9. With whom were your most valuable relationships? Justin, Miss Pink and Mr. Blue, my parents, my “blog friends” including those I know in real life. I love all of y'all!

10. What was your biggest personal change from January to December of this past year? Adding time to pray to my (mostly) daily routine has made me more tender in my spirit—more open to noticing God at work around me in the small things that make my heart weep with joy, and more able to trust God with the questions that arise in the course of life.

11. In what way(s) did you grow emotionally? I think I became more compassionate to the needs of others. Through several books, I also learned how to deal with my children’s emotions in a way that will help them learn to control their emotions as they mature. This method also helps me control my emotions instead of getting so annoyed with the kids’ emotional outbursts. I hope I can remember to use it more and more!

12. In what way(s) did you grow spiritually? I feel closer to God and I feel I want to spend time with Him instead of viewing devotional time as a chore that a “good Christian” should check off her to-do list.

13. In what way(s) did you grow physically? Fortunately, I didn’t grow in physical size! I did commit to going to the gym on a regular basis. I probably do have more muscular strength than I used to. Working out does give me more energy, too.

14. In what way(s) did you grow in your relationships with others? Less (mostly internal) conflict. I used to get all worked up about what people said to me and what I said to them and wondering if they still liked me and all of that. It was exhausting. Now I take people at face value. I have a healthier attitude toward my friendships; if a friendship gets less intimate because of the other person’s choices, I can accept that if it can’t be changed. I know different friendships can meet different needs in my life.

I also have less conflict with my husband. Both of us have learned to let things go; if we start disagreeing, especially over something we’ve disagreed about before, we can usually stop ourselves and change the subject or turn it into a joke. This is huge, of course; I think that the ability to avoid pointless conflict can save marriages!

15. What was the most enjoyable area of managing your home? It hasn’t changed: I still love cooking for people. There’s something so fulfilling about giving the gift of good homemade food—it’s love, pure and simple.

16. What was your most challenging area of home management? Keeping the floors clean. I procrastinate sweeping, mopping, and vacuuming.

17. What was your single biggest time waster in your life this past year? I’m sure it was the Internet. However, I don’t consider blogging a waste of time, really, since I’m connecting with other people’s stories. If I discount blogging, it was TV.

18. What was the best way you used your time this past year? Prayer and spending time with family.

19. What was biggest thing you learned this past year? I can trust God with everything in my life.

20. Create a phrase or statement that describes 2008 for you. Love matters most.

Can you think of three words that describe 2008 for you?


  1. Quite introspective - go, you! :)

    My 3 words: full, inspiring, growth

    Great exercise - I think I'll take this one back to my students.

    Happy new year!

  2. What a great list!

    Hmmm, three words (off the top of my head):

    gratitude, growth, acceptance

    Happy New Year to you, too!



  3. Now that would be very enlightening, I think, to answer those questions for myself. Maybe Andrew and I will do this together later tonight and let the night take shape as it might.

    Three words? Notice every minute.

  4. I love the year in review reflective type posts.

    Hmm, my three words would be

    perseverance, love, decisions

  5. I saw these on simplemom and told Jonny on our date this weekend I want us to actually sit down and answer these questions together so we can have some assistance in completing a meaningful conversation!

    I'm not sure what my three words would be. I think I ended the year on a bad note personally, and that taints my view of the entire year, so the words that come to mind are all negative. And that's just not reflective of the year as a whole.

  6. Somehow I guessed you would say the 'playroom' when I saw that question...*laugh*

    3 words for 2008?
    Miracles, Tears, Fullfillment

    (hey girl, I've got a 'Wonder Woman' Award for you, go claim it, won't ya?)