A smart way to look forward is to look back first. After all, they say that you are doomed to repeat history if you don’t study it. I always like to start my year off with reflection. This year I dug a little deeper because I had TEN years worth of records to peruse via the blog archives.
This year in June will mark my TENTH year of blogging. TEN whole years. One for every brain cell I have left after 13.33362 years of homeschooling. No, really. I looked it up on the internet to the date, hour, minute, and second. Want to hear a scary story? I still have about 15 years to go until I graduate my youngest.
Side note: Sorry for the silence in here over the holidays. I wanted to give my family the gift of my presence – not just presents. Getting back to blogging was difficult, I’ll admit. I’ve been reflecting long and hard over everything with my oldest approaching his 18th birthday in just a few short weeks. I’ve been focusing hard on real life and it has been hard to find words or time to write them (having a five and three year old to interrupt every thought you have is probably another obstacle that is partly to blame).
Nevertheless, since I’m about to hit a blogging milestone, I wanted to peek back at my resolutions over the years I’ve been sharing online and gather insight to help me shape my 2015 resolutions.
Take a look back with me at my resolution posts from 2005 through the present:
I started blogging in June of 2005, so I didn’t have a new year’s post that year to reflect back on. Instead of a new year resolution post, I’ll share with you my SCHOOL YEAR RESOLUTIONS for 2005.
That post was a quiz – a great one to give yourself at the start of a new year or school year. I think I’ll take it again and maybe post my answers some time in January while resolution-making is on everyone’s minds.
I’m not sure why I didn’t post resolutions in 2006, but I did post a book review for “Order and the Organized Homeschooler” by Vicki Caruana. I posted it in January – probably because I was reading it for myself during that resolution-making time of the year. I love that book. I read it every year. That means I’ve read it for thirteen years now – either right before the school year or in January when homeschool burnout hits.
My resolutions for 2007 were strikingly similar to a lot of the ones I’ll probably jot down this year on my teacher and day planner. This is either an indication that I’ve been failing to keep the same resolutions for a decade, or that you are always a work in progress. Being the glass half full type, I’ll go with the latter – because there’s not enough chocolate in my house to drown my sorrows if I go with the former.
At the end of 2007, I talked about the meaning behind RESOLUTION. I enjoyed re-reading that one (a very pertinent post if you are thinking about making and keeping resolutions, no matter how old it is).
2008 was our first year back in Texas after spending two holiday seasons there. I had miscarried a baby in the early fall of 2007 and gained some weight, so I added some health goals (even if some were a bit misguided compared to what I now know), a long list of to-dos for the year, and a revamp to my homeschool schedule as resolution posts for the year. I love it when I get ambitious and make lists so long that they burn your retinas as you read them. It usually precedes me feeling defeated because the list is too long, though – just sayin’.
In 2009, I was pregnant with my now five year old. December of 2008 was spent looking forward to meeting him for the first time and trying to find a comfy sleep position. 2009 beginnings included a March birthday for my little guy and a new family dynamic after a ten year gap between him and his next oldest sibling. My posts for the new year included a devotional about hope that includes a lot of great new year quotes and a prayer for the new year. Well worth the re-read.
Of course, I usually don’t let the first month of the year get away without making a long list… 127 resolutions in list format. If you follow me for any length of time online you’ll find my list-mania rearing its numbered head every so often. January and August seem to be my heaviest list-making months!
I dropped my DSLR out of the back of our SUV on the way home from Christmas vacation in 2010. The last photo I shot was the header post for my new years devo for 2010. I’m sure I posted a long list of to do items for 2010, too… but I have too many things on this year’s to-do list to reflect on that one.
In 2011 I got serious about my naming and claiming of the new year. I had another baby in February that year… my youngest, who is now three, almost four. I didn’t let that stop me from making another list, however… 2011 brought about another huge annual list instead of boring resolutions.
There’s a nice little devo on Peace in 2012 (peace was my word of the year). I got a little shiver remembering how I came upon that word. God is amazing.
For 2013, the year was all about choice; making the right ones, of course! The devo began after a comment my daughter made about the choices her brother was making that pricked my own heart. We could all stand to make wiser choices with our actions, time, and money.
Another thing I resolved to do in 2013 was to get fit after being fed up with feeling frumpy. I gave a good go at it in 2013 and began losing weight, but dieting is not the answer to weight loss; lifestyle change is. It wasn’t until this past year in 2014 that we figured out how to really change our health by correcting our eating habits and getting educated on truth about nutrition. I’m going to continue my Fed Up to Fit challenge for myself and my family in 2015, but this year I’m focusing more on being more active since we already eat MUCH better than we ever have. Increasing water intake, exercise and sleep habits are the major issues we still have to tackle.
Looking Back on 2014
In January 2014, I came out of the virtual closet with my addiction to Instagram. I love using my iPhone to capture images and memories. I broke into the new year with an IG Challenge for participating iphoneographers to share in – a photo a day with a word theme for each day. Those were fun. I think I nearly did a challenge each month for a year, but I just couldn’t keep up after school started this year. I’ve slacked off on the me-stuff trying to get my teens graduated and my tiny guys started with real school. I may pick them up again one day… but for now, I’m just trying to keep the plates in the air that are most important. You can still find me on IG, though. It is my most preferred social media channel… even above blogging, most of the time.
Sometimes I think the world is spinning faster than it needs to. That’s the way 2014 felt for me… even with all the drag from health issues and stress. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for a clean page and I’ve learned a lot about how there will always be loose ends and things left undone, so I’m OK with this year not being perfect as long as we aim at walking with the One who created the master plan.
I gave a lot of time and thought and PRAYER to my word – or rather, my PHRASE for 2014. It was all based on the bible verse about running to win the prize in 1 Corinthians 9:24… about not giving up just because things aren’t easy. Sometimes you’ve gotta eat your frog. There is a long list of great verses there to tape on your refrigerator if you want to help yourself not give in when you think of cheating yourself on this year’s resolutions.
Before I began this post, I admit, I thought about starting with a list for 2015, or an IG challenge and desktop calender (those are much easier and require less thought and reflection). But with all that is going on in the world and my children coming of age to be adults that will soon be shaping the future themselves, I find myself shying away from easy shallow posts. As you may have noticed… I have been posting less this past school year. Sorry, friend… I assure you, I think of things each day that I’d love to share (and often do share them on Facebook and Instagram – sometimes even Twitter)… but when I sit in front of the computer to type, the bigger issues are always swirling around and crowd the simple stuff out.
I’ve mulled a few words over for my theme in 2015, but I’m not certain just yet. I’ve done a phrase or word of the year since 2009. I’ve felt very stretched thin during 2014 and feel like God still has me on a potter’s wheel. Ever heard that Sunday School song… “He’s still working on me”? I’ve been hanging on to my gratitude journal and desperately praying every week for Him to make me a prayer warrior. He’s answering that prayer faithfully… which is why I have had less to say and more to pray (be careful what you wish for).
Here are my words/phrases of the year for the past few years:
2014: Run the Race to Win the Prize (1 Corinthians 9)
2013: Choice – choose wisely (Psalm 90:12)
2012: Peace (Philippians 4:7)
2011: Joy (Nehemiah 8:10)
2010: Live on Purpose (Isaiah 26:3)
2009: Closer Walk with Him (James 4:8)
Someone mentioned on a comment last year that they picked a word each month instead of a word for the whole year… allowing God to pick their word for the year by seeing if months had a recurring theme. I thought that was a pretty neat “experiment”. So, unless I get an epiphany pretty soon, I’m going to pick an overarching theme as each month unfolds and just see what wisdom God gives me (I’ll review each month’s theme in a post – which will give me a lot more pause to reflect on what God is doing in our family through the year). Reflection doesn’t mean much unless you have a treasure to ponder as you reflect. I want to look at the accomplishments, the failures, the achievements, and the blessings of each month and use them as a lens to see God’s hand in my life. I want to dedicate this year to asking Him for “eyes to see” (reflection) and “ears to hear” (wisdom).
Have you reflected back on your 2014 and come up with a word of the year, some resolutions, a devotional, or just a list of goals or to-do items for 2015? I’d love to see them. I’m pretty sure I’ll be making an annual list this year and quite a few other lists as well. I can almost feel the winds of change blowing our way this year… and I’m excited to see what God is up to.