I’m a big fan of introspection–as long as it goes beyond navel gazing. It’s good to think, to review, to evaluate, and then to use that information as you move ahead. My friend Lindsey, a TCK, posted these questions on her blog yesterday. I thought it was a good, difficult, and fitting way to review 2012. Since my blogging was sporadic (at best) this year, you may learn something about my year!
Here we go . . .
1. What was the single best thing that happened this year?
As a family, the seven of us spend a good deal of time together especially when you consider that we live thousands of miles apart. Most of that time is spent at my brother’s home in southern California. While it’s a change of pace, it’s rarely a kick back and vacay kind of time together.
This year my parents reached their 50th wedding anniversary. We all celebrated by cruising on Holland America’s Statendam from Vancouver, BC to Seward/Anchorage, AK. It was a great time of not being responsible for much, enjoying each other, and marveling at God’s creation.
2. What was the single most challenging thing that happened?
This is hard to answer. I feel like 2012 had some big challenges, but probably the most challenging was health related things. I have mystery ailments that pop up out of nowhere. Just when I start to feel healthy . . . BOOM! Something new happens. The latest was an allergic reaction to one of three medications. This summer it was mysterious lumps and bruises on my left leg. A few weeks ago one of my doctor’s called me a delicate flower. Hmmmmmmmm.
3. What was an unexpected joy of this year?
Music. Concerts specifically. I can’t remember the last time I attended a real (non-school, non-church concert) before 2012. I got to go to three this year–the Rock and Worship Road Show in February, Toby Mac in March, and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy in December. Not only did I get to go to three concerts, but for two of them I got to hang around backstage with one of the bands either before (10th Avenue North) or after (Big Bad Voodoo Daddy) the concert. Sheer joy.
My budget is pretty lean. Spending those scarce dollars on music hasn’t made much sense to me, but I’m rethinking it.
4. What was an unexpected obstacle?
Health challenges. Looking at the overall picture of my life, this shouldn’t have been unexpected, but it was. After my second set of Achilles surgeries in 2011, I decided I would recover and be healthy. My body surprised me by not complying in strange and unpredictable ways.
5. Pick three words to describe 2012.
Transition. Tough. Enough.
6. Pick three words those close to you would use to describe your 2012. (Don’t ask . . . just guess)
Busy. Travel. Stretched.
7. What were the best books you read this year?
The Meeting of the Waters by Fritz Kling; The Serpent’s Shadow by Rick Riordan; On Little Wings by Regina Sirois; Hurt and Hurt 2.0 by Chap Clark.
8. With whom were your most valuable relationships?
My family, but beyond them there are so many! I’m rich in relationships. I really value my cohort at WorldVenture. We balance each other well and we know how to laugh well. Outside of that . . . close by . . . my neighbors Joanna and Anji . . . my friends Laurie, Tirzah, and Debbie . . . further away . . . Jan and Tammy . . . and there are so many beyond that. My interns–I seriously value my relationship with each of them. I’m not sure how I can keep saying good-bye to them anymore, and I’m so thankful they come back. So many TCKs ! That’s just the start of the answer, but I’m going to leave it at that. I’m overwhelmed when I start to think of all the people I value. (If you’re reading and don’t see your name, it doesn’t mean you aren’t valued!)
9. What was the biggest personal change from January to December of this year?
Learning to be more OK with who I am. I just feel more settled into being me . . . if that makes any sense.
10. In what ways did you grow emotionally?
I think the answer to 10 echos 9. Learning to accept me as I am at the moment freed up a lot of emotional energy. Sure, there are ways I’d like to change, but the emotions surrounding them don’t consume as much as they once did.
11. In what ways did you grow spiritually?
I’d never classify myself as a worrier, but finances can push me in that direction. Seeing God’s generosity through his people going over and above anything I could imagine, especially in the last four months pulls me further into trusting God’s goodness.
12. In what ways did you grow physically?
I grew in strength this year. Core strength that helps me do more well and longer. I even got to the point where I kinda, sorta liked time at the gym once I got there. Now I have to remind myself of that and get back into it for the 5 weeks before my next trip.
13. In what ways did you grow in your relationship with others?
I took a little more initiative this year with some key friendships. I have a lot of room for improvement here!
14. What was the most enjoyable part of your work (both professionally and at home)?
Professionally–people! Sure there are a few people that make me think, “WHAT?!?!?!” but they’re rare. I love walking into a gathering of WorldVenture’s international staff and feeling like I’m going to a family reunion. At home–having clean carpets and a new desk. (Thanks, Mom and Dad!)
15. What was the most challenging part of your work (both professionally and at home)?
Professionally – transition. This year was a lot of limbo. Waiting for WorldVenture’s new president . . . switching up the interview and orientation process . . . new summer interns and getting them all and then training them . . . good-byes. Lots of transition.
At home – finding order, space, and recreation. My home so often mirrors my inner self. During quieter times I find the energy to create more order and more things and enjoy them. Chaos begins to take over with longer trainings, more travel, and recovery from them.
16. What was the best way you used your time this year?
Hanging out with the interns. Leading a retreat in Thailand. iDiscipleship. Playing games with the nephews. Writing.
17. What was the biggest time waster this year?
The internet was a big one, but I think games on my phone sucked more time than anything else.
18. What was the biggest thing you learned this year?
This year’s biggest lesson wasn’t new–God provides. Whether it was a male intern who grew up in Spain and another European country, clean carpets, leg room on an international flight, the location of an important piece of paper, money for a car repair, or a million other minute things–he provided when I most needed it.
19. Create a phrase or statement that describes 2012 for you.
Hard and busy, but full of God’s attention.
Photo Credits: Alaskan glacier – Sheryl O’Bryan; Big Bad Voodoo Daddy – Amazon.com; 10th Avenue North – Sheryl O’Bryan; Rend Collective Experiment – Sheryl O’Bryan; Future and Former interns – Daniel Christie; Intern/nephew/retreat collage pictures – Sheryl O’Bryan; collages created at pixlr.com