This morning in church, our pastor talked about looking back and considering our priorities, and about pressing on with confidence.**
With it being the end of one year, and the beginning of another, I have been reflecting on the past year, and looking ahead to 2015.
As I think about last year, here are some of my thoughts:
* In February, I lost my dad. Someone so full of faith and love and life. He was not a perfect man, but he was an amazing man. I miss him so much, and have heard the sound of his voice on my birthday, through all the Christmas carols he used to sing, his jokes and silly comments, and in so many other ways. What I wouldn't give to have coffee with him again! I have great memories, and my kids still talk about him often. I struggle with seeing other people with their dads, and grandkids with their grandpas, wishing my dad was still a part of our lives: watching games, coming to concerts, and just being silly while visiting. I know that I will always miss him, but do imagine him watching those special moments from heaven. I also realize that I have been blessed to have my dad as such a strong and wonderful role model for 35 years of my life.
* I have read some great books in the past year that have had an impact on my life:
- Francis Chan's "Crazy Love" which challenged me in my faith.
- Bob Goff's "Love Does" which reminded me so much of my dad, and challenged me in my faith.
- Alvin VanderGriend's "Love to Pray" - which pushed me in my prayer life.
- "Wonder" by R. J. Palacio - which is a great read about a pre-teen's struggle.
- "A Single Shard" by Linda Sue Park - which had me in tears at the end.
- "10 Mindful Minutes" by Goldie Hawn - which focused on the importance of quiet reflection.
- "Seeking God's Face" by Philip F. Reinders - which I will read again this year.
* I was involved with some neat things this past year:
- OMLTA Conferences, love going every year, connecting with colleagues, and learning more
- Joining a new church, love the MRCC
- Running the Read4Success program at my school, I loved learning with the families that attended
- Going to Jamaica with friends, good to get away and relax
- UGDSB Learning Fair, loved hearing Pinball Clemons speak
- Having a "While You Were Out" experience planned by my husband and mom
- Wingham Homecoming, love being a part of a small town
- My sister-in-law's wedding, such a beautiful day for a beautiful couple
- And lots of great times with my kids, family and friends (going through my Facebook feed from the last year, it was great to relive those memories!)
I truly believe in life-long learning, and I learned a lot this year. I learned a lot about prayer and how important it is. I learned a lot about myself and what is truly important to me. I learned a lot about being a teacher. Most of all, I learned about the importance of faith and family and friends and community.
As I look ahead to 2015, I have some goals:
- Be more organized, which should be more specific...
- Spend less, which has changed to: use money wisely.
- Eat less, which has changed to: eat better.
- Exercise more.
- Pray more.
- Help more.
- Love more.
- Encourage more.
- Be more and do more. But not in the sense of making my calendar super-full, in the sense that I want to do the things that God wants me to do, and live the life that he wants me to live wherever I am and whatever I am doing.
Here's to another year, full of new experiences. I feel a bit jaded after last year. My usual excitement for a new year is lessened as I lost my dad last year. However, I see grief in a whole different way now, and I hope that I can be a better support to others as they grieve. I also know that my life is rich in so many ways. My dad always used to say, "We may not be rich in money, but we are rich in love." I have used that quote with my own kids now too. My life is full of people who love me and care about me, and I them, and that has made my life so rich and full. I realize that there are people out there who do not have that kind of support, I want to become more aware of those situations, and I want to help or do something. I am not sure what that will look like, but I am open to new possibilities.
Blessings to you and yours in 2015!
**Philippians 3:1-16 - The Message: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Philippians+3%3A1-16&version=MSG