Reflections on 2011

One of the sites I follow, posted these 20 Questions for a New Year‚Äôs Eve Reflection. We’ll, I’m going to take advantage of some down time and answer these now. I thought it made a great topic to post on. ūüôā

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

–I started a successful accountability relationship. She has become my best friend.

2. What was the single most challenging thing that happened?

–My cousin (the only one on my dad’s side I was even remotely close to at the time) being arrested, tried, and convicted of murder.

3. What was an unexpected joy this past year?

–Making some great friends in the blogging world. I would have probably never met some of them had it not been for this space to share my heart.

4. What was an unexpected obstacle?

–The loss of a “friendship” with someone I had thought was sent to help me with my walk.

5. Pick three words to describe 2011.

–Glad it’s over

6. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe your 2011 (don’t ask them; guess based on how you think your spouse sees you).

–Drama Drama Drama (mostly outside of course)

7. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe their 2011 (again, without asking).

–Just another year

8. What were the best books you read this year?

–Grace for the Good Girl (not completely done, but definitely the best)

9. With whom were your most valuable relationships?

–My husband, My sister, my parents, Kelsey (my accountability partner), Jackie (my mentor)

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

–Believing I am valuable enough to stand up for what I believe is right without fearing what the outcome may be.

11. In what way(s) did you grow emotionally?

–My fears don’t have as much control over me as they once did.

12. In what way(s) did you grow spiritually?

–I have consistently read through the bible, had a successful accountability relationship, and have began to learn exactly what trusting God looks like in my life.

13. In what way(s) did you grow physically?

–I started to (and enjoyed) working out…that is until my gym closed unexpectedly last month.

14. In what way(s) did you grow in your relationships with others?

–I have began to recognize those who deserve my trust and respect and those who don’t before getting too attached. (This my sound like a step backwards but for me it’s a step forward)

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

–I found a job that I truly enjoy and find rewarding. I learn to love it more each day, even on the bad days.

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

–Learning how to best diffuse the behaviors before the clients are in a full blown out behavior

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

–It’s a tie…facebook and pinterest

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

–Spending time with my dad, sister and husband

19. What was biggest thing you learned this past year?

–How to not get overwhelmed with the everyday facts that I cannot control.

20. Create a phrase or statement that describes 2011 for you.

–The hardest year of my life thus far, yet the most personal growth I’ve had to date as well.

I’d love to hear about your¬†inputs¬†on 2011.

Grace for the Good Girl Chapter 11

We left off with¬†chapter 10¬†last tme. By this time according to the¬†schedule, I should be taking a break this week and picking up with chapters 14 and 15 next week…well I’m just a little behind. At the start of this, being off schedule would have frustrated me…to no end. Since I’m learning that life isn’t always about the rules, I’m not going to let this little setback get me frazzled.

Soo anyway, on to Chapter 11:

“Knowing what you have makes all the difference.”¬†So often we relish in all we don’t have, rather than focus on all He’s already given us. What a silly mistake we constantly make.

Soul Vs. Spirit

“…when it comes to understanding how to come out from behind the masks we wera and live in freedom from those false identities, the distinction between soul and spirit becomes a vital part of our experience.”¬†I’ve never been taught that they weren’t the same thing. I have always been taught that soul and spirit are one and the same.

The Visible Invisible

“The invisible can be overlooked until it isn’t there anymore.”¬†Perhaps this is why we so often feel distance between ourselves and God. Because we tend to overlook our relationship with Him until it begins to fade.

The Anatomy of the Invisible

So if I feel rejected, I’m likely to believe that I am unacceptable. If I feel embarrassed, I am likely to believe that I am a fool. If I feel capable, I’m likely to believe I can handle anything.”¬†

“When my spirit meets God’s Holy Spirit, life is made available.”

The Letting

“…simply knowing wasn’t enough…she had to let it be true.”¬†How often have I known something, but refused to let that truth actually sink¬†through my thick skull? Too many if I were to guess.

“Peace stands between them (my mask and my Savior), looks me straight in the eye, and asks permission to do what peace does best: give rest”¬†I love this. Over the last week I reached out to someone, in hopes to make amends in our relationship. I came out with some pretty big scars, but I felt God asking me to take that step. It’s been almost 2 weeks with no response. Instead of doing as I would have done before and over thinking the whys and what-nots about the lack of response, but instead, peace is reigning. Peace that I followed the call. Peace because I know that as far as it depends on me, I made the attempt to live at peace with this former friend.

“…I have to let peace be peaceful within me.” Amen! I haven’t learned out to do this very well until recently.¬†

The Mystery

“Born as a daughter of Eve, your flesh was your only option because your spirit was dead.” Since we’re all daughters of eve…from birth into flesh…we were dead in spirit upon birth. “…now you have a choice:…Let fear dominate or let peace rule?”¬†Seems like an easy choice huh? Until we allow our fleshly minds to think and rethink and over-think things.

The Release

“If you want to embrace the reality of who he is and who he has made you to be, you first have to release the lie of who you always thought you were.” Oh wow. Cutting straight to the heart there…ouch. Time to go lick that wound…nah. I’ll let the one who opened it, slowly close it up as I learn how to live this statement out.

Receive

“Are you trying to be who Jesus wants you to be? Or do you trust him to bring out who he has already created you to be? It is vital to recognize the difference between these two questions because one leads to death, the other leads to life.” I thinkknow I need to reflect on this more often.

“Only Jesus can be like Jesus. And he wants me to trust him to be who he is in and through me.” Lord, teach me how to have this sort of trust. Show me what it means to truly trust you. Amen.

My plan is to do chapters 12 and 13 within the next few days. Hopefully I can be all caught up within the next week. But as this book has been forcing me to do this whole time, I will take it word by word, sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph and soak as much as I can.

Blessings friends! Happy New Years to you and yours. Be sure to click on over here and subscribe to this blog starting on Sunday!

Heaviness

Yesterday afternoon, I was all pumped up about writing a post on all the new and exciting things happening at the start of 2012. Before I got the chance to I was informed of some devastating news. Before I get to that, I’ll share with you the reality of a friend’s family from the past several days.

On Friday, a 9 year old girl was reported missing. She and her 2 sisters had been staying with a family friend ¬†for about a week due to their mother being ill with the flu. She’d been missing from early in the morning, but a report wasn’t filed right away due to what was described as a “communication error”.

On Saturday, there was a team that combed a 5 mile radius. Their search came up empty. That night they questioned several people who had contact with her recently.

On Sunday…Christmas Day, no further searches were done. They requestioned a couple people and questioned a few others.

Yesterday, The FBI came on board and they questioned some again. After several hours one broke. He admitted to killing the little girl in an extremely gruesome way.

Today, Mourning and pain flows through all outlets possible.

Today, I find myself sick to my stomach. How can one, who was a close family friend do such a thing. The information received last night, reminded me again how much I hate the evil in this world.

I want to be mad, and stay that way, but I know that’s not what my Creator would want from me. His reaction is to hate the evil in this world and the evil one who causes it, but to love the person behind the acts. As hard as it is to think about it right now, God originally made this man like he did all of us, in His image. This man was just¬†persuaded by Satan to do the evil he wanted done.

So, the next day or two, I may be quiet again, mourning the loss for my friends and their family. Please keep the entire Lemmon family in your prayer.

A little rest

With this being the week of Christmas, and the fact I’m still trying to recover¬†from not getting a whole lot of sleep this weekend, I think I’m going to be taking a short break from writing…I’ll probably be back next week, if not then, DEFINITELY by the 1st…after-all, I have¬†want¬†to remind everyone of a wonderful website that starts up on the first.

So, over the next week or so, don’t feel like I’ve fallen off the face of the earth. I will still be reading¬†blogs, I just won’t be writing¬†any new posts. I don’t necessarily want¬†to do this, but I feel that I need¬†to do this.

With this being one of the (if not the) last post of 2011, I wanted to leave you with links back to my favorite posts from this year.

  1. Insight
  2. Faith or Superstition
  3. Honesty
  4. Alarm clocks/church
  5. Caring
  6. Out of Focus
  7. Childlike
  8. To My Core
  9. I Love My Daddy
  10. My Fear
  11. Feedback Please
  12. Language Check Please

As I see comments come in, I will respond, maybe not quickly, but I promise, I’ll keep the trend I’ve started with responding back to the comments I receive. So I love YOU¬†and wish you nothing but the happiest, merriest Christmas celebrations you’ve ever had. Don’t forget to spend some time reflecting on the real reason we’re able to even celebrate.

I want YOU

I’m stealing this from a fellow blogger. She posted this idea yesterday and think it’s too cool. It’s a chance for us writers to get to know our followers better. I hope you’ll take part in this.

My name is ____________________ (you can use a nickname or just your first name if you would like)

I am _________________________ (student / wife / single mom / etc )

I love to ___________ and _______________.

I am happiest when I am ________________________.

If I could do anything in the world, I would _____________. (this is my favorite question!)

here’s mine: My name is Amy McCollister. I am a young wife who works at a group home for developmentally disabled adults. I love to read (anything from blogs to books and back) and crochet. I am happiest when I am with my family and friends, or writing something that’s been placed in my heart. If I could do anything in the world, I would effectively shine Christ onto each and every soul that I encounter every day.

I hope you all have a blessed weekend. I’ve got a busy one for sure. Lunch with the in-laws in about an hour. Then a bake extravaganza for a bake sale at church tomorrow. After that I’m crazy enough to be working 8p-8a at a group home I’ve only worked in¬†once…lets just say, I hope that the clients sleep well..haha. Then church tomorrow and hopefully an easy day after that to¬†recover¬†from the long night ahead.

I’ll be checking in to this as often as possible throughout the day and hopefully commenting fairly quickly back.

Psst…

I have a secret…okay, well MAYBE it’s not so much of a secret anymore. Starting next month a new site is starting up! I cannot wait for it. It’s going to be a blog community where women can come together and be real with each other. I’ve been blessed enough to become a contributing author for this community. Our goal is to create a place where women can come and grow together sharing in the good times, the bad times, and the struggles we all have. We’d love to have you join us, the website is¬†http://mustlovegod.net/. We’ll be having posts on Monday Wednesday Friday and Saturdays!!!

…this thought just¬†occurred¬†to me…Must Love God¬†about a year ago one of my goals for my life was to become more healthy in all areas of my life. The acronym I used was SEMP (Spiritual Emotional Mental Physical). Lo-and-behold…those are the very focuses of this website. How my God amazes me every day of my life.

Another thought…this is the time of year we focus on the Advent. Awaiting the time that Christ comes back. He promised us that he’d be back for us, and we’re all anticipating it. My thought on this is isn’t this how we’re supposed to live every single day of our lives?¬†I think so. And if that’s the case, why do we focus so much on it now? and not as much on it after Christmas? Just some food for thought.

 

Untraditional Tradition

My husband I have unintentionally started a tradition, but it’s a tradition that I have come to love, even more once I realized that it’d been our¬†tradition. For Christmas, most exchange gifts either on Christmas eve or Christmas day. However, my husband and I haven’t ever (at least, in the 6 years we’ve been together, I can’t remember ever) exchanged gifts on Christmas day. We usually exchange them within the first couple weeks of December.

There are many reasons¬†excuses for doing so. The first year we were together, we had separate family events that prohibited it. After we were going to each others family gatherings, we still¬†didn’t wait until Christmas day to exchange gifts. I get so excited about what I’d gotten for him, that I can’t ever bring myself to wait to give it to him, no matter how small of a gift it might be. (I am the worst at saving a gift for the reason I got it). He usually makes the mistake of telling me when he gets my gift, then¬†curiosity gets the best of me, and I annoy¬†ask him about it until he gives in and gives it to me early.

The other day, I was thinking over¬†feeling bad about my issue with being able to wait to receive a gift that I knew¬†was supposed to be for Christmas. Then it hit me. We (my husband and I) have never¬†been traditional about giving gifts. No matter the occasion–birthday, Christmas, anniversary.

Then I was given another perspective on it. This time, a freeing revelation. By giving our gifts ahead of time, despite still having family gatherings, we are able to better reflect on the real meaning of Christmas without being distracted with whether or not our gift was received well.

Which then lead me to thinking, “I wonder if we’ll continue our¬†tradition when we have kids…or if we’ll fall into the regular¬†tradition.” I’m hoping that instead of falling into pattern, we’ll keep it the same because after thinking it over, it really makes a lot of sense to me for us to keep it the same.

Do you have any untraditional traditions?