I use to be that person to make New Year’s resolutions. Mine was always something about exercising more or eating healthier, being more consistent in going to church or making a journal entry every night.
The past five years I have instead adopted a routine of going through my year, month by month and creating a two column list of events, activities and people. I place them in either the column that a) Brings me Joy and positivity influence or b) Does not. This catalog of memories has helped me decide on the things that I should repeat in the upcoming New Year and which activities or people I should avoid.
It seems simple but sometimes we may see activities as fun and not destructive at the time. Other times we may see an activity as uncomfortable but later realized it was an opportunity for change or positive growth. The first time I did it, it was difficult. It was hard to remember most things and then the details were always hazy. Now that this is something I think about often I not only put events in my calendar to recall easily but my husband and I also assess each situation afterwards and discuss why we did or did not enjoy it. Now that we have been doing this for a while, we plan our year and schedule events with intention. The things we choose to do and the people we choose to do them with are always something we take careful thought before committing. We pray our conversations will be fruitful and the blessings abundant in every situation.
Our time is so valuable and I am learning in order to be the best version of myself I must surround myself with those that encourage me to be better by their example and wisdom. If 2020 has taught me anything it is that relationships with others take nurturing. Since we stayed home more than usual, I realized how important it is to work on my relationship with my family. This crazy year has made me more thankful for my friends that pray for me. I have learned that there is something beautiful and valuable in every situation. No matter how bleak, there is always something worth being thankful for.
It had been predicted that the Christmas Star would be visible for the first time in over 800 years. It also happened to be the Winter Solstice and the week of Christmas. It was a night to behold, an evening of hope and promise for better days on the horizon. A friend had mentioned that they were outside and had seen the star. She said it was very insignificant. “It was just a dot, like any other star,” she said. She then told me how she walked down her street to get a picture of the star in the sky just above the home of her neighbor. In doing so, she took a picture just as the owner walked outside. My friend felt the need to explain and it lead to a conversation where the neighbor was so excited to find out that my friend homeschooled and had sons her grandson’s age. Her family lived close by and they exchanged information in hopes of a play date with another homeschool family. As they were talking, another neighbor walked out to witness the star. He had two daughters the same age as my friend’s daughters and they too exchanged information in hopes of introducing them to each other. When my friend finished her story I replied, “you thought that star was insignificant and it brought you to that very spot to meet two of your neighbors and potential friends for your children.” It might not have been much to look at, but the situation it caused had lead her to meet her neighbors, enjoy conversation and connect with two people she may have never had the opportunity to talk to.
2020 was not about covid, a controversial election or social distancing. For me it was about the importance of positivity and taking insignificant moments and finding the gift in each one. My year was about being intentional with my time and my thoughts. God gave me the biggest test in faith and perseverance. I struggled and fought the growth and change that I inevitably succumbed to. It was not an easy year, but it was fruitful in more ways than one.
Our New Year will be just as abundant and wonderful not just because it is not 2020, but because we have chosen to make it a wonderful year just like we have done in the years before. I am so thankful for our year of memories created and the important lessons we have learned. Without sorrow or hardship we would not know joy and prosperity.
Love and Blessings,
Photos by: Lori Slot Photography