Thursday, January 1, 2015

2014 Reflection

2014 was a good year in some ways, and a tough year in others. Let's get through the tough first:

The tough:
  • I "volunteered" (aka said 'yes' without fully understanding the extent of what I was undertaking) to coordinating our entire 300+ person departmental portion of our plant's open house. It was an overwhelming task that took hundreds of hours from my already overburdened work responsibilities. It was incredibly stressful and there was not much benefit to my professional growth nor really a significant long-term contribution to my department. I did get to meet and work with more people than I normally would have, which was good. Overall, it was not a great experience though, despite some positives. In the future, I will be much more careful before jumping to commit to something in an attempt to please.
  • Testifying on court about the abuse on behalf of my little sister. 
  • Might seem like a small thing but I got my hair cut WAY to short. Never again!

The good:

My little sister
  • My 13 year old sister, with whom I had no contact for 7 years for a complicated set of reasons, came back into my life due to her courage in speaking the truth. Her bravery motivated me to speak my own truth on her behalf and confront some of my demons. And now, she is in my life again, by the grace of God. I did not expect this blessing this year, and I receive it - her- with gratitude.   
  • Hugging her again for the first time in 7 years.
  • Rollerblading for the first time together. Independently, this was one of our favorite past-times that we didn't even know we shared.  
  • Getting to know the incredible, funny, smart, and strong girl she is. I am blessed to witness her own journey toward freedom and recovery.
My brother and sister-in-law
  • My relationship with my brother deepened. I really came to a better understanding that his experience growing up was different than mine, and that was OK. It didn't threaten my memories or sense of what's real. 
  • Wedding dress-shopping with my sister-in-law-to-be, and the next day early morning coffee and conversation with my brother.
  • Their wedding in May. My brother was SO happy, and having this lovely lady as a sister-in-law has been a huge blessing to me. I was so overwhelmed with thankfulness as I watched my sister-in-law walk down the aisle. They are perfect for each other, a love story that was fifteen years in the making. 
  • Having my brother and sister-in-law over and laughing and playing games until late at night.
  • Pre-Christmas get-together at their house. Playing with their pets. Sitting on the couch until the wee hours of the morning laughing hysterically at funny TV shows. 
My husband
  • He quit his job and came back home. OK, this warrants some explanation: We had been separated due to his job during the week since August 2013, and it was really hard to be apart. After some prayer and reflection, he left the job in October 2014 (it was supposed to be a year-long gig, so it was time). Having him home has been comforting. We don't want to be apart like that again.
  • Continue to learn how to love and how much I love my husband. God was very good to me in giving me him.
  • Enjoying wine and live music with my husband. We found a nearby winery we really like, and sharing that time and conversation with him is a very pleasant past time we've both come to enjoy.
  • Christmas break together. We had a stay-cation and I enjoyed a routine of sleeping in, drinking gourmet coffee, making pancakes, writing until lunch, working out, more writing, then evenings binge-watching TV shows with my husband. So pleasant. 
My job/career
  • I continued to learn and do reasonably well in my 'new' job (I had started in Sept 2013). There was internal and external confirmation that this role is a good fit for my skills and ability. After a few years of trying things after college, it seems that I've narrowed down what is a good match.
  • Getting better at my job and getting positive feedback from multiple people. There is a lot of satisfaction in doing good work.
  • Two mentoring relationships at work that helped me grow.
  • Going to a nearby university with some coworkers to talk about careers in engineering with students 
My spiritual health:
  • We began to get involved in a small group at church, which had been one of our spiritual/community goals for a while. It's been slow, but we are forming relationships with other believers. I particularly enjoy the conversations we had regarding what we were studying. It feels good to be part of a community.  
  • Continuing to work with my counselor on recovery and healing. Despite the relapse, I did make progress in my emotional and spiritual health 
My fitness
  • Hikes. Lots and lots of hikes with my husband
  • I began doing a lot more trail-running, including one race. I really enjoy it, and it doesn't hurt my hip as much as regular running. Some of the happiest times I had were cruising down a trail, navigating the terrain and anticipating what's around the next bend
My family
  • Having fun at a family wedding with my husband, sisters, brothers-in-law, parents, nieces, and nephews
  • Sleepovers with my niece. They are so much fun.
  • Having our Christmas meal at out house with my husband, parents, sister, brother-in-law, nieces, and nephew. It was so fun. I really enjoyed preparing the house and meal for everyone. It felt so peaceful and perfect, from playing Go Fish with my nieces to laughing at dinner with the adults. I love my family.
Other:
  • My sister's courage also enabled some healing in my relationship with my father. The relationship is still tenuous but it is better, and helped me learn to extend the same grace that has been extended to me.
  • One of the girls that was in the youth group I co-led when I was 19 moved to the same city as me, and it was really neat to reconnect with her. She has been a source of encouragement to me. 
  • Becoming friends with one of my coworkers who went through some similar experiences as I did. We connected before we knew that about each other, but we have a deep bond now.
It was a difficult year in some ways, but listing it out, I can definitely see the good far outweighs the tough. I can definitively say that 2014 was a good, blessed year.