The year started with the school where I taught closing due to security. The year is ending with the possibility of our flight program here ending. This year has been bittersweet. We seen loss and lots of change yet we have seen joy and deeper friendships and relationships. We have seen God work in the midst of the waiting and the hard More about that in my lessons below. Each month I reflect on the past month and what I have learned but for this month I am looking back on the whole year. Once again I am linking up with Emily at Chatting at the Sky and other bloggers on their lessons learned.
1. Hope is in a Person (Jesus) Not a Set of Circumstances
This is a lesson I have to learn and relearn. As we are still waiting on flight permissions, I look back on a year of roller coaster emotions. It is so easy to get my focus and hope in the wrong place. One day it will look like we are close to getting permissions, and other days the end goal seems further away. But it is so comforting to remember that Jesus is my hope not matter what happens around me. He never changes.
2. I Enjoy Cooking with My Husband
It has taken a few years, but my husband and I have learned how to work together in the kitchen. Our favorite meals are when he smokes some kind of meat, and I do the sides. Other favorites include lasagna soup and homemade french bread, fajitas with homemade tortillas, and most breakfasts with fresh squeezed orange juice. My husband is much more precise than I am which is great for recipes that require following the instructions exactly. I like to ad lib a bit more so I am better with soups and other things that can handle substitutions or a few changes. All this good food contributes to #3.
3. I Am Slightly Obsessed with My Pedometer.
I don't really have the opportunity to be as mobile as I would like since I am restricted on where I can walk by myself. Most days it is a challenge to get to the goal I have for myself, but the pedometer keeps me moving which hopefully is keeping me more healthy. It helps that my laundry machine is down in the basement making me go up and down the stairs many times on laundry days. I love the weekends when we go on long walks which makes my pedometer and me happy. I am also thankful for a basement room that we share with our neighbors that allows me to work out with my wii. I find exercise helps keep me sane.
4. I Can Teach Younger Students.
I am a high school teacher and love teenagers. The thought of teaching elementary students has never appealed to me. This year finds me teaching one fifth grader all subjects and a second and third grader math. I love my job. These girls make me smile everyday. It helps that it is not a full classroom of munchkins but more like homeschooling someone else's child. In a sense, they are like family as we are all part of the same team.
5. I Can Handle More Than I Think I Can By God's Grace YET I Am Not as Strong as I think I Am.
Does that make sense? So many things have happened in the last few years that I keep thinking one more thing will make break me. Yet I am still standing and feel like I have grown spiritually in the midst of it. I am not saying tears have not been involved, but God has been faithful in the roller coaster experience of life. On the other hand, there are days that something as simple as trying to get a water bottle filled for my cooler or change of plans can throw me off. I am learning that when this happens that I need to step back and have some time by myself as my reaction is usually a symptom of needing time with God.
Last week, little things were starting to bother me which bothered me. I am better than that I told myself. Today as I write this, we are on vacation and I see that is what I needed. I needed time away to regroup and reboot. Sometimes you don't realize how much you need a break until you take one.
6. I Am Enjoying Being an Empty Nester
I love W and Big D. In the past few years, we have been together almost 24/7 since I homeschooled them and then worked at the school where they attended. They were never far away from their mom. Now they are away from their mom 24/7, and it is just my Prince Charming and I. We are in a good place, and this fall has been a blessing as we take walks, cook, and read together. I enjoy hanging out with my husband and have been blessed to have this time with him.
7. My Children Can Survive and Actually Thrive Without Me.
In August, we left W at her University where God has blessed her with new friends and a love for American Sign language. On Friday nights, she loves joining other students in a tunnel on campus as they sing worship songs. She has been disciplined in her studies and had a great first semester report yet still finds time to experience the fun aspects of college life. We thank God to see her doing so well on her own.
At the beginning of September, we left Big D in Germany where he started his sophomore year at boarding school. His academics are tough, but he is holding his own. He also enjoyed playing on the men's volleyball team and being a part of yearbook staff. His dorm has been a good fit for him and a great place for him to grow in all aspects. We thank God that he is thriving in this new place that seems to be just what he needed for this season in his life.
8. Words Matter...
I was reminded this fall of how much words matter-not even just what the words are but how they are said. Some of my friends are hurting from words that were said to them or about them. It takes a long time to recover from that.
As I usually only get to talk to W and Big D once a week, I am conscious of using my words with them well. How can I encourage them? How can I help them? How can I be there for them long distance? Those minutes are precious, and I want to use them well.
My student is memorizing James 1 which has reminded me how important it is to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. One goal for the new year is to improve in how well I listen to those around me.
9. I Need Time Outdoors
Because of where we live, I can't just wander around my city. In the states, I take long walks and just enjoy being outside. It is harder to do that here. Since our new city is safer and more remote, my Prince Charming and I have enjoyed long walks/hikes on the weekend. These hikes have been life giving not only for the exercise and fresh air but also for the beauty that we encounter as we walk. One goal for the new year is to figure out how to have more time outside during the week. It might mean sitting on my roof for a bit each day even if it is cold outside.