Grateful for 2011

Christmas 2011

My typical New Years Day routine is as follows:

  1. Identify all of the things wrong with myself: weight, attitudes, production, etc..
  2. List generalized changes that I can make that will surely “fix” all my issues.
  3. Write them down and then ignore them after a week.
  4. Beat myself up about the lack of change when I unearth the list a few months later.

So, I’m trying to do it differently this year. Instead of trying to fix things, I’m saying that I know I can’t fix me. I think that what I can do is walk in dependence on the Lord, and then make wise decisions and actions towards a life more full of and focused on love, grace, hard work, and creativity.


There’s this other thing I’ve been reminded to do first.

I want to remember and say thanks, say grace, for all of the good.

By God’s grace, 2011 was a good year. My second full year out of college and working at a big girl job. My first full calendar year of being married. The first time in a very long time that I worked on creative pursuits purposefully and often in my free time.

But, in 2011 I also failed at many, many things. Some failures were obvious and some weren’t. Some required Herculean patience from my husband.

But the thing about those failures is that they’re each cataloged  in a tiny library in my brain, complete with Dewey Decimal numbers and everything.

So darn it, this New Year’s Day I’m not picking myself apart and I’m not publishing goals or resolutions. I love seeking vision and specific babysteps and making changes on purpose, and Garret and I are doing that together this year, but I’m making a point this year to be grateful first, and then give myself a break.

I’m going to remind myself that PROGRESS WAS MADE in 2011.

It was not a loss. I am not a loss. Our imperfect life is not a loss. 2011 was full of life, gifts and second chances, and God is not done. The story He is writing is vast, and shockingly it includes us broken, new-years-resolution-breaking, not-in-perfect-shape folks, too.

So without further ado, here are my Good Things That Happened in 2011:

  • We got to go on a wonderful road trip to DC and a great trip to Missouri with my family.
  • We continued to enjoy our Home Group and the sweet friends and Bible study there.
  • Garret and I made significant progress in learning how to stick to a budget.
  • We made a semi-major purchase with cash. (Whoop!)
  • Changes in my office brought new opportunities.
  • I managed a new online newsletter at work.
  • I published blog posts for every day of October for my 31 Days of Creativity Babysteps.
  • Readership of this blog increased as a result of that series.
  • Garret got a 4.0 in the spring!
  • I was a Second-Shooter for a photographer friend at a wedding and learned SO much!
  • We paid off a store credit card. The balance was very small, but every babystep counts!
  • We stuck to our Christmas budget, and I made homemade gifts. (Post coming soon.)
  • I ran a 10K – a distance personal best.
  • I set a new 5K personal best time.
  • I finished more books than I had in years.
  • We joined a gym.
  • I practiced swimming. (Still need A LOT more practice!)
  • We continued supporting and writing to our Compassion sponsored child, and I helped in small ways with our church’s Compassion ministry.

So, I’d encourage you to do the same – write out the things that were good this year. 2011 was not a loss. Remember the blessings, the successes, the hopes fulfilled. And then look forward to 2012. 

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7 Responses to Grateful for 2011

  1. annie says:

    I love this idea! I’ll have to think about it for the next day or so, then I’ll probably journal it. I’ve thought of this year a lot as just a hard one and I think some conscientious reflection will reveal it wasn’t quite as tough as I imagine it to be.

  2. Meghan Gallagher says:

    this is SO full of life, les! i’m grateful for you and am encouraged by you. thank you for sharing 🙂

  3. Tahni says:

    dude. i reallllllllly needed this today leslie. you wrote the words that i was being overwhelmed by and couldn’t get out. thank you. 🙂

  4. anniesueb says:

    thanks for the reminder that 2011 was not a loss. the truth is, it was such a good year for me and for my husband, but the last two months? whew. they were rough. and i kind of let their hard-ness and broken-ness get in the way of how the rest of our year looked. i forgot just how good our year really was. and you know what? the hard and the broken? god does such wonderful things with it, despite us. doesn’t he?

    thanks, leslie. happy new year to your family!

  5. Pingback: 2011. it was a good year. » joyeuse.

  6. Louanne says:

    Great post. I found you through Tahni’s blog.

    Our pastor has told me before when talking about his wife and the ups and downs of their life, “Our story is finished being written yet.” That brings me great comfort. God is watching over us and the story isn’t finished yet.

  7. Pingback: Grateful for 2012 |

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