Saturday, December 28, 2013

Looking Forward, Looking Back

It's that time of year.  Whether you make resolutions or not, this time of year can be one for reflection on the past and planning ahead to the future.  I always make sure to take a few hours by myself at a coffee shop to ponder and pray before diving back into the regularity of daily life.

Here are some of the things I consider in the areas of marriage, parenting, homeschooling, health, homemaking, and ministry:
 -What went well last year?
 -What is God calling me to change?
 -Which routines are still working for our family?
 -Which routines need a tune-up and which can be dropped?
 -What friendships does God want me to invest in this year?  As finite humans, we can only sustain and deeply invest in a limited number of people- listen for those God would have you focus on this year.
 -What books do I want to read this year?  As a book hound, I've found that having a list keeps me on track to read some challenging classics as well as the just-for-fun reading.  I keep this list in my planner and refer to it regularly.  Last year, the list included Moby Dick (ugh) and Great Expectations (fabulous).  I'm working hard on getting Anna Karenina done before 2014!
 -What crafts do I hope to complete this year?  (The photo below is a quilt that was on that list.  Now it's finished!  So satisfying.)

Once I spend time praying over these things by myself, I share what I've learned with my husband as well as ask for his input for the upcoming year.  This is a special time of looking forward together and discuss goals for our family.

Another thing I try to do now (or at the start/end of a school year) is to ask my children some questions.
  -What have we done recently that you really enjoyed?  (I focus on homeschooling, but could apply to any area of their life.)
 -What sports are currently holding their interest?
 -Which friendships would they like to invest in more deeply this year?
 -Is there anything I can do differently to help them in their chores/school/family routines?
 -What would they like to learn about this year?

By asking these questions, I am listening to my kids' current interests and can tailor our calendar to include some of them.  Last year, they both mentioned wanting to learn more about dinosaurs so we spent an entire week doing nothing but dinosaurs.  It was a special time of fun and learning in our home.   One child was also able to articulate that he didn't like being rushed.  I now try to include more "cushion" into our day to accommodate his need for a slower pace.

Taking time to plan and pray gives me focus and intention to move into a new year.  "Where there is no vision, the people perish."  Proverbs 29:18.  

What do you do move intentionally into a new year?



Lizabeth Roadman said...

Honestly, I'eve never done anything like this. Thanks for the idea of starting this!I'm half way through my first year of homeschooling and feel like I'm flailing around with no real goal.

I'll be sitting down sometimes this next week before we start school again 1/6 to reflect on this past year and next.

Thanks for the wonderful post.

Jennie Nelson said...


I'm so glad that this was encouraging to you. The first year of homeschooling we ALL feel like we are flailing around! Breathe, take it easy and read as much as you can to your littles. :) May the Lord bless your time as you seek Him intentionally.