Have you ever watched your Facebook Year in review? Those short little clips they put together about your friends and your prized pictures. It’s creepy that they know just how to “pull at your heartstrings.”
As violating as that feels, it also brings back memories.
Some you posted to celebrate, and some you just didn’t want to forget—usually with a side of a selfie to go along with it.
As the year starts to come to a close, I find myself saying, “Where does the time go? How is it already the end of the year?”
I also find myself thinking, “It seems just like yesterday………”
Regardless of the reminiscing, time doesn’t stop. Not for any of us.
It’s because of that reality that I can’t help but reflect on the past year. I want to.
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Seasons Bring Change, Growth, and Newness
I love seasons.
The newness they bring is something I always look forward to. Sometimes I also like the promise of them coming to an end.
I don’t think I would appreciate them as much if they didn’t change. Laying out in a pool in the middle of winter sounds about as much fun as a cup of hot cocoa overfilling with marshmallows on a 100 degree day.
There is so much life that would be missed if our seasons never changed.
As this year comes to a close, I find myself looking back at the past 12 months and thinking about my life, our seasons.
It’s tempting to fill your time up this time of year— to the point that you are so exhausted that you don’t even want to think about what the next day will look like.
I want to encourage you to take that time.
I know there are a million things hanging over your head right now, and taking time to sit and reflect may seem like a waste of valuable time, but it helps me do life better.
So please join me! Get your thinking on.
— – – > —- —-> Grab a pen and paper, or use our free printable and reminisce about this past year.
Let’s go over the sections together…
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What have you accomplished this year?
Take a look at yourself. How have you grown spiritually, emotionally?
Have you read books, begun new adventures, completed projects?
- For me, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero changed my thoughts and my relationships. It helped me better understand myself, the way I was made, and resulted in a growth I didn’t have last year at this time. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it!
- We just completed a 30-day Kindness Challenge in our small group. My husband and I, along with several other couples, challenged ourselves and each other to be kind. It was a great way to focus on our relationship and the impact the power of kindness can have in our marriage and in turn, our entire family.
- I started making and selling earrings. Something I started partly as a hobby and a way to raise money for our building fund at church has developed into providing a little extra money for our family. I have met so many amazing people—relationships I wouldn’t have if I didn’t take that step of faith.
- We decided to paint our kitchen cabinets white at the beginning of the year. I still don’t have them completed. I really thought I would have that done by now, but I still have some brown ones by the refrigerator. What projects have you started that are not completed? Maybe we can finish them together!
What are you grateful for?
One thing we try and focus on in our family is pointing out the good.
That doesn’t mean that we don’t experience the hard times. Every family does.
But learning to say the great things out loud to each other makes a huge difference in my day.
Hopefully it will help our kids be able to pull those positive things out on their super tough days.
- In November, we do a “thankful pumpkin”. This year we have a “thankful squash” because, well, that’s what we had and it worked. We write those blessings on our squash and see them in the center of our table each day.
- A couple years ago, we started doing time capsules. We get small pieces of paper and write down some of the bigger things that we experienced this year: We got chickens. Our youngest learned to ride with no training wheels. Our oldest started marching band. We spent time at the lake this summer. Those moments are going on our papers and getting rolled up into our time capsule ornament with the year 2019 written on them.
What are you grateful for? Write it down. Talk about it.
What Would You Do Differently?
Does this section make you feel uncomfortable? Did I cause you to do a little wiggle in your seat?
Sometimes when changes are made, it’s easy to feel like what you were doing before wasn’t good.
Like you failed.
The past few years, I have pulled this in closer rather than pushing it away.
Partly because I think I can handle it better when I see changes need to be made. Another part is because making changes is one step closer to getting the results I want to experience.
One area my husband and I are always trying to develop is raising our boys.
We know it goes fast. We know the impact their childhood can have on them as an adult.
Do we want to be intentional, yes. Perfect? Absolutely not. Dedicated and deliberate, you better believe it.
I have found that with parenting, we are all just doing our best.
You can do your best and be happy with that.
You can also do your best and continue to seek growth because the love you have for your kids encourages you to be better.
- We started bean jars to help us remember how limited our time is with our kids. You can read “The Beans of Our Lives” and start implementing this simple, yet effective graduation countdown.
- Some friends and I went to a conference and found ourselves in a workshop on parenting. The speaker talked about interviewing your kids a couple times a year. Asking tough questions that you might be scared to hear the answers to. I took notes fiercely and set them aside so I could come home and implement this with our kids. My husband and I wrote down a list of 10 questions we want to ask our kids a couple times a year. We will probably trade off who asks them every 6 months. When we ask these questions, we simply write the answers. We don’t respond or try to defend or add to what they have said. We simply want their answers—what’s on their hearts.
What About Your Year in Review?
Taking time to think about where I have been the past 12 months, along with my family, is so helpful to keep my heart in check with God.
Talking about those accomplishments, naming the things I am grateful for, and asking the tough questions to our kids helps me be more intentional.
What have you walked through this past year?
Please share your accomplishments, what you are thankful for, and if you have ever tried interviewing your kids. I would LOVE to hear in the comments or feel free to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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For more encouragement on living intentionally, read Living in the Light.