20 Questions for the New Year

Hey friends!  Hopefully your Christmas break has been relaxing…or at least now that Christmas is over, perhaps you’ve been able to relax:)

Last year around this time, I hooked up with Incourage.me to answer “20 Questions for the New Year”…insightful questions that help you frame up your last year and give you a fresh perspective for the next.  

New questions are posted over at Incourage, so I thought it would be fun to reflect on 2011.  If you blog, jump in with me and answer them on your site, or download their PDF file and use them for journaling or personal reflection!  

I’ll break these up into a few posts… 

Let’s get started!

1.  What is the single best thing that happened this year?
Wow, the single best is hard to narrow down!  I’d say a sure highlight was Maddie being baptized by her daddy this summer at Pine Cove Family Camp
2.  What was the single most challenging thing that happened?
While we did not have one particular event that really marked our year negatively, David and I had to remain very intentional not to succumb to the “tyranny of suburbia.”  If you are raising kids today, you know the challenges…school, sports, activities and so much else begs for our time, our energy, our finances, our very hearts.    If we do not remain intentional and purposeful with our time as a family and as a couple, we risk winding up at a destination we never intended to go to.  And frankly, it is just plain hard.  Worth it, but hard.

3.  What was an unexpected joy this year?
It still makes me laugh a little when I think about it…but one unexpected joy is my little blog growing exponentially after one single post in the fall…a few dollars worth of dried beans in a glass vase that I put together on a whim one afternoon.   Who woulda thunk it?  This guy pictured below has become quite the Pinterest pick for some “fall hurricane vase” searches!!!  In so many ways, this post has and continues to remind me that My Heart’s Desire blog belongs to Him, not me.   

4.  What was an unexpected obstacle?
Navigating the unchartered waters of pre-adolescent struggles with my little girl!  There have been days this year where I have literally begged…I mean begged…the Lord to show me how to parent her well as it pertains to these issues.  It is no fun.  But I am getting to know my child in deeper, more meaningful ways than ever before, and that has been a blessing.   

5.  Pick three words to describe 2011.
Intentional. Challenging. Rewarding.

6.  Pick three words your spouse would use to describe your 2011.  (don’t ask them; guess based on how you think your spouse sees you)
Creative. Fulfilling. Family.

7.  Pick three words your spouse would use to describe their 2011.  (again, without asking)
Below-quota. Persevering. Reconnected.
He gave me permission to share that first one:)

8.  What were the best books you read this year?
I have read fewer books this past calendar year than any year of my adult life…boo.  I miss getting lost in a book.  Plans for getting back to books in 2012:)

Here are a few titles I did read this year…

Water for Elephants
Entertaining, emotional.

The Glass Castle
Jeanette Walls’ memoirs have stuck with me.  I can’t really tell you why I loved this book so much, but I did.  I understood so much of her story.  Highly recommended. 
Grace for the Good Girl…currently reading.
 I had the privilege of meeting author Emily Freeman (Chatting at the Sky) at The Relevant Conference.  While she and I do not share similar life histories, our stories are very much the same…the “familiar fog of anxiety, the weight and pressure of holding it together and of longing left unmet…Emily encourages you to move from your own impossible expectations toward the God who has graciously, miraculously, and lovingly found you.”  Highly recommend.   

Ketchup is a Vegetable…and Other Lies Moms Tell Themselves…currently reading.  
Wet.Your.Pants.Hysterical.  Download to your Kindle or get a hardcopy soon.  Very soon.  Author and blog friend Robin O’Bryant‘s candid accounts of motherhood will have you rolling.  She verbalizes all the off-color, not-so-tidy things about motherhood you’ve been thinking anyway.  I am so glad I’m not the only crazy mama.

9.  With whom were your most valuable relationships?
This is a hard one, too!  David is my rock.  We are best friends, a great team, and genuinely like each other a whole bunch.  

As for others…I could never narrow it down to just one or two.  I have so many relationships that offer specific value to my life…some offer companionship, creativity, a sounding board, prayer warrior, humor (that perhaps I can only tell to them, you know who you are), accountability.  I value these relationships like precious treasures!!

10.  What was your biggest personal change from January to December of this year?
Blogging has changed me in so many positive ways…the biggest being that I am much more willing and able to “think outside the box” than ever before!  I’ve left my comfort zone more times than I can count this year…all via blogging…and it has been good.  Very good.  

Stay tuned this week for the rest of the “20 Questions for the New Year!”  Please answer a few of these in the comments or post them on your blog!  

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Happy New Year!

About Amanda Brown

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  1. I printed off these questions just the other day. I hope to answer them in my journal. Loved reading your answers! I did not realize how your blog grew after your post about the fall decor! That is awesome! I am going to wrote down the titles of those books now. I loved Water for Elephants!!

    Happy New Year!

  2. Amanda, you are so generous with your blog–always giving your readers opportunities to link up or share–it’s no wonder that you are being blessed by it now. You’re doing a great job!

    I saw these questions over at (in)Courage too, and thought I’d do the same thing. Hopefully soon. But probably the biggest challenge for me was going back to work, completely unexpectedly. It has been the biggest challenge, and also the biggest joy of my year.

    Happy New Year!

  3. Love this! I did this too! I love incourage

  4. I love this. I will have to try to answer these questions. Although 2011 was a rough year for me it will be a reminder for me to look back on to cherish where God will take me this year. Thanks for sharing.