I love to write. Writing is me. But the deeper part of my love of writing and reading is my passion for STORY. Like an emerging picture in a connect-the-dots sheet, through story we connect our daily realities to a bigger meaning. Story brings illumination to the daily grind. A well-told story lends staggering power and beauty to ordinary life. Story transforms.
Here, in December, I like to connect the dots of the past year–to see what story emerges from the days piled up in 2010. My story. Do you do the same?
In 2009, a brilliant woman named Gwen Bell created an online community of year reflections. This year, she has teamed up with other women to create Reverb10, or a look and consider the reverberations of the past year as we turn ahead to the next. It’s a powerful exercise in intentionality, and a time to reflect on the STORY of our lives.
One look at the Reverb10 site will show that the concept is to write, journal, or blog each day on the day’s individual prompts. But since I am a once a week blogger, I will write the week’s previous prompts in one day per week … so here it goes:
December 1: One Word. Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why:
Alive. I choose the word Alive. This year, life has been rich, and through all of the varying experiences, tough or enjoyable, I have tried to live out a conscious choice to be fully present, fully engaged, and fully embracing where God has brought my life. This year has been the best of my life. I am grateful for the journey.
December 2 – Writing. What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it?
Honestly, my life involves little more than things that contribute to my writing. Besides the actual time I spend writing (2 -5 hours per day), I believe that all the experiences we have in our lives build into the stories we have to tell. Whether it is the conversation over coffee I have in the school cafeteria with another mom at drop-off or the grocery store clerk who in anger throws my bread to the floor, the experiences of daily life make up the richness of my life which I tap for all of my writing.
December 3 – Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year.
I felt most alive this year when standing on a peak in the Alps with my family. The sun shone brightly through the puffed clouds skipping across a blue sky seemingly just above our reach. And the greens in the Alps–they were so vibrant it seemed no grass and forest could be more lovely than the carpet spread over the mountains below us. Hiking with my family–this is when I feel most alive.
December 4 – Wonder. How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year?
Traveling naturally creates a sense of wonder for me. I continuously marvel at the differences and yet the similarities between cultures and countries so near yet so far. With our unique situation of living in Prague, Czech Republic, we were able to travel through and absorb places like Montenegro, Hungary, coastal and mountainous Tuscany–16 countries in all in the past year. A tremendous gift. I loved it all.
|Kotor, Montenegro across Kotor Bay|
December 5 – Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why?
Letting go of pleasing people is, has been, and will probably always be my most difficult problem to overcome on a daily basis. But this year, I have learned deep lessons and made strides, I think, in letting go of destructive relationships–ones where others are concerned only with their gains from the people in their lives. Life is too short to be dominated upon by people who are never pleased with others, and make that known loudly. There are too many people to love, and be loved by, to spend precious hours and days on whether or not they are happy.
December 6 – Make. What was the last thing you made?
A snowman! We have over two feet of snow on the ground in Prague right now, and last night, mostly by the incredible work of my boys, we put together a six-foot-tall snowman just outside the kitchen window. I love it!
December 7 – Community. Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010?
This past Spring, friends urged me to join their tennis group, to play tennis once a week at the local clay courts. I hadn’t played in ten years or so, because of the kiddie years. But now that I’m playing with this fabulous group of ladies, I am not only loving the competitive doubles exercise, but also the lavish community we have together.
December 8 – Beautifully Different. Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up.
Different. Gosh, I do know that I am different. We all are different. For me, it’s evident at first glance, in person, because of my height (pushing six feet) … but I would like to believe that the beauty in my person-hood comes from my love of embracing others for our differences, and enjoying the similarities we share. I feel most in my element when listening to the stories of others’ lives, how they became who they are, and how they plan to overcome obstacles moving toward their goals in the future.
Thank you to the great folks at Reverb10 for helping us revisit the past year, to learn from and look ahead to the days and years to come. I love intentional living. Thanks! Next week, I’ll continue with the next week’s prompts.
Starting the Conversation: What have you felt about your past year? What one word describes your past year? And what one word would you like to say next year at this time about your 2011?