Monday, December 27, 2010

2010 Reflections and Lessons Learned

It seems like just yesterday I was composing the 2009 year in review, yet here I am reflecting back on the year that almost is history. I haven't blogged as much this year because my life has seemed to accelerate to mach 10 speed with my hair on fire (thanks to my writing mentor, Amy, for that visual) But just because I didn't blog as much didn't mean my life wasn't as full and glorious as ever. To recap it would take way too much time for a wordy gal like myself, so I'm going to hit the highlights. For those that are faithful readers and active participants in my life, some of these may be a memory for you too.

I was privileged to speak at conferences twice this year and published in my first book - One of my dreams has been to do public speaking on a regular basis and to write more (books, devotions, etc.). This year I saw that dream come to reality. At the very time I really wasn't pursuing it. I spoke at my church's women's conference in March and at a Women's Brunch at a friends' church in Knoxville. I never tire of speaking to and teaching women. I am blessed FAR more by their stories afterwards of how God is working in their lives than they will ever be blessed by what I say. If I ever questioned my passion, it got squelched in September after the brunch. I talked to women who were in tears, sharing their hurts, sharing how God was breaking them to make them better. I sat for over an hour listening, crying and praying with those women. I am blessed. This summer, I was published in a Psalms devotional published by Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. I am May 23! Not only was that a blessing, but an honor to be on the pages alongside seminary graduates, professors' wives, and women much farther along their journey than I. Lesson learned: Give God your dreams and He'll make them reality in His Time.

My office moved locations in March - Newsflash: I love my job!! Anyone who knows me is fully aware of my adoration for what I do even though there are days when I'm ready to lose my mind. But the one downside of my job was the downtown location. Not a downside for everyone, but for me, the 30-45 one-way commute was a buzz kill. Our offices are now located 10-15 minutes from my home and we have our own parking lot. Having your own parking lot is taken for granted when you park in a parking garage everyday and have to walk down a wind tunnel passing Mrs. Gulch and Toto flying by you. We now have a beautiful office with "real" furniture and more space. Good thing because for 2011 we're projecting to grow revenue by 30%. Lesson Learned: Never take for granted the little things or the things that you love, even when they are frustrating at times.

I have traveled 6 out of 12 months this year - When I looked over my year, I was shocked to see how often I traveled. Granted, they weren't all week-long epic excursions, but still wonderful trips. I went from Virginia to Florida and many points in between. I had one trip to Alabama I canceled or I would have traveled 7 out of 12 months. Some business, some pleasure, but all trips were enjoyable and full of funny stories. (Welcome to my life!) I used to travel a lot for my job about 10 years ago and that got wearisome. But I now am trained to pack quickly and actually get antsy when I don't have a trip planned, no matter how quick a jaunt. Being the competitive soul, I suppose I'll be trying to shoot for 7 out of 12 this year. Lesson Learned: There is no place like home, but a good trip can be refreshing for the soul.

I became a bit more gadgety this year - In June I ordered a Kindle. I love to read and unless I want to have my own library, all these actual books are taking up way too much space. I love the Kindle for travel (see above) because that one device can hold a ton of books. I also became the lucky recipient of an iPod Nano Touch at our company Christmas lunch. I've been too cheap to buy an iPod. I listen to Pandora, so I find no need to "buy" tunes when I have that variety. Now that I've won this iPod, I owe iTunes my next paycheck, I think. I admit freely that I'm a tech geek, and each year, I seem to get a bit geekier. Lesson Learned: The world as we know it is changing and we'll be like the Jetsons in no time.

This year went by blustery fast and sprinkled along with unexpected blessings - Last Christmas, I took my team of three out to lunch and told them that according to the plan, I wouldn't be manager to all of them in the coming year. That all changed. As I took my team of four out to lunch this Christmas, I recounted that statement (with the additional person) and the fact that I'm hiring three more people for 2011. Never in my dreams would I have expected that, but it's a very good thing. That is just one example of the year I've had in 2010. Life moving along like a stream of water that flows, and though some ripples flowed over craggy rocks, it just made the journey more exciting. In the end, I've had a great year...one of the best yet. Were there times I wouldn't have said that this year? Most definitely. As I face 2011, I can face it with fear and trepidation thinking about the unknown, or with high expectations knowing that no matter what the road, in the end, it will be a great year. Lesson Learned: God uses all things - the bad and the good - and works them together for our good. In that, I truly find comfort.

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