Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 Reflections and Words to Live By

Another year is coming to a close and I feel like only yesterday I was composing last year's post on 2010. As I've pondered on how I would recap this year, I found myself quite challenged. This year, in a word, was interesting. Think of being on a roller coaster that would go at the speed of light then stop to let you off to catch your breath, then sweep you back on to continue the ride. Or a Ferris wheel that spun out of control causing your view to be blurry. Enough of the carnival comparisons. I decided that from the reflections of this year, I would come up with words to live by. Things I hope to remember in 2012 and years to come.

1. The more things change, the more they stay the same - I'm not sure the origin of this phrase but I've heard it practically my whole life. This could sum up my year. One of the biggest changes was experiencing the acquisition of my company. I've been through these acquisitions more than I care to recount, but every one is different from the last. The acquisition happened in August and was so impactful because although I work with many of the same people, at the same office building, doing a very similar job, it was still a major adjustment. You see the constants weaved within the change. But, things did change, and will continue to change. I still love my job, even though the complexities and chaos have increased, and I'm ever so thankful to have a job in these economic times. There is another phrase "The only constant in life is change" and that rung true this year. On December 27 this year, I recalled that 27 years ago that day, I started my first full-time job. What was I doing? Sales support. And today, 27 years later, I'm managing a team of 3 (soon to be 5) Sales support associates and an inside sales team. Some things never change, they just evolve.

2. Loss is sad, but normally always provides growth - In May of this year, I lost a dear friend, Jan. It rocked my world. She was like a little soul sister who shared passions in ministry with me and we shared so many memories together. We joked about growing old together and taking care of each other. She left this world suddenly and way too early, but exactly when God had ordained. I miss her laugh and her crazy commentary, but I know I'll see her again in Heaven. I've had close friends lose parents this year, reminding me of how that felt 11 years ago when I lost my Mom. And, even during my company's acquisition, many co-workers lost jobs. Though they are still around and thanks to technology we can stay connected, it is still a loss. Work consumes a large chunk of my life and when those that play a part of it every day are gone, it's a tough adjustment. But no matter the loss, I try and learn from it and grow. Losing Jan was tough, but it reminded me of the importance of carrying the passion of Jesus she had and to be devoted to serving Him. When I reflect on my Mom's loss even 11 years later, I realize how God used that to grow me in ways I never would have otherwise.

3. Be radical - The word "radical" is defined as "an extreme change from accepted and traditional forms." After this year, my mind reels with ways to be radical. My realist side says to completely shed all the unnecessary and minimize stuff and work on all the craft and sewing projects in my head, and maybe even start that book I long to "opus." My romantic side says jump into a passionate relationship with all you have and let the waves take you wherever they may flow. My rebel side says to create the most amazing new product and become a millionaire, or just quit my job, go open a bed and breakfast on the beach. My redeemed side says to be unashamedly bold and confident in sharing the gospel with every breath I have with no hesitation. Bottom line, being radical makes your blood pump. I have no regrets about any steps I've taken, risks I've made, because even in those moments where I thought I'd done the craziest thing, later in my journey, I saw how God used it all for His Purpose.

4. Be Balanced - Since August, my life has been a blur. Yes, this acquisition is an ongoing theme as I reflect over the year. We had a lot to do in a short period of time and as 2012 peeks around the corner, I know that the goals are high for what we want to do there. As a Type A, obsessive person, I can quickly be consumed by my job. It is my livelihood and pays the bills, so as a single gal, I see that as what I must do. But, I've learned that there has to be balance. I have to be that seal that knows how to plop that ball on my nose and keep it well balanced. Work is important, but taking time out for others and even for myself is important. I would ask myself "What does all this mean for eternity?" and that's a really good question to ask. It means, for now, it's how I put food on my table, gas in my car and pay my bills. But, it doesn't mean it defines me or is all I ever do. Learning to balance is hard for this extremist, but I'm going to strive to live by these words.

5. Cherish Your Friendships...They are Eternal - I am blessed with some of the best friends on the planet...and they are located all over the planet. I wasn't able to attend Jan's funeral, but I was able to send something to be read at her funeral and I spent some time reflecting on our friendship. We didn't do anything earth shattering,...never traveled the world, or did the extravagant. But of all the things we did, we made memories. Even if it was watching a movie together eating her Trinidadian cooking and drinking slingshots (an amazing coffee drink). What I learned was that even in the small, insignificant times with friends, I'll always remember them. I'm an easy-to-please gal. Sharing meaningful conversation, a good cup of coffee, or just sharing life together enriches my life more than most anything else. I'm blessed to have more friends that are so dear to me than I could name here without leaving someone out, but over this holiday season, I've realized how so many people have very few close friends their entire life, and I have more than I deserve.

May 2012 be a wonderful year full of more blessings than I can count and fun adventure.

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