Five Lessons I Learned in 2013

How did this year treat you?

2013 was a monumental year in our family.  I just chose this picture because I liked it, not that it had anything to do with my year, except I saw this chimp in Uganda this year and he smiled at me. Things like this make me happy. DSC_2814

One child graduated and went off to college…and that was huge. I underestimated the impact on my heart. I also dealt with a little skin cancer, which I am grateful was an easy fix. I traveled a lot (like usual), and I bought a new bike and enjoyed it immensely. We put down a beloved pet, and our middle daughter got her drivers license and lot more freedom. I took on more responsibilities at work with a promotion, and we bought a new car. We no longer drive a mini-van. We started last year off with a huge family trip to Peru, and we are ending the year with a quiet New Years Eve celebration.

As I look back over 2013, it was a fine year. Maybe it wasn’t the best year, definitely not the easiest year, but it was a fine year. The changes in our lives brought on a lot of good conversations, but the changes were hard. Is change ever easy?DSC_2825

I was thinking today about the things I have been learning, or those things I learned over the last year. Trust me when I say, it’s all still a work in progress, as I have so far to go. However, here are my top five lessons I learned from 2013.

  1. Choose words wisely and listen carefully.  I have learned how powerful my words are. No matter how indifferent my kids may act, they are surely listening. Every careless, casual, sarcastic remark I make, every purposeful, impacting, and complementary word I say to my children, they are paying attention.  It doesn’t matter how old they are, as their mother, my words are powerful in their lives, both good and bad.
  2. Be Present. Never before I have been so aware to how much time is stolen by modern devices. This year, I learned just how distracting and disturbing modern technology can be in my own life and amongst my family. Nothing is more annoying than sitting in the presence of someone who is off in cyber land but pretending to be attentive, so I have been trying to be more present.
  3. Don’t panic. Fear is a crazy thing in my life and I have slowly learned to deal with it. Going to the Amazon, zip lining 100 feet above the forest, presented a great moment to let panic and fear control me, but I am learning to let go. Several times this year, I had a choice between letting go and trusting God, or letting fear control me. As I said earlier, it’s a work in progress, but I am trying to say yes to things more often, than let fear hold me back from experiencing life.
  4. Listen before speaking. Uggg! It’s so easy for me to spout out my opinions amongst my family and others, even before I know all the facts. It kind of goes back to #1. Choose your words wisely. It’s hard to be wise if you aren’t listening. It’s hard to listen if you are talking.
  5. Don’t take relationships for granted. I have been married now for 22.5 years and I have been a mom for 19 years now. It’s easy to get complacent in these roles. It’s easy to think everyone will just keep being ok with me if I work too long of hours, travel too much, or stay too busy. The reality is, love takes work, and my marriage still needs my upmost attention and my passion. It’s easy to think my children will be ok with my crazy schedule, but the reality is they want their mama available.  So…I need to work at it, exercise, pursue my husband, pursue my children, listen more, be available, give more, talk less, and make sure I am prioritizing my life correctly. I don’t eve  want to take my wonderful relationships with for granted.

DSC_4568So, these are just a handful of my lessons this year…and probably I will need to keep working on these things as I walk into 2014.  DSC_2819

What did you learn in 2013?

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2 Comments on “Five Lessons I Learned in 2013

  1. Sharon O, those are hard lessons. I am so sorry for your losses this year. Life is precious and what a great reminder to tell others how much we love them!

  2. I learned that life is precious. Within six months we lost my husbands dad, to age related illness, at age 90 1/2 then we lost our 16 year old cat. Then the same month we lost my dad at age 86 from multiple ‘health’ issues. Then our daughter this year separated from an abusive marriage and is now raising three girls alone, in a safe environment. Then my sister ‘fired’ me from being her ‘caretaker’ since 2005. Life is a series of losses, and relationship changes and job changes and life is not something to be taken for granted.
    If I could say a few more words to my dad, I would. If I could sit with my old cat again, I would love that.
    Challenging … YES. lessons learned… yes. There is always opportunity to tell someone you love them, or give a hug, or squeeze a hand, write a note, or make a phone call. Time is our gift.
    Relationships are far more important than job duties or other activities. AND I so agree, modern ‘technology’ has not helped.

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