Many people are busy planning for the new year; new resolutions, fresh to-dos, bold and brave plans.
But have we looked back at the year that is fast coming to a close, and acknowledged ourselves or others for the things already done?
Instead of working on a to-do list, I compiled my done list over the weekend.
What have I accomplished this year? On the work front, my freelance work has found a stable footing. I was really stoked (and totally surprised) by an opportunity to write for a local news site, focusing on education and parenting — issues that I’ve always felt passionate about. I also started to take on cases in special needs and educational therapy. It’s a steep learning curve for me in this new field.
At home, the younger boys settled into their new kindergarten and adjusted to new teachers and friends. JJ also graduated at the end of the year, and is (almost) ready to start primary school as I type this!
We recently went to Melbourne for a holiday and had a blast, although traveling has always been iffy for us, particularly with kids who don’t cope that well with change. But Melbourne has a special place in my heart; it was my spiritual home during my undergrad years, and it felt special to be able to catch up with family and friends there. The farmstay was the highlight of our trip (will share about that in a future post!) I think we all grew a bit through the process and experienced God’s grace even in managing the more difficult moments and meltdowns.
We actually managed to take a family pic in front of the café where the hub and I met. (So epic!) The kids were not impressed though, as the café had already closed down…we ended up having a coffee at the one that popped up right beside it.
Apart from that, we’ve been taking things real slow this December. Last weekend, we brought our tent out on a whim and enjoyed a relaxing experience outdoors. Suffice to say that we’ll be doing this more often in 2018.
It’s been a year of growth for me in different ways. I learned a few things about connection, kindness, and authenticity this year. Through books such as these:
- Wonder by RJ Palacio. As well as Auggie and Me. This series made me cry and opened up a new chapter of kindness and empathy in my own life.
- The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown. Reading this was like giving a gift to myself; it reminded me to stop seeking after / creating a picture-perfect life, but to live an authentic and connected life, more in tune and less judgmental.
- Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. An all-too-famous book on how to find meaning and purpose in life. A must-read in one’s lifetime.
- When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi. Also known as the one through which I bawled my eyes out many times over. This book taught me to cherish everything I have.
- Madeleine L’engle’s A Circle of Quiet. Her writing makes me laugh, and through the guffaws provides a serving of strength to dream about writing more seriously for myself.
Reading (and crying through) those titles made me realise that if there is only one way that I experience beauty, it is through the written word.
I also benefitted from these books on parenting:
- The Dolphin Way by Dr. Shimi Kang. I love her insights; a back-to-basics type of book with lots of practical tips and how-tos with regard to parenting in a social, connected, and gentle way. (A great read for parents looking to curb their tiger-mum instincts.)
- The Explosive Child by Ross Greene – A must-read for anyone who is grappling with an easily frustrated child. (A friend sent me the e-book and I’m grateful to her to this day.)
- Loving our Kids on Purpose by Danny Silk – I’m only halfway through this, but am enjoying its focus on parenting from and to the heart, looking beyond just managing behaviour and all the external stuff.
- The Happy Mom by Doreen Wong – A book filled with godly wisdom and insight. Read the review here!
Through 2017, I think I saw more compassion rising within me, towards the kids and even myself. Not perfect, but progressing.
The parts of the year that I enjoyed most were the ones where we were able to connect with other like-minded families and friends, be it through the simple play-date, a prayer gathering, or the coffee break with other moms. It was on some of these occasions where I felt most alive, most vibrant, and most in tune with God and his creation. I really thank God for the community He’s given to us.
2017 is also the year where we got to go on date nights without feeling much guilt (if at all!) It’s a sweet place to be, but I’m looking forward to the new year and all that it has to bring. By His grace, so sweet and sufficient, I’m going to embrace our lives–imperfect as it may be–and enjoy the ride.
Blessed 2018 to you and your loved ones! xoxo
no one ever told her
about this thing called “mothering.”
maybe because it was a journey
of discovery –
her greatest work of art –
her biggest lesson in letting go…
where she’d learn to nurture a “self”
to shine bright
and find her own self in the process.
no one can tell you that.
you have to live it to know it.
and when you do,
it changes you forever.
– Terri St. Cloud