Lessons Learned in 2016

I hope you all had the merriest Christmas! I see this week between Christmas and New Years as an invitation to prepare well for the year ahead. For the past three years, I have used PowerSheets to take stock of the previous year and set new goals for the one ahead. My process has looked vastly different this year, as I am taking Lara Casey’s advice and making a mess within the pages. I’ve cut the flowery words, applied what I learned at Making Things Happen in October, and rolled up my sleeves to do the good work. Y’all, the work has been such a sweet gift!

One of my favorite steps so far has been writing out my lessons learned in 2016. This year was hard but it has ultimately been the most beautiful year, too. It has yielded incredible growth and equipped me with lots of knowledge to apply as I move forward. While I tend to lean away from reflective personal posts these days, I’m sharing these snippets today in hopes that they will be a blessing to those who read them. Enjoy!

Lessons Learned in 2016 - Rifle Paper Co. Wildflower Giftwrap


Lessons Learned in 2016:

— We really can renew our minds in Christ. I had heard this scripture countless times, but this year I finally realized its worth. We have the incredible gift of God’s willingness to renew our minds through prayer, the reading of His word, and letting go of that which was never meant for us to carry.

— The roots must be pulled. Prior hurts, mistakes, worries, and fears are best removed when traced back to the source and pulled at the root. This often takes hard work, patience, and help from trusted people, but it’s so worth it.

— Stress is never, ever worth it and it comes at a high price. I’ve seen it cost others their good health, relationships, success at work, and joy. While there is good stress that can be helpful in certain situations, it should not be a regular mode of operation.

— In all things, release control to God. Life is much more fulfilling when we stop trying to do it all on our own.

— God knows better than I do and His timeline and method might be different than mine.

— Good health is so valuable and worth fighting for. Proper nutrition, regular exercise, and being informed are all excellent ways to invest in our health. The payoff is huge when we are proactive with our health and treat the source of any issues instead of bandaging the symptoms.

— Personal responsibility is not the same thing as control. It seems silly as I type it, but I used to think that assuming responsibility for my time and resources was taking control that was meant for God. Instead, I now see it as the privilege we get to have in taking good care of the things He gives us.

I believe we can learn so much from each other, and so would love to hear any lessons or wisdom you gleaned from this year in the comments below! 

While I benefit greatly from PowerSheets, you do not need to buy any products to prepare well for the year ahead. Lara offers a great step-by-step guide through her blog’s annual goal setting series.


The Reason for the Season

These words are what Christmas is all about. Jesus came to bring light and life into the world. Let our hearts swell with thankfulness as we think about this marvelous gift. Merry Christmas, y’all!


At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, to whom he was engaged, who was now expecting a child.

And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.

That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”

Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in highest heaven,
and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”
When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.

Luke 2:1-20

*I’m not sure who the artist behind this beautiful painting is, so please let me know if you know so I can give proper credit!

Friday No. 6

1. I was invited to a party on Friday night hosted for the ladies on staff at our church and the spouses of the staff gents. I was excited to be included as a soon-to-be staff wife and had a lovely time getting to know the other ladies as we made ornaments and swapped festive socks and mittens.

2. On Sunday we attended the Christmas musical of three of Dillon’s younger sisters along with his littlest sister and then went to a caroling party with the rest of his family. I packed a few Christmas goodies into my bag and we were happily snacking on candy canes and sweet treats throughout the afternoon.

3. We attended the Christmas party for our church’s Young Adults group on Monday night and Dillon was a contestant on ‘Family Feud’. I didn’t pick up an ugly sweater before the party, so I improvised a festive outfit using a $3 strand of battery operated seed lights from Target. It was a hit!

4. The weather was 1 degree on Tuesday morning, inspiring me to make a warm and cozy meal that night. I endeavored to make Pioneer Woman’s Perfect Pot Roast and was shocked at how quickly the price of the ingredients added up, but it was worth every penny. I paired it with a lightened up version of her mashed potatoes and it was the perfect cold weather meal!

5. After dinner on Tuesday, Dillon accompanied me to pick up a print order for a special project I created to ‘propose’ to my bridesmaids. He patiently helped me trim and assemble each one and I began delivering them on Wednesday afternoon. I’m excited to share the finished product in a future post!

6. On Wednesday night we took a family light tour with four of Dillon’s sisters. In my December goals I mentioned my goal of establishing a tradition with them and was thankful we made time for it. We stopped at one particular display that had a walk-through path open to the public, it was so much fun!

View all of my Friday posts here.

This post is linked up with: A. Liz Adventures, September Farm, and Grace and Love Blog.