2014 Summary: For my wife and I, this was a year of many transitions. My wife’s beloved grandmother, who loved me like one of her own sons, was called home to glory this past summer at 96 years old. Our oldest son got married in the summer, and our youngest son went off to college, leaving us as empty nesters. To “prepare us for this,” our daughter studied abroad in Great Britain. My sister moved in with us as she needed more care later in the summer. I started to transition into a larger pastoral role in our church. Then it became apparent that the “puzzle” of my own desires, God’s call, our family’s interests, our educational nonprofit, and church fit together better with me in a smaller role in the church and a larger role at our nonprofit. In the aftermath of all these things, I experienced a significant episode of depression required medical care and a break from church responsibilities. So, there were a number of goal set for 2014 that were not achieved. A result of this is a re-evaluation of goal-setting and annual planning for 2015.
2014: What went well?
- Completed 1 100 K run (Iron Horse, February, 19:18)
- Completed 1 12 hour race (Azalea, November, 40 miles)
- Completed 46 Books (7 more than in 2013):
- Preached 20 times at our church
- Taught a summer class at our church
- Taught full time for 2013-14
- Taught a seminar for our Tutor Training, “Teaching Like Jesus”
- Taught half-time for the Fall of 2014, moving up to ¾ time in second semester 0f 2014-15.
- Our nonprofit remained self-sufficient and was in the black. My wife continues to do an incredible job managing it.
- We were able to go as a family to our oldest son’s college graduation in New York, along with Mom.
- Went to Colorado for our oldest son’s wedding. My wife, with much help from our extended family and our in-laws, put on a rehearsal dinner for the happy coupe that was a smashing success. We acquired a daughter in law who is a great blessing to our son.
- Our oldest son found full-time, professional employment and loves his job.
- Our family was also able to go on vacation in Orlando
- My wife, youngest son, and I attended a Teacher’s Conference in Orlando
- I was able to obtain better medical care as a result of some health issues
- We stayed out of debt and were able to live within our means.
- We upped contributions to retirement by ten times our monthly while not going into debt. This may not be sustainable but it feels great to be overachieve this much on one of my goals.
- My health has improved with blood pressure and cholesterol being managed well.
- We went through a trial period at the church of me taking on many of our lead pastor’s responsibilities and our lead pastor cutting back. With the elders, we determined not to press forward with this arrangement. So my vocational situation is settled for the first time in a decade.
- Our daughter continues to make progress toward college completion. She successfully completed study abroad, staying on track for four year graduation, and is looking at grad schools.
- Our youngest has matriculated at college in New York City and has made a good adjustment.
- I’m not having to work most evenings for the first time since we’ve started our educational nonprofit.
What didn’t go well?
- Felt overextended with work, church responsibilities, and extended family.
- My sister needed additional care because of the effects of cancer and moved in with us in September. Even while suffering greatly and losing much of her independence, she has been a blessing to us in many ways with her childlike faith, positive attitude, and joy in the midst of suffering.
- My depressive episode in October/November was a big setback. However, it also brought about good medical care, counseling, and brought out the love of my family, our elders and church family.
- Had as many DNFs in ultras (2) as I had finishes, but I learned a lot from both of them. Training was sporadic so this could have been expected.
- My prayer and spiritual life was sporadic. Not what I would like.
- It’s not that the trial period of assuming more responsibilities didn’t go well, but it became apparent that the “work/life” balance was unsustainable.
Bottom Line on evaluating 2014: In a year that felt like “failure,” there were an astounding number of successes. It’s important to keep “the big picture” in mind rather than to dwell on the negatives.
What went well with you in the past year? What lessons did you learn? I’d love to hear from you!