Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:4-7

31 December 2009

Was 2009 the Year of Optimism?

The other day I was perusing my notebook and found a list labelled "2009". Here's what was on that list in bold print - and how I went in plain text.

Put shelf and mirror up in guest toilet. No. Still on the list.
Smoke alarms in boys' bedrooms. No. But now that we're back into fire season it is on my mind to get onto this again.
Clear out spare room. No.
Sort out the garden. Well, I've made a very small start.

Bible reading and prayer.
Being more regular, more thorough, more's a given on any list of goals for any year. Always room for improvement.
Be more deliberate about housework. Mmmmmm...I did sweep the floor under the table where the boys eat a lot.
Read other books - alternating fiction and non fiction. Gave up fiction except during the holidays. Small success with non fiction.
Respond to letters and emails from missionaries by email as soon as the letters have arrived. Alas, no.
Write one encouraging letter per week. Had a good month in May. Otherwise, I did what I vowed I wouldn't do. I let blogging get in the way of letter writing.

Well, at least I have saved myself a job. I don't need to think of any New Year's resolutions for 2010. I can just recycle the list from this year!!!

When I started this blog at the beginning of the year I mentioned that a friend and I had declared 2009 to be The Year of Optimism. Looking at my list of underachievements for the year you might guess that The Year of Optimism didn't live up to its designation.

But no. In fact it has been The Year of Optimism. And I think there are probably three good reasons.

Firstly, my husband and I have been married for eleven year and this has been the first year of our marriage that has been uneventful. This is the first year in eleven years that we were able to stand together, looking out on the horizon of the year ahead at the beginning of the year, without anticipating the death of a parent, the birth of a child, moving house, moving church, leaving a job, swapping from worker to student or student back to worker, a diagnosis of a serious illness, having to make a major decision that was going to be life changing. We were looking at our first ever ordinary year together. Which is not to say that stuff didn't happen. It did. But we were able to face the year more steadily because there was nothing looming when the year started.

Secondly, our youngest boy has been emerging from the toddler years. Joy. We have entered that golden five or so years when both boys are neither toddlers nor teenagers. Which again, is not to say that stuff won't happen. But as a primary school teacher, I know the primary years to be a steady time of a child's life. And we are loving it.

Thirdly, I think in declaring that this year would be the Year of Optimism up front has given me an incentive and a determination to think optimistically. It's a little trick of the mind really, a way of training the brain. Yes, there were times when I felt far from optimistic this year. However for the most part, if I said it was The Year of Optimism then I was determined that I would finish it being able to say that yes, it was The Year of Optimism.

So what of next year? The United Nations has declared it The International Year of Biodiversity - a celebration of life on earth and of the value of biodiversity for our lives where the world is invited to take action in 2010 to safeguard the variety of life on earth.

I'm going for something much simpler.
2010 - The Year of..
Yes, you'll have to come back tomorrow to find out.

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