2011 is just hours from being history... from being in the past, from being behind us...
And I have spent all week thinking, as I usually do at the end of every year, of that year, and what I learned, what I found to be significant...
Where I succeeded and where I failed.
And I want to take this time to look back on a few things.
I did better with my finances this year. I met my savings goals and set some new ones. Matter of fact, I was looking back at a Finance post I did back in January 2011, and I actually did quite well. I began setting and implementing new financial goals for the new year around December 1st, so I am happy about that.
I finished a manuscript this year. Earlier this year, I finished my manuscript Watch. It was short for me, around 240 pages. Very complicated stuff. A bunch of bloggers read through that draft and I had some AMAZING discussions with people.
I can't say that I have written much more this year. I really hate long form things, like novel length, works. Many of you have read Sweet Heat and Watch, and I can't thank you for all the help and feedback I received. It was wonderful. But like I said, I don't like long form. I love very short pieces, much of which has been placed on this blog. I know I had to have written 10 short-shorts this year for your enjoyment. That's what I enjoy.
But when I complete something long, I am happy for it. There are nice touches throughout, and I always write with a good underlying moral to the story. I think I would love writing long form if I didn't have the distraction of working my job everyday.
I have about 10 novels in my head. Wouldn't you like to read all that?
My relationship with my sister has grown this year. I tell you, if you have ever met my sister, you will notice that she is 10 times quieter than me. AND she is 10 times funnier than me. I must say I really love talking to her because she REALLY makes me laugh. But this year, we have had good heart-to-heart talks. She has had to encourage me, and she gives great advice. I have been angry about a few things in the latter part of this year, and she has been good about setting my head straight, and hearing my frustrations. She explains things very well. I would have never thought that would happen, sense there is an 11 year difference in our ages, but I guess we are just getting older now. I am more thankful for her, each and every day. We are not part of a close knit family, but she makes me feel like I have some family, and that I am a part of something special.
I met a bunch of bloggers and readers this year. Jennifer, Mzinspiredmind, Marille, Lisa B., Singlema, Tazzee, Remnants, and whoever else I left out. I even ran into bloggers I've met in the past, like Southern Black Gal and Serenity again this year. Phenomenal people. I tell you, the depth of wisdom that has been imparted into me... man, I wouldn't trade it for theeworld.
One such blogger who has had a daily impact on my life, virtually all year is blogger Adrienne. This year she has been my online Mama. Funny how that happen. She
would be on twitter talking about how she really loves her husband and children and how she loves being a mother and wife.
I thought this was HILARIOUS. Why? Because my mother never thought of me as such. I went and told my sister about this. We were O_o. We have never heard of such of thing. Our mother does NOT feel that way about us. We couldn't even imagine our mother saying such a thing. WOW.
So I would holler "Can you adopt me? Can you be my Mama?"
So the running joke began.
Funny. I don't call her by her first name. I call her Mama. I am suppose to work on that for 2012. We will see. I know her family thinks I am a bit.... special. Because I call her brothers, "Uncle". I call her Mama "Grandma". I call her husband "Uncle Tony". (He is NOT my daddy. He better roll with the Uncle. LOL). And her childrens are my siblings. They know I am the eldest child.
LOL. (They tend to be polite and smile at me. I know she has sat them down and told them that I am... special. LOL)
I remember LadyTee saying one day, "But she is, like, younger than you, girl. But-"
She almost got tackled and thrown to the floor for that observation. "BE QUIET, LADYTEE," is what I yelled.
But I can't even explain the impact she has had on my life. She helps me work on my spiritual growth. She has such an interesting depth of wisdom, from which I have benefitted greatly. There is so much to her than meets the eye. Just a degree of multifacetness that I have rarely seen in people. I can tell her things, and there is no judgment. She has kept me out of some potential messes. Overall, she is a very kind person. I consider her not only a friend, but a much undeserved gift from God. Just a fascinating Oldgirl indeed. And I am glad to have met her. And she continues to have a daily impact on my life. I hope that is not for just a reason or for a season, as God tends to place people on my path for specific purposes and to solve specific problems. I hope it is ongoing. I really do.
You's good people, Mama. And don't you ever forget it.
But overall, it was great to meet so many readers and bloggers. Ya'll are some PHENOMENAL people.
I gave more this year. No, not to church. I suppose I need to work on that. I am a tither, but funny on the offering side of things, meaning, I don't have a set offering goal. I don't keep up with that. Not sure what that is about.
But I mean I gave more into people's lives. I have a set figure I give to people per year. I didn't meet that in 2010. But I more than met it this year. I enjoy being able to be part of meeting a need or a dream. I really do. And you know why? Because I am always working on my selfishness issues. Always. To the point where I am a bit more sensitive to when I am being selfish, and I make note to correct it. And that is all I can ask for: to be sensitive to the needs of others, and to be quick to correct myself when I am being selfish.
From selfish to selfless. That is important to me. Because we are living in a strange time. A time of what can I get from you and how much can you do for me. I want NO parts of that. NONE.
That is the goal. And I made some strides in that manner.
I am growing. I always tell my sister, "It's like walking from Atlanta to California. Just get started. We will eventually get there. The important thing is to walk in that direction."
I am walking in the direction of selfless. I have far to go.
One day I will get there.
I prayed more this year. My goal this year was to get up and pray for an hour every morning, every day this year. Sometimes that worked out. Sometimes it didn't. I would say I had a 90% success rate on that goal.
So that works out to around 330 out of 365 days out of the year. That is ALOT. And I pray every day, it just that a few days, it was less than an hour. I am talking about a FULL hour. So I think 90% is not bad.
And you will not believe the answers I got, or the personal revelations. You wouldn't believe it if I told you. I've posted a few things here on blog, mostly because I really need to go back and read it when I need it. Most things I refuse to post, but I tend to talk about it offline if it comes up in convo (Trust, it always does. There is some situation that the answer fits, if not for me, for someone else.) There had been, one time, a 2 hour turn around on a prayer (which was odd, since I was a bit ticked about something, and was a bit sarcastic... uh, that got shut down).
And I must say, the majority of the time, the answers are never what I would think they would be. It got to a point where I started keeping a written record of answers. Not as stringent as I would have, but there have been some intangible things that have helped me gain a better understanding of some personal issues that I have been dealing with. For that I am thankful.
And I know one thing: any answered prayer comes with asterik.
*this answer is NOT subject to or takes into account people's opinions and approval.
Thank goodness for that.
And you know me, I ain't a "gimme" type of chick. I don't pray with any type of motive. For me, it was all about working on my relationship with God. It was about increasing my level of commitment, spirituality, and growth. It has gotten to the point that I SO look forward to waking up in the morning and praying. That is the very first thing on my mind. Not all the work drama, not the things going on in my life, not the news, none of that.
The first thing on my mind each day is to get up and spend time with the Father. And that right there, sets the tone for my day.
I am writing about it here because it was something important to me. Moreso in the vein of finding a level of consistency. I find that if I am consistent when it comes to God, it spreads out into my being more consistent with myself, and with others in life. And it also increases my level of personal peace.
This will continue. And it will get deeper and better. And I will grow in my character. I know I will.
Biggest Realization of the Year. If I see people who are working on their personal growth and character, those are the people I need to get to know and pay close attention to.
People who think that they are all that, and they don't need to work on themselves... the people that I like to think of as "perfect people", are a trip. These seem to be the people who wreak havoc in other people's lives. Seems like when they are around, even the dogs, cats, goldfish and cockroaches' lives get worse.
You don't believe me? Pay close attention and you will see what I am talking about. That is all.
I realized that this year.
And when these people walk out of the room and out of our lives, seems like we can all stand up and recover.
Biggest realization of the year #2. I spend 1% of my time per week in Church. If that much. 99% of my time is spent doing something else. So I am not sure what all the religious fighting is about. I am who I am truly when I ain't in church. I am who I am when no one is looking. Character is what you are doing when no one is looking. My goal is to work on THAT. I will leave the arguing to everybody else.
Listen, I don't care where you go to church. As long as you are happy. Don't hate on me for where I go to church. I am happy. Do an Oldgirl a favor and come at me with something that you learned, that will bless me and help me grow. I would really apprecitate that.
Biggest ralization of the year #3. I realizing that I am getting older. Every morning when I wake up, and look in the mirror, I notice more and more gray hair, scattered all about my hairline. It's odd to me.
I still feel young. I am still a young chicken.
But I don't worry about it. You won't hear me whining about it. Man, it is SO much more important that I woke up to see a new day, especially with this lupus. I have MANY more good days than bad. And I was looking at some bloodwork paperwork the other day, and I am actually in the very light category. I have been moderate for years, so that is a plus.
So if I wake up in the morning and my hair is completely gray? So be it. I am just a day older.
I am happy to see a new day. And each day is such a wonderful gift.
So those are my personal ponderings for the year 2011. There's much more. But I won't go on.
I just know that this has been a very rich year for your Friendly Neighborhood Oldgirl LadyLee.
Man oh man... I can't wait to see what the year 2012 will bring.
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