2015 Rise + Shine: The Year in Review

By January 1, 2016 culture No Comments

Twelve months of the year 2015 have come and gone. It feels like forever ago that I wrote some dreams and embarked on my Rise + Shine vision. But here we are, nonetheless, and it’s time for some reflection.

As most years, 2015 had some rough spots. I’m still having a tough time balancing out my set work schedule with my writing, freelance work, and personal life. Also, people I love are going through hard things (really, who isn’t, right?); there are days my heart simply can’t take the brokenness and it sets me back even further.

Any progress in 2015, then, is worth celebrating! Here’s what I had hoped for followed by a brief state of affairs.

spiritual > read through the Bible and look for ways to share The Story with others

According to my tracker app, I read just over 40% of the Bible. I had more Gospel conversations, either specifically through The Story or in extending soul care to others.

relational > catch up with Mike throughout the workday and have monthly family gatherings

Mike and I have been much more connected during the day, which has been fun. As for monthly family gatherings—ack. We did see family more this year (I think?) but I’m still not good at planning and inviting.

mental & emotional > read one nonfiction and one fiction book each month

My intent here was to have one foot in both worlds at all times. Reality was not so neat and tidy. I read 36 books in 2015: 13 fiction (including 7 children’s books for A.R.K.S. summer reading program) and 22 nonfiction.

physical > run four times a week to break my race records, complete core workouts twice a week, and go to bed by 9PM

Total fail. This fall my workload grew and something had to go. Running got cut. Core workouts happened once a week though (praise God for that Friday 5:30 a.m. class!), and I did get to bed between 9 and 9:30 more nights than not.

professional > write two blogs per week and develop a social media plan, return messages within 24 hours, and do the next week’s planning Fridays at 3:30PM

My writing and work life took an unexpected—and delightful turn—that I could not have planned back in January.

In February, Hannah Anderson and I launched Persuasion, a podcast in the Christ and Pop Culture Podcast Network. We record a new episode almost every week to discuss what’s happening in the world and how to think of it from a Christian perspective.

Then in late August, InterVarsity Press offered me a contract for my first book, Comfort Detox. What an honor! My fall was full of writing and editing and praying and fretting to get to my November 4 draft one deadline. (I made it!) That means 2016 will be full of final edits, planning, and release details.

Because of these projects, my writing here was sparse. Social media was more frequent but certainly not very planned or consistent. At work I was much more mindful about returning messages, although I didn’t consistently do the Friday planning session.

domestic > plan next week’s meals Friday night

This was not consistent. (See professional category for my excuses.)

All these dreams for 2015 were rooted in my desire to Rise + Shine—meaning, that I wanted to move forward from the places I had been stuck and reflect the light and love of Jesus more. Although my goals were not achieved in full, a lot happened. It was not a year of slouching, just one of altered priorities due to unexpected opportunities.

Did I Rise + Shine in 2015? As much as I’m prone to berate my shortcomings, I hear the whisper of Love claiming me as a beloved child. The dark places I am prone to camp out in are not visited quite as frequently. I may not have made the best use of my time (Eph. 5:16) at every moment, but I’d say it was a good year full of good things that I never could have planned out. And that is God’s grace.

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