2018 quick analysis check in

Posted: December 26, 2018 in Uncategorized

With 2018 drawing to a close, I can’t help but show up here to do some of my year-end processing (which will most certainly be followed shortly by some processing for next year as well.)  I’m peeking at my entry this time last year, when I made my 2018 goals...and measuring here how that went.

Pouring Out 

In a way, I’ve written less this year than I have for a long time – I’ve literally done only 6 blog entries this year to date.  The primary reason for that is the consistent work I’ve done on my YouTube channel, which was one of my bigger attempts in 2018 to help point people to prayer.  It consists of 3 weekly series, all of which will come to an end effective January 1:

  • Mindful Mondays, which starts the week out by focusing in on some aspect of applying prayer life to real life
  • Wisdom Wednesdays, which picked out various Proverbs and did a little thinking about them (and tried to start the process of memorization)
  • Faithful Fridays, which models the ancient “Lectio Divina” method of listening prayer – I chose to focus in on the Psalms all year, except for December, which switched to “the Christmas story.”

So Mondays and Wednesdays still involved some writing (as in, writing scripts).  That’s a different kind of writing than my traditional overly-wordy blogs; maybe it was good for me to practice a bit more brevity, though some assured me I was still going too long with the videos as well.  What are you gonna do?  Here’s what I feel good about:  in the whole year, having set myself up for a 150-episode assignment…I have literally only missed one episode (the week we went to Audiofeed Music Festival I missed posting on Friday.)  I’ve got all but one written, recorded, and edited…the very last one has to wait for some other stuff that I need to do first.  (I feel like my year of writing every single day a few years back set me up well for consistency on this front.)

It’s been an adventure.  It wasn’t hard to come up with topics for Mondays, but I just hoped all along that my (very) few viewers understood that I don’t come as some sort of expert – just a fellow traveler, thinking aloud.  Ditto the Proverbs – heaven help me if anyone thought I was presenting a scholar’s approach.  It was just my own thoughts and questions, and I hope it helped.  And of course Fridays were my favorite – in my opinion, by far the highest value of what I was doing, being less “Karen” and more scripture/Holy Spirit – but I don’t deceive myself into thinking most of the viewing world is as excited about ancient prayer practices as I am.

The YouTube project was both encouraging and humbling.  Some people loved it and made a point to let me know.  Some folks appear to have watched it at least some of the time in “lurking” mode (no likes, no comments, etc) so that I was pleasantly shocked when they mentioned to me in person that they’d watched/been touched by it/etc.  And then a whole lot of people had zero interest, seemingly – while I expected that from the world in general, it was a little painful noting some of the folks I thought might tune in (like, if they did something, I’d check it out based on our relationship, so I assumed…) and just didn’t.  I didn’t do it to gain attention, so it’s fine…just…humbling!!

I also did a series of “classes” at my church to help point people to prayer.  I had hoped to draw some new people into intimacy in prayer, but mostly I proved to myself what I already knew:  there are a rare few folks who will turn up to anything billed as being about prayer.  So I had a ton of fun talking to mostly the usual suspects, and got to practice managing my own expectations along the way.  I also planned 2 prayer retreats (1 in summer and 1 this week) – the summer one got kind of flattened by weather (it was supposed to be a camping retreat) and a competing event I hadn’t known was coming.  The one this week, though…it promises to go better than that.  Some folks are for sure coming, and I’m SO EXCITED as I keep working along on the schedule of what we’re doing as we “pray in the new year.”  (Local folks, catch me if you’re interested!  It’s Friday night, 6-9 PM!)

Sprucing Up

I was in a bad place with my body this time last year, fighting a more or less losing battle with the fork and spoon, and struggling to work out…and feeling rotten about how much I couldn’t move well.  2018 was the year gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) came screaming onto the scene, levying a pain in my chest that really felt like “maybe this is the big one…maybe today I’ll die of a heart attack”) for days, then weeks, then months.  I hurried to the doctor on like day 2 or 3 of the pain, after reading that untreated GERD can lead to esophageal cancer, but even with medication and the most restrictive diet I’ve ever heard of, it took a long time to bring the pain down to not-feeling-like-potential-death level.  I’ve racked up quite a set of medical bills this year, working that out, and I’m not in the clear yet, but there’s good news from it:  I’ve found that extreme pain is a motivator completely unlike all the good intentions and education about possible consequences and general desire to look nice.  None of those other things could really hold me strictly to even a fairly easy diet, but chest pain?  IT DOES IT, BABY.  Without trying to lose weight, I’m losing weight.  I don’t enjoy the diet, but I’m grateful for how it relieves the GERD, and for sure I’ll take the weight loss as a side benefit.

Along the way, there was a 9/11 trip to the ER, chest pain related, that led to my introduction to my very own cardiologist, who subjected me to a nuclear stress test (not my favorite experience ever) which revealed some minor blockage in my arteries.  For now it only calls for a baby aspirin daily (if the GERD will allow it…that remains to be seen)…but it does make me feel serious about what my priorities need to be in 2019.  Namely, my health has to get moved WAY up the ladder, no matter what else has to be moved down (or out) to make that happen.  I’ve got a lot of people who love me and don’t deserve the pain of my health meltdown that could all too easily happen if I don’t get real serious here.

The other “sprucing up” thing I took on this year was real makeup – a thing I had never learned in the 51 years before that, being an “eyeliner and mascara is plenty of makeup” kind of girl.  I started not liking what I saw in the mirror, and my lovely daughter developed an interest in makeup around that time as a mental wellness thing, so I just joined her and spent WAY TOO MUCH TIME on YouTube learning things that I suppose most females learn in their teens or twenties.  It’s been fun, and I’m surprised at how much of a positive this has been for me in 2018.  Some things are just unexpected.

Soil Work

I had big plans for my garden(s) this year, and some of those did come to pass, as we added two more raised beds to the back yard.  The herb garden (which was mostly shaded and shouldn’t have worked) thrived; the other (which was mostly sunny and should have been wildly successful) was kind of “meh.”  I’ve got thoughts about what to switch up this year, so we’ll see if that improves.

My son and his wife built some truly amazing raised beds at their place this year, complete with latticework running up the side of their house.  It was FANTASTIC, and my aim is to get them here in the spring to help me set up something like that along the back of our house – I get all jittery-excited when I think about it.  That’s the life of a gardener – always dreaming up the Next Cool Idea.  I’ve got about 5 years’ worth of cool ideas for back yard projects, but I’m trying to take them one at a time.

No Word

Some years, I have a guiding word that oversees the year.  No such word emerged for 2018, and I didn’t try to force it, since I’ve got a lifetime of Big Big January Plans followed by No Follow Through to remind me that if the Lord’s not leading it, there’s really no point in going there.  (Happily, I DO have a word for 2019 already, but that’s a whole other blog.)

Too Much is Too Much

This part wasn’t on my blog that planned for 2018; it’s just a result I’m taking away.  I did A LOT in 2018 – the YouTube, the garden stuff, a lot at work, continued projects at church and new ones as well, on and on.  While I was genuinely amazed to learn exactly how much I can accomplish if I just doggedly squeeze productivity into every corner and every stray moment I can find…it  hasn’t been a healthy thing.  I’m getting worse and worse at sleeping (and for most of my life, I prized myself on what a world champ sleeper I was!)  The drive to be productive intrudes into my dreams and leaves me exhausted in the morning.  I’ve forgotten how to relax at home – I watch my husband doggedly honor his sabbath days, faithful to scripture and especially to Jewish traditions, and I am jealous.  I can’t remember how to just have a day of rest, and THAT is not in line with what scripture tells us to do or to be.  On top of that, the business of “gettin’ it done” kept me too often from spending time with family and friends, and I know for sure that relationship is one of the biggest deals there is, in God’s eyes…so stuff’s gotta shuffle.  So I’ve already begun the work of shaving some things down, and 2019 will not be another “too much” year (or at least that’s the plan – it’s gonna be serious work, recalibrating.)

I get to think about this all some more Friday night at the prayer retreat, and I’m curious what other marrow God might help me suck out of the bones of this overstuffed year.

If you’ve been here before, you KNOW I want to hear what you’re pondering, along these lines.  Tell me all about it!


  1. Laurie Berthel says:

    It is encouraging to read your words.
    2018 has not been what I expected or anticipated. It was better. God did a healing that continues.

    The last part oc 2018 finds me sidelined as I wait gor hip replacement surgery 02/18/19.
    More of God.

    Thankyou for writing.

  2. Laurie Berthel says:

    It is encouraging to read your words.
    2018 has not been what I expected or anticipated. It was better. God did a healing that continues.

    The last part oc 2018 finds me sidelined as I wait gor hip replacement surgery 02/18/19.
    More of God.

    Thankyou for writing.

  3. Laurie Berthel says:

    It is encouraging to read your words.
    2018 has not been what I expected or anticipated. It was better. God did a healing that continues.

    The last part oc 2018 finds me sidelined as I wait gor hip replacement surgery 02/18/19.
    More of God.

    Thankyou for writing.

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