2013 The Best. The Worst. The Lessons Learned. All at incredibly high speed.

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I took seven classes last year. I was going to go through my year month by month, but most of the months started out like “In (month) I was neck deep in _(class name)_.  Didn’t have time to do much else.”  On the plus side – I’m 2 classes and an internship away from possessing a master’s degree.  Something I’m both very proud of, and yet hasn’t turned me into a real master of anything. More on that another time.

High points of the year:

3 wonderful family getaways in the summer – camping, a great wedding weekend and new sister-in-law, and half a week on the Cape.

Co-leading adult Sunday School with my friend.  Two things made it a high.  Our hour-long discussions and runs in preparation at 8am on Saturday mornings.  The subject of the class, spending money wisely based on scriptural teaching. I’ve got more on that another time too.

Two courses taken that increased my knowledge and appreciation of the sustainability movement, as well as tempered my personal enthusiasm with a little practical perspective.

Low points of the year:

Many. The work load (and money spent paying for classes) was heavy, and I had to trade off things I also reallllly like, not just once – but over the course of the year.  Most obviously – blogging, but I gave up a fair number of weekends, sound sleep, quality time with the husband (he’s a champ), making art, fun local events and often anything that required a lot of energy.  I’m not saying I didn’t have any fun (see that first thing above for example)… just that it was a lot of work.

Lessons learned? Well, here’s three of many.

The power of gratitude.  I read Ann Voskamp’s 1000 gifts book in February , and it helped me put my year in perspective over and over as I was remembered to savor little things, like light on the windowsill, trying a new recipe, even the slowest of slow jogs.

I started thinking about about the power of habits and establishing a culture of excellence for oneself.  (I particularly like this quote from Aristotle.) I found a lot of inspiration from reading posts of my hero-bloggers, Donald Miller, and the other authors at Storyline.

I might know a lot… but I still know nothing!   I am all about intersections in life…. which is one reason I chose to study organizational psychology.  It’s a balance between research and practice.  A balance between reason and emotion (they don’t have to be diametrically opposed!).  The balance between strategy and innovation.  The balance between structure and creativity.  Therefore, in the middle of the year when I took a class on consulting basics, and read some great books by Peter Block, and Edgar Schein.  I was pleasantly surprised to learn that change management (one element of Organization Psychology) taps into some of the great practices of philosophy as well, including the Socratic method – asking questions to get at what the client knows, without assuming that you know the answer as an “expert.”

Here’s to 2014.

I’m looking forward to so many things in 2014, working toward my resolutions, graduation, more happy weddings, deeper friendships, gathering more knowledge… and hopefully, a little more time for rest… and blogging.

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Author: Beth M

Life Lessons, Parenting, Books, Sustainability.

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