To Do 2016: What I Accomplished

Growing up, I laughed at the tradition of setting resolutions, but when I finished my master’s degree, and was left without the usual goals of Write good papers! and Graduate! I discovered that goals are really helpful in giving my life forward direction and structure. So now I too set New Years’ Resolutions!

Here’s what I’ve accomplished over the last year:

Professionally, I resolved to read up on teaching developmental courses, as well as read John Milton Gregory’s The Seven Laws of Teaching (recommended by my mom). I also made a tentative resolution to pursue the opportunity to teach online and to pursue further professional development for myself.

I’ve done really well in this area. Over the past year I’ve

  • Read Teaching Underprepared Students, by Kathleen Gilbert
  • Read Gregory’s Seven Laws of Teaching 
  • Taken a course in online assessment
  • And taught a course online! I’ve even designed new assignments for it!

I made progress on my personal goals too.

I wanted to get more comfortable baking yeast breads, since traditionally I make Christmas morning cinnamon rolls, and traditionally, I panic about making cinnamon rolls. Are they rising enough? Did I kill the yeast? Is this a warm enough spot for them?

But this spring, I joined a bread baking group on FB and started making my own bread. I regularly post panicky questions (most recently: What happens when you forget to add the oil ?) to the group, but the people there are kind about helping me through my problems, and I’m really starting to understand the process better. And the bread I’m making is delicious! It’s nothing spectacular, just white bread that never seems to rise as high as I want; but it sure is yummy!

Sadly, I didn’t get to make cinnamon rolls this year, as a helpful family member commandeered the process. So I treated my cousins to a chocolate babka instead!

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Babka, or as my cousin Dan calls it, “chocolate goodness”.

I also opened a retirement account and purchased a new car (a blue Toyota Corolla); the car purchase was especially wise since I put nearly two thousand miles on it driving about southwestern Colorado this summer, hiking a 14er with my aunt and uncle.

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Me, my aunt, and my uncle on Mt. Handies. 

But I missed a few things personally:

I never learned to pick up dropped stitches. Just a few days ago I dropped two or three stitches, and when I tried to pick them up, I dropped a few more stitches. So into town I went today, to get the yarn store ladies to pick up the stitch for me.

I never owned a pet. I tried, but it turns out I’m not rich enough for that yet. Back to the shelter my cat went.

I accomplished a few spiritual goals, too: I found a new church home, and I’ve gotten involved, reading Scripture during the morning service and participating in a Friday evening women’s event. I also kept Lent, with a fast from sweets, including Brach’s peppermint candies, to which I’m slightly addicted. Beyond giving me a break from my addiction, the Lenten fast was a good reminder of how much I depend on the Lord’s grace for spiritual life.

But there were spiritual goals I missed, too. I never read Dante again, nor did I finish George MacDonald’s Unspoken Sermons. To be fair, I own the Unspoken Sermons on Kindle, and it’s a little daunting to read 19th century religious essays on a tiny iPhone screen!

It’s worth noting that I accomplished a few others goals in addition to the ones I formally set, too:

  • I got my first smartphone, an iPhone SE. I love it!
  • I took up yoga. I also really love yoga.
  • I baked Christmas cookies and delivered them to people in my church. This is a really good way to connect with people personally.
  • I visited Mesa Verde and Four Corners. I’ve wanted to visit Four Corners all my life – totally cheesy, yes, but I’ve always been fascinated with standing on the boundaries of things. Mesa Verde, incidentally, was super cool, much more so than I expected it to be.
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Me at Four Corners. I’m smiling, but it’s like 105 degrees here. 

Now it’s time to look forward to next year; look for a post in the next week or so laying out a few goals for 2017.

Till then, tell me: What did you accomplish this year?

 

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