Reminiscing and Dreaming

by Editor on January 2, 2013

Today’s guest post comes from missionary mom Shannon Kelley. Here, Shannon shares a practical idea for being intentional as family as we leave last year behind and look forward to the New Year.


I’m a big fan of the New Year. There is something hopeful and exciting about it. I love reminiscing over the past year and dreaming about what will be in the next. This New Year was very different from years past.  Instead of hanging with family and watching the ball drop went to sleep at 8, since the sun goes down here at about 6pm and we now think 8pm is late. We celebrated by pumping water into buckets for a shower and trying to not jump every time a homemade firework went off right outside our window.

Before we moved to Haiti our family made a couple promises. One was to sit down yearly and have a family meeting where we are truly honest about: where we are, what needs to change, and are we still aligned with what God called us to. In an effort to spice up New Years in a little remote fishing village in Haiti, and keep our promise of sitting down as a family to really talk about where we are in this crazy journey of following God, we did just that on New Year’s Eve.

It’s not really about resolutions. It’s about coming together to be honest and take inventory over the past year and prepare as best we can for the New Year. It’s about realizing life is too short to not really dive in to what God is calling us to. Want to join us?

Make it fun. Make snacks, give everyone fun paper and a pen to write on, make it a game or sharing time. Give the kids crayons so they can draw their answers if they want. Or if your kids are older, designate a “scribe”. Take is seriously but make it fun! If you are single or want to do this alone, find your favorite place to cozy up, grab your favorite journal and make it a special moment just for you.

Write it down. Don’t just talk about it. Writing it down makes it a memory, holds you accountable, and helps propel you after this exercise is over.

Pray.  Ask for blessings and honesty during this time. Take time for the questions; force yourself to authentic answers, past the pat answers.

Here’s the list we use. Feel free to modify the questions to suit your situation. Grab some pens and paper, get some popcorn popping and ask your family some or all of these questions.

-Think back over the past year. What would the theme of the year be for you?

-Where did you see God specifically move?

-What worked for you and your family and ministry?

-What could have been better?

-Set aside 5 minutes of brainstorming big dreams for the New Year.

-What are you letting go of in 2013.  Quit something.

-2012 was the year….

-2013 is the year I will…

Now share some of your answers, even if it’s just with your immediate family. Telling others has boldness in it and inspires others while empowering you.

You can leave a comment here with some of your family’s answers so we can motivate each other. I added some of the answers from our family below.

Shannon Kelley – lives in a remote fishing village in Haiti working with Harvest Field Ministries.  blog:   twitter: @alohashannon

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  • Shannon Kelley

    Here are some of our answers to our little family gathering on New Years Eve:)

    -Definitely 2012 was the year of change. We all agreed and separately put that without knowing what the other was writing down.

    -Where did God move: this is way too long to list here and kinda private on some things but God showed up all year in the little and the big. Without Him we definitely wouldn’t have gotten through this year!

    -A peak at what worked: working together as a family through the hard times, putting an emphasis on communication with each other, removing ourselves from people and situations that were taxing on our family, following God even when it seemed crazy, making sure Brad had pepsi:), making sure we had parmesan cheese in the house (stupid, but true:) ), and giving ourselves lots of grace.

    -What could have been better: us (just general…this was a really hard year and our humanness showed in those tough moments…we were bickery with each other when we didn’t need to be, etc.)

    -We are quitting comparing. I’m the worst about checking facebook and seeing all these big orgs doing amazing things or even seeing people in America living a life and getting all jealous and sentimental about it so we are quitting that. Or trying to:)

    -2012 was the year of surviving.

    -2013 is the year we will thrive.

    Can’t wait to hear about yours!!!

    • Shannon, Loved this post! Thanks for writing it. I love this idea to talk about New Years as a family. Honestly, I typically think about it myself and make resolutions, but rarely involve the kids in that process. I think this year will be different because of YOUR encouragement.
      Thanks for writing in this space, Shannon– love your voice!


      • Shannon Kelley

        Woohoo!! Thank you my friend, encouraged by you daily!

  • Anna

    This is a great idea! Thank you for sharing!

    I’ll be praying for your family as you look forward to new challenges and adventures in 2013. God bless you!

    • Shannon Kelley

      Thanks so much Anna!!

  • tonya

    Think back over the past year.

    What would the theme of the year be for you?
    Total transition stage from being hurt that i was single again to excepting in and finding God in the place i was

    -Where did you see God specifically move?
    No truly there yet, but closer to peace

    -What worked for you and your family and ministry?
    Being sure to hear Gods voice before moving on a choice

    -What could have been better?
    Health wise would have made better choice, but didn’t gain any weight i had previously lost and finding peace would have came sooner on choices if I would have let them go and let god take the pain

    -Set aside 5 minutes of brainstorming big dreams for the New Year.
    The list is long! 🙂 business plan was too 🙂 thinking an overseas trip too

    -What are you letting go of in 2013. Quit something.
    Health wise need to get in under control eating out and eating bad have to stop!

    -2012 was the year….
    was better than 2011

    -2013 is the year I will…

    better than 2012!!!

    • Shannon Kelley

      Love the part of hearing God’s voice before acting on a choice! Need to remind myself daily of that one!

  • I like to write down goals!

    • Shannon Kelley

      Ditto! I have a little moleskin notebook I use just for dreaming big:)

  • I also really love the challenge to “quit something”– something I haven’t thought of much as a resolution, but I love the idea of simplifying life and cutting out things that are peripheral.

    • Shannon Kelley

      I know!! Me too:) There is something so freeing about it!

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