1. Continue to learn to pray and walk with God. (It's a daily struggle.)
2. Survive the start of grad school. (I think that's one of those 'learn to trust God' lessons.)
3. Read more. (I didn't read like I wanted to this past year. There's a reason for that. >.> I want to do more reading.)
4. Write more. (Practically, that means write ~1500 words a day in my novel draft, with the goal of writing 50k words EVERY month, joining Camp Nanowrimo for extra motivation, and eventually finishing my novel draft. I also want to have the auspicious goal of applying to Science Fiction Writers of the Future short story contest each quarter. Don't know if that will happen, but attempting to make it happen will be good for me.)
The Past Year
This past year was a real blessing to me. For the first time in my life, I didn't have school to do. I could sit down and really think about life, about God, spend time with my husband and my family. It was... actually, it was quite a challenge for me. I hadn't been used to sitting still and resting. It brought to the surface all kinds of problems within me that I didn't know I had, because I hadn't had time to think in so long. God really stretched me a lot. I had to learn not to worry again. I learned that in school as a survival tactic, but when life was calm and I felt I ought to be in control, my worrying habit came back full force. It's taken the entire year for me to give that back to God.
I also learned to pray. Praying has always been hard for me, while reading and studying the Bible has not. Now ironically, I'm finding praying easier and reading harder. Why can't things be simple! The Lord drew me closer to Himself this year. I really bless my prayer partner, Esther Knuckles, a dear sweet lady at my church. God used her and I in ways we never expected.
We never would have picked each other as prayer partners - but we drew straws and when it fell out that way, I knew it was a God thing. She's a black lady in her late seventies, and I'm a white geek girl in my mid-twenties. What could we have in common, right? Actually, a heck of a lot.
It turns out, we both have very similar personalities that make up only 1% of the population (she's ENTJ and I'm INTJ). Because of that, we both think very similarly and have a lot of the same logic/reasoning dominant thinking and OCD pet peeves. We could share frustrations and thoughts with each other that make perfect sense to us, but most do not understand. (And our personalities have trouble understanding the rest of the world too. >.>)
Because she is older and has seen more in life than I, she can teach me things I don't know and assure me of how God keeps and has kept His promises in her life. I've also blessed her. I can't remember how, but she says so. It's been a real growing experience for us both, I think, and we've become real friends. I look forward to praying with her in the new year and watching God work in our church. It's an exciting time to be alive. I've seen the Lord take away the doubt that used to burden me this year. I've seen Him answer prayers and really meet us where we're at. I know He's up to something great and I am so happy that He lets me take a small part in it.
I was also really blessed by a book that one of the ladies in BSF gave me for Christmas. Her daughter wrote it, and she's a Ph.D. in applied physiology who works at Emory. I saw myself in that. I thought it was a science book. It turned out to be science fiction! She got the idea for it in grad school, it said on the back. I haven't even read it yet, but I cannot tell you how excited I was to see that book - it meant SO much to me to know that others have done it: been in science (still WORKING in science) and wrote and published a science fiction book. I was SO happy. I hope the Lord blesses me with that opportunity one day. Until then, I will work quietly and write the things I love.