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What are you proud of this year?

By Michelle Lehnardt

We don’t seem to have a post on Segullah this morning. No worries. It happens. And usually when it does, we let the blog sit blank for a day.

But on this final day of 2009, I want to hear your thoughts. Before we start making New Year’s resolutions, I want to hear what went well or that you did well in 2009.

For me it’s been a difficult year. I watched my mother die; I’ve had crushing depression; I’ve suffered injuries, illness and betrayal from friends. I built a photography business only to shut it down due to family needs. I’ve gained 15 pounds.

But I’ve had successes too, and the most glowing, fantastical joy of 2009 is my children’s love for each other.

It’s been a long time coming. Kids fight; siblings compete. Five boys create a hug testosterone imbalance at my house(and their little sister is just as wild). But my kids have finally caught the vision of working and laughing together. The divine irony is that the hard things, my whiny list above, welded our hearts together in unity and love.

Please share. What has been your greatest success of 2009? It can be frivolous or serious, but tell us at least one.

About Michelle Lehnardt

(Blog Team) I'm the kind of mom who drives through mud puddles, throws pumpkins off the roof and lets the kids move the ping-pong table into the kitchen for the summer. Despite (or probably, because of) my immaturity, my five sons and one daughter are happy, thriving, funny people. I'll climb a mountain with you, jump into a freezing lake hand-in-hand or just sit with you while you cry. I believe the gospel of Jesus Christ will heal the earth. Founder of buildyourteenager.com, scenesfromthewild.net and rubygirl.org.

36 thoughts on “What are you proud of this year?”

  1. Hmm, my greatest success?

    Probably getting into the MBA program at USD. Or winning an essay contest and going to Blogworld.

    Both mean self improvement, which is awesome.

    It has been a good year. Not one of amazing hurdles but one of moving forward with intent.

  2. This year I have learned to cope better with my two very young children. I think of where I was a year ago, barely managing to survive emotionally, and where I am now and I am very happy with that. I feel much more peace in my life as a result. I've also finally started to lose the baby weight and that makes me happy too.

    I also got a several upper level art history classes approved and will be able to teach them in the future. I'm very happy about that too.

  3. My greatest success has been successfully practicing letting go of small things and continually looking to "choose the better part". My husband laughed when I told him this, but I don't think he knows how much women struggle to make the right choices everyday! There are too many good things that need our attention. Do I scrub the toilets or sit down and read a book with my 10-year-old who isn't going to be 'little' much longer? I am trying to choose the things that have more far-reaching importance than a sparkly toilet. He can laugh, but it is working for me. I have struggled for sometime to come to this place, and this year, I have seen the light.
    Michelle L, I just want to say that the things you've struggled with are SO difficult. I have complete empathy for you. I am impressed with your ability to look for the bright spots in the darkness. Your girls sound so sweet. They will love and admire you for your desire and ability to rise above. Thank you for sharing a bit of your struggle with us as well as your joy.

  4. I went to the temple (without my dh) every month this year. Dh and I went on a date every month this year. I had a perfect month of flossing in May. I kept a journal this year (and it has help me innumerable times over this difficult year).

    I love this time of year: the evaluating, reflecting, pondering, planning, and prayerfully considering what I need to focus on for the next year. I love starting again and being remotivated.

  5. This has been an up and down year for us, but it's the first year in many that I actually met some big goals. I played my first solo recital in 13 years, ran my first marathon, and this morning I finished my most long-term goal of the year by running my 1000th mile. It just worked this year, while other years all heaven and earth seems to be conspiring AGAINST me accomplishing anything of note. Many years, survival seems to be the thing I can celebrate the most.

    Why was this year different? My kids are a little older, my husband has been more than supportive, but mostly, somehow it was all supposed to happen. I know that Heavenly Father's hand was on the things I did, and that he has taught me much through the process of achieving things I thought were close to impossible.

    All that aside, though, I really hope I can say one day that my children love each other as yours do. Your pictures paint that reality in the most beautiful, evident way, and it is inspiring to me. Thank you for sharing the beautiful and the terrible in your life. I am lifted by your words and images over and over.

  6. For the last several years, my goal has been: to find the joy along the way. In the beginning I had to consciously force myself, and it was slow-going; trying to change the habit I had slipped into–focussing on things that were not right or didn't go as I had "planned". But, I am happy to say, that even though it still might take me an "x" ammount of time on any given day to "get there", I am getting there.
    I can find the joy.
    My small, puny ability to see the good in things has become increasingly stronger.
    And it is a blessing.

    I'm hanging on to this goal for this coming year.
    And the next year.
    And the one after that…

  7. I made a plan to limit TV and computer use in our family and actually stuck to it, going on 7 months now. (Except this week of Christmas break hasn't gone so well….but hey, it's Christmas break so I'm giving myself a break!)

    Like Kerri, I also have finally seen some successes in my musical endeavors that have been a very long time in coming. I feel like I've finally found my groove as a SAHM and finally found the right balance–for me–between being a mom and a musician.

  8. Great idea Michelle. This year I:
    -Learned all over again that I like being the mom of a 2 1/2 year old much more than I like being the mom of 1 1/2 year old. He about killed me dead in 2008, but during 2009, my little guy has been (mostly) a lot of fun.
    -Organized my storage room in the basement. Seriously. Major accomplishment.
    -Read some really good books.
    -Loved and laughed with my husband & kids
    -Did NaNoWriMo. Didn't finish, but wrote 40,000 words in one month–which was good enough for me!
    -Lost 3 pounds–felt great!; gained 5 pound–felt awful; lost 4 pounds–celebrated; gained 3 pounds–mourned. Etc. etc.
    -Finished editing _Dispensation: Latter-day Fiction_, a collection of some excellent short stories by our best Mormon writers.
    -Slept more than I did in 2008. Yes!
    Thanks for the chance to reflect.

  9. I quit playing computer games this year – I still spend too much time online I think, but that was a HUGE accomplishment for me and certainly a step in the right direction, for myself, my marriage, and my family. 🙂

    Other than that the thing I am most happy to have done is complete my last years goal of "Net Loss of Stuff in 2009" – aside from just trying to clear out junk with regular goodwill trips, every time I brought stuff into the house, I made an effort to add to the goodwill pile something that the new item was replacing. It feels so much lighter and welcomeing in my home, almost every where I look! I think I can /still/ make that a goal again this year tho, I'm far from done getting rid of stuff we /really/ do NOT need around here…

  10. I'm proud that I didn't (completely) fall apart when my husband was laid off in May.
    I'm proud that we came together and faithfully worked out a plan to endure it.
    I'm proud that when the whisperings of peace came, I listened. And when the call finally came, I was pleased–but not all that surprised. Because I'd been listening.
    I'm also proud that I've remembered to be thankful every day since.

  11. I LOVE reading about the things you've accomplished! School, parenting, music, focusing on joy, attending the temple, listening to the Spirit… Perfect flossing in May made me laugh out loud.

    Keep 'em coming! You're giving me some great ideas on what to work on next year.

  12. In the words of my husband, this has been an "intense year" for us. So intense at times, I literally thought it would do me in. But I did. I got through it and as I sit here typing on this last day of 2009, I realize what God was trying to do this year. He was allowing me the privilege of completely trusting Him. To care more about what He thinks of me than what anyone else thinks of me. And although I have farther to go, for the first time in almost 33 years, I can say that if I am okay with my God, then nothing else matters. To some that may seem small, to me, it is no less than a mighty miracle. I am so, so grateful.

  13. I ran a marathon this year.
    I completed two more semesters of my PhD.
    I discovered I have kidney stones but they haven't killed me yet.

    And I got married to a man more perfect for me than I ever could've imagined. Definitely worth waiting for.

    I'd say it's been a good year. 🙂

  14. Things that didn't go well:

    I gained 18 pounds and none of my clothes from the begining of the year fit me.

    I slipped out of the habit that I'd finally gotten into of daily scripture reading with my kids.

    I still haven't figured out how to forgive my parents and older brother for the abuses of the past.

    I kind of became anti-social…dropping out of every optional group I'd been participating in.

    Spent too much time on Blogs & Facebook.

    Didn't grow spiritually very much.

    BUT! I did:

    A LOT of hard work with my therapist on overcoming the pain from my childhood.

    Start exercising six weeks ago and can tell I'm actually more fit than when I started(even if my weight hasn't changed much yet)

    Have a paradigm shift about motherhood, and have been able to enjoy my precious kids more because of it…my feelings for them are finally being manifested outwardly instead of remaining locked inside me.

    Figured out how to accept and love my husband as he is, and we've grown closer because of it.

    Met some amazing new girlfriends and had some wonderful visits.

    Learn that sometimes we don't get to "jump" straight to the destination we want to arrive at, because we'd miss out on all kinds of lessons we would have learned along the way. And I've made peace with that.

  15. WOW! What a neat idea for a post and so many great things you all have done – makes me proud to be a part of you here!

    Found Segullah! that was great and has touched so many areas of my life. Because of you found several of your blogs I follow regularly. Because of that I found Flylady.net – and people can come visit without me freaking out!

    Got a hold on Supper! Married about 1 1/2 and it took about a year to be able to get up and my whole day not stressed about what to fix and fixing it. This was a supreme major accomplishment in this house!

    Realized and accepted that I will not be able to go back to school in the forseeable future. And have taken steps for self study, free classes etc – determined to not quit learning the things i want to learn – just an alternative way to do it.

    Learning to deal with my body for more than just myself. Had a lot of physical pain etc and realize that I must work with it – i do not live alone anymore, I am a part of….

    Promised my husband that by the end of the year I would have given up all officerships and groups so we could decide together what to do with our evenings without stress – finished this a month ahead of time.

    Peace of Christ, sharing with all of you!

  16. This hasn't been the greatest year for me. I'm pretty much worse at everything than I was a year ago.

    But I did pay off my credit card.

    And I did a really good job at my church callings. Totally magnified.

  17. Got into family history, sent 117 ancestors through the waters of baptism, and many were endowed.

    Lost 60 pounds.

    Got a lot closer to mastering my temper. Only lost it with my kids a few times.

    Didn't get enough scripture study time, didn't keep my house clean,didn't make dinner at least half the time, didn't get my visiting teaching done.

  18. I always like to do "end of year evolutions" because sometimes the year takes interesting twists and turns…

    -I started painting my new domestic series
    -I made it through my first year of teaching early am sem and and 1/2 through my second

  19. I had a baby! (I can't believe no one else used that one already). That is an accomplishment that will last through eternity.

    In the bad areas, I've drifted away from some close family relationships.

    Love that photo.

  20. It's been a hard year in my world, but God gave me the beautiful gift of a cherished friend that has considerably brightened my life. She appeared quite suddenly and was a bit of an unlikely match, but in eight short months she has become one of the most special things in my life. The best part is that she feels the same way about me! The gift of her friendship has taught me the important lesson that God is ever mindful of me. He knows my deepest, most private needs and can respond in ways better than I could imagine. So behind my new baby and my baptized son is my dear friend Melanie, a hallmark part of 2009!

  21. I should be packing since we're moving tomorrow (yay!), but I'm mostly proud of 2009. It was also a hard year for some reasons, but I think I handled it better than things in the past.

    First of all, I feel like I'm finally getting a handle on following promptings and listening to the Spirit. We made some major life changes midway through the year, and six months later I'm totally at peace.

    Also, after dealing with a lot of unresolved anxiety and stress issues for several years I finally found a therapist and I think things are going to work out. I'm proud of myself for not chickening out on therapy (done that before) and hope that by the end of 2010 I'll be more in touch with 'myself' than I have been in years.

  22. Focus on the postive, sisters! Share your greatest successes of 2009! It's bad manners to pubicly demean someone, even if that someone is you!

  23. The positives, I woke up everyday this year. I even managed to get out of bed.
    I played with my grandchildren daily (I had to move in with them because I lost EVERYTHING I had materially)
    Made great strides in overcoming the effects from a nervous breakdown. Was able to go off one of four meds.

    Happy this year will soon be over…hope in 2010

  24. I have to say I'm not sorry to see 2009 end, because it has been a hard year, and I hate hard. But out of this year's difficulties have come some marvelous blessings and accomplishments.
    -I saw my sister's husband get baptized this year—definitely a highlight.
    -I watched each of my children grow and mature in some significant ways this year, and I am relishing being a mother.
    -I found Segullah, right when I needed it—definitely the best part of this year.
    -I wrote two essays that I've wanted to write for a very long time, and I loved the way they turned out.
    -I learned about blogging. 🙂
    -I finally got around to cleaning out the storage area in our house.
    -My heart feels softer, more pliant, more open and forgiving—which goes to show that hard has its benefits.

  25. My marriage survived my husbands infidelity and ex-communication. It was the hardest year of my life, but I made it-we made it.

  26. I graduated from law school in May and I got the job of my dreams with the legislature 2 weeks before I married the man that Heavenly Father promised he was preparing for me 5 years ago on the 19th of December. It has been an amazing year full of blessings that have humbled me and made me more thankful for the peace we experience after the "storm". My oldest son turned 13 yesterday and was recently made president of his deacon's quorum, my daughter is 10 and is becoming a talented flute player and a brilliant student, and my 8 year old son is adorable and loves his new step dad. I have learned to notice the small accomplishments and realize that some days best is better than other day's best, and I have learned that the Atonement is real and eternal. It has been an amazing, hard, blessed, incredible year.

  27. What am I proud of from 2009?

    Um, I don't know if "proud" is the right word, maybe "glad" or "relieved" is a closer fit…

    That I realize how life moves on, the flow of it, how the days still pass, despite three friendships splintering into a thousand pieces this past year. And that the world wakes up in the morning and rises with the sun, despite my grandma falling quite ill and living barely on life's edge. She's still alive today and for that, I'm grateful.

    I'm also proud/glad for the humbling experiences I'm learning as Primary Prez. And looking forward to all I have to learn in 2010.

  28. 2009 has been one of the hardest years of my life. I am so glad it is over. I sat down to think about what went well and where I succeeded. I decided that I am very pleased with how I served in my callings, I know I made a difference. Also, my husband and I are much closer.

  29. Dearest Sisters…all of you out there…
    What a blessing Segullah is…thanks for your sacrifice to keep it going.
    My gratitude is all about how I found the ability to focus on Christ moment to moment.
    How this Christmas season, as well as my 47th wedding anniversary celebrations were totally centered upon the Savior and the Atonement.
    What a sweet and simple peace pervaded, filled, blended the hardship of current mortality with the best parts of promises of things to come. Facing true reality was for me seeing THE most important things about life.
    Not what I want, but what HE wants.
    Not what I want changed in my husband, but what I need to change…and then wanting it more for the right reasons.
    Seeing the pattern that never fails in bringing daily peace and a good measure of joy..despite oppositions, NO money, NO jobs, NO family support.
    I look forward to 2010 with great expectations because I now know what is really real and really the best way to live. Anything that brings you closer to light, love and Jesus Christ. Please believe in the Atonement.
    It works for us in EVERY way, EVERY time, no matter what.
    Love to all.

  30. I am so proud of making it through another year of marriage despite taking my wretched, wretched PhD exams. Being married has been so much harder than I ever thought it would be (but also much more wonderful). Adding in three weeks of writing and a brutal oral exam, and I was pretty much awful to live with.

    I'm also proud of passing my PhD exams.

  31. I ran a mile straight for the first time in my life. Then I increased it and learned to run longer and longer and ran every step of a 5K while in the deepest throes of morning sickness.

    I attended the temple 12 times, even though it was hard to get there and I had to go twice a few months to make up for missing the month before.

    I read the scriptures nearly every day and I kept a journal a couple of times a month. I felt myself grow stronger spiritually.

    For three beautiful summer months, I slept through the night, felt physically and emotionally wonderful, and very, very content with my life. I prayed and hoped for our next baby to come soon anyway, and ended the year with three months of morning sickness. I think I (mostly) handled it with patience.

  32. I am pleased that I was able to send a thank you note to someone who gave me a gift that I found offensive. I realized that to behave in a way that would have made the giver feel hurt or angry, while tempting, would only make the difficulties in our relationship worse. So I managed to write a short nonthreatening not of thanks.

    I am pleased that I was able to do give up my own disdain in order to be kinder than I actually thought it possible to be.

  33. Michelle,
    Thank you for sharing your hard year with us. Because of what you have shared, when the time comes that I am without my mother I'll take comfort in having your footsteps to follow in.

    All of you women are amazing. What accomplishments, I am in awe, espeically those of you who have been able to endure the most difficult trials. You give me hope and encouragement.

    This year I finally found a solution to my aching knees, at the same time I was given a too-huge calling that I felt I couldn't do if the pain continued. God took care of my knees and toned down my headaches. Now I'm figuring out how the pain moved to my hips…

    This time last year I wasn't sure I could stand another year in an inner-city Spanish branch. I felt I was loosing my mind and my compassion. Now a year later our ward has changed and I'm crying because I'm so sad. What a difference a year makes.


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