Reflections on 2015

Happy New Year everyone! I decided to jump on the bandwagon and answer some reflection questions going into the new year to help me process & plan accordingly for 2016 🙂 Here are the best questions I found (via http://www.theartofsimple.net) for reflection.

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1. What are the best books you read this year?
7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess” by Jen Hatmaker
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry” by Gabrielle Zevin
The Gifts of Imperfection” by Brene Brown
What Alice Forgot” by Liane Moriarty

2. What was the single best thing that happened this past year?
Becoming a licensed occupational therapist! I got my masters, passed my national board exam and now, I can finally move forward from the academic part of my career! It’s been a long journey and I can’t believe my professional life can begin at last 🙂

3. What was an unexpected joy this past year?
My summer fieldwork at a nursing home. To be honest, I was absolutely dreading this. In school, your peers (& sometimes your professors too) tell you the horrors of nursing homes. In their defense, many of them are poorly managed and get a bad reputation for their patient & employee neglect. But the one I was at was wonderful. I had wonderful therapist mentors who helped me every inch of the way and walked me through everything. I truly feel like my experience there prepared me best for my career as an OT.

4. What was an unexpected obstacle?
Although most of my friends & family do not know this, I feel comfortable sharing: I had a miscarriage this year. Towards the end of the year, actually. Both the pregnancy and the miscarriage were unexpected… and we were absolutely devastated to lose the pregnancy. I was lucky that it occurred so early on (I only knew that I was pregnant for two weeks). But it was still heartbreaking. And the pain was a lot deeper than I had ever envisioned miscarriage to be.

5. In what way did you grow in your relationships with others?
I became better at speaking truth. Before this year, I was incredibly timid to be honest with friends if I knew it meant they may get upset or it may result in conflict… but this year, I learned what it means to speak the truth in love, regardless of the outcome. I learned what it means to say “I care about you too much to not be honest with you.” I learned the importance of resolving conflict in a timely manner & not simply retreating from it. Hard conversations have always been, well… hard for me. But this year, I definitely grew in my ability to have them well.

6. What brought you the most joy?
Joining our church a plant. For those that don’t know, Nick & I joined a church plant in February (right after leaving a church plant that disbanded). Although we grew exponentially at our first church plant & had incredible mentorship, we vowed to not join another one because we were exhausted from trying to start a church. But when we found ‘Renew Church’, we knew we had to stay. When we first went, it was a church of about 30-40 people. Today, it is 150. We have been blessed, not just with being a part of something beautiful, but also with a community that we have been praying for for the past 3 years. For me, LA did not feel like home until this year, and I think that is in large part due to finally having community near us. We have been so blessed, challenged & encouraged by our church family.

7. What was the best habit you kept this year?
I have to name two because I can’t decide-
habit #1: going on a media fast (AKA: no TV shows & no social media) the last week of every month. This has been amazing for my soul & my time with friends and family. I always dread it, but when it’s over, I feel completely refreshed.
habit #2: no sugar/sweets during the day (only after dinner).

8. What was your single biggest time waster in your life this past year?
Media: Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Netflix & Hulu. Yup. Every single one of those things.

9. What was the best way you used your time this past year?
I’ll narrow it down to three:
time with loved ones… 🙂
reading for leisure… I read 19 books for leisure this past year, which I think is a personal record.
writing… I have found a real passion for communicating stories & insights I’ve learned. I plan to do more of this in the new year.

10. What was your biggest personal change from January to December of this past year?
I grew in my leadership skills. Nick & I lead the outreach ministry at our church and I have learned a ton about having vision, strategy & leading a team through that role.

11. What was biggest thing you learned this past year?
Vulnerability is courageous AND contagious. Being real with people about your imperfections is not just good, but it is vital. It may be more life-giving for others to hear about your struggles than sharing your successes. I have seen so much freedom come from my vulnerability (both in myself and in those I am vulnerable with). And in turn, I have been so blessed by those who have opened up with me.

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3 thoughts on “Reflections on 2015

  1. Elizabeth Mallory says:

    I’m so sad to hear about your miscarriage. I can’t imagine what that was like, but I hope you and Nick got some time off from life to mourn. We love you guys so much, including in your role as cool parents. I hope we get to see you and Josh again soon.

    I’m really curious about the Jen Hatmaker book. She’s a fun lady, and I’ve been into minimalism since forever. Have you read the book The No-Brainer Wardrobe by Hayley Morgan? Revolutionized my (already minimalist but very-difficult-to-pair-anything!) closet.

    My biggest time-waster was sudoku. Go figure. I come by it honestly: both my parents are addicted too 🙂

    • nataliakwok says:

      I loveeeeeee my capsule wardrobe!! Although I have not read that book by Hayley Morgan… I will look into it!

      And I love Jen’s book… I’ve read three of her books (7, For the Love, and Interrupted), all were pretty good, but I recommend 7 the most. I’ve heard great things about the workbook she’s created to go along with it (my friend did it in her mom’s group; it’s 7 weeks long, and each week you do some form of fast in a particular category… she said they were all super challenged by it & loved it).

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