The Best of 2021



A New Year has arrived bringing hope and new opportunities. Before we forge ahead into possibilities, let’s look back to remember and reflect on where we've been.


2021 was our first year together at Seeing Fireflies! I am so grateful for everyone who has been a part of it. It has been a great blessing to share the year with you! Here are some highlights from the year:

TOP 12 BLOG POSTS OF 2021 BASED ON NUMBER OF READS

  1. Recognizing the Risen Lord

  2. Standouts 2020

  3. A Time to Gather Yourself

  4. Inhabit the Moment

  5. Self Awareness

  6. Your Thoughts Matter

  7. A Quiet Peace

  8. The Lenten Journey

  9. Give Me an A

  10. A Practice for Living Well

  11. Seeing Beyond Life's Obstacles

  12. Commit to the Journey


TOP 10 BOOKS

Here are some books that I enjoyed this past year. Many of them inspired things shared here at Seeing Fireflies.



Invitation to Solitude and Silence: Experiencing God's Transforming Presence by Ruth Haley Barton

This past year brought opportunities for solitude and silence and this book was a welcome guide.

Her practical counsel and resources are helpful and her writing style is personal and inviting. I highly recommend this book and encourage you to embark on your own journey of solitude and silence.


Don't Overthink It: Making Easier Decisions, Stop Second-Guessing, and Bring More Joy to Your Life

by Anne Bogel

This is a great beginning of the year read offering practical advice and helpful next steps to consider at the end of each chapter.


Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague by Geraldine Brooks

This book seemed to go along with our journey this past year. The story unfolds slowly as you walk through the experience with the characters and see how they are changed and find hope in the midst of it all.


Secrets in the Dark: A Life in Sermons by Frederick Buechner

I love this book and found myself picking it up throughout the year when I needed a little inspiration or craved some beautiful words. Buechner helps us listen to our lives and opens up the world to us in a new way.


The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery by Ian Morgan Cron & Suzanne Stabile

I reread this primer with a group of women this past summer. I enjoyed the book and our time together. The Enneagram can be a helpful tool for personal growth.


A Room with a View by E.M. Forester

This classic is a favorite of mine. I seem to pick up something new each time I read it. It is a story of travel and love with lively characters that fashion a comedy of manners amidst contrasting values, social classes and cultural views.


Encounters with Jesus: Unexpected Answers to Life's Biggest Questions by Timothy Keller

If you would like to grow in your faith this year, this book will be a great guide. Keller looks at various people throughout scripture, uncovering the difficult life questions they faced and how encountering Jesus made a difference.


Tell It Slant: A Conversation on the Language of Jesus in His Stories and Prayers by Eugene H. Peterson

I read at least one Eugene Peterson book every year. This one offers a fresh take by exploring how Jesus used language. Inspired by a phrase in an Emily Dickinson poem. "tell it slant", he enlarges the way we can understand the way and words of Jesus. It is a compelling read as his slant on it is passionate, personal, and forged out of his experience with and hopes for genuine faith and community.


The Great Omission: Reclaiming Jesus's Essential Teachings on Discipleship by Dallas Willard

In recent years, Dallas Willard has become a trusted teacher for me. He seems to be several steps ahead of us all so it is necessary to read his works slowly and often repeatedly. This book is a very helpful companion. I suggest reading each chapter slowly, taking it all in before moving on to the next. As you go along, you will probably have an aha moment. Stay with it as there may be even more to learn than you first realize. I am still working with this wonderful book.


The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander

This book was also inspired by an Emily Dickinson phrase, "dwell in possibility". The authors live out this invitation and show us how to do the same. This is both inspirational and informative, drawing on personal stories and experiences as well as insights from psychology. This book encourages us to improve our thinking and imagine the possibility in our lives.


TOP 5 THINGS TO WATCH

Based on true stories with a quote from the person who inspired the film

Movies

The Darkest Hour

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts.” Winston Churchill

The King’s Speech

“The highest of distinctions is service to others.” King George VI


Bridge of Spies

“Everyone deserves a defense. every person matters.” James Donovan


Saving Mr. Banks

“Whatever you do, do it well.” Walt Disney


TV Series

Victoria

“The important thing is not what they think of me, but what I think of them.” Queen Victoria


2 THINGS TO LEARN FROM 2021


Live the life you’ve been given

Life was better in 2021 in many ways as we all continued on with Covid-19. Our children went back to school. We went back to worship, restaurants, the gym, the theatre and more. Throughout the year, I was reminded that so much of our life is given. While we may not be able to let go of our face masks or change many things, we are not stuck with the way things are. We can choose how we will respond to our life and our curcumstances. It is within our power to change and be changed. For more reflection on this, check out the article, Living the Life We’ve Been Given Fully.

We need each other

After the lockdowns of 2020 we realized it's not good for us to be alone. We need each other. However, genuine community is not easy. There seems to be only one way to move toward it - live out the Great Commandment. We have heard it so many times that it is hard to take it in once again or will ourselves to try to live it out, but we need to. It is the secret to living well and the pathway to lasting change - Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. And the second is like it, Love your neighbor as yourself. This is definitely something we need to carry with us into the new year. For more reflection check out the article, A Quiet Peace.


I look forward to sharing 2022 with you!


“There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” C.S. Lewis