Finish Well.  Start Strong.

One way Robert and I finish our year is to “do plates”.  It’s an exercise in reflection.

In 2000 our family moved to another country – away from family and friends and everything familiar.   After that move Robert introduced a new Christmas tradition – “plates”.

He brought a package of paper plates and markers/pencil-crayons to the Christmas Eve dinner table, and challenged us to draw a representation of our year.  Since our move, we’ve carried on this tradition and now have an impressive collection of Christmas plates:

Each year we bring the collection to the table and sort through the years.

There are exclamations of excitement as we review each year.  Our kids have grown and one is married.  Schooling and cars, trips and celebrations are all recorded.  So are disappointments and issues.  It’s amazing how an entire year can be drawn/recorded on a paper plate.

Then we create a new plate.

Sometimes we draw icons to represent milestones, sometimes we make lists.  Words are very important also.  Sometimes we give a year a “slogan”.  My statement for 2011 was “Change. Growth. All Things For A Time”.

Once everyone at the table has completed their plate, we take turns showing the plate and talking about what each pictorial/word represents to us.  It’s our way of summing up the year and it’s very satisfying to wrap up the good and bad and then look forward into the future.

Reflection is one way to finish the year well.

Before you begin planning 2012 – take some time with your spouse to reflect on the past year.

Bring out your calendars and walk through 2011, and really dwell on the successes and challenges.  Notice where God has given you grace and strength.  Pay attention to who and what has impacted your life – maybe this will give you insight into what needs to change for 2012…

When it comes to planning the future, there’s a huge benefit in reflection.  Huge.

And even if it’s not the end of the year…

Starting right now – how will you finish well?

Need some help in reflecting and reminiscing? Check out our resource on Gumroad!

finish well - reflect and reminisce

*Update on doing 2016 “plates”… we’ve added a new member to our family collection!