Review the Old Year

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Reviewing the old year is a great way to remember the beauty and goodness, and hardships, too, that craft the path we’re on for the future.

On Christmas night while my peeps were happily playing with new Legos, video games, and felt food, I started working on our 2011 family slide show. I’ve done this a handful of times as a visual way to review the year. One year I made these as Christmas presents for our families. Lately, I make it just for us.

I use Microsoft Live Movie Maker, add music, video, and photos; the end result being a 20 to 30 minute video of our year’s highlights. It’s a little time consuming because I finally edit hundreds of pictures that I neglected to edit for the past 12 months. But, it’s so worth it to sit with my people and review our year. This year I purchased a few MP3s of songs the kids like, namely Everything at Once (the music from a Disney trailer) and Secrets (from a Disney soundtrack).

The creative process of scrolling through hundreds of pictures was yet another reminder of how quickly the days are passing. And an impetus to drink this cup of life dry.

A year ago one of our folks was really into Dora Match game. Today her hair is about a foot longer and her interests have shifted a bit. What a difference a short year makes.

What did the last year hold for you?

Today is a great day to think through the past year. What were the highlights? What were the challenges you overcame? What were the hard things that have shaped the character of your family?

It’s good to see where we’ve been. I think it helps us remember that this life is fleeting. That it’s not all mundane. That it’s had beauty and hardship. And that God is using it all to craft our characters into something more beautiful than what it might otherwise have been.

Some simple ways to review the last year:

  • Flip through scrapbooks or scroll through your photos. Who’s got more — or less — hair?
  • Browse your calendar. So fascinating to see how we spend our days.
  • Read through your journal.

Looking back can be a great exercise in shaping our futures. How do you want to change? How do you want to grow? Where do you want to go in the New Year?

Come back tomorrow for a discussion on fresh starts and goal setting!


Do you have an end of the year ritual?

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  1. Oh, this is such a good idea! I’ve been planning to organize our photos but this is a great alternative.

    Today, however, we’re focussing on other ways of wrapping up the old year. Hopefully I’ll be able to do this photo wrapup over the next few months.

    Happy new year to you and yours!

    Annie Kate

    1. Doing the slide shows has helped my guilt over abandoning the scrapbooks. 🙂

  2. Your “baby” has grown so much in this past year. I still think she is the cutest little girl I have ever seen! I always smile when I see her in your pictures. Have a fun New Year’s Eve with your sweet family.
    God bless, Kathy in Illinois

    1. All the kids flocked to watch it last night. And we watched last year’s as well. So fun!

  3. I love your idea about the family movie of the year’s photos! I felt like I spent a good bit of time reviewing the year when I created our family photo book on Snapfish.

    I love that you posted this. I spent some time on my blog today reflecting on this year and all of it’s challenges. Happy New Year!

  4. I’ve made DVDs of our best pictures and videos from that year as Christmas gifts for parents and grandparents for two years now, but this year was the first that we spent New Year’s Eve viewing them ourselves.

    It was a great way to spend the evening. I like your idea about adding music too!

    I totally agree that it is a great incentive to actually go through all those photos as well. I think that for me, giving it as a gift makes me start earlier, be more thorough, and keep the deadline as well 🙂

    1. I want to get a little better at organizing this year. I didn’t take time to delete the bad ones.