15 Things I Learned In December

by | Dec 30, 2013 | Uncategorized

Well, I’ve lost track of what day it is. Isn’t that part of Christmas vacation, forgetting to name the day and calling each one a gift?

Normally, I do this little post about what I’ve learned on the last Friday of the month. But for December, its Sunday. November’s list is floating somewhere in oblivion due to a computer gremlin. Which is part of the scenario in #1.

Let’s be honest, few have time to keep another list in the busiest month of the year. So, I went back to my Facebook status updates to remember (which, if we’re honest, are sometimes like a diary of our thoughts) and this is what I learned:


1)      On December 2nd I had a no good, very bad day and wanted to give up . . . . everything. In frustration, that’s what I blurted out on Facebook. And I learned that I am loved more than I imagined. In a matter of minutes I received messages in every possible way communication flies through that mysterious invisible blackness to reach me. I am humbled beyond words for the generosity and kindness of many.

2)      Redemption is beautiful. (That sounds familiar, like the name of blog somewhere. *wink*)

3)      On December 10th, I learned that Facebook has changed the organic reach for fan pages which is bad news for bloggers and authors who depend on it to grow their audience for publishing. You can read more about it here.

4)      While sharing about #3 with a group of friends, I learned that many people don’t realize how important it is to a writer that you subscribe to their blog through email and share their stories on social networking. The size of an audience matters to publishers looking at manuscripts. And we love you for noticing our work.

5)      And then I saw this and empathized with Solomon. (Ecc. 1:14)


6)      When you are down in the dumps, God will go to great lengths to show you he hasn’t forgotten you. With an invitation to travel four hours away to a reunion with saints you once pastored, who still love you like your parents. They’ll remind you of God’s faithfulness, the fruit of your calling, and give you hope for the journey back.

7)      It’s good to remind people how you much you love them, how a small act of kindness made a difference, how the words they wrote mattered when you were depressed.  When you share your heart honestly without judgment, it will give someone hope to keep walking when they want to stop.

8)      No matter how busy people seem during the month of Christmas, they will make space in their heart to help someone out. That’s what I learned when my daughter and I hosted a Sole Hope shoe cutting party with her friends and their mothers on the 20th. We’re still cutting fabric people.


9)      When your back goes out four days before Christmas, it will become a gift you didn’t expect. You’ll notice how beautiful the faces are on your children. And you won’t have to do the dishes or cook.

10)   No matter how many years you make the same holiday recipes, you’ll second guess yourself.

11)   And you’ll realize your husband was paying attention when you weren’t noticing. He pulls out Evernote and shows you which recipes you used last year. Because he took photos and he knows you better than you know yourself.

12) You’ll always think making trifle in the punch bowl sounds excessive until its all gone three days later.

13) It is possible to obtain a new location for your church ten days before Christmas and it look like the most beautiful decorated brick and windows you’ve seen in candlelight.


14)   Deleting 6,117 emails can actually be a journey of looking back and seeing God’s providence. Of the first acts of kindness that led to deep friendships, of prayers beautifully answered, of each petal opening on the bloom of your calling when wilting threatened in the waiting.

15)   I’m expectant, excited, exuberant (and a little apprehensive) about the future. Trust is the word He is giving me. God’s timing is never early and never late and I’m learning to appreciate that daily.

Linking with Emily at Chatting at the Sky.

Subscribe for Shelly’s stories and free resources here: https://shellymillerwriter.com/free-resources/


  1. Beth

    This was just filled with goodness. 🙂 Much love to you, Shelly. Thank you for how you truly encourage and inspire with every word you write.

    • Shelly Miller

      you are such an encouragement Beth, thank you. (and sorry for my delayed response, i’ve been overcome with all the festivities and just getting here.)

  2. stacey29lincoln

    Grateful to be one of the 6,000 and recipient of your kind note. Words matter and yours were timely! Thanks Shelly!

    • Shelly Miller

      What a wonderful surprise to see your words here Stacey. Thank you for taking the time to comment. I’m so glad to know the email was timely, God is faithful.

  3. Diane Bailey

    It is good to remind people that you love them! I love you, Susta! Happy New Year, Shelly! I am thankful for you in my life!

    • Shelly Miller

      You too Diane, grateful for you. I always think of you as being one of my very first fans/followers. And look how far we’ve come.

  4. Karrilee Aggett

    I love this! This is my favorite link up because it is so random and fun… filled with little insights and great lessons (and I had to refelct back on facebook for my list as well!)

    I am hosting a Sole Hope party in January – so any tips would be greatly appreciated! I can’t wait! #3 & #4 – sigh… yes, that! Praying your back is better… sorry that happened but rejoicing with you for friends and family who rush in and help out!

    • Shelly Miller

      My only tip is have more than on pair of pinking shears that work. We only had one pair, so we had more jean pieces than the cotton. My mother in law is still cutting out to make up the difference. Let me know how it goes. I might do a second one.

  5. Kelly Grace

    I am here to empathize, my November was like your December. A macular hole in my left eye, my son asked if I blogged my eye out during October’s #31 Days event! Followed by a hard drive crash.
    Life goes on and God still ‘daily loads us with benefits’. Your blog header is a work of art and the title speaks a deep truth that is a defining truth about God’s work in our lives. Blessings on your New Year Shelly.

    • Shelly Miller

      Kelly Grace, I love your comment here, it says so much. I laughed out loud at your son’s response to the hole in your eye. Sounds like something mine would say. Thank you for the compliment on my header, I had a wonderful artist who captured my personality in color and design perfectly. Thanks for visiting.

  6. Kailey

    Love your list (as always!). December seems like a beautiful month for you! Hope your back is doing better! 🙂

    • Shelly Miller

      I love seeing you on our list days Kailey. I’m so behind on commenting but looking forward to visiting yours soon. Lots of love to you in the New Year. (and my back is . . .back to normal, thanks.)

    • Shelly Miller

      Right back atcha Carolyn.

  7. Lyli Dunbar

    #14 …. oh my, Shelly! I thought it was bad when I had 300 to wade through when we got home from 2 weeks in Alaska this year.

    Will you be hosting a book club in 2014? I bought the book on Sabbath that you mentioned in your weekly epistle to our Sabbath crew.

    Hope you have an awesome New Year!

    • Shelly Miller

      The bad news is that I have a second account with 3,000 I’m whittling away at. Procrastination and denial are my two words to describe the delayed maintenance on my inbox. And no, not a book club with that one.

  8. Natalie Ogbourne

    Thankful for your perspective as I face my 2,500 emails to delete. Up until 2013 I tried to keep my inbox to 100… I’m not sure what derailed that but I’m thankful that I’ll have positive words to swirling around in my brian as I deal with it.

    • Shelly Miller

      I’m being diligent to keep at under 50 Natalie. Hopefully I by persistence will be . . persistent.

  9. mercynotes

    Wow, you learned a lot this month! That’s great.

  10. Christie Purifoy

    I always love your lists, Shelly! And, um, trifle in a punch bowl? That is the kind of hostessing tidbit I live for. Good thing my mother-in-law gave me a big, beautiful punch bowl a few years ago …

    • Shelly Miller

      I know and I bought a trifle dish ages ago and we never use it. It isn’t quite big enough. At least that is what we say every year we revisit the trifle. It’s my daughters absolute favorite.

  11. Glenda Childers

    In our summers of ministry in Scotland, the darling older church ladies, always kept the tiny church refrigerator full of homemade trifle … for my husband. I think I will make it next Christmas.


    • Shelly Miller

      Oh, ministry in Scotland sounds just divine Glenda. Your comment reminds me of the Midwife series with the nun who is always excavating the hidden cake. ha!

      • Glenda Childers

        I love that show!

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