Usually my Christmas cards include a photo collage and a year-in-review of some sort. Though I made my family throw on some matching clothes and take a quick very uncreative family photo in our very unglamorous backyard one evening as soon as my husband walked through the door specifically for the purpose of creating the annual card…
…I still didn’t send any out.
I decided that I keep up with most of my far-away friends via Facebook. I also considered how much money I was spending to do this, so I adopted Jessica’s phrase, “That’s stupid. So I’m not going to do it anymore.” I thought the money would be better spent helping someone, and we did just that.
But, never fear….I still managed to find time to contemplate all the highs and lows of the past year.
When I look back on 2010, I mostly feel exhausted. It was a busy and emotionally draining year–the kind that knocks the wind out of your sails and makes you feel like hibernating for a couple of months. There was a lot of faith-stretching and change for me and my family.
Things we did in 2010:
First, the biggie: moving. It ended up being the most difficult decision of our family’s life thus far. The Husband was asked to pastor a church in Texas. We were very happy with our little church in rural Oklahoma. We lived in a small town, it was a safe place, I was happy in my job…we had no reason to leave unless, of course, it was God’s will. It was much easier making these sorts of decisions when the kids were younger, but this time, they were old enough to join in the decision-making. Just the idea of moving brought sadness to my kids, yet they bore that burden well, even though they were unable to discuss it with their friends. There were many tears and family prayer sessions. The day when we had to make a final decision, I literally spent an hour face-down on the floor praying. For us, it was completely about surrendering to God, choosing His plans over our own. God generally knows what He’s doing, after all. The people here in west Texas have been nothing but welcoming. I am so thankful that, even though we’ve always lived far away from family, our churches have always been “serrogate families” to us.
At the start of 2010, I closed my photography business (Four Seasons Photography) after five great years because I had way too much going on in my life. It was sad to let go of something I’d worked so hard to build, but it was also sort of a relief. I was getting so burned out and I didn’t even take many photos of my own family this year. I’ve resolved to change that in 2011.
I graduated….again! I completed my Master’s of Education with an emphasis in Library Media. I made some great friends and great memories in grad school, but I was SO glad to finish. I was one tired Mama since I was working full-time and schooling, too. I will admit that I sometimes miss college. After all, I had been working on a degree of some sort every semester since the fall of 2007 (when I went back to journalism school to finish my bachelor’s degree). When August rolled around this year, I kind of felt left out. Yes, I am a nerd. I embrace my nerdiness. 🙂 (If you want to read more about that crazy time in my life, you can check out my old University Mama blog HERE though I admit: I used it mostly to vent. LOL!)
The Eldest with her baby cousin
The Eldest is 11 and started Jr. High this fall. Yes, JR. HIGH! It pains me to write that! She played soccer in the spring and softball this summer. She plays trumpet in band at school and has been first chair almost all year. She also participated on the Dictionary Skills UIL Team that won first place in regional competition. She made pancake tacos with fruit salsa for the 4-H Food Show and went to district competition, and she competed on the 4-H Food and Nutrition Quiz Bowl competition. She loves cooking, crafting and reading. My dad recently introduced her to archery, so we may have a new hobby to add to the list soon.
In a shocking turn of events, The Youngest began taking piano lessons this year. We thought she wouldn’t be keen for an activity that required sitting on a bench for long periods of time or the discipline of practicing, but she has proved us wrong. She played soccer in the spring, softball this summer and has recently been talked into giving basketball a try (only after her Daddy agreed to coach). She also was selected to be on the 2nd grade Creative Writing UIL Team where she received 3rd place in regional competition writing about a boy who hated taking out the trash. (I think she gets writing inspiration from real-life events). She is 8 years old and loves singing, reading, writing stories, and playing school. She’s still our snuggle bug and always wants to be held.
The Husband and I began training for a 5K together this summer with the goal of participating in a local 5K. Our goal was to finish the race and not die. I’m happy to report that we met our goal and then some! I actually (by some miracle) managed to get first place in the ladies division and The Husband finished with a really good time. I call it a “miracle” because when we started training, I could barely go three full minutes of running without wanting to break into tears. While I have almost completely retired my running shoes (might as well go out on top, right?), The Husband has become totally gung-ho about running. It’s normal for him to run like 16 miles or more per week! He makes me feel like an exercise failure, but I’m glad he’s so healthy! 🙂
As one of the results of my on-going conversation with God about childhood poverty, we started sponsoring a child through Compassion International (Happyness in Tanzania), and became correspondents with another (José in Peru). It seems a small thing to do as we have so many blessings. It has been wonderful to see our kids think beyond themselves through these relationships, and learn how to appreciate their what we’ve been given.
The Husband turned the big 4-0! We celebrated by attending a Dallas Mavericks basketball game and got to visit a few old friends along the way. No biggie…40 is the new 30, right?
And–oh, yeah–I started a new blog. Just in case you hadn’t noticed. 😉 And it now has a new easy-to-remember address: www.faithlikemustard.com.
A crazy year for a crazy family
So overall, it was a very busy year full of change and challenges. When I look at where I was a year ago today, I would have never imagined that we would have experienced many of these things (except the 40th birthday…we kind of saw that one coming).
I wonder what I will be typing this time next year? I’m looking forward to discovering what God has for us in the year ahead…though I gotta admit, it’s also slightly scary. A lot can happen in a year. OBVIOUSLY. 🙂