Tuesday, December 28, 2010

2010 A Year in Review

I didn’t have the inspiration or my act together well enough this year to include a family letter in with our Christmas card. Of course now they have been sent and inspiration has hit. Go figure.

I didn’t want to write a trite, “Everything is so wonderful” letter when in actuality, although this year has been truly wonderful, it also truly exhausting, difficult, sad, and frustrating too. Few people want to read about that though.

As I type I am sitting in beautiful Estes Park, CO in a quiet condo, watching the Big Thompson flow outside our balcony. The peace and serenity is just what I needed. I know in a few minutes Steve and the kids will burst through the door, back from a walk and life will get loud and goofy again and I love that too! But for now this is the perfect place for me to sit and look back over our year. Well almost perfect – it could use a little snow!

This over-running theme for 2010 has been “Growth.”. I have grown immensely as a wife, mother, friend and even business-woman - something I never pictured myself doing. Our kids have grown into (usually) delightful young people. Zachary has had to learn some hard lessons himself and has matured in ways I was not ready for him to have to experience just yet. Kendall has also grown and become much more in control of herself and her actions, and also learned that sometimes friendships can be fickle and painful. Ellie has become even more independent and confident, and is also learning how to be a good friend and responsible student as she started Kindergarten this year. We are very proud to brag they are all in accelerated math and reading groups and so thankful for a school that lets them grow and explore to their full potential!

During these past 12 months we have had to bear witness to unspeakable pain and heartbreak for too many of our friends and family. We have carried our own burdens and struggles within our family as well. We have had joys and challenges, laughs and tears, and countless memories to carry us on. And through it all, Steve and I have realized God has used these experiences and this year as a whole to teach us to love. We have been able to come together to make the commitment to do as God asks us to and that is simply to {love}. Time and time again I have heard His message that He is in control of everything else beyond that. It has been a very difficult but also very freeing experience! It has brought Steve and me closer together which then makes everything else run so much easier in our small family. Looking back I can now see that God has taken all of these ups and downs and weaved them together into a beautiful picture of His promise to us. It is with that faith we are truly excited to see what God has in store for us this coming year!

We have had many highs this year too. We have been able to travel a lot. Over the 4th of July weekend we celebrated my cousin’s wedding beautiful Eagle, CO and had precious family time. Later in July and into August we went to Oklahoma to see my parents and uncles. During this trip we also went to Arkansas with my parents to dig in a diamond mine which was quite an experience! (And very hot.) From Oklahoma (I still sing while spelling that!) we went to Iowa where we celebrated Steve’s youngest sister’s wedding (to a truly wonderful man) and had some precious time with extended family. It is so wonderful to see our kids playing with their cousins and sitting with their Great-Grandparents! We were also treated to visits from both of Steve’s sisters and their families to Colorado and had a blast doing all sorts of touristy things with them in Denver! In October I went Orlando for a Juice Plus+ Leadership Conference. It was a whirlwind trip and incredibly exciting and uplifting to be with thousands of other people all working to improve people’s health and wellness. A million thanks to my mom who was able to come out and help Steve with the kids while I was gone.

I think in addition to learning to love everyone and let go of the desire to judge or be “right” (but rather righteous,) I have also learned the need for margin in my life. Space to breath, to sit, to just be, or to be able to handle unexpected issues that always seem to come up when life is at its busiest. I have loved my volunteering with my MOPS group and now as a Community Coach with MOPS International, Women to Women (a Bible study group), this kids’ school, my work with Juice Plus+ and at the retirement community, and everything else that keeps me moving, but this holiday season I over extended myself and we all felt the strain of that. I am committing 2011 to be a year of balance and discernment. Soon I will be able to leave my part-time job at the retirement community and focus on my work as a wellness educator. This social butterfly has been craving time at home, secluded from the static of the world and to do that I need to learn how to say no. That is why our time right now in Estes right now is such a blessing.

My prayer for you is that you all find margin, quiet, peace and abundant love in the coming year and beyond!

“Not to us, oh Lord, not to us, but to your name goes all the glory for your unfailing love and faithfulness.” Psalm 115:1