1. What was the single best thing that happened to you in 2012? Buying a house is #1. Taking Brant on his first trip to Disney World is #2.
2. What was the single most challenging thing that happened? Obviously my miscarriage.
3. What was an unexpected joy this past year? We had a hard year this year. I found myself unable to keep on a "happy face" in public. I have no idea how many times I must have started conversations with people only to dissolve into tears moments later. I would have never asked for that - but I will tell you that my inability to "keep it together" resulted in some deep, true friendships that blessed me more than I can say.
4. What was an unexpected obstacle? HURRICANE ISSAC.
5. Pick 3 words to describe 2012. Rollercoaster, unforgettable, humbling
6. Pick 3 words your spouse would use to describe your 2012 - don't ask them, just guess based on how you think your spouse sees you. Stressful, hard, and life-changing (I just asked him after I answered. He said "stressful, exciting, and blessed."}
7. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe their 2012 - again, without asking. Turning-point, busy, and amazing (I asked him after I answered, and he said the same three he used to describe mine.)
8. What were the best books you read this year? I read some great books this year, but one stands out above all others. When I was at MOPS Convention in August, I heard Shauna Niequist speak. I loved her and bought one of her books. I chose Bittersweet because I liked that cover the best. I didn't know at the time that it dealt very much with her experience with miscarriage and infertility. I also didn't know I was pregnant when I bought the book. I devoured and loved it. I had no idea in a month how real the words written on those pages would be to me. Shauna put beautiful, eloquent words to some of the hardest experiences of my life. It deals with change and disappointment and the goodness of God - it is my new favorite book to buy as a gift. It was no accident that I stumbled upon this wonderful author and this specific book when I did. Such a blessing.
9. With whom were your most valuable relationships? The obvious answer to this is my relationship to my husband. I am so thankful for the way God has worked in our marriage this year. At at time when things could have easily fallen apart, God started a revival in our hearts for Him and for each other. The less obvious answer to this is that I had meaningful relationships with my longtime friends that live all over the country, but also with amazing women I met and got to know on a much deeper level here in my community. MOPS has been the vehicle through which I have made most of these relationships, and I can't encourage other moms enough to plug in with a local MOPS group. Ok, and my third answer would be my family relationships. Not everyone gets to enjoy such a close relationship with their mother and/or grandma. But I'm also thankful for damaged relationships that were mended this year, many of which were in my family.
10. What was your biggest personal change from January to December of this past year? I began this year with a list of all the things I was going to make happen in 2012. It was going to be awesome. I sit here in December looking back on that list and realizing that nothing happened the way I thought it would this year. Some hopes were unanswered. Some dreams were dashed. And some amazing things happened, but not in the way I thought they would. I've learned the hard way this year to relinquish control to God, because I truly have no control. His ways are higher than my ways, and when things are hard, I have to know that He is in control and has a plan for me. A year ago, I would have agreed with those statements, but I didn't know them the way I know them now.
11. In what way(s) did you grow emotionally? This is a hard one for me. I don't know that I did! I sort of feel like an emotional basketcase (and always have), so to be honest, I don't know that there's been a whole lot of growth in this area.
12. In what way(s) did you grow spiritually? See #10. I had to decide this year, when the rubber meet the road, will I still proclaim that God is good? Do I really and truly trust him with the big and little things? These are questions I have to answer on a daily basis.
13. In what way(s) did you grow physically? Um, I gained 20 pounds. Next question, please.
14. In what way(s) did you grow in your relationships with others? As I mentioned before, God blessed me with some authentic friendships this year, both new and old. And there were times when it got yucky. I had to decide whether to love and support through the yuck or to bail when times got tough. I also had to evaluate some relationships and decide if they were healthy or not. I made a lot of mistakes in my relationships but was blessed to receive forgiveness and grace.
15. What was the most enjoyable part of your work (both professionally and at home)? Well, I'd say as a mother, the most enjoyable part was watching Brant learn about who Jesus is and that He loves him. Simple things like him knowing the story of the 3 wise men just fill my mama heart. Outside of parenting, the best thing about my work is the progress we've made on our house! It looks a little less 70s every day. :)
16. What was the most challenging part of your work (both professionally and at home)? PATIENCE. With Brant.With transitions. With potty training (ha!). With tantrums. With disobedience. With the house. With wanting everything updated and decorated RIGHT NOW. Patience.
17. What was your biggest single time waster in your life this year? Comparing myself to other people. Such a waste of time and joy.
18. What was the best way you used your time this year? Spending time with people I love. Laughing at sitcoms with Justin. Reading stories with Brant. Going on walks with Brant in the evening. FaceTiming with my mom and girlfriends. Calling my grandparents. Traveling to see friends and family. Calling my best friend even when I know she's at work and can't answer, just because I want her to know I'm thinking about her. My best time was when I was loving on my people.
19. What was the biggest thing you learned this year?
For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed," says the Lord, who has compassion on you. Isaiah 54:10
20. Create a phrase or statement that describes 2012 for you.
Blessed be Your nameHappy New Year's!
When the sun's shining down on me
When the world's all as it should be
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name