2013 in Review

1 Jan

I’m sitting by the fire with a cup of chocolate peppermint herbal tea at my favorite coffee shop. Today is the first day of 2014 and the internet is a-buzz with New Year’s resolution and 2013 reflections. There seems to be a few resounding themes amongst all of these posts: Balance, Simplify, Save, Cherish. Yeah. I could get on with that, too.

But, I’m just not in the mood to reflect too much on what needs to change in my life. Or what I hope for this year. I’d rather just think about the good today and leave it at that.

So, instead, this sipping a warm cup of tea while sitting by a cozy fire place watching the snow whirl around has got me thinking about what a crazy year 2013 was for us. One that brought so much change that we could have never wrapped our minds around when we rang in 2013. This change has brought so much joy. Often times I found myself saying to Jason, “My heart is so full of gratitude in all that God has given to us. I feel so undeserving of these amazing blessings.” Yes. The year was that good.

Early in 2013, we decided to list our old house and sold it within a month. We had been praying for a number of years for God to show us how we could get out of our subdivision, cookie cutter house and into one with more space and in the country. In February 2013, He showed us the way. We are so grateful! After much searching, we found the perfect house for us. While it was adorned with likings of an 80 year old (read: floral, pink, blue, berber, and soooo! much! oak!), Jason and I were up to the challenge of redoing a bunch of the house to make it ours.

We still have countless projects, but those are just cosmetic things at this point. As a house, it is *perfect* for our family. And we have a few acres for the kids to run and play and let their imaginations run wild. Our hope is to get some animals (other than the 2 barn cats we have now), plant a huge garden (as opposed to sharing one with my parents at their house), plant a small orchard and Jason has all sorts of plans for an awesome tree house for the kids. This house? It was meant to be for our family and I can truly see us growing old and gray here.

We went on our annual family vacation to Hilton Head Island in South Carolina in August. It was the perfect way to end a very busy spring and summer before the madness of the school year began. This vacation has become an annual tradition that is truly one of our family’s favorite weeks of the year. Lazy days playing at the ocean—why yes, please!

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Homeschooling has continued. Jonah is now a big boy and in Kindergarten learning and doing what Kindergarten kids do. He loves to read, has finally got his writing down (thanks to lots of OT), and just loves math. Annie is well ahead academically, and really is just an easy kid to teach. Even subjects that she doesn’t love, like grammar or science, she embraces with a joyful heart. And, our spunky James has figured out how to behave while we weave our schoolwork in and out of our days. He loves passing time doing puzzles, building towers, as well as countless Montessori “works” we put on our school shelves for him. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that homeschooling has been a crazy adventure and one that leaves me very, very, very tired some days. It is not for everyone. Some days I wonder if it is for me. Time will tell, I suppose.

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We got ourselves a new ride. I’d rather not go into the embarrassing details, but I don’t exactly have the best driving record. Mailboxes, bumpers, and random basketball posts have an uncanny way of hitting my car. So, when we were given the opportunity to get a “nice” car this year, I was, well…hesitant. Does this mean everyone is going to freak out if I run into, I mean, something dents the car? Because if so, I can’t. take. the. pressure! Anyway, I put on my big girl pants and promised to ask my guardian angel to take the wheel since apparently she can do a better job than me. Fingers crossed for no accidents in 2014!

Annie is preparing to receive first Holy Communion and First Reconciliation this Spring. This, people? Is awesome. I’ve been blessed to be able to co-coordinate the cgs program at our parish and also lead the sacramental prep kids each week. For all of my Catholic friends out there, I promise you, there is no better way to catechize our children in the faith. This methodology is outstanding. I feel so blessed to be able to utilize it both at the parish and in our home.

Photo courtesy of cgsusa.org

Jason left his employer and actually returned to his former employer, though this time as a Program Manager. As a wife, I’m so happy for him. While his previous job at Sparrow was wonderful, he simply wasn’t content. It wasn’t the right fit for him. He is a software development computer nerd at heart and he loves the opportunity to work in a smaller, very creative workplace. He is just a few weeks into his new position, and so far, so good.

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Our dear friends are a repeated blessing to us. As we grow older, what our friendships look like and mean to us have changed and have taken on new meaning. We are blessed with a few very close friends and countless other friends. This year has been an interesting year of “true colors” showing forth with friends—some have come forth in surprisingly wonderful ways and others have taken a step back as God leads them in different directions than us. What I do know, is that I’m grateful for the friends who can celebrate our success with true, unselfish joy, and lift us up when life seems awfully heavy. With these friends, there is no jealousy, competition, or selfishness. Nope, only true love. We feel so very blessed to have these friends.

Our family continues to be one of greatest blessings. My parents took us in for almost 2 months this summer while our new house was in re-do mode. They gave up countless hours to help us both physically and mentally. I remember after one long day (that was preceded by weeks of long days), I lost my mind and cried and cried to my mom. “What the heck did we do getting a house that needs so much work?” In the end, she comforted me, told me all would be well, and that I just needed a good night of sleep. She was right. All is well.

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Our faith. Without my Catholic faith, I truly do not have an identity. It defines all that Jason and I do and believe in our life. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to continue to learn and grow and evangelize each and every day. I pray that our actions show our Catholic Christian joy!

My heart really does overflow with joy. I’m grateful for all that 2013 brought into our lives—more than the passing things of this world like cars and houses, or the transient relationships that come and go, but for the true love and devotion that is reflected in the people who mean the most to me and the love and mercy which is so freely poured out to me from our Heavenly Father.

Cheers!

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