I have made a note to always stay on Amy's good side. It's not that she's all that vicious or intimidating. I could probably take her in a fistfight. She doesn't have a mean bone in her body. That's not the problem. I need to stay in her good graces because she knows too much.
Amy and her husband have been a constant encouragement to Torrie and I. Our conversations are rich and meaningful. We allow them to speak into our lives, call our bluff and laugh at us when we deserve it. She's an example of the type of friend that makes life worthwhile, and at times bearable. Bottom line, they know us. And trust me, she loves her family well. We're just honored to claim to be an extension of it.
10. The human brain is a remarkable thing.
Just observe a four year old learn to read. Or add and subtract. It's nuts. Every time he picks up a book and starts speaking the (right) words out loud it blows my mind. Maybe it’s because it seems like he just stopped pooping in his pants. Or it’s because I can vividly remember breastfeeding him. Either way, to me, it's just one of the coolest things ever.
9. I have a lot to learn about true forgiveness.
Before 2010 if you had asked me if I was a forgiving person I probably would have responded with an enthusiastic “yes.” Well guess what? I figured out this year, after experiencing something that really challenged my "forgiving abilities", that forgiveness is something I'm really going to have to work on. I learned what it means to truly forgive as Christ calls us to. And I’m still learning. I've had to cry out to God for his grace in this because my flesh alone is not able to do the kind of forgiving that is required of me as a Christ-follower.
8. Conceiving, carrying, birthing and rearing 2 healthy children is even more miraculous to me this year in particular. I learned how fragile life can be and how quickly it can be taken away.
I got to spend 4 precious weeks dreaming about our 3rd child's little life. About whether we would have a little girl or boy. What he would look like? What would his temperament be like? How would he fit in with our other children? Then we spent 3 weeks waiting and wondering and praying and crying. In one day, at 11 weeks pregnant, I lost him and had to let go of all those dreams. I had to trust that God was in control, has a perfect plan for our family and will lovingly keep our beloved 3rd child. Despite it all, I can rejoice that one day we will get to meet in heaven.
7. The second thing I learned through the miscarriage was a little about grieving.
I learned that a person's grief is deeply personal and unique. Life goes on all around you even when things internally seem to be standing still. I learned that it does get better but that it is really helpful to say goodbye.
6. I learned the importance of investing in friendships.
Really good friends are rare and if we don't take the time to invest in those relationships, we are just being lazy and really missing out. For a long time I have been lazy about my friendships. Last year, I don't know what I would have done without some of the women in my life. They have loved me and supported me. I am determined to not be lazy with my friendships in 2011 and hopefully be as good a friend to them as they have been to me.
5. I learned how to have more compassion for my kids.
When they are acting out and being difficult I have learned to consider all the variables (Are they hungry? Do they need a nap? Are they sick? Are they bored?) It really helps to guide discipline and keep me calm in the midst of chaos. If I can understand better where they are coming from, I can do a better job at correcting the behavior and also hopefully prevent it from happening in the future. Applying these things to other relationships has the same effect. I can have a lot more compassion for someone (and mercy) if I consider what may be affecting their attitude or behavior, instead of immediately getting angry or hurt.
4. I really love Jesus.
This might sound weird because I've been a Christian for about 10 years now. It's that this year I realized in a deeper way how much I love my Savior and am so thankful that He died and rose again, for me.
3. I Love sushi
I went to eat sushi with my hip cousins and aunt last summer. This was my first experience and they helped guide me through it. Now Allen and I eat it every chance we get!
2. Thirty is not old.
It’s not. Period.
1. Marriage can get so much better and richer and more intimate with time.
Even with all the hard things that have happened in our lives, this has been one of the best years of our marriage. We celebrated 7 years on December 27th and I have to say that every year, as we continue to learn to love and serve each other, has gotten better and better.