Top 10 of 2010

We have had another very good year...and as I glance back at some of the pictures we have taken, and posts I have written, I am reminded of how much God has blessed us. Starting from the beginning of this past year, here is our top 10 highlighted/thankful moments:

1. Our visit to Disney World. When I asked my hubby what one of his favorite events of this past year was, this was his top event. It is probably mine as well. There is something magical about seeing things through your children's eyes. My sister in-law was kind enough to watch Andrew for the day, so we had a great time with just the girls.

2. Andrew's successful surgery. When Andrew was born, we were told that he would soon need minor surgery. For the first 10 months of his life I was very nervous of how it would go, but he did so well, and recovered very quickly. I am thankful God watched over him and the surgeon and gave me peace.

3. Our many trips to the beach. I was a little nervous taking all three of my kids by myself to the beach, but was determined to not let nap times tie me down the whole summer. And although it was a little hairy at times taking all of our beach gear by myself, we had a great time. And it was great to see how much Andrew enjoyed the sand and water, and how much the girls grew as swimmers.

4. The Hub's job. At the end of the summer, we were told that there was not a lot of work for my husband in the foreseeable future. He had a few weeks where he was laid off, but in the end his company was able to find little jobs here and there to keep him busy. At a time where the ecomomy is still very much struggling, I am very thankful for the work he's been able to secure, and pray for so many who continue look for work.

5. Homeschooling Katie. Over the summer, I had thought a lot about giving homeschooling a try, and asked a few homeschooling moms about their personal experience. After doing a little more research and deciding on a curriculum, I gave it a go. And I am so glad I did. Katie is doing very well. The first week I was ready to throw in the towel, but soon after we figured what things had to be thrown out of the curriculum, and which things she thrived upon. I am enjoying the bonding time with my daughter, as well as loving to learn from her as well. We've done lots of outdoor discoveries, projects, sang lots of new songs, and read some really great books. I look forward to our new year of revelations.

6. Watching Kyra play soccer. I never would have pictured Kyra wanting to play soccer, but after one summer night of goofing around with a ball, she was determined to play. Even the first day of a game, where the rain POURED the whole entire game...she had a great time. And I couldn't believe how competitive I became as a viewing parent! It's like my inner beast was coming out!

7. Running a 5K. At the beginning of the school year, I vowed I was going to become healthier with some sort of exercise. So I decided to start running. Let me tell you, I didn't enjoy it very much. In fact every time I ran, I said that I wasn't going to keep up with it because I hated it so much. But I would get up the next day and determine to do better than the day before. So, when our family decided to do their own race at Thanksgiving time, I was pumped and ready to go. Although I didn't run the whole entire 5K, I did better than I have ever done in my whole entire life, and was very proud of my accomplishment. I am hoping to try and enter another 5K in the spring.

8. Losing weight. Of course, along with running, I had wanted to lose weight this past year. And although I didn't reach my goal, I still lost 22lbs. I hope to lose another 20lbs this next year, but am happy going at it slow and steady. It feels great just to fit into some old clothes that haven't fit in years...and buy some new of course!

9. Seeing Kyra read. It's funny how a lightbulb seems to go on with some milestones. Kyra had been sounding out words for quite some time, and reading too, but she struggled with a lot of words as well. Then just in the past couple of months, she took off. She reads without hesitation and began reading chapter books! I loved waking up during this Christmas break, finding her curled up on the chair, reading by the light of the Christmas tree.

10. Our Christmas together as a family. For some reason this year, Christmas seemed to take on so much more meaning. Maybe it was the daily devotions we did together as a family, or the fact that for some random reason I was more relaxed. But we had a great Christmas. Even the girls seemed more thankful for the gifts they received. But it was especially wonderful to see the look on their faces when they opened their bedroom door to find a surprise. Their dad had put their bunk beds together while they were playing in the basement. They said it was the best Christmas present EVER! And they have been having fun playing on it every day since then.


We are quickly approaching the end of the year, and I keep looking at my long neglected blog, and wonder where all the time as gone. I remember a few months back thinking, I have only written a few dozen posts this past year...I better start knocking out some more if I am going to write as much as I did the previous year. I began this blog so I could capture some of the endearing things my children said, along with writing down some of our key memories so they wouldn't be forgotten in years to come. But, in the end, blogging or journaling has had to sit on the backburner for the time being. Sure, I'm sure I'll miss reading some of the memories I would have been able to capture in my writing, but in the end I know that I let go some of my motive to meet a "quota," and instead write when I feel compelled to do so (which just so happens not to have been the last few months!). I hate to let go of the blog for good, because I do have hopes to write in it more frequently some day, and do enjoy writing and reading documented moments of our family. But, for now I hope to remember that I spent that time trying new endeavors, spending time in the busyness of life, or just taking a break from a delighted hobby.

But, I digress. On to the purpose of my post. So much has happened this past year, and I was trying to recall some of our highlighted memories. I know I tend to be a pessimistic person, and often get caught up in the negativity of life...the "why me's," the feelings of inadequacy, and the worldly news. I even stumbled upon an entry I wrote about this very topic this time last year. I wanted to stop focusing on the negative things in my life and "Just Do It"...just do what I could with the gifts God gave me. And for the most part, I think I did a pretty good job. Sure, there were certain lulls through the year where I stumbled, and life got the better of me. But then I remembered my slogan for the year, or my husband gently nudged me in the right direction, or felt lifted up through prayer or friends. And thank goodness I have a faithful God or friends to lean on, but I realize I need more than just a slogan to follow for the year. I need the Bible engraved in my heart.

So, along with with consciously taking an effort to follow the "Just Do It" plan, I have decided to be guided by a certain Bible verse this year:

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me-put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. Phillipians 4:8-9

Because, if I have the Bible engraved on my heart, then hopefully when life gets me down, this verse will be so close to my heart, that I will quickly be able to pull it out of the cobwebs of my soul. And I challenge you to do the same!! Maybe if you are not a New Year's resolution kind of person, you could find a verse that would challenge you and bring you closer to God.

Really, change for any of us is all about changing our attitude. Of course it's easy for me to say this right now, because I'm pondering on the subject. But, if I'm going to change my heart to reflect God's heart, I need to make a change in my attitude. And I know I certainly won't be perfect on this journey...but, hopefully with a little encouragement from this Bible verse, my year's previous slogan, and the softening of my heart through God, I can continue in the path of positivity. I'll leave with a favorite quote of mine from Chuck Swindoll that will hopefully be inspirational to you as well:

"The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company...a church...a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past...we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you...we are in charge of our Attitudes."