Monday, December 28, 2009

Merry CHRISTmas!



I wanted to post this early, because I knew I wouldn't have time this week, however, I was unable to finish it early, so here it is a few days post Christmas.  I do not do Christmas letters so I am going to elaborate a little here. This year has been like any other year in many ways, full of firsts, lasts, excitement, sadness, joy, and tears. That said, we are exceedingly, abundantly blessed above all that we could ask or think. Recently, I commented on facebook that my life has not turned out like any of the dreams I had about what it would be like when I grew up and got married and had kids. That sounds depressing, huh? No, my life is so much better than I could ever have fathomed! God is amazing in his infinite grace and mercy to us, I am so undeserving of these amazing blessings He has bestowed on me! Now that is not to say that my life is perfect, it is not, but wonderful it is!
January is probably my least favorite month of the year. Christmas is over and it's cold...and this year was no different. I had to go back to work after having 12 weeks of maternity leave, and by the way, 12 weeks is not enough time! Well, to make January even worse, we had to have Ducky put to sleep due to an injury. It is very hard to say good-bye, but I knew we were doing the right thing. Noah was sooo sad, it is hard to explain these things to children. Aside from that January did have some fun moments with a visit from Joel's grandparents and just fun around the house with an almost 4 year old and a 3 month old...they bring us so much joy!
February is always a terrific month since it's my birthday month, though I'm not having any more birthdays since this year I turned 29!!! I'm going to stick with that, it works for me! ;) We had snow in February which is always fun for a short time. Otherwise, the short month was uneventful and spent inside with sweet boys!
March is our anniversary--6 years this year! We were able to get away to Cinci for a night which was soooo nice! I'm still amazed...sometimes it seems like it can't have been that long, but other times it feels like we have been together for our whole lives, like I can't remember life before Joel! He is an amazing husband! 6 years and 2 kids seems so crazy! Noah turned 4 in March as well, another milestone that I can't believe has happened! He had so many birthday celebrations that on his actual birthday it took lots of convincing to get him to believe he was actually 4 now!
April started out to be a nice month, a little cold for spring, but not as wintry. Easter was in April which is one of my favorites because it is a reminder of how much God loves us, enough to let His only Son die on a cross for our sins. The best part is that on the third day, Christ arose! That love allows us to be able to live forever with Him in Heaven, a concept experience firsthand one week later when my best friend, Ashley, was taken from us very suddenly and unexpectedly. It was a very difficult time and truly the only thing that got me through some of those days was the knowledge that our God makes no mistakes and the hope that we have in Christ that we will be with Ashley again someday. Knowing that she is in the presence of our LORD, praising Him every second of every day is an amazing thought! There is a song that brings many tears and much hope every time I hear it. I Will Rise by Chris Tomlin has such truth and amazing hope and every line and every word of this song causes me to rejoice for Ashley as well as rejoice in what I am able to claim as my own. The chorus goes like this...
I will rise when He calls my name 
No more sorrow, no more pain 
I will rise on eagles' wings 
Before my God fall on my knees
And rise, I will rise!
Not a day goes by that I do not think of Ashley...I miss so many things about her. It's hard for anyone that didn't know her to understand the kind of person she was. Ashley had a heart for service and was always thinking of ways to help somebody out. She had an opinion and was NOT afraid to share it! We were random together, sharing menial oddities throughout the day. There were days we talked once(those were few) and there were days we talked 10 times! There are many selfish days when all I want is to have her back here with all of us that miss her presence soo much, but I am trusting God that His plan is best and regardless of how we in our human finite minds view situations such as this God is able to use every circumstance whether good or bad for His glory. April events did not end there, only 10 days later another friend had her first baby, Tyler Wayne Schramm surprised us all by arriving on April 29th. What an exciting time to share with such great friends!
May is always nice to be able to get out of the house, but honestly, was a bit of a blur. I continued through the month of May working part time hours in the NICU where I have worked for 7 years now. I realized, however, that I had to make a change not because I didn't like it anymore, but as my NICU coworkers can attest to, working in the NICU is an emotionally draining job most days. I felt it was unfair to go on working so many hours when my heart was so heavy, I could not give to the babies and parents the emotional support they needed because my own emotions were spent. At the end of May, I went into a support/prn/pool position and continue to work hours on an as needed basis. It really is a better fit for our family as well as the fact that I can take a break anytime that I need.
June started off with Joel turning the BIG 3-0!!! He figured out the SURPRISE party just moments before we arrived! BUMMER! We all had fun anyway! Joel ended up with a cracked rib by the end of it all, but I guess that's what happens when you start getting old! He says he doesn't feel any older and he doesn't look any older so I guess 30 is alright! We also broke down and bought a van in June which was actually, long overdue since we had been getting by with 2 trucks for 6 months. Six months is a rather short time frame to sell a car and a truck and buy a truck and a van...but we did it!!! I ran/biked/canoed my 4th triathlon in June as well. A gal from my church did it with me and we had a great time! Joel also spent a little time putting in a garden with his mom. It was difficult for both of us to be at the garden with Benjamin being so mobile! Noah, however, loved going to the garden and then crawdadding with Joel afterwards!
July started off with a bang as we held our church's 1st annual July 4th picnic! It was a great success! We had lots of fun games, tons of yummy food, and of course the fellowship was terrific! My niece, Jessica, came to visit in July as well. We had a fun week with her visiting many of the local attractions.
August is always exciting as we head off to church camp! Joel counseled again except this time he had the senior boys which is the oldest group. I was a camp mom this year, as I will be again next year(more on that later). We thoroughly enjoy Camp Berean Way...it's the best mix of great fun, yet still much time is spent on learning about God and living for God! Joel and I also enjoy the fellowship of the camp directors Rachel and Brady, as well as their daughters, Jessica & Trinity(and most recently added, Adeline Noelle, who is only a few days old right now), who are close in age to our boys! Camp is where Joel and I have our hearts, both of us feel compelled at this time to make this camp a priority even if it means not taking a vacation. Another notable event in August was the quick trip to SC to meet my friend Heather(from college)'s baby, Jacob. Jacob was born in May actually weighing only 2 lbs 15 oz.! We wanted to wait until he was big enough to sustain some visitors before overwhelming him and his mommy!
September was mostly spent just enjoying the great weather and experiencing local festivals. It did, however, become an exciting month as we were VERY surprised to find out at the very end that we will be adding to our family in 2010, June to be exact!!!
October brought Benjamin's 1st birthday! Where did the year go?! I just can't believe his 1st year is over except that he is soooo big and talking sooo much! We celebrated with a cowboy theme which was very cute! Joel took his 30th birthday gift in October, a hunt to Colorado for Elk!!! He had a great time, but unfortunately, came home empty handed! October is one of my favorite months because of fall. I LOVE autumn--the colors, the season, the festivities, the leaves, the anticipation of the holidays to come! It's perfect!
November did not start off so well as one of my uncles passed away rather unexpectedly. He wasn't just any uncle either, he always from the time I was little put his nieces and nephews above all since he had no children of his own, he spoiled us! He will be missed! We did make the trip to PA and were able to see family, including Granny(my mom) there which was nice, just not the best circumstances to be able to see family. November ended however, with a visit from my dad, or Papa, as the boys call him. He was able to drive up for a couple days at Thanksgiving and we all had a wonderful visit! The boys just loved having Papa here!
December is almost over now and has been a great month, over the last week we have spent much time with Joel's family and will be sad to say goodbye in a couple days. Watching all the cousins play, staying up late playing games, looking at pictures, acting out the Christmas story in costume has been indescribable fun. We wish that we could all live in closer proximity to one another, but God in His perfect plan has each of us where He wants us. So as we say goodbye to another year and welcome in another, I have pondered many times over what was accomplished in this year. Did we portray our Saviour in every conversation, every situation that we could have? I would dare to say that we did not snatch each and every opportunity to put forth Christ in all things. I realize though in my own frustrations that God does not ask for us to be perfect, He knows we are not capable of such. What God asks from us is that we live for Him, that we be His hands, His feet, His voice, reflecting His love everyday! WHAT we do is not nearly as important to God as WHY we do it!