Well, it's been about three months or so since I blogged. My apologies! Anyhow, now is the time of year to reflect and this is gonna be wordy...I'll try to throw in a few pics but be warned, there will be lots of words.
1) Joy: The other day, Daniel and I were talking on the way to my office and realized how happy we've felt this year. We finally realized why - this year we seem to have really focused on finding joy in the small things and what may seem like "mundane" moments. I'm not sure how much more out of debt we are...we still have a lot but we've been paying off some things slowly, meaning despite a slight pay increase, we are still finding ourselves "in" more than "out" and doing a lot to save pennies. In the past, this would sort of depress us. Now, we find such JOY in the quiet moments in the morning when Abigail has snuggled in bed with us at 5 am for just a little more sleep before we all have to get up and going. We find JOY in working out and improving ourselves and noticing those small changes. We have discovered real JOY in just being still and focusing on our sweet child singing a new song for us or in a debate about current events or political policies. We are HAPPY. Throughout our 8 1/2 year marriage, we've both experiences ups and downs due to depression and anxiety. It's been rare for both of us to be "up" at the same time. Yet, here we are. We've shifted our focus and that has been the game changer, you might say. I don't fool myself; at some point, the depression or anxiety will (and sometimes does) creep back; but it's less intense and we are better able to pull ourselves and each other out. I'm so thankful we've been able to find true joy in our lives.
2) Health: As you've read, this last summer, we joined the YMCA. We were offered a great deal that included childcare that we couldn't pass up. I was ready to be healthier for my breathing, allergy, and colitis issues. I knew losing weight would help. Daniel wanted to lose the LITTLE bit of weight he had/has to lose and really feel more confident in his body. We've really enjoyed this experience so far. We don't feel guilty for taking that 45 minutes or so for ourselves four days a week. In November, we were not able to go very often due to some issues I'll discuss in a minute and at the end of November I got a nasty little sinus infection/bronchitis and am just now recovered enough to go to the gym again. We are thrilled. I've lost a nice chunk of weight and looking forward to us both continuing to get healthier in the new year.
3) Little Blessings: We've had so many little and big blessings this year. I could never count them all. Most recently, our car was giving us some trouble - two issues. Thanks to friends, we were able to pinpoint one easily and the other we were unsure of. Also through friends we found a new mechanic who is very trustworthy and kind. One of our problems was fixed and the other seemed to have remedied itself?? Apparently a fuse (?) came unplugged (were told that can happen over the life of a car....just randomly due to car vibrations sometimes..plus some grease had dripped around the plug and that may have helped things slip out. It was causing something in the engine to throw up some code saying the car should not stay on. Once cleaned up and plugged back in, things have been fine. What a blessing! What a blessing for family who graciously drove us around and let us use their car on weekends for a month!! And a blessing that a church friend allowed us to use their car over Thanksgiving while they were out of town. Other blessings include our wonderful trip to the beach, a gracious boss who has shown appreciation to his staff (something I'm not as used to) and an office environment, that while I've struggled to fit in, is more professional and gives me the challenge I craved. We are blessed with our child's amazing health and brightness. We are blessed that she goes to the most wonderful of preschools where she is showered with love and education. We are blessed with family that pulls together in hard times. I could go on and on. These blessings have made our year more positive.
4) Looking forward? I'm a planner. But this year, I've discovered that sometimes looking forward, or in some cases looking too forward, I've gotten myself in to trouble. By that I mean that in trying to anticipate every issue that could arise and plan for it I've actually caused myself anxiety. This year, I've tried really hard to not look too far forward. Sometimes I'm not always successful, but I'm glad I've noticed this problem and am trying to be satisfied with living in the present (see #1)!! I now see there is a fine line between planning and causing myself worry.
Well, these are just a few reflections for the end of the year...I hope 2014 will be an even more positive, happy year! I know we will face difficulties and struggle, I'm sure some of our own making and some not, but I'm hoping we can face them even more positively than ever!!