Wow! Another year completed. I do these every year, and I love seeing the progression of life and my feelings and thoughts about it. :) I hope you do, too!
1. What was the single best thing that happened this past year?
Without any hesitation, marrying Bear. This year has been hard, but there’s still daily moments where I feel like I should pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming. Our life is not perfect, and neither are we, but we are so happy to have each other and it makes life great.
2. What was the single most challenging thing that happened?
Hands down, the back troubles. January 13th, I leaned down to pick up a book that fell behind a bookshelf and was injured from that point forth. It steadily got worse until March 31st, when I sat up from the couch and heard something pop. (Months later, we discovered that was the final break in my back.) I didn’t walk or sit up for long periods of time again until after my surgery May 22nd. The time since then has been dealing with recovery amidst too many setbacks (infection, going back to work too early, car accident, sciatica/hip troubles, etc.)
3. What was an unexpected joy this past year?
I never realized how loved I was until this back drama began. My family, Bear’s family (especially his mom), my church, and my friends supported me in so many ways. They made a hard situation so much easier. We are truly blessed.
Another unexpected joy was literally walking down the aisle on my wedding day. Because I couldn’t walk unassisted for about twelve weeks, this was a huge prayer request and worry throughout the injury. Actually walking down the aisle with my husband, when I wasn’t sure it was possible, with the crowd of people that prayed me through it, was perhaps the single best moment of my life so far.
4. What was an unexpected obstacle?
Brad being sick since October has stretched our family in new ways and made us very aware of just how precious life and family are. We’ve rallied around him and Tambry, and although the battle is not over, I’m glad we’ve been able to get through it together.
5. Pick three words to describe this past year.
back, love, trust
6. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe your year—don’t ask them; guess based on how you think your spouse sees you.
back, marriage, rest
7. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe their past year—again, without asking.
help, marriage, change
8. What were the best books you read this year?
I reread the Hunger Games series in anticipation of the movie, and they’re still the best books I’ve read in a while.
I’m currently reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp, and that book is stretching me and nurturing me in a new way, as well.
9. With whom were your most valuable relationships?
Bear, my mom, and the people that helped me while I was on bedrest, especially Bear’s mom, Monica, Marsha, Janie, and Debbie. They all really went above and beyond and I will always be grateful for their love and support.
10. What was your biggest personal change from January to December of this past year?
Perspective. Although 2012 in many ways was hell for me, it was also full of blessings. Bear and I grew closer out of our struggle and fell deeper in love throughout this struggle. This type stuff could have torn us apart, and we are grateful it didn’t. I also couldn’t help thinking about the people where this wasn’t a temporary setback for them, but a lifetime of pain and struggle. It’s opened my eyes to the suffering that is happening around me, when I think I was a bit oblivious before.
Also, during the time my brother was sick, I attended three funerals and the CT shooting happened. It made me so aware of how lucky we were to have Brad alive and, although not yet well, a chance to get better. Christmas, although strange, was filled with gratitude that he was there, even if in the hospital.
11. In what way(s) did you grow emotionally?
I think I’ve become a lot more patient with my emotions. I’ll give in to the fear, the frustration, the sadness, but then I try to find a way out of it, primarily by thinking of my blessings. It’s been very helpful. This too shall pass and it could be worse seem to be my mantras these days.
12. In what way(s) did you grow spiritually?
There’s a lot of room for growth here, but I think the best way I grew was seeing God’s perfect timing and the power of prayer. There were so many times where I couldn’t figure out why this was happening to me, and then it would become clearer weeks/months later.
13. In what way(s) did you grow physically?
Although I’m still leaps behind where I was when I started the year, I am walking again and am making some progress. I can work, go to the grocery store, not have to park closest to the store, and go to a store or two in the mall. I can’t wait to see where I’m at this time next year… hopefully I’ll be back to normal… or at least without chronic pain.
14. In what way(s) did you grow in your relationships with others?
In many ways, some of my relationships have suffered greatly this year. I can’t be the go-go-go person that I was before all this, and my life is a lot more day to day than it’s ever been before. That hasn’t always been well received from some friends, but the ones that have understood have my heart. :) It’s a long, hard road and I’m so blessed by the people that have stood by me through it all.
15. What was the most enjoyable part of your work (both professionally and at home)?
Before I stopped working due to my back, I was really questioning whether teaching was for me. Being forced to step away from it for five months really caused me to do some soul searching, and I think it renewed a passion in me for teaching.
Hands down, the best part about my job is my kids. They’re sweet, funny, intelligent, helpful, insightful, and just an all around good time. I will be very sad to see this group of sixth graders go. They’re truly a delight.
16. What was the most challenging part of your work (both professionally and at home)?
Not being there and then coming back probably sooner than I was ready. August and September were hard and painful. Had my kids not been so amazing, I think it would have been even worse.
17. What was your single biggest time waster in your life this past year?
Pinterest or Tiny Tower, I’m sure, but I don’t regret much of it. It truly kept me sane during the bedrest and recovery period. I’m more grateful for it than anything.
18. What was the best way you used your time this past year?
As always, the time I spent with my family and friends. Because of my health, Bear and I had a LOT of quiet nights, but I wouldn’t trade them for the world. We’ve built a life together that’s sweet and satisfying, even amidst the struggle.
Also, my friends and family continue to be my biggest blessings in my life and time with them is never wasted.
19. What was biggest thing you learned this past year?
Comparison is the thief of joy. There were so many times where I looked at other people and got so jealous because of their adventures, good health, easy wedding stuff, etc that could have driven me bonkers, but I had to concentrate on dealing with what I was given and finding the blessings within my situation. It really helped.
20. Create a phrase or statement that describes this past year for you.
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.