Friday, January 2, 2009

Counting My Blessings: 2008

To counteract the deep and vague elements of the grouchy post...time for gratefulness!

I'm surprised I haven't done more posts about the things I'm grateful for. Obviously, it's my blog, I'm the only one to blame. And I'm generally all about being grateful, saying "thank you," showing appreciation for thoughtful gestures and generosity...so I'm not sure what my issue is forgetting to include that in my blog life. Ah well, no need for excuses. Just fix it!

So here's a smattering of things that I feel like are highlights of 2008 and just a few of the blessings that we are so very grateful for. God is, as always, very good to us.

(Just a side note: God is good no matter how blessed we feel. He is good when we are miserable. He is good when things are very bad in our estimation. He is good no matter what. He doesn't change. How we view our circumstances and what we choose to do with our opportunities changes. But he is always good and doing what is best for us. Just want to be clear. :o)

~~ I'm so very thankful that 2008 was the first full year in a new era of our lives and our marriage. A difficult period is behind us. We'll not become complacent or think that we're "safe." We will continue to be vigilant and purposeful about what's important, and we will not forget what we've learned. But, wow... it's nice to have a clean year under our belts.

~~Braska has had a surgery-free and healthy year. Well, there was that small granulation tissue removal in January. Technically that was a surgery. But it was 8 minutes, people.... I don't really count that. She's been well all year, up until December, of course. But as kids and sicknesses go, we have been WAY fortunate. She's 2 and has never had an ear infection. She's had a sinus infection twice this fall, and that's all. What kid, DS or not, is as non-sick as this girl?? Very few, and for that we are very thankful!

~~We had a big year with big changes....and we have survived! May was pure chaos with deciding to see what jobs were available here in StL, finding a couple possibilities, scheduling interviews, dealing with offers, accepting one, packing the house, listing the house for sale, finding an apartment, and moving. ALL IN LESS THAN 3 WEEKS!!! I can't believe we got through it all. We wouldn't have been able to do it without ALOT of help from family, friends, coworkers, and even a few people we barely knew. Oh yeah, and apparently I managed to get pregnant that month too. Wow. It's still amazing to me that everything worked out as it did. God made all the pieces fall together in the right way, even though we didn't always agree with his timing, he was right...surprise, surprise! And we sold our house in 28 days. That's just plain cool!

~~I am so VERY thankful that my husband has accepted, adjusted, and actually been helpful in working through all these changes this year. He's not a fan of change. He's not a fan of the city. He was not at all excited about leaving C-U after he'd been there for 10 years. It had really become his home even more than mine, and yet he made a big move for the sake of Braska's care and my sanity in not having to make those long drives so often. He was extremely well known and well loved at his job, as was clear by the outpouring of support when he put in his notice. It is no small thing, and I've probably not been as clearly appreciative as deserved. This move has been smooth in some ways, enough to show us without a doubt that it was the right move for our family, but yet it's also been difficult as we've struggled to connect and kind of find our new place to be... and to be comfortable. We'll get there, but so far, M's been pretty great about the whole thing. And I know good and well how much it's stretched his patience and his comfort zone.

~~Along those same lines, it is a very big deal that we've survived this long on our new and decreased income. We're still finding ways to cut back, and we still will need to find more as the months come and we add another little mouth to the family. I'm constantly aware of what a significant thing it is that M has supported us completely for the first time in our marriage. And that he allows me to stay home with Braska, no longer contributing to the family income, even when we're finding ourselves living on a five-figure income that begins with a couple of 3's. I never thought we'd be in this position, but we're doing it, and I am hugely grateful that he's not making me feel less-than because of our new roles. Even though it's smaller, we have a great place to live, and we've adjusted well to it, I think. We have great cars, warm beds, food to eat, and have been able to avoid credit card debt throughout. God has provided everything we need, through people around us, wisdom to make good financial choices, and a stable job for M. There are SO many people who have less, and we are thankful for every last thing we have. We want to make the best use of every resource, because no matter what we have, we're responsible for being good stewards of it.

~~Lastly, for now, I'm thankful for all of YOU. Yep, the readers who keep coming back, or just pop in here and there. It's so encouraging to know there are people who have no obligation to me or to us yet you choose to keep up with what's going on with us. You offer words of cheer when we celebrate, you offer words of encouragement when we're frustrated, and you offer a highlight to my days just by coming by to say hello. I tell people often when they ask about how we've adjusted to life with Down syndrome that a big--probably the biggest--part of our sanity has come from what we've learned and how we've come to know so many great people through this big, wide inter-web. I love watching all your families grow, learning from your trials and successes, and just knowing that there are so many friends out there who are just living life to the best of their ability like we are. Thank you for sharing in our lives and for sharing yours with us.

I live in a great country, serve a mighty and gracious God, and wake up every morning with the opportunity to start fresh again. What's not to be thankful for???

I hope you have had a wonderful year. I hope you'll take the time to look specifically for things to be appreciative of as we move into the new year. Many blessings to your families as we jump into the excitement that is 2009.

3 comments:

  1. Happy New Year, Honey. We'll pray that it's a calm, healthy one for all of you. Of course we are looking forward to seeing Kinlee in person :o)
    Love you!!

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  2. "God is good no matter how blessed we feel. He is good when we are miserable. He is good when things are very bad in our estimation. He is good no matter what. He doesn't change.'

    Thanks SO much for this reminder right now. Very timely. I am honored to be able to see how Braska is changing and growing. It is really amazing to see your example.

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  3. God is good. Praise God! What a year we both had. I'm thankful for you. And for all of your honesty and how I can look at your blogs and grow myself.

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