Some friends of ours do a "Top Ten" list every year by looking back and writing down their favorite parts of the past year, which I think is a grand idea. 2008 was actually a very quiet year for us -- in the four years preceding 2008 we had traveled a lot, adopted a child, experienced several deaths in the family, moved across the country, etc. -- so 2008 was really a welcome change in my book. The "top ten" things in 2008 might not be monumental, but it is a very good thing to go back and be reminded of all God's blessings to us, both big and small.
Without further ado, our top ten of 2008 (in no particular order):
1. Staycation! We were supposed to go on a big jam-packed trip to the NE and Canada, but close to the time I should have had it all planned out, I caved and wanted to stay home. It ended up being the absolute best decision because we had a fantastic time at home, truly putting aside work and other responsibilities for a season and enjoying the days together as a little family of three.
2. Newlyweds. Ha! A somewhat surprising decision in 2008 included my husband and I taking on the leadership of the "newlyweds/nearly newly" Sunday School class (we call them Life Groups, but whatever, it's still Sunday School) at church. It has been really fun so far, and we are enjoying getting to know so many new couples.
3. Fencing in the front yard. Love it. My boy can run and play to his heart's delight without fear of being hit by a car, it looks cute, and the most fun surprise is that it seems to keep the solicitors at bay!
4. The boy's bed was built! I never thought THAT would happen. Of course, I still need to complete the painting, but for the most part, all the big projects in there are finally done.
5. New career path for my husband, one that he is enjoying, and one that keeps him home so much more than ever before. Less travel is so much better for all of us!
6. Bilingual preschool. I could go on and on here, but all I really need to say is how very much we love bilingual preschool and that our son is learning two languages. Now if we could just somehow convince the directors to expand it up to age 18, we'd be set.
7. Date nights. We finally incorporated this back into our marriage, at least somewhat. We could stand to improve on the frequency of these date nights, but at least we are starting to enjoy some alone time again. I could sum this one up in one word -- "glassblowing" -- one of the most cool things I have ever done!
8. Eating at home. I never thought this would be such a big deal, but I've finally crossed the threshold from "dreading" cooking dinner to "mostly enjoying" it. Not only does it save money, but everyone knows it is better for health as well. It also gives us more time together as a threesome, meeting up to not only share meals but share our days with each other.
9. Fun trips. Although we didn't travel as much as usual, we still enjoyed some really fun trips -- Tennessee for my birthday weekend, Minnesota in the fall, and Tennessee in the fall again. There were other smaller trips in there as well, but those are the hilights.
10. Still a family of three. This might sound like a strange one to many of you, but we are really happy to still be a family of three and not more. To an adoptive parent, this is huge. I don't know about everyone else, but once you adopt, there is almost always a huge pressure to adopt again (usually because everyone else is). All you need to do is look at Brangelina and you can figure that one out. For quite a while after my son came home, there was this intense craving to start it all up again, but it wasn't the right timing (not to mention how expensive adoption can be), and when I finally got past that point, it was this amazing sweet relief that washed over me. God may or may not have plans for our family to grow, but for now, I am simply content with what He has blessed us with in each other.
I read on another blog about picking a "word" for 2009, a word that could kind of sum up what you are wanting the year to represent, and for me personally, that word would be "content". Being content with the blessings already in my life, being content from the "materialism/consumerism" standpoint and not allowing myself to want to "keep up with the Joneses", etc., being content with life in general. Because when I am content and truly satisfied, then any other blessings that pop up are just icing on the cake. And being content myself will hopefully teach my son how to be content as well.
Of course, the word "content" also has a flip-side for me, and that means I need to be ever mindful that I don't become too content in other areas of my life. I don't want to ever become content spiritually, but instead I hope that my desire to know more about God will only continue to grow. I also don't want to become content in my goals, but strive to not only reach them but also surpass them. Hmm, sounds like I picked quite a tricky word, huh?
So here's to 2009!