2013 was a year with a lot of ups and downs for us, and I think even that is an understatement.
Let's go to the highlights reel, shall we?
- We survived our first North Country Winter this year, which involved more snow and colder temperatures than I had ever expected!
- We spent the year getting to know some of our new best friends at Fort Drum, who have now become our Army family.
- H reintroduced himself to fishing and filled our freezer with Pickerel and Northern Pike (which we still haven't eaten our way through - any one up for a New Year's fish fry?!)
- I started grad school and successfully completed my first semester with a 4.0 and all of my brain cells.
- We celebrated our second wedding anniversary!
- Even from far away, we got to watch our nephew grow from a rambunctious two year old who only spoke a few words here and there, to an even more rambunctious three year old who is so smart and handsome with a great sense of humor. Watch out ladies!
- We celebrated both H's sister's engagement and my sister's engagement to some awesome guys.
- I became more involved in both PWOC and the FRG, which has opened some doors of opportunity for me and taught me a lot about who I am
- We finally had our first family camping trip, which we've been talking about doing for over 6 years now!
- We got our first dog (and then gave him back when his owner returned from deployment)
- H taught me how to change the oil in our Jeep (not sure if that's more of an accomplishment for me or him haha!)
- I know there's a ton more awesome things that we did, celebrated, learned, and experienced in 2013 that I'm missing, but bear with me since I still haven't had my morning coffee yet ;)
We struggled with stress, anger, disappointment, sadness, fear, doubt, and worry this year, but God has been gracious and has seen us through every single circumstance that we've experienced. He has let us experience the good and the bad, and blessed us for our perseverance through both. No, it definitely wasn't fun going through the not-so-awesomeness, and there were times where we questioned every part of what was happening and why it was happening. But you know what? God is good, and He never once let us struggle without His presence there to guide us and keep us going.
How can we appreciate the good times in our life without experiencing the bad times?
It's something that I've tried to remember when things suck. If life was always sunny and we never had to experience bad times, then the good times wouldn't matter as much. I don't know about you, but I find that I appreciate the good things more when they are few and far between (extra money, good hair days, a properly made pumpkin spice latte, you get the idea). When good times are abundant, yes life is awesome and the stress levels run low, but eventually I stop appreciating the little blessings and good days.
When you throw in a few bad days to mix it up, I can honestly say that those good days are suddenly so much better and mean so much more in the long-run.
What 2013 our "best year ever"? Not by a long shot!
Did it give us an opportunity to grow, to learn, and to appreciate the good days when they came? Absolutely!
So what does 2014 hold for us? I have absolutely no idea but I know that no matter what it is, God's already there. How awesome is that?!
Wishing you and your family a very blessed (and safe!) New Year's Eve and 2014!