Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Highlights Reel

As usual, I'll end my year with a reflection.  I know it seems cliche, but as I'm going on my fourth year of writing this blog in January, it seems only right to finish up the calendar year and the blogging year all at once.  Also, the OCD in me requires things to be tied up with a nice little bow before I can close one chapter and start the next...

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 ;)
I wish that I could end my list of things we encountered in 2013 there, but life isn't always sunny that way.  This past year also brought some sadness and not-so-awesome experiences to us.  Thankfully, God is awesome when life isn't, and He has used (and continues to use) our circumstances for His purpose.  We experienced the joy and loss of our first baby, but in that He taught us patience, trust, and strengthened my faith beyond measure.  We watched one of our dearest friends get diagnosed with stage four cancer, but He's allowed that to help us support and strengthen their faith and relationship with God.  H went through multiple moves to different units and companies that has not helped his plan for early promotion or getting into the schools he wants in the timeliness that he wants, but God continues to give us what we need when we need it and we're trusting His plan above our own.

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!

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