This has been a phenomenal year for me, in so many ways. Here’s just a few reasons why…

#10 ~ Garden adventures

IMG_2303For all the effort put into it in Spring and Summer, I have to give credit to my garden! This year’s gardening experience gave me new challenges like growing lettuce and strawberries, starting a compost pile, having success with the herbs and tomatoes, and D being a year older and interacting with the process much more than last year. I continue to be grateful for the time and space I have to experiment with gardening.

#9 ~ Family, family, family!

And I mean that in a good way! Family has always been important to me and I am so thankful for the abundance in family love that both me, my husband and my children continue to experience year after year. Whether it was celebrating a birthday, eating a good meal together or razzing each other about favorite sports teams wins and losses, family is an important part of my life.

#8 ~ Preschool fun

D finished up his first year of preschool in June and began his second year in August. The first 2 months were filled with doubt and anxiety for me, but thankfully D has always loved it. I have become so appreciative of his teachers, the friendships he has built at such a young age, and the experiences that we have both had because of his preschool.

#7 ~ Travel

IMG_2431All 4 of us went to a wedding, traveled to see family numerous times in various places, stayed in a hotel, stayed in a beach house in Oregon, and stayed with long-time friends in Vegas. We experienced awesome weather, restful times, busy times and good fellowship with great friends. Any time we have the opportunity to spend time with others, we grab it!

#6 ~ Friendships

IMG_3325It’s hard for me to take in how much happened in 2010. Loads of traveling, conversations with old friends and new, and fun experiences like seeing the boys play on the beach. I will always consider time with friends a “high point” in my life, and this year was no exception. I’ve known Cynthi over half my life now, and blogged about her visit to N. California here. It still remains a “yay!” for me in my heart; the memories of our years in high school, her continued friendship, hearing about the vision God has given her family.

#5 ~ New life

Earlier this year I had the incredible privilege of seeing a friend experience the redeeming, grace-filled love of Jesus in her life for the very first time. Being able to journey with her as she discovers more of who Jesus is has been humbling, thought-provoking, awesome. I am excited to see what 2011 will bring for her and her family.

#4 ~ SydneyIMG_1089

On February 7th, my darling niece Sydney officially became a part of our family. My brother and his wife, Emily, became adoptive parents for the second time and it was a pure blessing to experience that abundantly joyful day with them!

#3 ~ My boys

IMG_1990I know I’m not alone when I say my children bring me incredible amounts of joy and incredible exhaustion at the same time! But for all the many times I pray for a good night’s rest or an escape of solitude during a crazy day, there are many more times of surprises, reflection, smiles, giggles, noise making, wrestling, book reading, dancing, play dates, neighborhood walks, park times,  cookie baking, backyard bike riding, digging for worms, snack times, and times of love. And piano playing, of course!

#2 ~ My man

IMG_3059Hubbs and I celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary this year. I love that I still love to just be with him, no matter what’s going on. He works hard for his family and he does so with integrity. He supports me in my many adventures as a mom, a friend, a Bible study leader, a craft-loving gal, and a foodie. I am so thankful for the time spent together at Avila Beach. I know 2011 will bring it’s own unique challenges, but I am so thankful Hubbs will be by my side to face them!

#1 ~ The gift

IMG_0445By far, the biggest highlight of this year and  probably years to come is the incredible journey my brother took after discovering the source of his back pain for the past 7 years. The surgery to remove the melon-sized cancerous tumor growing in his chest cavity was over 8 hours long. Those first days in the hospital were agonizing for him. The following weeks and months of recovery were filled with sleep deprivation, discomfort and frustration. And yet today, he is completely healthy, strong, spiritually focused and determined to use his circumstances for God’s glory. Josh is a gift from God and I am privileged to be his big sister and, more now than ever, his friend.