"In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps."

Thursday, January 5, 2012

2011 in Review

What to say about 2011??? What a busy, full, crazy year.  I have finally decided that I am going to stop saying “Well, when things calm down I am going to…”  You know what? Things never calm down, that’s life! I really wanted to do a little photo collage to go with this post – but it ain’t happening folks, and this post is already a week late.

In many ways, 2011 was the hardest one yet.  I had lived overseas as a child (in Venezuela and the Netherlands), but always my parents were there to buffer the sticker-shock of living in another culture and climate.  But this time I had to navigate it without “adult supervision” (sometimes I still can’t believe that I am the adult).  Those first few months were interesting. 

Nick and I have also experienced probably our hardest year of marriage.  Those early days in Russia were hard – we were both so out of our element and looking to the other to solve our problems – imagine two drowning people trying to cling to the other for safety!  Of course that never works.  Thankfully we both realized early on who we need to look to when we are having difficulties. 

There have definitively been some really hard things about moving to Russia – but God has once again shown that he is able to do more than we could ever ask or imagine.  We are not just surviving in Russia – we are thriving in Russia! I am so thankful for all of the friends we have made and our church.

One thing that really stands out about 2011 was all of the travel – we spent the first five years of marriage only taking one vacation longer than a four day week-end and in one year we have had trips to Orlando, Moscow, St Petersburg (me), Dubai (Nick), Ireland, Italy and Scotland, not to mention our trips back home to Texas.  Wow.  I definitely feel guilty sometimes that we get to do so much traveling, and even more guilty when I sometimes think that I will be ok with never taking an away vacation again once we move back to the states!  Traveling is fun, but I have also found it to be very stressful.

Isla has grown so much this year too.  I know that a lot of people say that babies change so much their first year – and they do, but I think this second year has been the biggest transition.  She was still such a baby when she turned 1 in April, but now she is walking like a professional, talking, copying everything I say – Wow again.  She is Nick and mine’s greatest source of joy. I think the hardest part of the year was after she started walking and before she started communicating so well.  I simply cannot wait to see how she changes this next year.

This has been a wonderful year of growth for Nick.  Wow once more.  I am so proud of him.  He has grown so much in his role as our spiritual leader, and he has continued to put Isla and I first in spite of his very stressful job that requires him to work a lot of overtime, not to mention leading a bible study and participating whenever possible at Church functions.  How he is able to be a great husband, best father, and hard worker who does well at his job is beyond me.  I could never shoulder that burden – but thankfully God did not design my shoulders to do that.  Its my job to support him and take care of him.

The end of this brought along a lot of heartache for people close to me.  Friends, family, even acquaintances who had touched me in the short time I knew them, seemed to have all suffered from significant loss.  Nick and I were just on the perimeter praying and supporting, but I really hope that next year is better for our loved ones.

And also, I cannot close on 2011 without touching on Reece’s Rainbow.  My heart has been forever changed.  There are many worthy causes that I support and believe in – fighting human trafficking and enslavement and missions are two that come to mind because I know that they are also the heart of God, but this has grabbed my heart in a way that will never let go.  I feel like I can help make a tiny little difference for these babies.

2011 has been tough, but blessed year, and I am looking forward to what God has planned for us in 2012.

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