Normally the purpose of a Christmas letter, well, my previous Christmas letters anyway, is to recap for friends & family, and even myself, all that was notable over the last year, especially for those people who do not get to hear about your life regularly.
Honestly, I would rather not hash out this year again, in the frame of my mind I've been in lately, will quite frankly it would be like trying to reflect fondly on a hospital stay. So, instead I'm going to try something different. I'm going to make a Thankful For 2010 list. Positive spin :)
In 2010 we are thankful for:
1. Parents who are just as healthy or healthier than they were at the beginning of the year. There have been quite a few doctors visits and hospital stays this year but thankfully those issues are all behind us now, with a new appreciation for health and taking care of it.
2. Surrounded by family, who are increasing in numbers. To have family so close (even if Steinbach & Altona don't always FEEL close) is a huge blessing, quality time with them doesn't ever feel like enough. They are the people I could be around (and could be around me) 24/7....which we did for a week in August that was awesome! The laughter and the love we share is a joy. Even the little ones, getting to an age where our connection is much more, they are engaging us and interacting with us on a whole new level that is such a delight.
Every year that we have the family we love so much surrounding us is a blessing, so it is an even greater blessing if another person to love is added to the fold. This year my nephew became a much anticipated and much loved member of our family, and though the love of 8 adults is now 'split' between 4 children it feels like it's multiplied instead.
3. Financial security. In a year where most people spent recovering from, and maybe even still being hit by, an economic down swing, we have been very fortunate and blessed. We continue to have stable, well paying jobs that have provided us with; a great mortgage, the ability to maintain that home with renovations and outfit it with fiscally & environmentally responsible appliances, a 'new' 2009 Journey, and the ability to be generous to those not as financially fortunate as us.
4. Growing. Growing comes from two places, a desire to meet higher standards, or failure so significant you have to grow just to survive. Plenty of both have happened this year. Pursuit of our ideals, moving towards a life that we value and feel God leading us towards. Healing from choices and circumstances, this year, and years past. But growing, whether it's pursued or healing, is still growing, and we are thankful we are moving forward, whatever it requires of us.
5. Our Church. Although it was a hard decision to leave a Church we loved so much, Riverwood has grown into the community we've been wanting and needing. Partly because we took the initiative to be intentionally involved, partly because I believe God has orchestrated people from our past also coming to Riverwood. And he has blessed our efforts with some great new friends recently that have come to mean a lot to me.
6. Friendship. If there is one thing that makes growing pains easier it is having friends to bare the burdens with you. The friendships we have, whether from within our families, our work, our Church, and even our internet friends (hey, that's you!!), are so heartening! No matter where we turn, we have you by our side, you have our back, you lift us up, we are so thankful to have a life blessed by friends like you. You have helped more than you know these last few months.
7. Love. Most of all I think we are thankful that we still have so much love for each other. 10 years ago this season, an employee took a chance and asked his boss to dance. A Christ-loving young lady took a leap of faith dating a Fatherless young man. Two heart-broken people took a risk that they would find love in each other. They not only found love, they found healing in the love they shared and they continue to find healing by continuing to share love.
Thank you for sharing this year with us, in one form or another, and God bless us, everyone.