Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 In Review

This was a big year.

In Media and the Arts, I discovered The Civil Wars and fell in love. In fact, in general this year I feel like I've gotten up to speed in my genre of music, and my ipod playlist makes me very happy. I hardly had time to watch movies or read books, but I did finish The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck (and am blogging about it) as well as start on The Hunger Games (I would devour them but I wait for them to come to me for almost free via I've been watching several TV shows but the only one I am really enamored with is Friday Night Lights, which is finished and you can get on Netflix. 

Despite our finances (which pretty much suck), a high school best friend getting married required a visit to England and that allowed us to take a jaunt over to Ireland, my first time there.

Isaac finished a 4.5 year graduate degree in Theology (ThM). He picked this program because he liked that it was so well-rounded. Greek, Hebrew, Theology, Church History, and Bible, all in one program. I was pretty worried when we moved down here that this school would be super conservative and would make Isaac super conservative with them. My fears were allayed after I audited a class with him and all of my questions were met with thoughtful, open-handed answers. Isaac blasted through the program, his GPA rocks, he's amazing at languages, and his thesis grade is an A- (especially incredible because he doesn't think he's a natural paper-writer). It was a long haul and I'm SO glad it's over, but it's also been good. Although Isaac wants to be called "Master of Theology" now, I do think he's actually ending the program more humble and yet also with great philosophical and historical grounding. He may or may not also be more of a nerd. Oh who am I kidding. How can you do 4.5 years of graduate work in theology and not be more of a nerd?

This year is the most fulfilled I've been professionally. By far. It's amazing how someone can take a chance on you and that makes you want to rise to the potential they've seen in you. I'm thankful my boss sought me out and gave me the jobs I currently have. I feel like I'm taking ownership and simultaneously learning/being challenged and simply using the gifts I already have. I enjoy going to work. I feel like I'm useful and productive.... two things that are pretty important to me. In all of this I feel like an adult, a productive member of society, and a part of a team.

Judah was born just over a year ago, so it's mostly this year that I've learned to be a mother. It's been a great year. In the early months I was one big sap over the beauty of nurturing life, and here it's been a year and today Isaac and I were flipping out again over how adorable we think he is with his chubby cheeks and big blues. The struggles of knowing how to balance discipline and tenderness are made bearable by the joy of Judah as a person. I love him. I love being a mother.

We finished up our two years of living with roommates this year, and when we moved out I planned a post about how it'd been. Although we didn't have a lot of space and we had to manage the chores and sometimes fit four people into a kitchen, it was filled with talks in the living room, games of Catan and Trivial Pursuit, and roommate dates. That post I was going to write didn't happen, though, because as the weeks passed it was evident that our roomies' marriage was spiraling and is now ending in divorce. I haven't posted about it because it isn't really our story to tell. What I have learned, though, is that marriage is not our stability, the Lord is, and that divorce affects much more than the two people in the marriage. It affects all who are friends of the marriage, and for us that has meant months of fighting for the relationship, feeling the betrayal, confusion, anger, loss, and walking with Steph through the pain. That was the hardest thing about this year. It's hard to know how to feel about being roommates now, even though it went down after we moved out. The present calls all the past memories and experiences into question, and I guess that's exactly how the wronged party feels when they look back on their marriage as well.

In the same vein as above, I've seen the church in action this year. Our church has a really good small group program. Through this divorce and some other friends struggling, I've seen the church be the church and and step in with truth, love, support, and hope. It's been rough, ya'll. People suck sometimes, and they say and do terrible things when you've known them long enough that they don't keep up appearances for you. Sticking with people and being good friends is really really hard sometimes, and sometimes it's easier to ignore a problem than to face it and be a good friend. Sometimes you lose friends. Sometimes being honest may actually bring them back in the long run, though, and we've seen that too. The leadership of our church warned us that community was hard, and they were right. However, I believe in it more than ever. In real community you can't escape each other, so you either leave or you grow, and growth isn't usually easy. Now more than ever, I highly value our little community group.

This goes with the mothering thing, but Isaac and I have begun to learn to parent together this year. Parenting changes your marriage. Ideally new parents would have a weekly babysitter, have one parent home full-time, and have a room to themselves. We don't have any of the above, and sometimes we approach things in parenting from opposite perspectives. There's been a lot of talking over presuppositions and reworking our schedules so that we are getting time together. Taking a two-day road trip to and from Chicago this past week was a great way to end the year (even if our kid was sick) because we had so much time to talk and reminisce. I'm SO glad that we're pretty good at communication because it's been invaluable through this year of learning to parent. Also, just because something like parenting is a challenge to a marriage doesn't mean it's a bad thing, it's just something that we learn and grow through. Again. Worth it. Thankful for marriage. Thankful for him.

2011 was filled with the unexpected. It was challenging but good. I feel like more of an adult after this year. On that note, the chances I will stay up to midnight? Rather small. I am a boring and sick mother (with a sick baby as well!) who needs her sleep! 


Camels & Chocolate said...

That first photo is just about the sweetest thing ever. Happy New Year's to all of you!

Marcelle said...

Happy New Year. Much love from Jayapura. God bless you and family.

Rach said...

Happy New Year! I made it until like...11:20. Which is late for us. I pretended that I celebrated in Eastern Standard Time. Hope you all feel better soon!

Steph said...

I'm more thankful for our little group than ever, too.
Thanks for walking with me when things got so hard.
Love love love you. And your nerdy husband. And your chubby toddler.