It's eerily quiet in my house. Our company left this morning and I have been feeling melancholy over them leaving. I just cherish our visits so much and I am so thankful to have married into such a wonderful family. I've been sitting here catching up on my thankful journal and felt the need to write to reflect on 2013. This year wasn't at all what I expected, but it sure was "ugly beautiful".
I'm reading "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp. I've been reading this so slowly because I really just don't want to finish it.
It is so beautifully and eloquently written. It breaks me down and builds me up again in such a gracious way. If you haven't read it, I highly suggest it. She keeps a thankful journal and was dared to write down 1,000 things she was thankful for. That's what inspired me for my thankful journal. I have a ways to go as I'm only on 126. The part of the book I'm reading right now is all about what she calls "ugly beautiful". It's those hard times in a day, week, month, whatever season of life, where nothing goes as planned and you feel sadness, anxiety, anger, disappointment, etc. But practicing the art of thanksgiving means giving thanks in ALL circumstances, regardless of your current situation. I've been practicing thanksgiving during ugly beautiful. At first, it was really hard, but as soon as I'd do it, my mood would automatically change and I'd often find myself laughing at the situation. This year was an interesting year and I plan to recap month by month.
|Ringing in the new year at home|
|Our 1st breakfast of 2013. :)|
|My grandpa turned 91|
|Some of our best friends got married.|
|My Aunt Margaret's 65th birthday. Sadly, it was her last Earthly birthday.|
|I played in a kickball tournament for our school. We won 1st in our division. Who knew I was actually good at kickball?!|
|We celebrated Easter. It was one of the most spiritual Easters I've ever experienced.|
|We had a shower at my house for our friend, Rilee.|
|Paisley became a new family member!|
|School year came to an end. I had such a special, wonderful group of students and parents who I will cherish forever. They became my family.|
|Father's Day with my amazing, kind daddy.|
|The beach was so beautiful the whole month of June.|
|I celebrated my 27th birthday surrounded by A LOT of family.|
|My Tink (my niece) turned 4! This same day, my sweet Aunt Margaret met Jesus.|
|My Meemaw turned 75!|
|Leo left us :(|
|We buried my Aunt Margaret. We could smile because we knew she was finally at peace and no longer suffering.|
|I started back to what would be my most trying year of teaching.|
|We began our anniversary vacation get away in Seaside. We had quiet, peaceful mornings on our patio reading our Bibles and enjoying God's awesome creation.|
|My best friend.|
|Spending all day on the beach without a care.|
|Mom's surprise 60th birthday party. So thankful for the years in her life!|
|Daddy's 80th birthday celebration. So thankful for his life!|
|Thanksgiving with this handsome dude.|
|I finished reading the whole Bible in less than a year...cover to cover in chronological order. What a blessing it was to me.|
|Ready for Christmas!|
|My daddy and I teaching a lesson together on rocks and minerals in my class.|
|Our dear friend Timothy's going away party. We were so blessed to get to know him!|
As I think back on all this year brought and didn't bring, I am overwhelmed with emotions. God's grace was so evident in each moment and I cherish the time I got to spend with Him as He grew me. I have been so humbled through each experience and just pray He continues to get glory through my life. It is well with my soul.