I wasn't planning on doing this. I pretty much summed up 2009 in my failed Christmas letter post. But my friend, The Writer Chic, had this questionnaire on her blog, so I figured it was easy enough to answer a few questions. And maybe I'll find something good about the worst year ever.
1. What was the single best thing that happened this past year?
Moving home. I am so proud of Dan for building us our home and getting us there. I still remember vividly sitting in our living room for the first time with no furniture posting our Live from Sweetwater Drive post. I cried. It's almost unbelievable to me that we haven't yet been home a year.
2. What was the single most challenging thing that happened?
Answering this question.
I am having a hard time deciding what's been the most challenging: resettling in our house and feeling like I still wasn't home even though I was, being sick and not knowing why, dealing with Lyme Disease and the side effects of the antibiotics, losing my grandmother...
In reality the most challenging "thing" was coming to terms with my not being in control of... well, just about anything. Although as much as I am working on this, I am still not there yet, which was proven again to me today when I saw smoke come up over a mountain and had a panic attack about where the fire was. I guess I am coming to terms with the unexpected as well.
3. What was an unexpected joy this past year?
Finding Stroller Strides. It was really nice to get out of the house and be around other moms and kids. I haven't been able to go this fall, and I'm looking forward to being able to start up again this winter.
4. What was an unexpected obstacle?
Dan's hernia surgery. It has been such a rough year, and I thought we had cleared all the hurdles. I was looking forward to celebrating a calm December and enjoying the Christmas season. Instead, I was dealing with Dan's recovery. I think that a huge part of it was just the stress of *one more [bad] thing*.
5. Pick three words to describe 2009.
challenging, exhausting, home
6. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe your 2009.
full of anxiety
He says: "Oh my god."
7. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe their 2009.
home, growing up
He says: "Oh my god." and "Are you serious?!"
8. What were the best books you read this year?
Re-read Eat, Pray, Love
9. With whom were your most valuable relationships?
Kellen, Dan, my neighbors, Beth who has held my hand through every step of our tragedy and who never fails to offer help, my dad's family as we dealt with my grandmother's passing, my Strong Mommas!
10. What was your biggest personal change from January to December of this past year?
Realizing that "have to" is subjective. I felt like I "had" to do so many things to ensure that I was creating memories in our new house and to deal with the fire. But really, only I was imposing those expectations, and I could change them at any time. By December, surviving was my only expectation.
11. In what way(s) did you grow emotionally?
I think when you are on your knees wondering if you can get through the next hour, much less the whole night, you are being asked to grow emotionally in ways you can't yet articulate. I have learned that simply surviving is sometimes enough.
12. In what way(s) did you grow spiritually?
I think I have become more settled in my beliefs, and my feelings about the afterlife have helped pull me through my darkest hours. I have also reflected a lot on my life's purpose and karma.
13. In what way(s) did you grow physically?
This question is strangely worded. The biggest physical challenge has been dealing with Lyme Disease and treatment. I had known something was wrong but was unable to get any answers. I am fortunate to have doctors who listen. I also think that I've learned how much emotional stress translates into physical distress and is a major reason why I need to learn how to better manage emotional hardships.
14. In what way(s) did you grow in your relationships with others?
I continue to learn to ask for help... and continue to be amazed when asking for help translates into action, often by those who barely know me.
15. What was the most enjoyable area of managing your home?
Finding things that are "just right." I love our new entertainment center, and it definitely feels like my home. I've also enjoyed my kitchen. I love my kitchen.
16. What was your most challenging area of home management?
Trying not to get discouraged when parts of our home still aren't done or don't feel like they reflect us. I also don't like how bare my shelves are.
17. What was your single biggest time waster in your life this past year?
It's really hard for me to admit this because I love the women on my message board, but it has definitely been a time suck for me, and I am planning on cutting down this year on internet time.
18. What was the best way you used your time this past year?
Spending time watching Kellen grow. Our big family walks to the Co-op and Lucky Peak are also my two favorite memories from the year.
19. What was the biggest thing you learned this past year?
That things can always get worse.
20. Create a phrase or statement that described 2009 for you.
I'm borrowing a few:
"The only way out is through." - Alanis Morrisette
"If you're going through hell, keep going."