I'm preparing my lesson for Young Women's this Sunday and I took a minute to look back over this year. What an amazing year 2010 has been. It's been full of ups and downs and I'm happy to look back and say.... every single minute has been worth it all. (Totally choking back tears as I type this) Our family has been so blessed, I want to take a minute to reflect over each month and how it's made our family and myself so much stronger.
January- With little Tanner B having just joined our family, it became crystal clear that something was missing in our little family. We had been inactive members of the LDS church for almost the entire time we had been married and knew that we could not raise another child that doesn't know his Father in Heaven. Just two weeks after Tanner was born we made it back to church and have only missed a few Sunday's as we traveled or kids were sick. It feels amazing. We have such an amazing ward family who has made our transition so much easier and our lives have been infinitely blessed by doing the things that we are supposed to.
February - With the passing of my Grandma's husband it became even more clear how important it was for our family to get our ducks in a row. In a meeting with our bishop we were able to set a goal for Jon to be ordained an Elder and have a rough goal set for becoming an Eternal family.
March- Jon and I received our first callings since we went back to church. I was called to be a Relief Society teacher which has blessed me in so many ways. I learned so much through the calling and I loved every minute of it. Jon was called to be a Sunday school teacher for the youth. Even though his class is very small, often with only one young man that attends, Jon loves his calling. The mom of the young man has told me how much she appreciates and how much he looks up to Jon. It means the world to us!
April- One of the best months out of the whole year! My dad has struggled with his activity in the church for most of my life. He had not been to church in over ten years. With Jon preparing to receive the Melchizedek priesthood, my Dad had agreed to let us watch General Conference in his home. While we were watching he pulled Jon aside and said "I feel like this conference was written for me. I need to get my act together." Two weeks later Jon was ordained to the office of an Elder. A miracle that I cannot thank my Father in Heaven enough for occurred that day.... for the first time in over ten years my ENTIRE family attended church together. What an amazing feeling to look down the pew and see my two sisters, my nephews, and my parents. Jon's family came down from Roosevelt and his brother ordained him an Elder. I will NEVER forget that Sunday. One of the many reasons my husband is my hero.
May- The most amazing Birthday present and Mother's Day present I could ever ask for: watching my husband bless my two sons. We were not active when Gavin was born so he was never blessed in Sacrament meeting. To watch my husband bless my 3 year old and listen to the words of the blessing still brings tears to my eyes. Yet another moment I will NEVER forget.
June- We took our first official family vacation! We picked up Trevor and took all the kids to Jon's sister's house in Lincoln, NE. where we had a mini family reunion. Jon's mom and step dad came down from New York and we spent the week playing and catching up. It was so great for my kids to get to renew their relationships with their Grandparents.
July- Jon was able to step back from his Vacation Relief position at work and into a regular route. This meant a little less pay but meant much more time with his family. It was an amazing blessing.
August- We hit a little bump on our happy little road. The trial that we were faced with changed EVERYTHING... while it seemed at first like everything changed for the worse... we are beginning to see how Heavenly Father has his hand in all things. We've been able to grow closer to each other and to our Father in Heaven because of it. Always look for the silver lining I guess. We began taking Temple classes to prepare our family to become an eternal family.
September- Jon and I celebrated our 5 year wedding anniversary!
October- Gavin turned 4! Jon hit "mud season" and we began using our money in savings to help cover the bills. Jon and I begin to work on tying up some loose ends in our marriage. What an amazing opportunity this has been for us. As I said earlier... through our struggles we are made stronger. We have been able to use our struggles to become closer to each other and even closer to our Heavenly Father.
November- Zoey turns 7! Jon tears his ACL while playing basketball at the church. We are DEVASTATED as he is the sole provider for our family. He receives a blessing from the Elders in which he is told that this is did not happen to teach him a lesson....that this will be an experience that will grow his testimony and faith. BOY WAS THAT AN ACCURATE STATEMENT! We continue to work on our relationship and do the things we know we are supposed to do (pay our tithing/read our scriptures/say our prayers)....... miracles begin to occur..... we get a card from one of Jon's dear family members with just enough money to help us cover our bills.
December- this month has been completely amazing. Again with the tears. On the 13th of December I was sitting in my living room flipping through the phone book looking for a number to follow up on a job interview I had a few days before. The house was very noisy so I grabbed my phone and stepped outside to make a call. I pretty much trip over a huge box filled to the brim with gift bags. Each bag was labeled with a number and a small poem. Every night we open a bag that has something to do with the 12 days of Christmas. There were also a few small gifts in the bottom of the bag for my kids as well as my husband and I. We felt amazingly blessed. A few nights later while attending a church meeting I was handed an "anonymous" Christmas card with a substantial amount of money inside. We again are amazed at the kindness and charity of the people we know and love. On Saturday I had an opportunity to serve along side the Young Women and Young Men of our ward. During a fireside our Bishop and previous Bishop shared amazing stories of how their lives have been touched by service. I could not hold back the tears. We have been so blessed this year by so many people. That night I came home and my husband and I decided that this week, the one before Christmas, we were going to dedicate each day to help someone any way that we could. We volunteered some of our time today to help at the Bishop's Storehouse that provides food to members of the church during times of need. When we came home we found a small envelope taped to our front door. Inside was a LARGE amount of cash with a small note telling us how much we are loved. Tears poured down our cheeks as we said a prayer of thanks. These amazing miracles that have happened over and over again make me view every person I know in a different light. My husband and I can guess or speculate over who did what... but we will never know for sure. And because of that I love everyone so much more and cannot wait for the opportunity to pay it forward and provide a miracle for someone next year.
I love you all and hope you know how much your kind words and support have helped us through the tough times. Jon is going back to work tomorrow (yay!) on light duty and we are going to make it. We always will.
Merry Christmas to you all!
Parade Of Lights
8 months ago