Blessings of 2012

In my last post, I said that I wanted to reflect on a few of the biggest blessings in my life in 2012.  Obviously, Zoe’s adoption was the biggest blessing of my year, but there were a few other quieter stories that I think will be fun to share.

1. The blessing of meaningful work.

I’ve been working for the same nonprofit for about 3 years.  I am very passionate about our mission, and I feel so blessed to get paid to do this work because I know that I am making a difference every day.  Still, I’m an “idea” person, and I kept seeing ways that we could do the work even better.

In January 2012, I was promoted to my dream job within our organization, which meant I finally got to put all the ideas swirling around in my head to good use! The last year has been an AMAZING year of professional growth for me.  I have learned a LOT about our focus area of social and emotional learning, managing people and organizational change, creating relationships and partnerships, program creation and evaluation, budgeting, and vision casting.  I’ve made great relationships and had some neat opportunities to travel, speak, and train others.  I am so grateful to God for the blessing of meaningful, energizing, pour-yourself-totally-into-it-and-love-it work.  It was exactly the challenge I needed for my 26th year of life.

2. The blessing of a crazy extravagant romantic getaway.

Since getting married, David and I have made it a priority to go on a “romantic getaway” every year.  We’ve been to St. Augustine, Savannah, and Amelia Island (I’d recommend any of them!)  We usually drive to our destination, stay at a budget B&B over a long weekend, make sandwiches for lunch, and eat nice dinners out.  It’s always really fun and special and we feel extravagant for 3-4 days.  Other than that, we’ve always always vacationed with our families, as I only have 2 weeks of vacation time and when it takes you a full day of flying and driving to get to your family, you don’t have time or money left over for a longer romantic getaway.

But this year.  Oh, this year!

First, I got a raise.  Then, my office closed for 10 days and my boss encouraged us all to “go have fun!”  David and I didn’t have to think twice—we knew this might be our last chance to take a vacation without kids.  We were going to fly somewhere, spend money, and have an adventure!

Enter California! We spent 10 glorious days wine tasting, hiking, biking, eating delicious food, and enjoying the beauty of California.  We didn’t know that we would have Zoe within months, but God did, and He blessed us with an unexpected opportunity to have extravagant FUN as a couple first.

3. The blessing of my sister.

When we found out that our baby would be joining us, oh, A YEAR earlier than planned, I kind of freaked out a little.  I knew I wanted to create a cozy, bright, gender-neutral space for our baby, but I am awful at decorating…and I only had a few weeks before the baby would be here!

Enter my fabulous sister.  Kelsey had recently resigned from her job and her husband had recently deployed.  Basically, she was bored and I was needy, so I asked her if she would like to “Trade Spaces” (except I wouldn’t do anything to her space…so probably there is a better show reference, but I don’t watch HGTV.)  Anyway, she said YES, convinced her husband of the dire need of this situation, and flew down for a week!

IMG_0295

IMG_0298I was kind of a wreck that week.  I don’t cope well with mess and disorganization, I had no artistic vision, and I was stressed to the max about my ability to get everything done before Zoe’s arrival.  Plus, I suck at crafts.  But Kelsey created “mood boards” for the room that guided all of our decision making, dealt with my stress and emotional outbursts, and stayed up til 1 am every night creating a lovely space for Zoe.

IMG_0007In 2012, I was SO blessed by my sister.  And every time that I walk into Zoe’s nursery, I think about how much I love you, Kels.  Thanks for blessing me!

IMG_0299Pausing for a picture in the middle of the creative process around 11 pm

4.  A broken toe.
I mentioned in another entry that I broke my toe during our second week with Zoe.  Though it was really painful, it’s actually been a blessing.  It has taken away any option of going to the gym (as tennis shoes HURT) so instead, I’ve been taking a walk with Zoe every day.  In the process, I’ve been able to bond with my baby, enjoy the Florida winter, stave off some “I’m in the house ALL THE TIME” crazies, and get in a great day-to-day rhythm with Zoe.  I’ve noticed that going outside improves both of our moods.  It’s been so fun to start each day wondering, “what pretty park should Zoe and I visit together today?”

So that’s it! A few of the biggest blessings of 2012.  What blessed YOU in the last year? 

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