Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Word to Live By

Happy New Year's Eve!

Every day, I think "today will be the day I start blogging again". Every day, I think, "I'll blog after ____ ____ _____ (the thank-you's are written, that email is sent, that event is organized, that meal is finished, that laundry is folded, that book is read)". So, ah, that's not working. And so today I will post something, even if it's one paragraph. So, today is the day, I fit one last post in before 2012. I really do hope to write more in the coming year, I feel dry without it and I know that it's something that I have to will during this season - if only for the sake of my heart, and for a keepsake for Karis. Memories are something I value so dearly, and typing them out (and sharing with others, if you so choose to read and keep up with our simple daily delights and, sometimes, disasters) is a balm for my heart.

There is too, too much about 2011 that I want to bottle up in my heart and mind and keep to take out for later. This has been a momentous year in many ways, and really we are just humbled to be in a phase of life that many times feels too good to be true: we're surrounded by faithful family with whom we get to see often and share special moments together, both having adventures and just enjoying the daily-ness of life. This year we spanned the spectrum of grief and celebration: from celebrating my best friend's wedding, to my Grandpa Bob's going to Glory, to the wedding of a dear cousin, to a DeKrey family reunion, to a trip to IN to see dear friends while Trev and his brothers/buds celebrated his 30th by kayaking the Minnehaha Creek and making our house a man-cave for a weekend . . .  celebrating Karis's 2nd birthday . . . a restored relationship with one of Trev's brothers, and skipping ahead to today when we are celebrating the engagement of one of our brothers' to a fabulous woman. Life is full.

There's a certain way I've been framing this past year as we fall into grooves/routines/rhythms in our daily family life: habits. Not a new idea, but one that I've been discussing with friends and doing some interesting reading on, habits have become a lifeforce as we navigate how to make the most of the days we've been given. It's a joy to watch them evolve, mostly we've been focusing on establishing good habits, and in doing that it seems that the bad habits are eventually replaced and shoved out of the way (although I have plenty of bad habits to work on, the positive spin and focusing on good habits is so much more hopeful!).

Our summer habits evolved to include two main activities around which our days revolved: outside time and reading time. We built Karis's endurance to the max by taking her to a nearby field where she ran, and ran, and ran. Can I just say, I LOVE watching that girl RUN! She is so free, so graceful, so uninhibited. She discovered trees, branches, a "balance beam", berries, the empty skating rink, pine cones, dandelions, flowers. She discovered that Trevor will carry her home on his shoulders, and that if it is a very special day that she will get to walk to the park. I clearly remember walking her to the park one day and thinking "I can't believe she walked that far". By August, that walk was a peace of cake. Again, the endurance. For all of us! We've never been so active, we're thankful for the physical abilities we've been given. The library became a favorite place for us, and books have become our dear friends. They became a means by which to cuddle with Karis, to connect with her in between those bursts of running. I never thought I'd feel anxious to read on the library's home page "As of January 1, you may only have 30 items checked out a time". I am at 31 right now and so we will make some returns today.

Our winter habits have revolved around holidays and most recently, advent, Christmas, the 12 days of Christmas, and soon Epiphany. Karis's favorite part is the nativity and the candles, she's getting quite good at blowing them out. She also adores Christmas carols and it's been our joy to watch her dance and sing - latest favorites are "Gloria" (Angels we Have Heard on High) and "Silent Night". We've also been blessed with daily walks (um, this weather - awesome!) to "see the reindeer" - which is a tour of the inflatable lawn ornaments in our neighborhood - they even play music. Bliss! I never considered such decorations until now, I feel like I need to write a thank-you to the houses who let us loiter in their yards as they sat down to dinner. Maybe if you visit our home next year, you can find a huge snow-globe in our backyard and hum the "Nutcracker Suite" with us. I look at Karis and can't help but think of baby Jesus, who was a toddler, and grew to be our Savior. To see Christmas through Karis's wide eyes is a gift I never expected to experience and I am grateful.

What new habits will 2012 bring? Well, Trevor is implementing some that work toward a fun goal: doing a race in May called the "Tough Mudder"! I continue to be in awe of Trevor's can-do spirit, he stays positive and present amidst what has been an intense, growing, and rewarding year of work and parenting and marriage (not necessarily in that order). I appreciate his example of adaptability, focus, spontaneity, & laughter. Trevor, I probably told you to read this post . . .  please know how much I love, adore, and respect you.

Something I've read about in a couple places lately is picking a "word to live by" for every year. That idea just strikes this excited cord in my mind and heart, and I think I've received my word: GRACE. There are myriad reasons to relish this word, my favorites being:

1 - Grace is the meaning of Karis's name (and of my mom's name, so special!)
2 - The word "grace" has so many derivatives, all of which I am going to claim as part of the "word to live by": gracious, gift, gratitude, and more that I have yet to discover.

Grace is such an active word, even though it's a noun. We can give grace, receive grace, refuse grace. We can BE grace. We can SEE grace. We can FEEL grace. We can CHOOSE grace. Yes, Grace, enter into 2012 in whatever ways you can. I'm sure I will forget you, but please let me know that your nature is to forgive when I do. Thank you, God, for BEING Grace.

I have to say: I think New Year's Eve and Day are two of the most precious days of the year. Trevor is such a sport and humors all the endless questions of the "best of" - best book? best movie? best laugh? best cry? best road trip? best meal out? best date?  the list can go on, and on, and on. And then the looking ahead to hopes for the year to come - I may have mentioned last year that I choose to use the word "hope" instead of "goal", it's just so much more, well, hopeful. I probably could use some concrete goals, too (like, go to the dentist. take dates with your husband). Good thing the year is long - and technically, the new year hasn't even begun. Ah yes, there is a lot of hope indeed.