2010 has not been my best year.
It has, in fact, been the most difficult one I have ever experienced.
This year I lost a baby, went through a rocky patch in my marriage and, for the first time in my life, I struggled with depression.
There were many mornings spent crying in the shower.
There were many nights with a wet pillow.
I have never felt so alone as I have this year.
Largely, that is my own fault.
None of the things I was dealing with were easy for me to talk about.
Especially for this girl who likes to have it together, handle things herself and be in control.
I am not good at asking for help.
Sometimes being fiercely independent isn't for the best.
I read these verses a lot.
"God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea."
Because that is how I felt--my earth was giving way.
And while things are not all better now, they are a lot better.
Once again God has proven Himself faithful.
He has given me joy in my sorrow.
It was a surprise, really.
I was looking for a picture I wanted to print up for Aaron for Christmas. And since I had a whole Saturday morning to myself, I just began looking at the hundreds, maybe thousands, of pictures I took this year.
As I looked, I smiled and cried and found that despite all my negative feelings about 2010, the year was also full of much, much goodness.
I felt like I had been given a gift.
Usually I am an optimist. I try to find the sunshine in the shadows and make the best of things.
But I had let the shadows grow so dark over this year, that I had stopped seeing any sunshine at all.
It reminded me of another Psalm I have read much this year, waiting for it to be true in my life.
I especially liked verse 5, "weeping may tarry for a night, but joy comes in the morning."
Oh how I longed for that to happen.
I had to look for it. I had to be reminded.
But it was there all along.
I hope I remember. For I am sure there will be more dark days.
Dark years even.
But I know that even in darkness there is still light.
And for that I am grateful.
So here are some of those pictures I found, the sweet memories of good times, smiles, and the people I love most in the world.
(In no particular order)
There were adventures.
There was pure joy.
There were breakfasts out.
And breakfasts in.
There were dreams realized, both small,
There was skateboarding.
And camping trips.
One was just for the boys.
There were cupcakes.
And many trips to the beach.
There was fun in the backyard.
And Mother's Day on the beach.
There were trips to our favorite places.
And hikes to our favorite peaks.
There was home improvement.
There was a walk in the redwoods.
There was laughter.
There were flowers.
And and stay at our favorite log cabin.
There were smiles. (both real and fake)
And new uniforms.
There were celebrations.
And much time spent in underwear.
There were many stops just to take pictures of signs.
There were trips to the Tiki Room.
And traditions continued.
There were amazing birthday parties.
There is a baby on the way!
There were weekends away.
And the day we watched the hawk.
There was love.
I can look back and smile.
Because joy comes in the morning.
There is much to look forward to in 2011.
That too, is part of the joy.
Happy New Year!