Saturday, January 16, 2016


For the past several years right around my birthday, I have written a reflective post on the past twelve months. Tomorrow, I turn thirty(!), so now I pause to look back on the past year before blazing on ahead.

What was the single best thing that happened this past year?
I loved watching Cora develop from a little baby into a rambunctious toddler. It's incredible to watch a unique personality unfold, and this kid has sure got personality.

What was the single most challenging thing that happened?
Parenting two little kids. My girls challenge me to the edge of my patience, wisdom, creativity, and sanity on a regular basis. It's so worth it.

What was an unexpected joy this past year?

In order to develop a team of people to back us up as we move to Thailand, we met up with dozens of individuals, couples, and families over the course of the past year. It was so joyful to reconnect with people we haven't seen in months or years.
Michael and I have also started sharing our writing and music in rough draft form with each other for purposes of encouragement and critique. It's been fun to grow together in creativity.

What was an unexpected obstacle?
For the first few months of 2015, my kids got back to back to back colds with three ear infections thrown in. I was in full-time mommy mode cooped up in the house with two under two. I got so utterly sick of my kids always being sick.

What image best captures this year?

Waiting for takeoff

With whom were your most valuable relationships?
  • Each person who has supported us in our big transition to Thailand. As we step into the unknown, I feel bolstered up by quite a crowd.
  • My kids.
  • My husband who sees me, hears me, cares for me, and keeps me sane like no other person.

What was the best way you used your time this past year?
The full month last summer and the half month this December that we spend with my side of the family in Colorado before we move far, far away.
On a day to day basis, I didn't have much extra time this year (read: mom, little kids, the end.) But, I somehow squeezed in doing The Artist's Way, a 12-week course on creativity. It took about seven months to get through and I only did 30% of the assigned stuff, but I very much enjoyed it. It was a great break from the serious tasks of parenting and transitioning.

What was the biggest thing you learned this past year?
The typical American Christian culture "quiet time" of silently reading the Bible, writing in a journal, and praying every morning often feels more like a burden than an opportunity to connect with God. When I let go of this expectation, I am free to encounter and interact with God in new, creative, deep, and meaningful ways that slowly mold me into the person He's created me to be.

What days will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
My little Grace came down with pneumonia two days before Christmas. I will always remember stroking her hair and holding her hand next to the humidifier as she struggled to get enough oxygen. If we had lived in a different time or place, I don't know if she would have made it. But, thanks to amoxicillin, her situation never got out of hand. I love antibiotics.

What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Any time I extended grace to my family, situations out of my control, or myself rather than becoming frustrated or controlling.
And keeping two very young children alive and doing well. That was definitely a big achievement too.

What was your biggest failure?
The times that I was not a gracious person, especially to myself, my husband, and my kids.

What did you get really, really, really excited about?
I've spent the vast majority of my time this past year snuggling, tidying, bouncing, rocking, nursing, cooking, changing, wiping, feeding, comforting, entertaining, disciplining, etc. In November, I went off to a retreat center in the high desert for 24 hours all by myself. The silence. The slowness. It was absolutely delicious.

What kept you sane?
Michael. Writing. Sleep (when it happened).

What were your favorite things/products this year?
  • The MAM pacifier and a certain little gray bunny make Cora happy and willing to sleep. Happy baby, happy mama.
  • Dollar store stickers. We discovered early last year that Grace will stay quietly in bed all night in exchange for two dollar store stickers in the morning. Best trade ever.
  • My Kindle. I read dozens of books in the nooks and crannies of my days.
  • My new Zenbook. It's Asus' answer to the Macbook Air, only with better features and lower cost.
  • This blog. Guys, I love writing here!

What are you looking forward to the most this year?
The day when everyday life in Bangkok feels somewhat normal. That'll happen this year, right? Right??


Here are my posts from when I turned 29, 28, 27, 26, and 25.


  1. You are a special girl, miss you lots.
    I am so proud of the lovely women you have turned, a great mom.
    May our sweet Lord keep blessing and guiding you each day!
    With love. Raquel Mendanha

  2. Love all your posts!!
    keep going knowing that a family here in Brazil Loves you and all your sweet family.
    Kisses Raquel and family.


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