December 27, 2011

Life in A Glass House in 2011: A Year in Review

Dear friends,

This is a year in review, a virtual Christmas letter if you will, to look back at the best of 2011 in our family's life, as recorded in this blog. I'm linking with Mama Kat this week, who provided the prompt for her Writer's Workshop.

Isabel was born in January. Her birthday always stirs in me a mixture of joy, pain, and gratitude. Perhaps because of the monumental decision her birthmother made, I felt compelled to write on a topic I would rather leave to better writers, or deeper thinkers. I prefer encouragement to discord but January saw me a little braver and able to take a stand. So in honor of my children, I wrote this.  

At Christmas I was given one of my favorite gifts of all time: my first sewing machine (or musheen, as Isabel calls them). I loved it so much I named her. Sally Maria Brother. 
Had I known the grief and frustration she would cause me as I tried to learn to sew, I would have named her Child of Satan. I wrote this in February after completing my most challenging project yet: a quick-sew-but-nothing-quick-about-it, make-in-two-hours-but-it-will-really-take-you-weeks fleece jacket for Noah. 

March brought me a crisis of discontent. We had gone through yet another infertility treatment, against our will, by doctor's orders, and, as usual, it failed. So I lost all perspective and, like a whinny child, began to complain about the things I lack. Patient as always, the Lord reminded me gently of his love and provision. This is what came out of my heart that day.  

On my birthday, in April, I experienced an overwhelming feeling of being loved, thanks to the magic of Facebook which allowed so many happy wishes from so many people in such a short time. It inspired me to think about the impact I can have in someone’s day by just taking one minute out of mine and I wrote this.  

Isabel started her first season of YMCA soccer in May. She was unsure and scared but she was blessed with the most wonderful coach we’ve ever known. This gentle man deserved his own ode here.    

In June my husband and brother in-law talked me into going camping for the first time in my life. On the beach. In a tent. But the experience began on the way there with a stubborn fly inside our van. Read about it here.  

I learned a hard lesson in July. One that I needed to learn and one that was embarrassing to admit, but one that is foundational to loving my neighbor as I’ve been commanded.  

In August we joyfully announced our new paperwork pregnancy like this. I have not updated much yet for the process is boring to tell, but when we have exciting news I will shout it to the four winds (and the blog world!).

I got my feelings hurt like a silly child in September, and, after crying and pouting, I turned to the Lord for help. Here is what I learned about his compassion.  

After eight months without a working stove, in October we finally bought a new one; only to have a frustrating and scary encounter with the Sears’ collection department. But we learned about God’s mercy for us in spite of our mistakes and because of our obedience, when He intervened here.  

Half-way through the first year of officially homeschooling my children, the constant questioning about homeschooled children’s social skills finally got under my skin enough to prompt me to write this in November. You be the judge!  

After a wonderful and full year, December brought our eleventh wedding anniversary. While this has been an amazing decade as Matt’s wife, as I looked back on it, I realized our life has not become what we thought it would be. Yet, it is so much more than we ever imagined: we embody a Proverb! This one.  

Have a happy new year and may your 2012 be filled with the love of family and friends, and many blessings. Above all, may you grow deeper in your relationship with Christ and, if you don't yet know him, may you come to know him and love him as He loves you. 

The Johnson clan.


Deborah said...

Happy New Year! I love having the chance to look back on the year in review. Your posts tend to read like individual essays, so it was kind of cool to see how they all link together. And - eight months without a stove?!? what did you eat?

Gaby said...

Thanks, Deborah! And thank you for your bloggy-friendship this year. May you have a blessed 2012.

Unknown said...

I'm stealing this. I'll give you credit ;) DATE SOON!

Jerralea said...

I'm visiting from Mama Kat's. I'm glad to have found your blog. I have a soft spot in my heart for pastors and their families - I've been a church secretary for 15 years. I've also been through the infertility struggle for 10 years of my life.

God bless and I enjoyed reading your posts - especially your December post about embodying a proverb.

Gaby said...

Nice to meet you, Jerralea! Glad you found this place and blessings to you too.

Debbie said...

I've been away from the computer and blog land for a while so I am trying to catch up. I remembered that September post and had to click to reread it (because I've recently been back in the shoes)

I hope you had a wonderful and blessed Christmas season and are ready to face the new year!

Melissa said...

Thanks for your comment over at WAGI. We'll be praying for your adventure.