1. What was the single best thing that happened to you this year?
We packed up all our things, sold a lot of them, sold our two cars, and moved to Japan with the US Navy. We've been here for almost six months and I still have days where I look around and can't hardly believe I'm living in Japan. It's amazing.
2. What was the single most challenging thing that happened?
Ha! Moving to Japan! I did not expect to have much culture shock and I was overwhelmed the first couple of months that we lived here. Not being able to read, speak, or write is incredibly difficult. It's also been difficult to watch my oldest daughter sincerely miss the family and friends we left behind.
3. What was an unexpected joy this past year?
Finding out that we are going to have a niece! So far, our two girls have been the only grandchildren on either side of the family. It's going to be wonderful to welcome another little girl into our lives.
4. What was an unexpected obstacle?
I'm not really sure I can think of a bigger obstacle (expected or not) than starting a new life in Japan.
5. Pick three words to describe 2012.
Gratifying. We have worked hard to get through medical school and internship... it's nice to feel like we've jumped over that hurdle and are a little more well-off than we've been since first getting married. Restorative. I feel like motherhood became a lot more comfortable and enjoyable this year. My marriage is in a wonderful place. We are cultivating much-needed friendships. I feel like I'm finding my soul again. Spiritual. I cannot ignore the fact that my connection to spirit/love/awareness has strengthened this last year. I'm sure it's always been there, but I've connected to it in a much more noticeable way - especially the last few months.
6. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe your 2012 (don't ask them; guess based on how you think your spouse sees you).
Real. This was the first year that we found ourselves immersed in Navy life. Previously, my husband had been "reserve" and last year was his first year of active duty. This fall, we were introduced to living in military housing, shopping exclusively at the commissary, and yes, deployments.
Coordinated. I think my husband was impressed and appreciative of how I prepared for and executed our family's move to Japan. He was working all the time, so the whole thing was left up to me. It took months and months of planning!
Effortless. This was a year in which my husband and I didn't have to try hard for things to work well between us. I want to point out that it's not that we didn't try and didn't do anything to help our relationship or marriage. However, it seemed to come so easily to us this year versus years past. :)
7. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe their 2011 (again, without asking).
Okay, so I cheated. I asked my husband what his three words would be and they were:
"Oh holy shit." Ha.
8. What were the best books you read this year?
"The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success for Parents" by Deepak Chopra. Wonderful resource for cultivating awareness and spirituality in your children. Not to mention, it's good for parents to be mindful of as well.
"Buddhism for Mothers" by Sarah Napthali. Ever feel stressed out or pushed to the limit by your kids? This book is for you.
"The Hunger Games" and "Catching Fire" by Suzanne Collins. A great series. I wanted to make sure I read it before the movies came out. I still have one left and lucky me, my husband got it for me for Christmas.
9. With whom were your most valuable relationships?
My Father. I can talk to him about SO many things. We have many of the same interests.
My friend, Stephanie. Despite differences in belief and opinion, she is one person who I can talk more openly with than many other people that I've known for years. She made the list last year as well. :)
My husband. I would be lost without him. He is my best friend, my partner and the person I know I can lean on when I'm in a challenging situation.
10. What was your biggest personal change from January to December of this past year?
Realizing that I REALLY want to homeschool. I had been interested in the idea since my oldest was maybe two years old, but I hadn't quite committed to doing it. I love being at home with my children and teaching them new things each week. And my daughters are just soaking everything up. I feel so blessed to be able to share these years with them.
11. In what ways did you grow emotionally?
I have been learning how to apologize. Ask my parents (or my sisters) and they will tell you that I've NEVER had an easy time apologizing. I hated doing it. But, since having children, I find myself apologizing all the time. I want them to learn to apologize, so I often apologize when I lose my temper or "have bad behavior." The good news is, the more I do it, the easier it becomes. :)
12. In what ways did you grow spiritually?
Where do I begin?? I feel I have really become more aware of not only the world around me, but of myself as well. I stumbled upon Oprah's Lifeclass and her new show, Super Soul Sunday and those shows have been such a spiritual resource to me. We spent much of the year being a part of the Unitarian Church of Norfolk and when we moved to Japan, we decided to start our own Unitarian Universalist group and it has been a wonderful blessing to us on Sunday mornings. I very much forward to what lies ahead for me in 2013.
13. In what ways did you grow physically?
Unfortunately, my physical health has deteriorated since our move overseas. There is not a great gym easily accessible to me, nor have I been able to find a babysitter to allow me to go to any classes. This is a major priority for me in 2013.
14. In what ways did you grow in your relationships with others?
I believe that I have been more loving, accepting, and honest with others this last year. And I sincerely hope to improve upon all of that even more.
15. What was the most enjoyable part of your work (professionally, at-home or both)?
Beginning homeschooling with my girls. Watching them learn to read has been like watching the whole world open up to them. It's just amazing, and it keeps me energized to see them so interested in the world around them. Not to mention, I'm learning a lot right alongside them!
16. What was the most challenging part of your work (professionally, at-home or both)?
Tantrums, whining and crying. Wait a second... wasn't that my answer last year too? Someone please tell me that it eventually gets better! ;)
17. What was the single biggest time-waster in your life this past year?
The internet. I have got to stop multitasking (having email, facebook, pinterest, and blog windows open at the same times)! There are so many things now that women/moms "should" be doing that I feel like I'm constantly making lists and never marking anything off of them. One of my goals is to simply do one thing at a time this year.
18. What was the best way you used your time this past year?
This may sound silly, but one of the best parts of my day was spent reading to my girls each night before bed. It was so relaxing to me (and to them) and I've been able to read some books that I never read in my own childhood. I know it will be one of my favorite memories from their childhood and I hope they remember it fondly too.
19. What was the biggest thing you learned this past year?
That I need to be intentional with my life and that of my children. It's so easy to let time fly by without paying much attention to what is going on or what I'd like focus on that day/week/month with my family. I want to live life, I don't just want it to happen to me.
20. Create or find a phrase or statement that describes 2012 for you.
To borrow this from the books we're currently reading, I think Laura Ingalls Wilder says it best. Listen up all you fellow Pinterest-addicted women out there....
“The trouble with organizing a thing is that pretty soon folks get to paying more attention to the organization than to what they're organized for.”