There is so much to be grateful for in 2012.  When I look at back at this year in the future, I hope I am remembering the days and experiences that I've represented with my 12 favorite photos.
Our little lady turned one all the way back on February 1.  Her golden birthday.  

Then her big brother turned three about a month later.  He continues to be a major ham in front of the camera...not that I'm complaining in the least. And it was his big year to start nursery school. 

We repeatedly took advantage of the warmer days that involved sun.  
Because in the fall, winter and spring months here in Scotland they can be few and far between.

  This photo is of J#4 tentatively taking steps outside in March...by the end of the year she was running and taking the slide on her own. 

I think my absolute favorite part of 2012 was watching these two develop a sister/brother relationship.  Their random hugs and cuddles are probably the best thing I've seen in my life.  This was the first one where they got together on their own; I was lucky enough to capture it. 

Then came visitors and travel.  

First up, one of my best friends and her husband came for a stay. 

Then came my Mom...

Who also joined us up in Inverness and at Loch Ness (where this picture was taken)

In July we had the opportunity to take a cruise and visit Sweden, Denmark, Estonia and Russia.  Amazing.  Too many photos to choose from.  So... 
The kiddos had to share a bed.  'Nuff said.  

Then just a few weeks later, my brother and his family came to Scotland to see us. 
We all got to make some priceless memories during their visit. 

September was a month for hiking and continued to verify that in fact, 
Scotland does have some beautiful terrains. 

And then we ended out the year with a trip back to Minnesota for Thanksgiving... 
where J#4 got her first manicure.  

And last, a trip to Rome for Christmas. 

Huh.  I'm grateful to have the chance to look back at this year this way.  When you are in the 'thick of it' --with sick kids, a dirty house or cloudy skys--its hard to remember all the highlights, but there have been quite a few.  

I hope you all have a happy new year's eve.  Ours will be quiet, but enjoyable.  

And tomorrow?  My plans and thoughts on 2013.  Here's to making it the best year yet!

# # 



In light of the tragic events that occurred on Friday, its hard for me to think of anything to share.  I've been a bit paralyzed the last few days--by both the events in Conneticut and just plain real life--but one thing remains.


"Patience with others is love, patience with self is hope, and patience with God is faith."                                                                                                                    ~Adel Bestavros

And with that, I want to share link to a photo and words of mine about hope that a fellow blogger is sharing today.  Click on over to Nasreen's blog for her 3rd day of her 12 days of Christmas: Snapshots of Hope.


Vulnerability vs. Complaining?

Just last Thursday I wrote this about 'trying'.  And then this weekend happened.

And that whole idea went in the rubbish bin.
"I have missed out on a lot of freedom because of my fear of rejection.  We may call it "people pleasing," but it is entirely self-serving because it is really all about keeping myself comfortable. Boiled down, it could be more accurately called, "me pleasing".  (Emily Freeman, Grace for the Good Girl Chapter 8)
And I was going to write a little bitty blog post about not having blogging 'mojo' right now, so I'd be taking a break.  But that isn't true. That'd be me fearing what ya'll would think about what I am writing here today.

So this is what is happening...

* *
I've been reading and hearing a lot recently about being vulnerable.  About taking off masks.

I haven't finished Emily Freeman's Grace for the Good Girl: Letting go of the Try-Hard Life yet, and for some reason, I'm not attacking it {even though I LOVE it}.  Probably because I feel like I could have written it.  Seriously. I've highlighted about half of what I've read already.  And I'm guessing that means there is going to be something very revealing for me, possibly life changing, that I'm going to read.  And that makes me just a bit nervous.

And then there was this video by Brene Brown that a very good friend shared with me.

Got me right at the core. It's about 20 minutes long, but definitely worth a watch; and you can be quite sure the next book I read {which I hear is also life changing} will be her Daring Greatly

* *

So I keep finding distractions from finishing Grace for the Good Girl.  And honestly, right now?  It's easy.  Stay tuned for just a sec.

This is where I raise the question:  When does showing your vulnerability and taking off the masks of being a good girl or being 'fine' just change into plain 'ole complaining and whining?  

My husband is out of town.  Both of my kids are sick.  One of them, at least yesterday, was the puking kind.  We don't have a car here so if I had to figure out how to go to the doctor {which since I'm pretty sure they both just have a good 'ole cold/flu combo I won't} it would probably have to be by taxi, because I haven't really made any friends close enough here that I feel like I could call to drive us.  Maybe they could watch one of the kids while I took the other to the doctor.  BUT the kids are sick-and all of my friends have kids, so I can't really ask them to watch my sick kids and risk getting their kids sick.  And then when one is puking?  The other is in the bathroom and needs my help.

And I just wish my mom, or my mother- or father-in-law or brother and sister-in-law where here to help "relieve" me.

And wah, wah, wah....I think you get the idea.   And I could go on, and on, and on. Trust me on that one.

 * *

So I guess I need to keep reading these books.   Maybe at some point they will tell me how to be vulnerable without complaining?

* *

Or how to just let myself be vulnerable without feeling like I'm a doofus.

Because I live in Scotland.  And my husband just has to travel now and then {not be away for months, years or a lifetime}.  And about 350 days a year {my son DOES go to school...sicknesses come in the house} I have two of the healthiest, cutest, smartest kids in the world. 

Why the heck should I even get to be vulnerable {not 'fine'}?  Why do I get to complain?  I shouldn't be allowed.

* *

Okay, so I'm thinking the definitions of vulnerable vs. complaining are fundamentally different.  But when I think of putting myself out there?  It isn't the positive stuff I'm afraid of putting out there; I feel pretty comfortable with doing that.

It's the deep down feelings...the sadness, the frustrations, the anxiety, the feelings of inadequacy...that's what makes me vulnerable.  And that's when I come to the question of where being vulnerable ends and complaining begins.


And now I've decided its okay to not be devouring Emily's book, because I'm joining in over at Wild & Precious for an online book club of sorts, and this week the link up is about chapters 9 & 10, and I'm on chapter 11.  Perfect timing. 
And on Thursday, I'll be joining over at Royal Daughter Designs for Desire to Inspire.  Although I'm not sure how inspiring this post  is.  But, its not a 'fluff' post, that's for sure. 


You gotta get up and try, try, try

I have a love/hate relationship with the online world.

On the one hand--its a great way to share our life.  It's a great way to stay in touch with people.

And then on the other hand? It causes comparison.  It causes me to be consumed by things (which aren't living) or people that aren't living in my house.

It's also a place of inspiration and a source of support.  And for me, its an excuse, a tool for procrastination.

See what I'm saying about the double edged sword that is the interwebs?
"Stop blaming people, circumstances, the devil or even God for things that go wrong, & start being the person God intended you to be!" -Joyce Meyer
I got that reminder above in my facebook feed yesterday.


See what I mean? 

* *

I'm in a 'weird' place right now.  At least my mind is... Surely it has something to do with being away from 'home' during the holiday season, Scotland's short days, and all kinds of other things.  And I really want this little corner of the web to be a happy place.  A helpful place. 

So this is what I'm gonna do.  Here on the blog...and in life.  I'm going get up and try, try, try.  

I've gotta get up and try to live in the moment, and try to be attentive to my daily life and try to live healthily. Daily.  Hourly.

I've gotta be that person that God intended me to be.  

Its about soldiering on.  Because eventually I get into a sunnier, lighter and easier part of life, and look back on this time with fondness.

Seriously.  That's what has always happened to me. 

I know.  I'm an odd duck.

* * 

I'm trying something new this week and linking up with Kat at Mama's Losin' it!  She provides writing prompts on Tuesdays, and hosts a link-up on Thursdays.  The prompt I worked off today was "Take a line from a song you love and turn it into the title of your next blog post. Let the content follow."  The song?  P!nk's Try.  
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