Sunday, January 01, 2012

2011 Year in Review

2011 has come and gone.  Another new year.  Another chance to look back at our Father's goodness to us in the year passed.  If I could choose a theme verse for our family this year, it would be Joel 2:25-27:

I will restore to you the years
that the swarming locust has eaten,
the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter,
my great army, which I sent among you.
You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied,
and praise the name of the Lord your God,
who has dealt wondrously with you.
And my people shall never again be put to shame.
You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel,
and that I am the Lord your God and there is none else.
And my people shall never again be put to shame.

2011 was a year of unprecedented blessing for us.  Welcoming two sons into our family, carrying a healthy pregnancy 20 weeks so far, becoming more & more comfortable in our China life...the Lord's gracious hand has certainly been evident in our lives. I think that 2011 has been so sweet because 2009 and 2010 were filled with a lot of struggles.  The babies we grieved, the cultural barriers we seemed to smack into everyday, the arduous task of "recreating ourselves" in order to figure out how to do this ex-pat thing...not easy.  Against the backdrop of the difficulties of the past two years came the restoration of this year.  But what I've learned is that just because something is not easy does not mean that it is not good.  Our struggles, just as much as our blessings, are from the Lord so that we can praise Him more and know that there is no one else but Him.  During those dark days, His goodness to us did not shift or change.  The blessings of this past year do not make Him a "better" God.  In fact, I doubt we'd appreciate the gifts of today without the trials of yesterday.

I know that the promises of Joel haven't yet been fulfilled.  Joel is speaking of a future day when Christ returns and all that is wrong in the world will be healed.  But in a small way, 2011 reminded me to hope and reminded me to long even more for that day when true restoration comes.

So here are a look at the many happenings of 2011...

Celebrated 5 fab years of marriage to this dude 

Listened to my last chorus of "Niao, niao!" ("I have to pee!") from my pre-school English students as we finished the last semester of classes 

Good times were had during a rockin' visit from a dear friend 

Actually stayed in country for the celebration of Chinese New Year & Lantern Festival (and, to be honest, despite the craziness of it all, I liked it!)

Took a solo trip to a nearby beach city (which, in hindsight now from my mama perspective, was pretty darn awesome) 

Celebrated my friend Lynn's wedding

Said a whole lot of goodbyes...
to local friends...

to American friends...

to American neighbors

 Said a whole lot of hellos...
to my babies...

to our growing family...

to our growing-some-more family...

and to a set of new American friends

Enjoyed my babies' early days vicariously through other peoples' pictures

And then got to bring them home and enjoy them every single day...

Had a wild ride getting introduced into motherhood, including Sami's seizure issues and a subsequent three week stay in Thailand

 Played beach bum with the fam for three weeks in Hawaii so the boys could become official Americans (instead of just the fake kind)

Celebrated birthdays

Celebrated.  That pretty much sums up the year: celebrated.


Chris & Sarah Peek said...

How wonderful to see the Lord's hand at work in the blessings of your lives this year. Thanks for all of the wonderful pictures!

Jamie Butts said...

What a wonderful God! So kind! I praise Him with you for His sweet blessings! What lavish grace is yours to have opened eyes to know who to thank and live for Him! So glad those precious boys will hear His truths in your home.

Brandon and April said...

Love all the photos. Truly 2011 was a great year for the Peeks. I love your insight into seeing the Lord's hand at work in the past two years to bring you guys so much fruition in 2011! We're blessed to be a part of it!

Kristie said...

Love the post! What a truly amazing year for you guys- God is good!

Random sidenote: Micah's facial expressions in most of those pictures? All kinds of awesome. :)

Schuknechts said...

Yay. That's a beautiful post to read. I am so thrilled for you guys. We are thankful for the Lord's blessings on you this year. You look so cute with your baby bump!