Thursday, January 1, 2009

2008 Top 12

Happy 2009, my friends! I love New Years Day. I don't make resolutions, because it seems making a resolutions dooms my venture. Instead, I evaluate life and set goals for the year. On New Years Day, though, I also like to look back at the year prior. As I have thought about 2008 today, I have realized just how eventful it was. Here's a recap, inspired by my friend Lori: The Top 12 Photos of 2008. Each photo is a favorite of mine, depicting something special or unique that happened in 2008. I'll put an explanation of my photo choice under each picture.

This one had to come first because it is my favorite Snapper and Pepper photo from 2008. They didn't know I was taking their picture, and it perfectly expresses their love for each other. They fight, yes, but they love each other with a fierceness that amazes me.

Lots of things quicken my heartbeat, stir my emotions, but none more than watching my sweet husband interact with our children. Snapper and Pepper adore their daddy, and he is a fantastic dad. Whether they're sharing tender moments (see next photo), or wrestling together, their moments are sweet and I LOVE that!

This year Pepper's personality has emerged in full, and his focus has switched from Mommy to Daddy. Daddy is Pepper's hero (as it should be), and watching the father-son relationship blossom has been a high point of the year for me.

Each year I make a photo calendar for the dear ones who support our ministry. Throughout the year I constantly watch for those picture-perfect moments in nature to capture for the calendar. This is my favorite nature photo of the year, which is featured in September of my 2009 calendar. Why September? Because September (my birthday month) never has the prettiest picture! Hee hee!

Much of our character development focus with Snapper this year was on developing a heart of unselfishness. We watched her make great strides in this area as she is learning to put the needs of other before her own needs. This is the "after" photo...after she donated her hair to Locks of Love in May. What a neat opportunity to be unselfish! I'm so proud of my girl.

My boy is every inch a boy! What picture personifies my all-American son than this one?

He cleans up really nicely, too, though. This is Pepper's 2-year-old birthday portrait. It captures him completely.

For 3 years now we have lived 2400 miles away from our closest family member. Because of this I have come to the following conclusion: FAMILY is the best vacation destination. We enjoyed some time with my crazy-fun cousins in Oregon this spring. This picture is a reminder of the good times and great memories I share with my family.

Since we're away from family, we have chosen to make family here in Arkansas. This picture is Snapper with her best friend/adopted cousin V. It is my favorite because it captures the whole essence of 6-year-old BFF's.

Quite possibly the highlight of the entire year was Snapper's baptism. What greater joy have I than to see my children walk in the truth! Frosting on the cake: Matt got to baptize her. Snapper's heart belongs to Jesus!

After 10 years of sleep problems (horrible, regular nightmares, insomnia, frequent waking), 6 years of unexplained weight struggles, 3 years of abdominal issues, increasing extreme mood swings, and seasonal emotional slumps, I finally have answers. For all these years, no doctor has been able to get to the bottom of my health struggles. I've taken many different medications with no success, only acceleration of my symptoms. Until the end of August. When I went to see a new doctor recommended by several friends, I was at an all-time weight high. After 2 appointments, this wondeful doctor diagnosed me with Atypical Depression. For information look up Atypical Depression at He put me on a low dosage of an antidepressant, and my life has turned around. Every symptom that has baffled me for so long is explained by this condition, and one simple medication has solved the problems. As the chemicals in my brain have balanced out, my body has followed suit. My metabolism has increased, my appetite has decreased, weight has fallen off. I sleep through the night most nights and rarely have nightmares. All the other issues have resolved as well, and I feel better than I have since before Matt and I got married. The top picture of me was taken in July. The bottom picture was taken last week. I am 30 pounds lighter, and loving life again. The change in me rounds out (or rather, thins out) my Top 12 of 2008. I wonder what next year's Top 12 will look like...


Lori said...

The calendar picture is so awesome - and thanks for the great calendar! You've had a great year - it will be exciting to see what 09 brings!

Lori said...

PS - And YEA! for you!

Stef said...

loved this post, Em. My favorite was all the pictures. You take amazing pictures.
Great idea, with the top 12.

Happy New Year!

Jenn said...

Oh, I love this whole idea!!! I so enjoyed this post! And I'm so glad that you finally got to the bottom of your health issues. What a relief!!! I'm so envious of your trip to San Jose. I know you will have a great time.

Lori said...

Cute new look for your blog!

Hairline Fracture said...

I clicked over from Musings of a Housewife. Your pictures are so great! My 6 y.o. daughter was baptized this year and you are right, it was one of my greatest joys.

When my son was 8 months, my recurrent insomnia returned and WOULD NOT go away. Technically it may have been PPD, but in fact I can look back and see that I'd been affected by varying degrees with depression and anxiety since college. The correct treatment does make all the difference!