Things That Made Life Better This Year: 2019 Edition

When we were missionaries, I used post monthly News, Thanks and Prayers updates here. With those a thing of the past, and our Christmas card just a handful of photos, I’ll take this annual Favorite Things list to fill in the blanks left by my {admittedly} selective posts. 2019 was a year unlike any other, but with many challenges and a great deal of beauty. So, without further ado, here are ten things that made it better.

  1. Timmy plants an herb garden outside our new apartment.

    Seasons: We began 2019 still in West Seattle, where in the first weeks of February it snowed more than two feet! We’ve been thankful to weather all the seasons in Seattle now, each one making this city feel more like home.

  2. A New Home: When we learned our house in West Seattle was going to be even shorter-term than we’d expected, we braced ourselves for a long and difficult housing search. Instead, we moved a month later into a quirky but spacious apartment a few blocks from Green Lake and a few feet from our church. Though not without its oddities, it has been the perfect home for us, and we’re so thankful for this place to raise our girls.
  3. Woodland Park Zoo: In the spring, in the midst of a time of uncertainty and frustration, I opened our mailbox and found that an anonymous friend had renewed our zoo membership for the year. What a gift! The girls and I have spent countless hours there, often with my sister and her husband, visiting the animals, climbing the rocks and then picnicking on sandwiches and pie in the park. If I had to pick my top ten most fun mothering days this year, I think the zoo would feature in at least half.
  4. Lovely Green Lake

    Green Lake: Whether I’m scoring some solitude by running around it or pushing a stroller past the shining water on the way to run errands on the other side, our neighboring Green Lake has become every bit as important to my little family as it was to me as a kid. This is so, so special.

  5. Playdates: It has been so fun to watch friendships blossom between Luci and the friends she’s made at church and elsewhere, and I’m endlessly grateful for conversations I’ve had with fellow mothers while we watch our kids run around on playgrounds. These women challenge me with their authenticity and the way they use their gifts, and I’m fortunate to have them in my life.
  6. Nine-month-walking Ellie (shown here beside her mom, wearing the same dedication dress) required good shoes to fuel her drive to stand!

    The Right Shoes: I much the beginning of July searching for just the right shoes for Ellie, busy nine-month-old bent on walking. Turns out, most Size 3 shoes are just for show, lacking soles and support for tiny walkers. Though I spent more on her shoes than I sometimes spend on my own, I’m thankful for the little sneakers that remind me of my growing girl and protect her exploring feet in the wide world.

  7. A Job Search: While this wouldn’t make it onto the “Most Fun Of 2019,” Timmy’s search for a new job after finishing Seattle Christian School certainly led to some important conversations and revelations for both of us. I’m thankful that the process drew us closer together, forcing us to examine what we valued as a family, and to listen carefully for where God was leading us.
  8. The Library: Having made a resolution to read at least one physical book a month this year, I fell in love with the public library (again) this year. It proved also an endlessly interesting place for Luci and Ellie, full of books that have surprised and delighted all year long.
    • Favorite Kid’s Library Books: Rosie Revere, Engineer (Ashleigh Beaty) and The Perfect Snowman (Christopher Britt)
  9. Reading Non-Fiction: Though my one book a month produced a few fiction titles, this was probably the first year of my life in which I read more non-fiction. I enjoyed the challenge of reading a different kind of book, as well as the wide variety of topics I learned about this year. I can’t wait to see what 2020 holds!
      • Favorite Fiction: Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
      • Favorite Non-Fiction: In Putin’s Footsteps (Jeffery Tayler and Nina Kruscheva), Becoming (Michele Obama), 84, Charing Cross Road (Helene Hanff)
  10. Career Changes: Though I officially began my All Mom, All The Time career in 2018, this was the year that saw Timmy start the process of becoming a Deputy Sheriff with King County. He began the Washington State Law Enforcement Academy in October, and so far has been loving learning this new way to serve our community and use his gifts of leadership and his education as a mental health counselor.
  11. The Tunnel: Though the ruin of the Viaduct along the Seattle Waterfront was a cause for nostalgia, the long-awaited tunnel that replaced it has made our life better, shrinking Timmy’s commute to and from south of Seattle and making way for family dinners full of fun and squeals.

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