1. Started a new tradition of going to Montrose Harbor on New Year's.
2. Got schooled by friends on how to send care packages by the way they cared for me at the lowest point of my health struggle this year.
3. Began providing pre-martial counseling using the "Prepare-Enrich" assessment, and found a love for couples counseling.
February1. Spent a day out in the city celebrating Valentine's Day.
2. Went to the Joffrey Ballet's performance of Cinderella.
3. Met our twin nieces, Halie and Addie, for the first time.
4. Started leading a small group through our church, Harvest Bible Chapel.
5. I started "City Lights" blog on Feb. 29.
1. Enjoyed a 10-day staycation in Chicago exploring our city. We went to the Field Museum, Garfield Conservatory, a historic home tour, new coffee shops, a comedy show, Margie's Candies, a new book store in our neighborhood, and more.
2. Re-discovered a love for Third Coast Cafe.
3. Bought a Vespa scooter. The city is our oyster now!
1. Passed the National Counselor Exam and got my LPC license.
2. Mom, Tiff, and my niece Lilly came up to celebrate my 26th birthday, and Lilly got her first American Girl doll. It was such a special day!
3. Around the time of the spring blooms, my dear friend Esther came from NE for a few days to visit.
1. Sent Neal's brother Grant off for a 2-year counselor position in the Dominican Republic.
2. Spent Memorial Day with Neal's family at the lake and opened the pontoon boat for the summer.
3. Summer farmers' markets (where we love to get fresh flowers) returned to the city.
4. Neal went on a trip to 3-Lakes, WI with his best friend Pete.
5. I took a calligraphy class.
1. Read my first Russian novel: Anna Karenina by Tolstoy.
2 & 3. Spent lots of beautiful summer days visiting home. We traveled a ton this summer!
4. Neal attended the Association for Christians in Student Development conference in PA.
5. I read Shauna Niequist and found my new favorite author.
1. Spent 10 glorious days in our favorite place together, Naples, FL.
2. Went by boat to spend an afternoon on an island in the Atlantic.
3. Visited friends at their charmingly secluded vacation home on Hird Island.
4. Celebrated the 4th of July with a giant family reunion in Tremont and fireworks and boating at Neal's parents.
1. Welcomed my little nephew Kaden.
2. Neal and I didn't see much of each other in August with the start of a new semester (and a fire at Moody!) but we spent lots of catching up dates at Chipotle.
3. Found a new spot that's captured our affection: late afternoon rides on the Vespa up to what we called "the our part of Lincoln Park" for going so frequently. The north part of the park that blooms in late summer.
1. Celebrated our 4th anniversary at North Pond and fireworks at Montrose. Our favorite and most meaningful anniversary so far.
2. Washington Park bench became another part of the city we call "ours."
3. Vespa rides in the late summer and early fall became the perfect illusion that summer in the city would last forever.
4. Our church opened a new location in Roscoe Village, and we became members... finally!
1. Enjoyed our third trip to Apple Holler in WI, and of course brought home apple cider donuts and cider.
2. Spent some of the most beautiful fall days on Lake Bloomington boating, hiking, jogging, and resting.
3. Hiked at Starved Rock State Park.
1. Took our Moody small group students on a retreat.
2. Learned how to make the family cinnamon rolls.
3. Celebrated with my family one of the most fun Thanksgivings I can remember.
4. Completed training for a 5K... and ran 3.1 miles ourselves instead of paying $50 entry fees for official races in the city.
1. Neal graduated from Wheaton with his Masters degree, hooray! So proud of him.
2. God used my health trial this year for good as we went to speak at a church in OH about personal suffering, counseling skills, and ministering to young adults.
3. Over the year, I developed an interest in photography, and our families gave me a Canon Rebel DSLR for Christmas.
Though these are the highlights we like to remember, we also went through such pain and suffering with my health this year that could never be pictured. We were supported by friends, family, and students with such love and so many prayers, and yet this year, God said no to returning me to physical well-being and strength. But He said yes to making our hearts stronger. More sober. More compassionate. More sensitive to joy. In 2010, I found a way to say, "Blessed be Lord who daily bears us up," (Ps. 68) and "His grace is sufficient, truly sufficient for me," in the bitter and the sweet... and there is always the presence of both bitter and sweet in this life. We'll remember plenty of both from 2010.