2010: a look back

When I look back on this year, there aren’t huge life-changing moments that come to mind. In 2008 we got married. In 2009 we had a baby.

In 2010 we just were.

We played with our child, dedicated him to the Lord, spent time with family, and traveled a little.

When I read my blog posts from the past twelve months, the most common theme is contentment, and my search for it.

My husband’s business grew and continued to thrive, allowing me another year to be at home with our sweet Hudson. But I found other ways such as voluntarism and event-planning to keep me fulfilled and had to learn to say “no.” My search for personal satisfaction aside from my daily duties in the home led me right back to the home. I learned that I never want to be too busy to see what my son is doing on that particular day, but will continue to take on extra responsibility as I have time to do so.

We had our house on the market and took it off about six weeks later when we realized that we do love our house and want to stay where we are.

I stressed out about planning our second pregnancy. When is the right time? What do I want to do before we get pregnant? And in the first month of trying, Baby Boy Carroll #2 happened.

I am flawed. I am always having to slap myself in the face as a reminder that I don’t need to sweat the small stuff. And I don’t need to obsess over shoes and handbags. Or what outfit I may wear to an event and then never wear it again. Sure, this is all money stuff, but trust me, I’m not “cured” yet of this and I’ve still come a long way. Just ask my husband.

I spend most of my time in comfy clothes around the house and don’t have a need for the beautiful things of which I once dreamed.

In 2010, I worried about friendship and finding the friendships that lift me up and that I can give back to. Friendships with women who have kids or don’t have kids – because to me, friendship isn’t about your children or your husband. And just when I prayed about it, wrote about it, and stopped worrying about it, those worries went away. My prayer wasn’t answered immediately, but I found contentment where I was at the time, and those worries began to fade. And I believe as a result of turning it over to God, He has blessed me with some amazing friendships this year. Some of these women are people I only talk to once a month and others I talk to every day. Some live here and many of them don’t. But they’re there for me and they pray for me just as I pray for them.

One of the most important things I’ve learned is not to judge others. We all make different decisions and live our lives differently because we are different. And I celebrate our differences. What is right for me may not be right for everyone else. But I have learned a lot about myself, my limitations, my temptations, my weaknesses and strengths over the last 28 years. And you know? In ten years, I may be reading the post and laughing at myself. At this point in my life, though, these are things that I’ve had to change about myself in order to avoid stress and unnecessary worry.

I’ve learned more about trust, staying faithful, and seeing myself the way the Lord sees me. I know that I don’t need to disguise myself with other things and that He loves me just as I am. And He’s blessing my family and me every day.

I am extremely grateful and will forever praise Him for healing my precious mother, who has shown unconditional love for her family and unwavering faith in His plan.

So I’m looking ahead to 2011 with no expectations. I don’t want to hold myself to impossible standards that cause me to obsess and turn my attention away from the things that matter most. I know my personality and committing to lose 40 pounds in 20 weeks after having my baby is not something that I need to do. It may be healthy for my body, but it won’t be healthy for my mind.

With no expectations, I’m looking forward to growing and learning and becoming closer to what the Lord wants me to become. I plan to focus on what I have instead of what I don’t. And be grateful. For the time with my husband, my child(ren), my parents and in-laws, and so many loving friends.

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Comments

  1. It sounds like you had a very eventful year of growing and learning about you :) I hope you are able to accomplish everything you could want in 2011!!

  2. Beautifully put. I’ve only “known” you a short while, but you have truly grown into life over the past year, as is evident through your blog posts. As you have recognized as well – life isn’t about the stuff we accumulate, but the memories, love and friendships that we build over time. It took me a little while to realize this as well, but life is so much more peaceful when you do. Happy new year!

  3. So happy to call you friend. Praying for you daily. Love the growth you’ve made this year! So encouraging. Can’t wait to meet Baby Boy Carroll #2!! Next year will be so fun for you!! :)

  4. wow, what a year! i love how you’ve persevered through the good times and the bad :)

  5. Sounds like you have had an amazing year. I love to see your dedication to the Lord shine through your reflection of the past year. Happy new year!

  6. I love this post, and it’s been fun to read your thoughts and reflections along the way!

    Back to yesterday’s post, I thought of 2 more great books for you: A Long Way Gone (literally could not put this down, stayed up until 3am to finish it) and The Longest Trip Home (memoir by the guy that wrote Marley & Me, but it’s not a tear jerker…just his memories of childhood).

  7. Kristen says:

    Beautiful post!!!

  8. You have had a great year…and no doubt 2011 will be wonderful for you as well. I hope to search for contentment in 2011.

  9. You’ve had quite the year! 2011 is bound to be full of great highs and so much joy. And hopefully a meet up soon! ;)

  10. Your search for contentment resonates with me. As someone who is always searching for The Next Thing, just “being” is always something I am working on. I loved following your blog this year, and I am looking forward to 2011!

  11. The perfect post, I continually love to read your blog. Wonderful words! Blessings to you and your family.

  12. Great post! It’s been fun reading your blog this year and getting to know you a bit. Wishing you and your family a blessed 2011!

  13. Your blog is such a blessing to me. I am praying for you and hope that you and your family have a very very God blessed 2011!
    Love, Ms Lynn

  14. Erin,

    This is my *favorite* post you’ve ever written. It’s honest. It’s raw. It’s real. It’s bold. And it shows how much God is growing you! Not that every post has to be those things to make them good…but in this post I read and saw the friend I am crazy about to the tenth power. You came through 100% in your blog! Love, love, love you, sweet girl! So glad this crazy blogging hobby gave me YOU!

  15. Great post! Happy new year to you and your family!

  16. Erin, you have grown so much in the two years I have been following your blog. This post shows such maturity and depth. God bless your family. Happy 2011

  17. This is such a beautiful post. I admire your insight so much. I hope you have a very happy New Year!

  18. I’ve enjoyed reading your blog. Looking forward to the many adventures 2011 will bring.

  19. Love this and love you!! Here’s to a GREAT 2011!!

  20. Running 365 says:

    Beautiful, Erin. I’ve been reading for a long time and your words have touched me many times, but this post spoke to me more than anything else. I know you and your little family will have a very blessed 2011!

  21. Your honesty about this year is awe-inspiring. I do not have kids, but since I began reading your blog, I have loved your honesty about everything: marriage, your child, pregnancy, relationships with friends… everything! You have had quite a year! I look forward to following you and your lovely family on your journey through 2011! Best of luck!

  22. Kelly says:

    Have you ever thought of joining MOPS? It’s a national christian based Mom’s group. I joined because being a stay-at-home mom I was struggling to make friends in our new town. It has been a really great way for me to get out and meet new people.

    I hope your 2011 is as blessed as your 2010 was!

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