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December 29, 2006

Maddy received Quiddler as a gift for Christmas (thanks Mom!) and we have really enjoyed playing it. The only way I can describe it is as something of a cross between Scrabble and poker or gin rummy, though I have only played gin rummy once or twice as a child, so I could be mistaken in my recollection of how it is played. It is a great game that is fun for kids and adults alike. I would highly recommend it to all of you. The same company makes another fun game called Set.

As the end of the year approaches, our 11th anniversary is also arriving. Wow. That’s weird to contemplate. It seems like we have experienced so much together in the past 11 years, but at the same time it doesn’t seem like it has been that long. I feel extraordinarily blessed to have such a husband as Lawrence.

I also mull over the past year and all the blessings we have experienced. We have had a year of good health and also some stresses.

We have been living the ups and downs of our first year of self-employment. It has great joys and benefits and great moments of worry and self-doubt. We are praying for more success in the next year so that we won’t feel like we are living so close to the line between red and black. I am heartened that we were actually able to support ourselves on our business during this year, as I know that it isn’t usually possible to do that right away. Well, I guess it hasn’t exactly been right away since Lawrence did it almost three years on a very part-time basis. It feels like a whole different ball game though when all your income is depending on it!

I feel so blessed to be entrusted with the task of raising our three energetic girls. Our lifestyle is enormously gratifying, in between moments of incredible frustration. Thankfully the frustration is less frequent than the happiness. We have chosen a more intensive kind of lifestyle than many, but my experiences during this year has convicted me that we are doing the right thing for our family. The results are speaking for themselves. For that I am also thankful, because so much of this parenting thing feels almost like a gamble. You could be doing the best, but what if you really aren’t…

Another neat thing that happened this year is that we have forged stronger ties with local small businesses and I feel that this has really changed my outlook on our roles as consumers. I see how our regular purchases can really mean a lot to a business much like ours-a family depending on their store or farm to pay their bills. Some of this has meant that we buy less stuff of higher quality and that has had a positive impact as well. Part of the positive impact is in our diet and health, part of that impact is in a little less materialism, and part of it is in meeting some really interesting, unique people who really inspire me.

What are you thankful for? What do you wish for the new year? I’m not a real believer in resolutions, but I have had one or two over the years that I have stuck with. That’s how I started cooking! I don’t have any resolutions this year, except maybe to try to be more patient. That is something I have been working on for years, though, so I shouldn’t really call it a resolution. Maybe just a lost cause.

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