I think this year has been one of the most stressful years of my life…..even more than the year I had two miscarriages and Brian lost two brothers and I cried every day I drove to the inner-city school where I taught 34 7th graders(ages 12 to 16) in a self-contained classroom and broke up fights once a week and visited kids homes to make some kind of positive impact and get parents involved and get kids to do SOME kind of work so that they’d make something of themselves after growing up in the poorest area in the whole state of PA. THIS has been even more difficult than that year, not one I’d give up, but I am happy this year is behind me. And there is another challenging year ahead of us….one I KNOW I will never get through by myself and I know it is right where God wants me. This is a difficult life, much more difficult than I ever imagined. I think I thought this wouldn’t be as difficult because we were doing this in Philly for 4 1/2 years….we knew what to do. BUT……there is a bigger language barrier, not just ghetto english and ghetto spanish, but real Spanish. And the quality of the living spaces is MUCH different than how we renovated our Philly house. And there’s the issue of our non-working vehicle, my need for spontaneity is greatly squashed by the lack of this. And my great desire to be in nature….well…without a car…it takes too much planning for that. And my need for PERSONAL space has been extremely challenged….living in a two bedroom place with no space for a creative corner for me or even a door to close and lock! And all of this I’ve realized are things that help me keep my sanity….and so instead God has showed me I need EVEN more of Him and well….really….only HIM. Because, honestly, I don’t think any of those things will work out the way I’d like, and I just have to constantly pray and keep my attitude in check and pray and pray and cry and cry. And you know….in all of this, God reminded me about how he gave me this ability to dance and it is one of the most worshipful things I can give to him. It has been lost for so many years…..that sounds so dramatic, but I really enjoy my time to exercise and stretch and strengthen my body in ways that were SO natural 15 years ago. It gives my soul a grounded-ness and depth that I haven’t experienced in years. (This all of a sudden feels extremely personal and something I would never ever talk about in person….but available to all of you in writing.) So, this has been an extremely stretching and growing year and there’s so much more stretching and growing to do next year….yeah, it really won’t ever stop. I think I just want my crazy, out-of-control feelings to go away, but that isn’t likely either. Next year, I have two kids going to school and so much more Spanish to learn and many, many more culturally challenging experiences to experience. It makes me tear up just thinking about it. But I have an amazing husband and amazing kids and amazing teammates along with me on this journey….and an amazing God. So the only harmony and peace and comfort that I receive anymore is only in the arms of Jesus. That has to be exactly where He wants me. So, I welcome 2010…a new year to see God’s hand and to experience Him in ways that I really can’t even imagine.