How do you capture a year? In hindsight, I could give 2009 the title Living Out a Faith with Courage greatly due to learning this year of IJM's work (and artists who support their mission, like in Groves' album called "Tell Me What You Know") and the amazing women (that I know personally and have come to know of) who have inspired me. Here are all the highlights:

Favorite music discovered:
Sons of Korah , Sarah Groves, Sarah Bareilles, and Mindy Gledhill

Favorite reads:
nieniedialogues.blogspot.com (aka Stephanie Nielson)
re-read Ina May's Guide to Childbirth
Gentle Birth Choices by Barbara Harper
Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Blue Eggs and Yellow Tomatoes: Recipes from a Modern Kitchen Garden by Jeanne Kelley
Whole Living: Body and Soul magazine
Above Rubies magazine

Realized that ODDLY "favorite movies" is really not possible for us in 2009! The only movies (out of the few we saw) that impressed me this year were Faith Like Potatoes based on the true and remarkable story of Angus Buchan; also, Into the Wild based on Christopher McCandless' life and adventure was very moving. Maybe we can up the anti in this area in 2010!!

Changes at home:
the girls started sharing a room (making space for Brother)***started a weekly playgroup with four other families; the kids had a blast***Espi made a kitchen island for us by cutting the top of a tall armoire and building a butcher block top***joined the flat screen revolution***went through a THREE appraisal process before we finally could refinance our home (LONG story, but a sign of our times)***built a small, low deck off the front of the house ***extended the garden (to add more perennial fruits and vegetables)***celebrated our baby girl's first year (and all the new changes that come with it)***H got to ride the horse through our country rodes for the first time (Espi led)***experienced the smoothest of all the pregnancies and births--Thank you, Lord!***Espi and I celebrated eight years married***Espi remodeled a work space for me to THINK and create with little distractions--LOVE this!

Espi fished north Texas' Lake Fork with his high school pals
visited family in Illinois with camping at Indian Caves SP and Ledges SP
attended my 15 year high school reunion and caught up with great, "old" friends face to face
Espi and H drove to Texas to remodel parts of Abuela's home

the story of Stephanie and Christian Nielson (summed up AMAZINGLY this December)
International Justice Mission's work
learning of and seeing my dear childhood friend's great life changes, which included losing 135 pounds!
Melody Ross' Miracles
Rachel Barley's fight to live and her Death is Not Dying video months before she passed on

Great joys:
visiting my Congressman Coffman's office and asking for his support on the CPCA this August
meeting our baby boy face to face in November
knowing that my dear childhood friend (same one!) is pregnant with twins

What I know from 2009:
There are heroes living today. They radiate faith, honesty, humor, determination in the mist of terrible hardship, and they are a picture of beauty on earth to me.

Happy New Years from all of us Espinozas!