Merry and Bright

If I could sum up, in one word, our family’s life, it would be this:  MIRACULOUS.  I mean that in the true, literal sense.  As I have been thinking over this past year, and remembering it all this Christmas season, I am awed by the constant miracles.  This year has truly been one of the most blessed years of our lives.

January started our year off with a bang.  We began with a rollicking birthday party to celebrate Matt, surrounded by friends and loved ones.  It was perfect.  I loved having a day just to celebrate the Love of my life.

January also brought a somber time, as we mourned and hoped for Haiti.

Also in January, our daughter began dating and I kept on growing.  :)

February brought the release of our newest Yoga DVD, after months of work.  That is always a thrilling and exhausting experience.

Our sweet little girl turned two.  Each and every birthday of hers is a miraculous reminder of how merciful, how kind, and how incredibly present the Lord has been in our lives.  I will never forget it.

February was a time to celebrate the marvelous Congolese women we love so much, and to do a walk in their honor, so that they could have our support for their first-ever Run for Congo Women.

February was truly an honor, as we were recognized by the Family Tree organization.  Working with the women that we have been so privileged to serve has been one of the greatest honors of our lives.  They have blessed us in ways that we will never be able to repay.  I am truly, truly grateful for what they have taught us, and how they have changed us.

March.  Sweet, sweet March.  With it came one of the greatest miracles of all:

I still get tears in my eyes as I think of the true miracle this wee one is.  :)

March also brought a bald head and a broken leg, amongst other adventures.  (Life in our home is never, never dull.)

April came, life moved forward, and casts came off.

My youngest brother left for Australia to serve a full-time mission for two years.  (We’re so proud of him!)

May was so full!  May brought us a four-year-old, sweet and wonderful.

May also brought a wonderful visit from our loved ones, as well as a glorious blessing day for our baby.

(We are so very blessed.)

May also brought a seven-year-old, which completely blows my mind.  What a wonderful girl she is.  I truly don’t know what we would do without her.

June was full of sorrow.  Full of perspective.  We lost friends, and we learned deep, abiding lessons that will always be with us.

There was comfort, too, found in loved ones and in delightful new games, such as “let’s make a mudhole.”

July was full of water-balloons and time with our family, as well as major planning for upcoming events. :)

August brought more planning and nerves than I have known in quite some time.  :)  But it also brought a bike rodeo!

Lots and lots of baby-love. :)

With a little Estes Park-ing thrown in. :)

September was life-changing.  The culmination of all the love and hard work of a year came together in one miraculous morning: Yoga for Congo Women.

Matt and I are still in total awe of the outpouring of love, support, and compassion from so many loved ones to make that day happen.  Thank you.  So many lives were changed.  There are several people who will never be the same, including us.  (Some of the women sponsored just began their program through Women for Women.  They are living one of the very worst parts of Congo.  But their new lives just began.  Our joy is full.)

September was also big for us as it brought the opening of our new family business.  Our dreams for this business are huge, and the good we could do thrills us.  We have partnered with WfW to donate a portion of our proceeds, but with hard work and blessings, we hope and plan to expand far beyond that in the future.  Thank you to all of those who have caught the vision and supported us so much thus far!

October always brings change and rest.

In October, my sister held the first Yoga for Congo Women satellite event in Vernal, Utah.  The women who came were so dedicated and so full of love, particularly so because of the literal freezing weather.  It was fabulous!

October also brought the passing of my dear aunt, and a funeral.  It was wonderful to be with family and to reflect on what truly matters.

October brought with it the usual fall festivities and introspection.

October also brought an unexpected surprise: a parenting award, of all things.  We won Editor’s choice in the Fitness category in the 2010 SheKnows parenting awards this year, for one of our DVDs.

(It’s hard to believe that this little cutie was the “star” of that DVD a couple years ago!)

November brought a much-anticipated birthday for a lovely six-year-old.  :)

It also, sadly, brought teething.

And now, here we are at December again.

December has brought with it more events and miracles than I can begin to tell.  It has left us quietly joyful and completely grateful.  What has come to my mind, again and again, as I have reflected on this past month and year, is that we have been overwhelmingly blessed by countless tender mercies of the Lord.

“We should not underestimate or overlook the power of the Lord’s tender mercies. The simpleness, the sweetness, and the constancy of the tender mercies of the Lord will do much to fortify and protect us in the troubled times in which we do now and will yet live. When words cannot provide the solace we need or express the joy we feel, when it is simply futile to attempt to explain that which is unexplainable, when logic and reason cannot yield adequate understanding about the injustices and inequities of life, when mortal experience and evaluation are insufficient to produce a desired outcome, and when it seems that perhaps we are so totally alone, truly we are blessed by the tender mercies of the Lord and made mighty even unto the power of deliverance (see 1 Ne. 1:20).” -David A. Bednar

We have been so abundantly blessed that I cannot begin to express my gratitude.  Our lives are rich, our hearts are full, and every moment together is a blessing.  We have been sheltered, we have been spared.  We have been blessed beyond all of our deserving.  Once again, Christmas is upon us, and in this sweet time that we are given to focus on what truly matters, and the Reason for it all, I feel overjoyed.

We are grateful beyond anything we can describe for the “good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.”  There is Hope for the world, and for each of us. Christ is our Savior, and our kind, merciful Friend.

As we celebrate Christmas this week, we wish you each a most peaceful Christmas.

May your days be merry and bright.  Ours certainly have been.  Merry Christmas!

14 Responses

  1. Holy cow, what an eventful year!! :) I miss you!! Thank you for sharing!! I love you and your sweet, beautiful family!! :)

    December 20, 2010 at 10:32 am

  2. Ruth

    Merry Christmas! Thanks for all the memories!

    December 20, 2010 at 10:35 am

    • Merry Christmas, Matt and Ann!!!

      December 20, 2010 at 1:56 pm

  3. It’s been a great year for you. How cool that you earned those neat awards–I need to check out your post-natal DVD when Norris kiddo #3 comes around (I’m not hinting at anything, by the way. :) )!

    December 20, 2010 at 11:46 am

  4. Elaine

    An eventful and blessed year for the Richmond family! We love you all very much. May 2011 bring you even more blessings, that are so richly deserved.
    Thank you for your beautiful words. Thank you for all you do to make others lives better. Thank you for the lessons in compassion this year, that I would have missed without you to show us.
    You are a beautiful woman! You have a beautiful mother who taught you and you received those lessons so wisely
    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, from the Stephens to the Richmonds!

    December 20, 2010 at 12:04 pm

  5. Naomi

    Ann – You are and always have been amazing. Thank you for setting such a beautiful example. Please tell Matt I say hello. Your family is adorable, and I’m grateful for the huge-mility that emanates from all the stories you’ve shared. May the Lord continue to bless and keep you!

    December 20, 2010 at 12:20 pm

  6. ML

    Jonathan would like to publicly thank you for the TWO photo shout-outs! :) xoxo!

    December 20, 2010 at 1:32 pm

  7. It’s amazing that has all fit into one year; no wonder we’ve felt busy!

    Thanks for always being an example to me darling :)

    December 20, 2010 at 2:19 pm

  8. Grandpa & Grandma Richmond

    Dear Matt and Ann:

    What a beautiful and gifted piece of art you have just sent to us. We thank you for sharing your joy and beauty and happiness with us.
    May God bless each one of you.
    Love, Grandpa and Grandma Richmond
    on Whidbey Island, Washington

    December 20, 2010 at 3:24 pm

  9. www.theevolvinghomemaker.com

    Merry Christmas to you dear friend! It is amazing how fast it all goes, thanks for being a constant reminder to me that family is first, everything else…will follow…

    Lots of love this holiday season!

    :)
    Jen

    December 20, 2010 at 4:05 pm

  10. Sherry Hunting

    ann,
    thank you so much for sharing. sounds like a good year. you amaze me. i think it is wonderful that you find time to help others and you are such a wonderful mom! your my hero! have a wonderful christmas and happy new year!
    miss ya
    sherry

    December 20, 2010 at 6:10 pm

  11. I love seeing your year. I feel like in some small way I’ve been with you. I guess because if your blog. How blessed the world is to have you and your family in it.

    December 21, 2010 at 7:24 am

  12. Sarah Burgoyne

    What a wonderful 2010 recap :) I am always so impressed with everything that you manage to accomplish.

    December 21, 2010 at 3:54 pm

  13. Debbie Domenici

    What a busy and beautiful year you have had. You amaze me with all that you are able to accomplish each year. What a wonderful example you are! Love you all!

    April 11, 2011 at 1:56 pm

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