Thursday 2 January 2020

2009 - 2019 A decade in Photos

I kept seeing people doing the #10yearchallenge on social media, sharing a picture of themself and their immediate family in 2009 and then again for the end of the decade in 2019, and I really liked the idea of looking back and seeing what has happened in this decade. How have we aged?

I realised quite quickly though, that for me, most of my life-changing moments happened before 2009. By then I was already married (7 years), had owned three houses (since 1997) and was mum to a 6-year-old and 2-year-old twins. I was happily working part-time at the University of Herts in HR and had been there for around 5/6 years, and had completed my Masters in HR two year prior.

2009 proved to be an allusive year for a photo of the five of us, and I couldn't find any, so I'll start the photos in 2010, this one was taken in June, so it is just before the girls 3rd birthday and we were at a family wedding. It's not the best quality but you can see how young and fresh-faced dh and I look, and I love the joy on JJ's face. So funny to see him missing some teeth when he is now such a giant!

2011 - the year the girls started school and they all enjoyed their first Build A Bear visit; that turned into a long love affair, and DH went to India for a couple of weeks on a short term mission. This is the year I started to blog regularly and my first opportunities for events, reviews and conferences commenced. I also dealt with a clothes moth infestation in the upstairs of my house, it was pretty traumatic!

2012 - My blogging continued to thrive and I visited Ethiopia and Belarus to blog on behalf of One and Operation Christmas Child. I also spoke at BritMums Live and changed job roles at the Uni. My focus for the year was #RealLifeRocks, to be in the moment and enjoy my time and I certainly did that.

2013 - the biggest change of the decade for us, with me giving up work and us all moving to East Sussex, to start our new lives at Ashburnham Place. The kids all started new schools, dh a massively busy and stressful job and God told me to chill for 6 months and just be with him. It was a challenge, but a fabulous one that has set me up for the years to follow. I also became self-employed and my blog became my business in this year. My love for the outdoors and photography was born out of this time and I won a MAD blog award for outstanding contribution to the blogging community, as well as speaking at BritMums Live again. Dh and I also turned 40, and I have to say I am loving my forties. 

2014 - Another great year, I finally felt like I was allowed to commit to things again and I started various voluntary roles, alongside my self-employed work. We fully bedded into the Ashburnham Place community and loved being involved with life here. I was also lucky enough to travel to Washington, USA with ONE for the AYA summit

2015 - I can't think of any massive stand out moments for this year. JJ got a Guinness world record, which was quite cool at the age of 12 and of course, he started secondary school too. We also had some amazing holidays and breaks away, but we do most years ( you don't need masses of money for that, just creativity).

2016 - A year of more of the same, family time, getting outdoors, taking photos, blogging, volunteering and our first holiday as a family of five abroad - we loved it!

2017 - and again, a similar year. The kids are growing, JJ joined the Police cadets (which he loves and still attends) dh is mastering more of his work here and I am busy, busy. Another trip to Spain and probably one of our best family holidays ever, and just a year of being intentional about spending time together and enjoying each other. I was looking through photos of the girls to get these pictures and Miss E commented that she didn't think most kids had as much fun as she did as a child, how fabulous is that?

In that year, I choose to have the guiding word of Trust, to know that God has my back, and I think I made progress with that.

2018 - I had an operation to relieve my awful periods, I started exercising regularly and the girls moved up to secondary school. Again we had great family times away, including our yearly trip to Spring Harvest and we went to a Eurocamp site in France. 

My guiding word for this year was believe, and that was all about changing my mindset and believing I could do it. What was the it?  Lose weight of course, I am still waiting on that and will be taking more active steps towards the goal to be slimmer and healthier this year. When I look back at a  round-up post from 2018, I see mention that my spiritual health has really grown and improved in 2018, so that was a big success. 

2019 - Looking back on a post from Jan 2010, I wrote 'Know where you're going in life... you may already be there' and looking back, I laugh to myself at how little have I known that has been true since moving to East Sussex. Thank goodness I found out this year, by taking the job at Spring Harvest and leaving just 5.5 months later. I now know that I feel called to be home, to be available to my kids, to support my husband and to focus on my self-employed and volunteering work. There is no shame in being a great mum!

I choose a mantra for 2019, rather than a guiding word and it was 'rest in me child' and that was all about leaning into God and knowing He has got me. I feel like I did that.

2019 was also the year that JJ started his GCSE's, dh was diagnosed with diabetes, grew a beard and has done a lot of work on his health and the girls really settled into secondary school. I'm looking forward to seeing what 2020 brings.....

I have to chuckle at this picture below, as it was taken in early December 2019, so the girls are dressed right for the season and my odd boy is in shorts! JJ is now 16 and in the middle of his mock exams for his GCSE's and the girls are 12.5 and think they are so much older. Thankfully we've got to this age and I actually like my kids and enjoy spending time with them, it does grate a little that they are now all taller than me though!

Just to be nostalgic, I thought I'd share a picture right from the beginning of mine and my hubby's journey together. I can't quite recall where this picture was taken but it was on holiday when we were 22/23, so it was around 24 years ago. Don't we look young?

I've enjoyed looking back over my last decade, I hope you did too. Happy New Year! Mich x