Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
A year is so short and so long all at the same time. Looking back at the past year, I feel that strange dichotomy that many of you probably feel as well: amazed at how quickly the year sped past and in awe of how much life and change was packed into twelve short months.
At the beginning of 2022 we were coming off a week of snow and family fun since most everything was closed due to weather. Thankfully, the roof had gone on our home just a couple of weeks before, so we managed to capture this pretty view!
As we headed into the new year, we really began to settle into life as a family of five. Annie began to sleep pretty well and the boys were thriving in their school. We soaked up lots of time with both sets of grandparents, enjoying living close with a baby for the first time.
In April, we dedicated Annie to Jesus, a simple ceremony where our pastor prays for us and her in front of our church body as we declare our desire to raise her in a way that obeys the teachings of Jesus and to teach her the love and power of God.
About this time it became apparent we would not be moving into our home in the spring, and we began spending long hours caulking, painting and working around the property. My dad and Travis put in countless hours painting both the inside and the outside.
On June 25th, we invited all those who had walked alongside us in this process to dedicate and pray over our new home and write scriptures on the subfloor. Here are a few of the many, many scriptures covering the subfloor of our home.
Over the summer we had an abundance of generous family members and church family members dedicate numerous hours to helping us paint, clean, caulk, install appliances, spread dirt, and more, including while our family was gone at summer camp with the High School Youth Group.
The summer was long, with progress on our home creeping along and so many hours spent working on it, as well as Travis carrying some additional, temporary responsibilities for his job at our church. It was exhausting, but so very worth it.
Finally, on August 31st, my parents packed up our boys and took them on a little vacation in Idaho. Meanwhile,Travis and I began packing in earnest. On September 2nd, a giant crew of people from our church helped us finish packing and taking everything out of my parents bonus room and over to our new home.
My parents had generously allowed us to live with them for two and a half years. We were so excited to be in our long awaited home, and so very thankful for the gift of so much time with them and of a way to afford to build a home for our family.
The next day, my parents brought the boys home from vacation and we were together as a family in our new home at last!
Words cannot describe the gratitude we have for this home or for the people who helped make this home a reality for our family. So much prayer, advice, encouragement and hard work went into this home from so many. As we have said from the beginning, it is God’s house that we get to steward. And in the just over three short months we have lived here, we have been able to fill our home full and experience so much blessing in it already!
As an added bonus, Travis’ parents get to be our first renters in our attached 1 bedroom apartment. We are enjoying being next door neighbors with them and getting some extra time together!
By early October, the church was able to bring on another staff member and Travis’ role transitioned from High School youth pastor to Assistant Pastor, Worship Leader, and Young Adults Ministry. While we deeply miss the High School Youth Group, we trust this change was the right one for us and the church and are thoroughly enjoying serving in these new ways.
In mid October, Travis was able to take two weeks of vacation time where we settled in to enjoy our new home and some much needed family time. We rested and refreshed together as a family. It was such a gift and a much needed reset for our family after the busy year.
Shortly after, we got to celebrate Annie’s first birthday with both sides of our family in our new home, and what a joyous occasion that was! Our sweet Annie is spunky and silly and the center of attention, and she knows it! She loves music and food and her Grandpas. Just before Thanksgiving she started walking and is getting into all sorts of trouble on the regular. We adore her!
James is now 7 and a voracious reader! He is currently obsessed with science and plans to travel to the far reaches of the globe to work with endangered species when he grows up. He is also obsessed with Lego, as any 7 year old should be, and is a very proficient builder. He is even starting to experiment with his own designs. He sets the tone in our family in so many ways, and we are so thankful for him!
Peter is 5 and is learning how to read this year! He is a whiz in math and could easily fly through several lessons of first grade math every day if I let him. He is also obsessed with building things and plans to travel and work with his brother when he grows up. He is also becoming quite the Lego builder as well and loves soccer. You can regularly find him kicking a soccer ball around our driveway. We love our sweet and joyful boy!
We were blessed to host thanksgiving this year, and are moving into this holiday season feeling grateful. God has blessed us richly this past year and we pray that we will move forward into 2023 as joyful recipients and faithful stewards of those blessings.
No matter what comes, we rejoice in the beautiful hope and deep peace of Jesus, and pray that you might as well.