Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013: A Look Back

You can't help but think about the year that is ending on the last day of 2013.  It has been a full year for us.

 KJ turned 30.  I made him a basket of 30 presents to open.  I turned 31 and came down with the flu on my birthday.  James and I languished for a week.  I went to the dentist for the first time in 5 years.  We actually had a snow day.  I wrote down some priorities and goals for the year:  Love God, love my husband and children, love others.  I tried to keep it simple.  My goals were to lose a few pounds (always a woman's goal after a month of Christmas parties), organize our home better, be better at budgeting, and to cultivate a desire to see others come to know Christ.

We started seeing signs of Spring as early as Valentine's Day.  The kids and I visited lots of playgrounds and went on walks.  I attended a Saturday study on prayer with ladies in our church that was really a catalyst for a much more prayer-filled year.  KJ and Parker planned a mission trip to Paris, and I painted the kids' bathroom.

There was lots of flower-photography, an early Easter, and learning French.  Ella and I went on a road trip with my Dad to visit grandparents and my brother.  Our family Easter photoshoot in the backyard still makes me smile.  KJ should definitely wear a hat in 2014, right?

We had a really lovely visit with my grandparents Easter weekend, and I continued to photograph Spring blossoms everywhere we went.  KJ and I painted Ella's bedroom, and we were praying about the very soon arrival of our Paris trip.

 I saw the answering of so many prayers in the team the Lord assembled for our trip.  It all felt very fruitful.  KJ and I enjoyed our 9th anniversary trip afterward driving through Normandy.  We came home to finish out the last week of school with the kids and look forward to the Summer before us.

 I tried to fill life with pure Summer fun for the kids.  There was pool time and playing in the sprinkler, trips to the library and to see free Summer movies.  They played golf with Big Daddy, and we celebrated Father's Day.

We had more summer fun with cousins and friends, a rainy night of fireworks on the Fourth, and a fun-filled week at the beach with KJ's family.

It was time to go back to school for the kids, though we still tried to fit in the last of playing in the summer heat.  We celebrated family birthdays, and I had a lot of photography opportunities.  It was also time to start planning for Ella's birthday party.

Ella turned 7 (7!), and we began praying about a possible trip to England and how we could partner with churches there.  As soon as one birthday party was over it was time to think about next month's birthday.

James turned 4, and we flew across the pond for the second time in 2013.  2013 was an unexpected year of travel that in many ways was an answer to the prayer of my 2013 desire to be more concerned for people coming to know Christ.  That prayer had a broader reach than I expected as we saw the need for gospel workers in Cumbria.

November was truly a month of thankfulness. I loved the habit it instilled of even James volunteering what he was thankful for.  It was a month of lots of time with extended family, for which we were extremely grateful.

Definitely a bit of a whirlwind, but nevertheless December was filled with lights, love, and laughter.  It was filled with family and wonder at the incarnation of Christ.  It was filled with presents and childhood delight, and lots of cookies.  

2013 was filled with unexpected things, and we are excited for what the Lord might do in 2014. 

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