2015 Year in Review

By Wednesday, December 30, 2015 0 0

Our family photos from the year will display the many blessings of our lives. I cannot write a Christmas letter or an annual recap anymore without acknowledging all the ways God blesses, protects and guides us. We have much, much more than we need. Like scripture says, we lack no good thing.

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We have our health, and opportunities to gain more health and live healthfully. Last February we went on a lovely, romantic weekend away in Leavenworth. We always seem to “pay for” time away from the kids, and I quickly got a cold and an ear infection that would not quit after our trip.  A Z-pack got rid of the infection, but the symptoms never went away. For months I felt like I had just stepped off an airplane, no matter what I did, and I had lingering cold symptoms and a funky looking eardrum that led me to take a lot of medication and another round of antibiotics in the spring. Still no relief – just a diagnosis of eustachian tube disfunction. Obviously! The ear pain shadowed a lot of the wonderful things we did this year because of frequent headaches and stuffiness. But in August I started seeing a holistic chiropractor who was able to start a treatment plan for the neck misalignment actually causing my extreme eustachian tube disfunction. I am still doing treatment, but my ears are draining again! I praise God for this simple solution and the means to take care of it. Our family is learning a lot about why our chiropractor calls “stewarding your body” and I am feeling so much better. I am sort of looking forward to how I react to the plane trips we have planned this year.

In the spring, we had glorious, summer like weather that enabled me to do do a lot of outside homeschool and playing with the kids. We spoke at a youth event and a church in Colville, WA. We were so grateful to be able to share the blessings of pursuing missions with high school students there, and we added a partner to our team. We love every church visit and still pray that they would remember us when considering support for young missionaries.

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In the summer we celebrated Susanna’s 4th birthday with a luau and then we visited family in Eugene for the 4th of July. My grandparents recently moved out of my childhood home in Fall Creek, so we had one last hurrah there. It was bittersweet because although I am glad my grandparents are closer to town for convenience, I will miss the acre of property in the country. Trees planted for me and my children are growing there, not to mention memories!

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We shared our ministry with quite a few families over the summer, and God has granted a significant support increase over the year. We are now over 80% supported and looking to be fully supported and planning for language school by next summer.

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In September, Austin turned 2 and we celebrated with “cars and trucks and things that go.” His advanced vocabulary is such a fun blessing! 

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In the fall, the kids and I resumed our ministry at Bible Study Fellowship, where we are studying Revelation. I say “our” because it is a family affair. I am a discussion leader, responsible for facilitating discussion group and connection among about 15 women. The kids attend the preschool program, where amazing BSF leaders teach them about the Lord and God’s Word in a fun environment. It takes a bit of time, a “sacrifice” of two mornings a week, and a lot of prayer. I love leading through BSF and I could not have imagined all the ways it is contributing to my preparations for Spain and ministering to women there. What a blessing. If you have a local BSF, January is an excellent time to jump into our study of Revelation. Check out bsfinternational.org. We’re not even halfway done. In addition to BSF, we continued homeschool with the Before Five in a Row curriculum and lots and lots of trips to the library, the fish hatchery, and the nature trail behind our house. Don’t you all wish you were in preschool again? It’s so fun!

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Our Christmas was lovely and calm, exactly what I wish for. We visited Eugene early in the week, spent Christmas Eve with the Sihon family and Christmas Day with the Duryees. Early in December we took Susanna to PNB’s The Nutcracker, and it was a joy for me to start a new tradition with my girl after so many years of going with my Aunt Carol as a child.

I hope it’s alright to share a personal note here. My brother- and sister-in-law are expecting a baby who is (again) not expected to live. We are all very, very disappointed by this and honestly, eager to see the trial end. My sister-in-law Siri is my hero. After shedding some tears on Christmas Day, we talked about how we are able to pray that God would grant this child life. If he lives, this child and my in-laws will face many challenges, but life is a gift and we would be privileged to steward his. My sister-in-law shared that although she sometimes wishes she could be done with this heart-breaking pregnancy. But she said something like, “but then what is the point of it all? I have a job. My job is to carry this baby as long as God asks me to carry him. I wish I knew what God’s plan was and why He allowed this, but I don’t. I do know that I have a job right now.” Her simple faith in God’s plan, the reasons for which He may never reveal this side of Heaven, is astounding to me. May it encourage you as well.

We look forward to a blessed 2016. God is so good we expect nothing less! Specifically, though, we long to see three things: sufficient funds to attend Field Prep Seminar, full support, and a move to language school. If you’d like to be part of our calling to share the Gospel in Spain, please be in touch.

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Happy New Year 2015!

By Thursday, January 1, 2015 1 0

New-Year-2015-Greeting

 

My heart is full. I am grateful for so many things that God has done in 2014 and I do not suffer, at this moment, from dissatisfaction or a lack of peace about anything He did not do. Lord knows this could change in a moment, but I will continue to count gifts and guard my heart against discontentment.

I don’t yet have a word or a resolution or even a plan for 2015. All I know is that I want the same thing I have wanted for so many years now: full support so we can go to the mission field. I’ll be sharing more about our goals and how you can help over the next few days, including a support update and a fun new graphic.

For now, I leave you with a list of things I am ending one year and beginning another year thankful for…

  1. Jesus Christ, God’s son. It just doesn’t get any better than the precious lamb who takes away the sins of the world.
  2. The Holy Spirit living in me.
  3. A blessed Christmas. We were spoiled. SO spoiled.
  4. Time spent with all my family members this season.
  5. A friend with whom I shared the Gospel and studied the Bible over 3 years ago put her trust in Christ on Christmas Eve. She lives all the way across the country and on the day after Christmas she called to tell me the good news. I felt like a new mom! This is what it’s all about, people.
  6. My daughter, Susanna, and the prayer she prayed over our Christmas dinner.
  7. My son, Austin, and the grins and smiles he carries everywhere he goes.
  8. My husband, who loves me and cares for our family. And makes me laugh.
  9. A mini girlfriend getaway for a special friend’s wedding this weekend. I am Portland-bound for thrifting, wedding-going, and friend time.
  10. This unexplainable contentment, wonder, awe, at the goodness of God. I had a rough time with the visit with my mother on Christmas Eve, and I was feeling the messiness of my life. But then I saw my dad. He’s made a lot of mistakes in his life and I am paying for many of them. He’s destined to be a prison inmate for the rest of his life. But he’s also recovered completely from treatment for throat cancer and Hep C over the last two years, and he was holding my baby boy and grinning, so I just let it go and appreciated the life God has given me. He chose my roots and, thankfully, grows me too. Who am I to question that?

In 2015, I will trust God. Will you?

 

 

Susanna Jane Is Two Years Old

Click the photo to see it larger.

On June 30, we celebrated two years of being Susanna’s parents. We were flying home from Mexico, where we had celebrated with my family on the vacation of our dreams. Susanna got to play in the sand, swim in the ocean, splash in the pool, and spend time with her great grandparents, great great uncle Colya, uncle Mike and cousins Connor and Kyle.

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Susanna with Gramma Great and Great Uncle Colya in the background.

The weekend after we got home, we hosted a Blue Balloon Birthday Party. When I planned the party and designed the invitations (and the banner, labels and favors!), the only color Susanna knew was blue, and she absolutely adored balloons. She also looks so good in blue, with her blond hair, blue eyes, and pink skin.

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Susanna discovering her balloon cake

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Beautiful in blue

You can see the photos from her two year photo shoot (Thanks McG Photography!) here.

It is such a joy to be Susanna’s parents. We find the toddler years so much more fun than the baby years, especially as we get to know our little lady’s personality. She loves babies and is sweet and gentle when she sees them, so we know she will be a great big sister to Austin when he comes along in September.

2012 In Review

By Sunday, December 30, 2012 0 0

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Clockwise from top left: First snow; in Mama’s sweater; nine months out; new camera lens

In January, I unintentionally picked a yes word for 2012. Was 2012 a yes year? I’m not sure. Enough people said “yes” to partnership that we are nearly 50% supported. I am still learning the art of being a yes mom who also maintains a clean and organized home but doesn’t idolize it. February was full of love and sweet photos of Susanna. In March, I stepped onto my soapbox about an important issue, sponsored a little lady from Peru (who then moved, but was replaced by World Vision with Yasmina from a nearby village), and began to reevaluate how we do youth ministry. April brought more ministry posts, including one about church planting and another about salty living.

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Clockwise from top left: 10 months old, Mother’s Day gift, Happy Fourth of July, eating blueberries, first birthday

May brought a precious moment in discipleship, visions of 100%. In June, I went to my 10 year reunion, blogged from our mission agency and celebrated the best gift ever. Summer posts included some lists, a post about rejection, a recap of how God is working in (“Godless”) Portland, what God is doing in us while we wait.

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Summer in September; pumpkin patch; Thanksgiving smiles; cute in the cold

September was our summer in Seattle, but I still found time to just write. After posting two silly things in October, I tried my hand at a series on praying for missionaries during NaBloPoMo. Finally, in December, I recapped the year, took a few photos, and began to think about my word and plans for 2013.

We celebrated Christmas simply this year, with nearby family. Susanna looked darling in her Christmas dress.

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I’d love to see your year recaps, so post links in the comments!