Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Year End Review

As I write my final post of 2014, it is only fitting to reflect on this past year.
 This year has been in a word "hard." 
We have had many changes within our family with jobs, schooling and moving to a new home and with changes come growing pains.  From my experience, growing pains are not very pleasant.
  The challenges were not just within our family.  Our friends and extended family have endured trials far greater than ours this year suffering from illness, loss and tragedies.  The injustices that exist around us in and in our world are overwhelming.
So much for an uplifting New Year's Eve post right????
Well, this verse has been on constant replay in my head this year.
John 16:33
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
This world is not as it should be.  We will have troubles here, but when we fix our eyes on Jesus, we can have peace, even through the hard.
So, take heart, if you also file this year under the "hard" category.  There is hope and peace to be found.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 MSG tells us to:
Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.
Not always easy, but when I start to count my blessings, it does miraculous things for my attitude and perspective.
Along with the hard, we had some pretty amazing moments in 2014 and saw God working time and time again. So I want to thank God for these moments.
Big God moments top 10:
1. Flew to Ethiopia on 5 hours notice with friends, found their little girl in Holeta within hours of landing (p.s. met the mayor of Holeta.....when does that just happen???)
2. Met up with our girls' birth mom and learned much more about their histories while in Ethiopia.
3. Raised over $1500 in 4 days to send to Holeta orphanage in desperate need.
4. Nick and Hermela raised $6000 in less than a month to travel back to Ethiopia in August for a mission trip and to visit Hermela's birth family.
5. Birth family meeting goes amazingly well, truly God ordained.
6. New care point partnership with I Care for the Nations care point in Ethiopia launches at our church, 98 kids sponsored so far!

7. Sold our house after vandals broke in the day before closing, stole all of our appliances and flooded entire house (yeah that was one of those "hard" times).

8. Hosted post mission trip meeting in above mentioned flooded house and prayed for the 150 children in need of sponsorship at I Care for the Nations just 24 hours after evil had been done there.........take that bad guys!

9. Our friends mentioned in #1 lose their little girl who they worked so hard to bring home, but God uses it all for good and now their church has partnered with HopeChest to support a care point in Holeta.  So far 61 kids have been sponsored!

10. I am currently typing this in a king sized bed at a hotel while Nick is sleeping.  We celebrated
our 13th year of marriage alone last night and slept a full 8 hours without interruption (and that's a big deal when you have 7 kids :-)

And because there are never enough hours in the day to update this old blog, I will now end in pictures, recapping the past 2 months.

Peter Pan


Tinker Bell

Captain Hook



Princess Tiger Lily

We got all dressed up with great friends!

We took our annual Disney trip.  This year we had tickets from Disney road race volunteering and from Hermela doing the "It's a Small World" event at Disney.  We love free tickets......only way this big family can make it.

 Celebrated Nick's mom Judy's 60th birthday at our new house.

 Watched the girls do a great job performing in Peter Pan Jr.

And Nick kicked off birthday season.

We had a great Christmas season this year celebrating with our Advent wreath, Jesse Tree, annual Christmas Eve party and Candlelight Service, Christmas lights and a fun Christmas morning.

Each child picks the name of a sibling and buys them a gift.

I love watching the gift giver watch the recipient open their gift.  They are always so excited.

Colton got Rahel and teased her that he bought her a toy (she didn't want any toys.....getting too old you know).  She was delighted to receive boots instead.

Caleb used his own money this year to buy Nick a much anticipated gift.  Caleb could hardly wait to give it to him.

Just what Nick needed.....a new airsoft mask.

My parents gave us a trip with them to a Georgia mountain house for Christmas.

We celebrated Colton's birthday there.

He requested dirt cake with worms. 
We were out of town and I forgot the candles,
so we used these candlesticks.

Happy 7th birthday Colton!!

The other part of their present to us was a trip to Snow Mountain to go tubing.

We had a blast!

And now we'll finish our holidays bringing in the New Year with Nick's parent and family.
Life is always better with Grandparents.
So as the New Year approaches, I will remember all of these good times, along with the hard times.
  This is life.
The good and the not so good and my prayer is that my faith will mature over this next year and we will live each of our days for Jesus.
James 1:2-4
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,  because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Happy New Year!!!