2015 carried more ups than downs, and for that we are thankful.
Here's some of the highlights...
After her fall, broken wrist, AND surgery in 2015, it was a beautiful moment to watch her begin 2015 by conquering her fear and getting back on the bike.
Pop and Mamie coming to visit
It had been years since my parents had traveled due to my dad's health. And even though the reason for their visit wasn't a happy one (my grandmother's passing), it meant the world to have them here.
Sweet Briar's "Closing"
Of the lowest points of our year came when the 114 yr. old Sweet Briar College preemptively announced its closing. And even though it was ultimately saved and reopened, we lost almost all of our Sweet Briar girls and our staff and dear niece, Callie, through it all.
You might have expected this, but it's becoming our habit when life deals us painful blows to buy a house. (Some people go for ice cream. We go for real estate.) With the sadness and stress of Sweet Briar's closing, we bought this diamond-in-the-rough 1820 house and spent our summer renovating the basement apartment into an amazing rental. (and at some point, we still have the entire upper house left to do!)
I can't explain it, but this was a 2015 moment for me. It was like looking alopecia in the face and saying You don't define our beauty. Caroline looked like a princess. And it was so cathartic to crown that beautiful bald head.
|ministry team members spreading out across our house practicing one-on-ones|
RUF Ministry team...
With the loss of Callie and most of our Sweet Briar girls who transferred to other schools, this year felt very much like a 1st year for RUF as we moved our meeting location to Liberty's campus for the first time. But one of the highlights of the year was watching our current ministry team truly begin to grasp what real, honest, messy community and transparency look like as a group, and God is beautifully at work in and through this group of students and our new intern, Taylor.
Day at the farm...
A simple, quiet day in the year, unplugged from technology. (except the camera, of course) :) Riding the tractor to the pumpkin patch. Playing in the corn maze. Eating a picnic dinner. It was glorious.
Outer Banks 4x4...
When Caroline found this amazing shell on the first evening of our family vacation to the remote 4x4 area of the Outer Banks, I knew it was going to be an awesome week.
But the wild horses on the beach....
and the dolphins dancing in front of us truly made it MAGICAL.
Starting a band, Cabell St Collective, and bringing down the house in our first gig was a major highlight of my year. It served so many purposes beyond the music itself, like loving our city and bringing more culture into it. (You can "like" us on facebook! Our next gig is Feb 13th!)
Batman and Wonder Woman...
Halloween is one of our favorite holidays of the year. We love the fun of dressing up, of getting out and loving our neighbors, of watching our children receive candy, and the joy of giving out candy at our door. I've always said Halloween is one of the most Christian holidays of the year!
Kids make Christmas awesome. It makes me so happy to watch them receive and squeal with delight and thankfulness.
This year, after spending a few days doing Christmas with our South Carolina family, we enjoyed a peaceful Christmas Day as a family opening gifts and playing together. I was feeling a little insecure at how little I'd actually bought for my kids this year, only to find out one of our supporting churches, Redeemer Pres, showered their missionary families with Christmas gifts this year. I was moved to tears at their generosity.
Happy New Year to you all! May God pour out His mercies and grace upon you in 2016.