One of the fun traditions our family had when I was growing up was attending an Agricultural Show each January. My dad always had a booth & we would spend the day climbing on tractors and stocking up on free pens, paper, & candy from the other vendors! It was a highlight of my year for sure! I was excited to get to share this experience with my kids! They were excited to get to spend some time with their cousins!
So many tractors, so little time!
The higher, the better!
This little man is getting so big!!!
Watch out! You’re about to be scooped up!
He really wanted this excavator! I told him he’d have to ask his Daddy for money, so he promptly trotted off to find his dad & ask him just that!!! When he was denied the $20,000 by both his dad & his Grandpa, he just sat on it & kept saying, “Get money!” Poor guy – such a hard life lesson! Thankfully he moved on to other tractors & wasn’t too brokenhearted!
Audrey always put her seatbelt on no matter what vehicle she climbed into! Safety first!!
For as long as I can remember my family has had a tradition of spending New Years in Lincoln City. We stay in the same quirky apartment with windows that look directly out on the beach, my dad watches bowl games, my mom does a puzzle, and we all relax & eat junk food. It’s a wonderful tradition – one that everyone comes home for (if they are able, although in our case it had been 6 years)! It was so fun to share this tradition with my kids now that they are old enough to enjoy it!
We decided to stop at Mo’s for lunch when we first got to the beach! It’s an institution!
Delicious! As usual!
We were blessed with incredibly beautiful weather for every day that we were there except for the day we left!
The kids LOVED playing on the beach in spite of the fact that it wasn’t terribly warm!
Ezra even got to do some whale watching from the living room! I don’t think he saw anything, but you can see that we have a great view!
It was so fun to see the next generation of this family enjoying the same activities that I did when I was a girl!
My kids have ‘caught the bug’ and seem to love the beach as much as I do!
We’re all looking forward to next year and making more fun memories together!
When I chose Joy for my word of the year for 2015, I was thinking more about focusing on enjoying each moment as it came & not always wishing for the future. It wasn’t until months later when things got difficult that I realized one of the verses I hadn’t thought about was James 1:2: “Consider it all joy, my beloved brethren, when you encounter various trials” It sort of felt that by choosing Joy I had invited trials to test my ability to be joyful. I know that isn’t actually the case & I also know that God gave me the strength, & yes, even moments of joy, as we walked through some hard months.
This year I just felt as though my word for the year was simply placed in my mind.
After a few months of upheaval I am hopeful that we are in a place of calm, a place we can call home, a place that God has led us to where we can be a blessing.
When we first returned to the States, there were a few people who felt that we should stay for a couple years to allow our family time to heal after the stresses that we went through in Spain. At that point in time, I felt like we needed to take just one year in the States & then head back out. However, as we prayed about what might be next & looked at different options we found that nothing really seemed right. I also found my mindset changing. In just 2 months I went from feeling almost panicked about staying in the U.S. to having total peace about remaining.
When we realized that we both had peace about remaining in the States and that there were good reasons to stay (one of the biggest being that it would mean our kids wouldn’t have to live in 3 cultures in 3 years), we prayed about remaining at Salem Academy & both felt we should move forward in that direction. It was interesting to have staff & parents telling us at that same time that we were an answer to their prayers & that they were praying we would stay on beyond this one year.
Around the middle of November, Micah told the Superintendent our intent to put our name in for the permanent HS Principal position. In early December, Micah announced to the staff that we wanted to stay and the Superintendent explained to them that he would be interviewing Micah as well as the other top candidates in January. On December 10th, Micah came home & told me that the Superintendent had scheduled an hour-long meeting the next day. When I stopped by at 3:00 the next day after picking up Ezra, Micah said that he had been offered the position! The Superintendent had decided to forego interviewing anyone else & just give the job to Micah! On the last day of school, which also happened to be our 11th anniversary, the Superintendent announced at the all-school Christmas Assembly that, starting that day, Micah was now the full-time High School Principal! There was lots of cheering from the staff & students!
This isn’t what we would have foreseen for our future a year ago & it certainly doesn’t seem to ‘fit’ with us being missionaries. And yet, it is such a perfect fit. What the school needs right now, Micah is gifted in. The staff work there because they want to serve God and impact the students positively which makes this school feel similar to the other schools that we’ve worked at. We’re excited for this opportunity to be a blessing in this school & are thankful for the way God has led in our lives once again. We truly believe this is our mission field for this season of life!
To read about how we came to this job in the first place, you can read about it here.
All too soon our time in Maryland was over & we had to fly home. We had a really, really early morning flight.
Our kids are great at rolling their own suitcases through the airport!
Since it was such an early morning flight we let our kids wear their jammies onto the plane. Somehow we ended up with no window – Ezra was quite distressed!
We transferred in Dallas. The kids were excited to ride the train!
We were so thankful for the play room at DFW! We spent a half hour or more letting the kids play! It was a great way to get all their energy out!
Micah & I had our 11th anniversary on December 17th. That night we attended the school’s Christmas play & finished packing for our trip the next morning. We celebrated after Christmas with an overnight in Baltimore.
Our first stop was the Walter’s Art Museum
It reminded us of art museums in Europe
I found a pretty tiffany pearl necklace with diamonds every 30 links!
We stayed at the Lord Baltimore (the red brick building with the green roof), which was built in 1928.
Our room was on the 16th floor!
It was a really nice room!
We went down to the inner harbor
We took the water taxi from the Inner Harbor to Fells Point
A landmark of Baltimore
Fells Point (I know it looks like it was raining, but it wasn’t).
We ate dinner at the Thames Street Oyster House – we got to sit at the table right by the window! (I forgot to take a picture, so this is from the restaurant’s website) I got to try swordfish for the first time – it was good!
In the morning we got to stop at Cracker Barrel for breakfast! One of our favorite places to eat that hasn’t made it out to the West Coast!
It was a quick trip, but it was really nice to get away!
On Christmas eve we spent the morning with Micah’s brother & his family before heading back to Micah’s parents house for the afternoon.
Before we opened presents from Oma we put baby Jesus into the manger & sang “Away in the Manger”
Nene read a pop-up version of the Christmas story
Oma got a pretty scarf!
One smiling, one not-so-much
All dressed for the Christmas Eve service at Da’s church
After church our kids got to open their traditional Christmas eve gifts: a book & new jammies, plus their ornament for the year! Then it was bedtime! Thanks to such a short night the night before they both fell asleep fairly quickly & actually slept until 8 A.M.!
Finding out what’s in their stockings!
Audrey with the present she wished for, hoped for, & asked Santa for! A pink unicorn with a golden horn!
Someone is mighty pleased to find a whole bunch of “Planes” toys in their box!
Mid-morning Micah’s brothers family joined the fun!
Audrey was thrilled with her new dress-up dress!
We love our family!!!
Presents, presents, & more presents!!!
The adults got presents too!
This was the first time in 6 years that we got to be with Micah’s family for Christmas & we were so thankful for the time with them!