Monday, December 30, 2013

Our Year in Pictures

You might say this has been one heck of year for us! I thought it'd be more interesting to show our journey in pictures:

Keagan turned seven and I attempted a Legos cake for him!

Keagan went to his first high school soccer game!

I lost one of my favorite people. The loss was hard, as my grandmother was one of my dearest friends since I was very young. I still am caught off guard with the heaviness of grief I feel in her absence. I'm one blessed girl to call her my grandma.

We spent lots of time at the soccer fields cheering on our little Grizzly!

 Lots of practice time in the backyard...

Last day of Plaza Towers Elementary school, and then...

We started homeschooling in March. Scariest decision I ever made!

Caleb spent a considerable amount of time chasing Wendy in the backyard!

Matt and I spent a lot of blood, sweat, and tears installing a new floor in our home as well as replacing trim and doing countless other upgrades. We loved our home more with each new improvement!

One day while visiting the library, we were given an impromptu private tour of a fire truck by some incredibly sweet firemen, so we came home and baked them cookies and made them cards. We then went to their station and delivered them! It was so much fun and one of those moments where we fell in love with homeschooling!

Kate inducted Caleb as her protege. Poor kid never stood a chance!

Kate danced on her first big stage at her dance recital! She had quite a support crowd as our entire families came to watch her! She is quite the ham, and was a crowd pleaser for sure! She has been in love with performing from this moment!

One of our favorite afternoon activities: smoothies on a picnic blanket in the backyard!

We held the largest, most epic watergun battle in our backyard! This was the last event at our house in Moore and the last picture I have of our life there. I love that it was of such a fantastically fun time!

And just like that, our lives were changed forever.

We met incredible people during and because of this life-changer. We learned to receive, when we were used to giving. We had dark moments where we forgot what was important and wondered how we'd ever recover. But God was faithful in shining His face into those dark moments. 

Every. Single. Time.

I looked into the eyes of parents who buried their children from the same school mine attended. We wept together, and I never once understood why it was theirs and not mine. I learned to savor each deep breath, each "Good night, Momma."

God surprised me 3 days after the tornado when our Wendy girl was found in this truck by some kids. She survived the storm, and God was beginning to gently yet persistently pursue my heart with how He cares about even the tiny details of my life.

I met some very selfless, generous people, and I will never forget them. This lady tracked me down to give me an ultrasound picture of Caleb she found about 5 miles away from the house.

Our church made a movie poster about our family for the At The Movies Series. They honored each family in the church who lost their homes.

We were given SO MUCH by so many sweet, generous people. We were constantly overwhelmed! I had no idea people could care so much, and we will never be the same after receiving so much love and support from those around us, even from perfect strangers! 

We survived one of the hardest summers emotionally we have had. There were astounding moments of intense miracles and just breathing in life with the children God had spared that day, and there were days with the shades drawn, where it was hard to get out bed. We did normal things, like go to the spray park. We relocated and adjusted the best we could to a new neighborhood. And our God held us through every second of it.

Visits from grandparents helped a lot!

We oohed and ahhhhed over fireworks on the 4th of July, overwhelmed with thanks that we were all there to relish it together.

Caleb turned THREE and got his first tricycle!

God began restoring us in an amazing way by giving us a new home, much more quickly than we could have dreamed! We were over the moon!

Our closing team.

Keagan and Kate started a new co op group: Grace Academy!

And Caleb started preschool one day a week! Where did the time go?

God provided new friends because He is just that sweet!

School was a bit more difficult to get rolling after the summer's struggles, but we took it one day at a time, and I learned the value of flexibility.

Keagan learned about plants as we worked together on our new backyard!

Matt and I took a weekend away together and stayed in our first bed and breakfast. The food was the BEST part!

One of the blessings that took my breath away: A sweet lady I have known for years who has possibly the MOST giving spirit I've ever seen gave us her beach house in Florida for one week. For free. I still cannot believe we were given this gift of time away to heal and breathe in life together. We built sand castles, we rode waves, we splashed, we laughed, we napped on the beach. I cried as I sat and looked into the vastness of the ocean and felt my Savior's comfort wrap around me. The healing my heart did on that sand could never be summed up in a blog post. There just are no words.

Our Life Group expanded and we have grown very close this year. We do life with these people and lean on each other for support. We love them so much!

And we welcomes our very first Life Group baby!!

A precious and incredibly talented friend gifted us with a family photo shoot to begin the process of replacing photos and making new memories! The gift of having our family together for this photo shoot after we very well could have lost someone in May is not lost on me.

We got a storm shelter in our new house! This is now a necessity for us. Kate already has everything planned that she will take down when the next tornado comes.

We hosted our first Life Group Thanksgiving Dinner! 

Matt bought me a 12 foot Christmas tree!

Keagan became obsessed with all things WWII and Planes. How? No idea!

Kate got to see The Nutcracker for the first time!

After losing all of our Christmas decorations, it was admittedly hard for me to get in the Christmas spirit. While out one day, an idea hit me, and I bought loads of these wooden ornaments for the kids to color themselves. We are making new memories and traditions, and we are so grateful!

Caleb performed in his very first Christmas concert with his preschool! He was a donkey, and he just melted our hearts! I was shocked that he stayed on the stage! Oh, what a joy that was!

Kate turned SIX and is learning to sew! Dream come true for me, and it's so special to sit and do something together that we both love! I cannot wait for all the things we will make together!

Christmas brought new scooters to our kids! They had to go outside in the freezing weather to try them out! So fun!

I thank God for this year. I thank Him for the truths I've learned that I never would have been afforded had we not endured something we never imagined. I thank Him that we are stronger than ever because we know how close we came to unimaginable loss.  We lost some, sure. But we did not lose each other. We have had a life changing year for sure. I pray that we will never forget it. Something tells me we won't. 

I pray that you will have a blessed New Year, that we will each learn to lean on God more than ever, and that we will not take a single moment for granted again.

Peace of Christ to you,

1 comment:

  1. Such an amazing post! God bless you for sharing your heart! So glad I picked up that newspaper Saturday night! I think we may have heard your testimony at the WOF night at the South campus as well? I was such a mess back then that I don't recall all of the families that were on stage, but I do remember being so blessed and just sobbing through most of it as everyone recalled God's goodness and how He prepared us ahead of time. We actually have so many stories exactly like that of our own and from our neighborhood. God is good!