Thursday, December 13, 2012

Second Annual Christmas Letter.

I started a new tradition last year of blogging my Christmas letter instead of printing them and sending them out with my Christmas cards.  Here is last years letter which I stopped to read again before I wrote the one you will find below...

(Me, Ruth, Mom (Deb), Dad (Clyde), Rachel, Noa, and Chris - on our family trip to Myrtle Beach this summer)

Friends, Family, and Family friends,

Merry Christmas to each of you and to your sweet families.

If you are new to this blog this year either because you've come into my life in 2012 or because you read the address on the bottom of this years Christmas card - welcome!  I have been blogging less than ever this year but I hope with more direction, clearer vision, and a more open dialog than in years past.

As I reread my 2011  Christmas letter I was so humbled to think of all the Lord has done in 2012.  I expected this year to be easier than the last but it has brought with it more challenges than any year before.  But as it draws to an end I am most grateful to report that I have never felt stronger in the my relationship with the Lord than I do as I close 2012 and this year was a  year of being faithful in my time and my commitment to Him.  Through that He has used a tough year for good in me and I hope in a few small ways - through me.

In April of 2012 I went to Port Au Prince, Haiti where along with a team of strangers that became friends I worked hard to lay the foundation of a church.  We met the physical need of a church that already existed and is serving there by giving them a building and we were able to encourage the pastor and the congregation of our fellow Christians there.

(Haiti - April 2012.)

 I worked a concrete mixer along with a fellow church member and it was the dirtiest heaviest work I've done to date. I will share that I came back from that trip of 4am-4pm workdays more rested than I could have from any vacation and I announced to my Dad from the Miami airport 'that was better than any trip I've ever been on'.   My world was rocked but I came back ready to serve again, which I will do in January of 2013 on a trip to Togo in West Africa.

(Easter 2012)

Being an Aunt is by far my favorite role and my love for Noa grows with each day.  We recently celebrated (unfortunately from afar for me) Noa's first birthday.  I am reminded daily what a gift she is.  She has brought more joy to my family than I could have imagined and she arrived with timing only the Lord could have ordained.  I am impatiently awaiting some time with her over Christmas in Indianapolis where I hope to start working on 'Aunt B' being her first words.

This year had it's fair share of travels which included a May trip to Washington DC to spend time with my family there as well as explore a city that now holds a big piece of my heart.

(Washington DC - May 2012)

Travels were an overwhelming theme for this year as I visited: Louisville, Scottsburg, Indy, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Daytona, Orlando, Washington DC, Haiti, Raleigh, Kansas City, Jacksonville, and beyond.  Whew. I have lived as much out of a suitcase as out of a dresser this year but it has given me so many unique experiences and well, an abundance of frequent flier miles!

I completed my first home renovation project in the summer of 2012 which involved a new paint job, new bathroom counters, sinks, and faucets.  When people tell you that home projects are always more work and more money than you expect? Listen to them!  But I'm pleased to say that all went well and I've enjoyed the rest of the year with the results.

 (Summer Remodel Project - July 2012)

More than anything else this year I am grateful for relationships.  I am thankful for the new friends the Lord has brought to me in 2012. I'm thankful for each person who has walked with me through a busy work season, an incredible football season, and a season of spiritual growth.  I'm grateful for a bible study group who has worn their knees out in prayer for me this year.  For each new friend, I am thankful for you and for the fact that you have so quickly become more like family than friends.

(Amber & I - October 2012)

This year brought with it my three year anniversary of working with All Pro Dad as well as the completion of my third year of home ownership.  My third event season with All Pro Dad allowed me another chance to work alongside my Dad with a company that is close to both of our hearts.  What a sweet season it has been for us to further a common mission, to see families strengthened and Dad's making their kids a priority.  I'm grateful for the Lord's provision this year and every year and for the home He's continued to provide for me here in Tampa.  The batch pad saw many visitors from near and far this year and my work travels took me to see many of the league friends I've made in my time with events.

 (Jared, me, Candy, and Jason - Colts All Pro Dad Event, November 2012)

In December, I look forward to closing 2012 in Carmel, Indiana for Christmas with my sweet family.  I'm narrowing in on the end of my 100 book reading goal for this year and expect to cross the finish line well ahead of New Years Eve.  I am enjoying my first Christmas tree, a season of parties, and the month long reminder of the birth of my Savior.

All that has happened in 2012 makes me excited to begin 2013 as I look forward to welcoming a second brother-in-law into the family this coming summer.  My excitement (and nerves) continue to grow as my first trip literally around the world to build at Aquaponics center in Africa quickly approaches.  I have determined my 2013 exploration trip to be Seattle, Washington.  And despite much goading from friends, I have not determined my goals for 2013 but I do promise they will not include doubling my current reading goal.

Thank you thank you to all who have made this year special - I am grateful for each of you and I look forward to continuing to do life with you on the blog and in person in 2013.  Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and Go Colts!

All My Love,

'She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future' - Proverbs 31:25


Katie said...

Sounds like a wonderful year!! I love your idea of blogging instead of mailing your Christmas letter!

Amber said...

Oh I love this idea, especially since you put your blog address on the back of your card. :)

Which by the way, best card I've received. So amazing! And so YOU!

Love you friend!