Holidays, my heart

Christmas Letter 2016

It is absolutely true what they say about how each year goes faster the older you get. I can’t believe it is time again for another year to end.

The year 2016 has been a year of growth, reflection, successes and heartache all rolled into one. I feel like that is every year for every one though, isn’t it? Looking back I have to say I am just so overwhelmed at God’s goodness and timing. The ways He has blessed me will never cease to amaze me. 

Andy’s job is going well, though quite stressful. He has been in charge of major projects at the mill and been successful in completing those. I don’t even pretend to understand what all he does, but I know I am so proud of him. We are praying this year leads to more success for him and also a little less stress. 

Rory ended Kindergarten and began 1st grade. We decided to go to a new school this year after a lot of trials at the other school. It was such a tough decision, but one I am so glad we made. The first of the year came with some major struggles, but I cannot even begin to tell you how much Rory has matured and grown through all of it. She is so tenacious and resilient and I’m so very proud of her for sticking with it and keeping her head up. The most profound blessing of my life, other than my own salvation, came this year when Rory gave her heart to Jesus. Oh, and she is so proud of it too. She tells everyone that will listen, “Did you know I am a Christian now?!” It is absolutely precious. In the midst of the heartache I felt when we found out Rory also had a heart defect, God gave her a new heart in Him. The timing was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever encountered. With every hard thing, God brings good. Rory also started on some new medicines to help her focus at school. The doctor asked her how she thought it was going and Rory said, “well you won’t believe this but I’m doing so great that my teacher is BRAGGING on me all the time. And I’m reading everything now and actually like to sit and read!” Her doctor looked up at me with tears in her eyes and you all know I was a mess. This is what we had been hoping and praying for. Rory at age 6 – almost seven!- is an absolute joy. She is still so funny and smart. Her personality hasn’t changed with this medicine, but she is shining through more than ever. Oh, I am so proud of my Rory. 

Ryder started Kindergarten this year and is absolutely in love with school. To be honest, I was a little worried I was making the wrong decision in sending her when she is a young 5. But I trusted my instincts and I am so glad I did. Her teacher is such a delight and we are so thankful for her. Ryder loves school so much that she had strep and was feeling awful but didn’t tell me because she didn’t want to miss school. She comes home from school every day and immediately goes to her “desk” to write or play teacher. She is like a sponge, absorbing every bit of information that she can. She is beginning to read and, of course, that is just the best thing to watch develop. I’m so proud of her. Ryder is still the joy that lights up any room and I can’t believe she is already 5 and in school.

I have to say, having two kids now that are “big” kids is JUST THE BEST. The girls and I went on our first roadtrip this summer and it was so easy and we had the very best time. The beach this summer was a breeze. We have been on day trips, week long trips, and everything in between and each time I think- LIFE IS GOOD. I feel like this stage with kids is by far my favorite. I cannot wait to see what adventures we get ourselves into in 2017.

As far as myself goes, I think this year has come with more growth in myself than any other. I took a step back and re-evaluated my life and knew I needed change. This time last year I didn’t like myself very much, if I’m being very honest. I had let so much negative in my life and needed to break away. I remember when I was going through one of the hardest times of my life at the beginning of the year, I laid on my face and begged God to shine some light into me. I didn’t like who I was as a mom, friend, family member. At that time, God started whispering into my heart and I’m telling you, I have changed in so many ways this year. Do not read this as I have any of my crap together because I STILL DON’T. Read this as God has shown mercy and grace on my life this year. In the depths of my sorrow through miscarriages and infertility this year, He has been a guiding light. He has saved me from despair by filling me with things that bring me so much joy. He’s given me such peace that whether I have another baby or not, life is still so good and I am so blessed. He stripped me from my former self and has made me stronger. I’m more thankful for every moment with my girls. I’m less selfish, but taking care of myself more in the important ways. I’m a better mom and wife, though I still struggle daily. I’ve learned this year that joy is not in the circumstances, but in God’s grace on my life. Through every heartache this year, God has shown up in ways I never could have imagined. I’m so thankful that I can say that my joy is still holding strong and that God has brought me through hard and amazing times this year. I’m proud of the mom I have become this year more than anything. I’m also proud that my girls have seen me on good and bad days so they know nothing is ever perfect. But by God’s grace I have lived another year and am better for it. With every hard thing, God brought good- that has been the theme of 2016.

I hope that you all have such a Merry Christmas and so much joy in 2017.


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