If I could use just two words to describe 2009, I think they'd be growth and change.
Bryan has worked M-Sat and a lot of Sundays since February. Through August it was a 5pm-3am schedule. Then it went to a 10 hour days schedule, plus an hour commute each way! For the last five months, he's returned home from work on Saturdays right as our usual church service was beginning. If he's home on Sundays, we generally covet it as our only day as a family. This has resulted in very little church this year, but that did not equate to very little God.
We stayed in the Word, read challenging books, did devotions - some with the kids, others just between Bryan and me. We prayed together. When we ran into difficulty, we sought the prayer support of friends and godly counsel from mentors. This fall we found it impossible to get a babysitter for our small group time, so we had to stop going. We're grateful that they've kept in touch with us and have often kept us in the group loop. We know that we are not alone.
During times that could easily have pulled us apart, God directed us into places that grew us closer to one another and closer to Him. I do think God is very cool this way! Bryan and I now share a closeness, understanding and compassion for one another that we've never known before.
This year also saw our kids transition into some pretty big kid roles. Zachary graduated from preschool and started kindergarten. It honestly seems like a lifetime ago that he was a preschooler. He's such a different kid! He's compassionate, he's honest, he's gentle, he's aware, he's confident, he's mature. He is also a Christian, in case you missed the big news!
Lucas has been busy keeping up with his big brother, making him seem so much older than Zach was at this age. Luke is hysterically funny, risk-taking, assertive, quick, determined and independent. Enrollment for fall preschool will be in a matter of weeks. It's hard to believe that both of our boys will be in school next year. Even harder to believe that Luke could go to kindergarten the following year, although I highly doubt we'll send him just two weeks after his 5th birthday.
This year has also seen Zach transform into a soccer player and Bryan into a soccer coach! What an absolute delight to watch!!
Our family embarked on community service together for the first time ever. As a family, we were incredibly blessed to work with two child abuse prevention and response organizations, as well as the Salvation Army. We are all excited to see what service opportunities 2010 will bring! We're looking forward to the Second Annual for KIDS by KIDS Bike-a-thon for sure.
There was also a wonderful week long vacation with Bryan's dad to Colorado, a weekend spent in St. Louis, and two trips to an indoor water park resort... We have a lot of wonderful memories from the trips, and eagerly look forward to our next out-of-town adventure.
God has been so amazingly good to us. We are so grateful and immensely changed by his provision, direction, grace and mercy.
"Every good and perfect gift is from above." James 1:17
Many blessings for everyone in the NEW YEAR!