The Year of the Unexpected!

We just got home from a special week of visiting family — three full days in Ocean Springs with my parents and a weekend with Charlie’s family in Gulf Shores.

While we were in OS, we remembered spending New Year’s Eve there last year and having dinner downtown with my parents.  Over dessert, we went around the table and talked about our wishes for the new year, 2013.  How crazy it is to look back one year later and see the wild turns our life took!

Last New Year’s, while eating a piece of insane bourbon chocolate pecan pie, I said I was looking forward to seeing where in California we would move in the next few weeks and how I hoped we’d get to Seattle and back to New England.  Charlie talked about spending time intentionally preparing his heart to transition into youth ministry when we stopped travel nursing sometime in mid-2015.

Ha ha ha.

Two weeks later, after a sunny, perfect afternoon watching the surfers on Jensen Beach, we came home to our little apartment and I started crying out of nowhere.  That afternoon, we felt the Lord say “stop.”  We decided to quit traveling and started formatting Charlie’s youth ministry resume.  Goodbye life on the road, hello sudden clarity, Holy Spirit leading, hearts changing, God revealing!

So, my new year’s hopes held out for two weeks this past year.  But when they went out the window, some other really great things happened instead.   Charlie became a full time youth minister.  We moved to a beautiful small town where we bought a house.

I started working at a community bank where I’m learning a lot and also having a lot of fun (such as winning first prize in the local chili cook off!)

We bought a 1971 Ford F-100 which we named Sally.

We threw a 90th birthday party for my grandmother and I made my dad his favority birthday cake.

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Charlie turned 30 and has 168 cans of Diet Grapico to prove it.  My brother and sister-in-law adopted two daughters who we prayed for like crazy.

We loved.  We were loved.  It was awesome!

Given my recent track record, I’m not going to hope for anything in 2014 except that our hearts remain open to welcome in the twists, turns, and blessings that God has for us.

Two blessings our hearts are wide open for and ready to receive are these two cuties:

I can’t think of a better way to begin 2014 than flying down to Costa Rica on New Year’s Day to meet our two nieces.  2013 defied predictions (especially when it comes to Auburn football — War Eagle!).  God proved over and over that He can do “more than we ask or imagine.”

So with big requests in our hearts, this is our prayer that He does it again in the coming year.

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