But boy was it wonderful. Despite the many ups and downs, I can't help but look back on 2018 and be ever so grateful that God blessed us. He comforted us...grew us...and just loved on us.
I started thinking of early January 2018. I was working crazy hours, traveling 50-60% and under a tremendous amount of stress at work. However, we had also just spent our first Christmas at home. While we missed seeing my parents and extended family on Christmas, we had a lovely, quiet Christmas with just our little family and Carmen.
Fast forward just two weeks in to January 2018 and we were knocked down with the sudden death of my mother-in-law. I don't think you can ever really fully prepare for a death of a loved one. A sudden one is even more shocking. How special it was that we were able to spend a quite Christmas with her.
Through the shock, Daniel and I were reminded just how loved she was. And not only that, how loved we are. Friends brought food. Friends took our kids so we could take a breath. My parents dropped everything and were there in just 8 hours (and they live over 5 hours away!). Friends prayed for us. There were even special ones that came and participated in her funeral or preached for Daniel the next Sunday. It still feels a bit surreal that she's gone. While we miss her dearly, we celebrate her homecoming and the love poured out from it.
Move to February and March where Daniel and I both have job changes. Daniel left an industry he's known for 20 years, fitness. I also changed clients (long story that won't be aired here) and stopped traveling. While it took me a good 6 months to decompress from the work stress, it was a blessing these changes occurred. Carmen played a key role in my ability to travel without feeling completely like a horrible mom.
In April, Daniel achieved something very dear to both of us. He graduated with his Master's in Divinity. This not only was a huge accomplishment, but one accomplished over years and years of hard work. I was every so proud to watch him walk across the stage!
And what was even more fun was surprising him with a gift he never suspected. It's now affectionately known as "The Blueberry" around here.
What was also very unexpected this year were the fun trips, either with friends or as a family or double bonus - both. There are summer trips we always try to take with my parents - a trip to the Mountains of NC, Pirate Invasion weekend in Beaufort, NC and our annual Raleigh visit for a NC State football game. Those we all made again this year and are cherished traditions we have with the kids that I know builds lifetime memories.
Since we started families, we haven't had a trip together! So this was really fun to experience.
And perhaps the biggest surprise and adventure this year was our surprise (to the kids) trip to Disney.
I can't help but believe that God knew we needed a little extra fun this year. It's reminded me that life is so short and that we need to live in the present. But even more so, it's not just about the "gotta do's".
While I don't make resolutions, I am committed to creating even more fun memories for our family this year. It doesn't have to be fancy to be a fun memory. It can be as simple as saying "yes" when they want to help cook dinner or playing a board game or often in our case, play football in the front yard. But I also want to remember to take new adventures that create fun memories. I'm already thinking what that could look like for us this year.
So while we are still unsure what our future holds, we are excitedly awaiting to see what God brings us in 2019 for Schrallville. We know that His plan is perfect for us and we can't wait to see what it is!