I've been hesitating to write this post. It's been a hard year. A long year. A ton has happened in this year. When we rang it in one year ago Jan 2011, I don't think we had a clue what laid before us. I knew there'd be change, but never in my wildest dreams did I know it would be so hard, so painful, yet full of memories, and a lot of good along the way.
So here goes....
We rang in the New Year while we were on a SPECTACULAR family vacation with Papa John & Grammy Ebbie and a first ever trip for our big kids to Disney World/Orlando/Universal Studios! That was a great start! :)
While we were away in Florida, our home church where we ministered 8 years, Grace Community Church in Bartlesville, was being told that we were no longer going to be doing ministry there, but we would be starting over in a new town, a new church, a new ministry at New Beginnings Church in Bixby, OK. This was a VERY bittersweet thing. We loved (and still do) Bartlesville and GCC. It was a painful thing to leave, but we felt the Lord's hand and calling in it and so we were being obedient. I knew this would be a difficult thing, but never in my wildest dreams did I imagine it playing out as painful as it ended up being.
It began to snow. That was fun until....
Snowmaggeden hit and we sat at -28 degrees with 30+ inches of snow. You don't really sell a house in those conditions. And you don't get to leave the house either. FOR WEEKS! Jeff began his new job as Youth Pastor in Bixby commuting every day until the house sold. He was suppose to begin February 1st but with the snow and ice hitting in mass quantity the night before, he missed almost his whole first week! What a way to start... At this point, we started all going down to Bixby on Tuesday and Thursdays and the kids would go to the Mother's Day Out program and I would search with Tina Butler ALL DAY LONG trying to find a house for us to live in. I was inside close to 100 homes in the Bixby/Jenks area. It was an EXHAUSTING and FRUSTRATING process. In the end we had made 8 offers before we finally were under contract for the final time. HOLY MOLY PLEASE NEVER AGAIN!
But eventually we were able to get from here to there and back and we made some really sweet and great friends! That was HUGE blessing and they still are to our family. We adore the Fowler family. Matt and his three kids! Friendship for the kids is something specific I prayed for. The Lord answered the prayer mightily and quickly!
The Warehouse finally opened! It was a big day! We were excited and so was the church. It was a long time in the making and we came in on the tail end of it all...
Finally our house sold April 4th! It was a long few months of stress and cleaning, but the Lord knew the buyers would come. And they did. That was also a bittersweet day. All of our children were brought home to that house. We did A LOT of ministry there. A LOT of life happened there. I still miss it sometimes.
All the while Jackson remained at Ranch Heights in PreK with Mrs. Ellis until the house sold. He had his first fundraiser and did so great that he and 8 other students won a limo ride! He was thrilled and so was I! At the last minute they let me ride with him! It was a fun thing!
In April after the house sold, we were homeless. That's quite the humbling feeling. But graciously my parents (Papaw & Nonna for those keeping track) let us move in with them in their home in Owasso. So their home that two people normally sleep in, had 7 people LIVING in it. It was a crazy time, but I am so thankful to have had family close by to make that an option for us. It ended up being only about 6 weeks or so that we lived there and FINALLY....
WE HAD A NEW HOME. I think the Lord had it all planned out that it needed to be an exhausting process so I would be ever thankful for the home that He provided for us! Moving in was long and tiring but so good to be in our space and place! With all our things.
Jeff and I went to Dallas with some incredible friends. Catalyst was a neat weekend full of healing for me in a many ways.
We finally were able to get our bikes all together and take a family bike ride like we used to do all the time in Bartlesville. That was balm to my soul that day. The sun. The family. The "normal" things....
My good friend Amy taught me how to sand down wood to its naked state and restain it and seal it. I made my once ugly table beautiful while Jeff was gone for a week, his first-ever time to lead a group to Falls Creek.
My parents took the kids and I to Silver Dollar City and Charleigh rode her first "rollercoaster" (just a ride). She loved it.
June 24th and my baby turned 6. He needs two hands now! Wow. Where did the time go?
I love this family picture!
Jeff and I were THRILLED to be able to go back to Haiti this year. Our hearts love being there. We can't wait to go back!!! When I got back from Haiti, I was asked to join the neatest group of ladies as an Assistant Director to Crisis Pregnancy Outreach, where we adopted Charleigh! It's been a VERY neat opportunity for me. I love the ministry there and what we do! It was an amazing honor to be asked to be a part of this team!
July 7th we celebrated Charleigh being a Berg for ONE year. It felt then and now like much much longer than that!
I dressed my whole clan up as cows just so they could eat free. We LOVE living so close to
The Lord also answered prayers for us to be graciously accepted by the youth (and leaders) and has allowed us to do ministry here. The people are great and we love it. They know our house and come over often! We love that!
Summer is now over and school is starting. Another new. Another different. Another change. For all of us. It wasn't easy. However, I was super scared, but excited, to be jumping head first into leading a girls small group again this year. It's been a super HUGE blessing to me this year to be with the most outstanding group of senior girls! They are priceless to me as well as the two leaders I get to lead with. I love them and have made lots of great memories with them all already!
My sweet kiddos and their first day of school...
a VERY BIG school. Oh my goodness it's HUGE. But even though it's been hard, it's been good. We were blessed with amazing teachers. Mrs. Haughey, Mrs. Finch, Mrs. Harsha, Mrs. Downing (Kindergarten teachers and assitants/aides) and Mrs. Cavin and Mrs. Pease (Prek)
Pop and Grammy helped Daddy fix up the fort that didn't survive the move so well. It was a work in progress for awhile, but this was the first day they were able to be inside it since the winter months back in Bartlesville. They loved it (and still do very much!)
In August we were able to go down to Beaver's Bend in Broken Bow with Terrie and Philip and all the family on that side. I am so thankful for this trip as it was a great stress reliever and time to just relax and renew. Everyone had a great time!
Jeff and I got tickets to go down to take a tour of the Dallas Cowboys facility and I also went to my first ever Pro event. That was fun!
We were introduced to a game called Settlers. We played this game a TON. I love it! We were also so excited to be able to utilize our back porch! It's awesome in the spring/fall.
Jackson lost his first tooth!
Jeff competed in The Warrior Dash. As none other than William Wallace...of course.
He finished too! Way to go babe!
Pop and Daddy worked tirelessly on our new swingset!
And finished the fort! It's awesome!
We had a birthday party for the girls that was a great time. Charleigh turned 2 and is in all kinds of love with Mickey Mouse.
The same day Charleigh turned two, was also a very horrible day. Philip died of a massive and incredibly sudden and unexpected heart attack. The rest of the year from this point forward just seems a little blurry and a lot sad.
However, with kids, life doesn't just stop and only a few short days later, my baby girl turned 5 and needed it to be celebrated. So we did.
Her love of horses was heightened and experienced a new level as she rode Doc for an HOUR. Even though it was freezing cold that day, she would have ridden till the horse collapsed if we'd let her. She loved every minute.
We celebrated Thanksgiving week with my brother, sister and my family. It was a good time to be with family, as more than ever that is what my heart needed to heal...time and family.
And then it was December. Celebrating Christmas this year was so different than ever before. Remembering and celebrating the birth of our Savior was good, but knowing it was another first without Pop was very sobering.
The kids loved helping decorate the tree and they played hard with our many Nativity sets. They are all doing better now, but Jackson has dealt with losing Pop the hardest of the three, both because he is more aware of things and because he is my compassionate and tender hearted little guy. He misses his Pop very much.
I am not one for change. However, besides our first year of marriage in 2003, there hasn't been a year that's even come close to this year with all the changes that took place. We all survived it and grew and learned and matured, but I am hoping for a little bit less of "change" this coming year of 2012. It's been a long and hard year, but of course, looking through pictures and posting here has reminded me yet again, that woven within the growing and painful times/things, there is God! He is with me. He leads me. He guides me and holds me. He laces life with blessings all along the way. I have so much to be thankful for. And I am thankful. I am hopeful, too. Hope is such a powerful weapon. Hoping for another year of life and memories!