2010 has been full of adventure. There were many firsts, and even a few lasts, but every event has brought growth in our spirits and our family's relationships. I can truly say that it was the best, yet most challenging year I've probably ever had. The kids, Kelly and I have been abundantly blessed, and I'd love to fill you all in on what has been going on with our crew.
We brought in the new year with a celebration of life - or rather, finished up 2009! On December 23, my niece, Hailey Anne Quinn was born. Big sisters Molly and Emmalea were ecstatic, and my kids were equally excited. She was, and is, a joy to behold!
Connor and Chloe participated in Upward Basketball and Cheer again. And a first, Canon got to participate as well. I just have to say that my third born got his basketball skills from me...and for those of you who know me, you'll realize that's not a great thing! LOL! My friend, Dawn Proctor O'Connor, was his coach, and she truly had the patience of Job. As unskilled as he was, however, you couldn't find a more excited, enthusiastic, happy little guy on any of the teams. He brought an exuberance to the court that so many of the parents praised him for. As in every thing he does, he made Mommy very proud!
Connor is the natural athlete, an all around player valuable to his team in whatever position needs to be filled. He's not an allstar, but he's very consistent. Chloe is as enthusiastic about cheering as ever. She is a hoot to watch, that's for sure! And she is certainly the loudest on the squad - no surprise there! It was a great season!
In January, our church family was dealt a heavy blow when our senior pastor resigned. This year has been very trying in so many ways, but I've learned a lot about myself and others that is invaluable. Scotty has been a spritual father to me, and I'm forever grateful to him for the influence he's had on my family.
As our church family struggled, the children's ministry continued to "run the race". Kelly and I were serving there together, under our friend Rian Bess' leadership, along with our dear friends Jason and Stephanie Daniels. Our praise band added another member - a drummer, Jamie Brixey. We had so much fun playing together, and our ministry continued to grow and thrive even under all the pressure that was going on around us. We started a ministry/outreach called 3 Second, a Sunday night family worship experience, and other special events for the kids and their families.
We carried on the tradition of the annual Evergreen's Got Talent show, where the kids got to showcase their gifts and talents for the Lord. Chloe performed a worship dance to "Who am I?" by Casting Crowns, and Connor diplayed several pieces of his artwork. It was a great evening.
We found out in the spring that my cousin April's family would be moving to Germany. They had been living in Kentucky for the last few years, which was the closest they'd ever been. We had gotten used to seeing them every few months, and I really took for granted the ability to pick up the phone to visit with my cousin/sister! They came in for one last visit in the spring. We tried not to get too emotional, but even the kids got sad realizing how long 4 years was going to be. We packed a month's worth of activities into a 5 day visit, and we were building memories to carry us through!
We are still homeschooling, as well as attending Lighthouse Christian Academy on Tuesdays. What a privilege - and challenge - to teach my children. I know I learn more all time! I am so proud of these wonderful kids God has blessed us with! This was my second year to work on LCA's elementary musical. This year was a game show theme, "Parablelooza". And wonder of wonders, Connor auditioned! He is not one to enjoy the spotlight like his little sister, but he plucked up his courage and did it. He got a speaking part that was a memory verse, and he did great.
LCA brought another milestone this year: Canon graduated kindergarten! Oh, my, this one was a toughie for Mommy. They are all growing so fast, I can hardly seem to catch my breath some days!
We finished the school year in May, and we kicked off the summer in a big way. After YEARS of begging, pleading, and begging some more, Kelly finally conceded to take me - er, I mean the family ;) - to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida! Oh, happy day! It was a dream come true for all of us. I can't begin to tell you how many memories we made in that week, but I can tell you that I really believe that it is the most magical place on earth. It's been seven months, and still not a day goes by that even Caleb doesn't mention something we did at WDW. And he was only 2! Kelly was not as enthusiastic, to say the least, about taking us. He almost went, you could say, under protest. But before the second day was over, he was already mentally planning our next trip. Now that's what I call magical!
When we came home, it was time to face another change. Our friends Rian and Heather Bess, our children's pastors, were called to another church. Soon after, Jason and Steph felt led to join them. It's been a very difficult transition, and it broke all our hearts to see our time in ministry together end, but we are all learning to lean on the Father more than on each other. Praise the Lord for bringing these amazing people into our lives, they are irreplaceable to me. Our band has been blessed with opportunities to continue to play together, and I'm excited to see that continue in the year to come.
Needless to say, the summer just flew by, and it was time for school to start again. We switched curriculum this year, which has really been a big change for us. We don't know exactly if it's a great fit for our family yet, but that's the joy of what we do - we have options. We fit the necessities in, but then we have much freedom to explore and change and discover. Connor is in the 4th grade, Chloe is in 2nd and Canon is in 1st.
We've been on several field trips this year, and it has really helped to keep our batteries charged. My friends Christy, Leslie and I took all our kids (minus Caleb) to St Louis for an overnight field trip - oh, the fun we had! We took in the sights along the Mississippi River, we went to the Arch and museum, the St Louis Zoo, the Science Center and Planetarium, and Grant's Farm. The kids had so much fun, and (I hope) learned a lot about Missouri history.
2. We got a 2nd vehicle. No more begging and borrowing from my amazing mother in law - I'm a true blue minivan mama now! ;)
3. Chloe was a Lighthouse Chargers mascot again, and I coached the squad for the second year. It was so much fun. It is such a blessing to be a part of an organization that strives to put God first and takes the time to develop relationships with kids in order to show them the love of Jesus Christ.
4. Connor returned to his martial arts classes after a 9 month break. He has promised me to be more dedicated this time around, and I'm proud of his determination. He is currently a green belt, and he hopes to test for his next belt in the spring.
5. Canon is reading independently and doing wonderful in his school work. He just blesses my heart when I hear him sharing a book with his little brother, or when I find him off in a corner reading to himself. I'm so thankful that he's enjoying the fruits of his hard work.
6. Kelly is still working at City Utilities of Springfield. He has one more semester of college left, and he is really looking forward to having that behind him! He moved to a new shop on the east side of town this summer and it changed his shift to 4:30pm to 1:00 am. He likes the guys he works with and the challenges that come with the job. He's an amazing provider, and I thank the Lord for that every day.
7. Kelly took me to Eureka Springs in November for a weekend getaway. It was the first time since having kids that we'd gone away for so long. It was a beautiful setting - a secluded log cabin in the woods with no distractions. After all the craziness of the year, it was exactly what we both needed.
And before you could turn around, it was time to start the holiday festivities for 2010! I can't believe how quickly the year has flown by. I feel like we are constantly in a state of go, go, go. But I know these are the times we will cherish forever, and we HAVE to live in the moment before it's gone.
With all the changes we've gone through this year, I have to say that this month has probably brought the biggest of all. After nearly 13 years of serving at our church, Kelly and I have prayerfully decided that it is time to leave Evergreen. We have served there our entire married lives. We've raised our children there. Three of them have accepted Christ as savior and been baptized. We've made lifelong friends and grown closer to the Father. This was - and will continue to be - our family. I know change is hard (I don't know anyone who hates it more than I), but fighting against it is inevitable. For the first time in three years, I have a peace about moving on. I don't know what the Lord has in store, or where He would have us serve. But I know He's never failed us yet. I'm trusting Him to show us the way.
I pray this finds you all well. I'm thankful for 2010 and all the life lessons learned - even the terribly hard ones. And I'm anticipating that the Lord will show Himself to us in ways we never imagined in 2011. God bless you all!
Things we are looking forward to in 2011:
1. God will show us to our new church home
2. Connor and Chloe have parts in spring musical, "Everyday Heroes"
3. Canon hopes to start martial arts
4. Another trip to Disney World in May!