A Picture a Month: Favorite Family Memories 2011

Today, Tom and I did a quick scan of our pictures from the year and picked out a single photo from each month to represent a favorite memory. It was really fun to recap our year and dig out all the best parts to share with you. We’ve been having internet problems so hopefully you can handle still handle year end posts on January 4! 🙂

JANUARY was really special for us because Tom’s parents came to visit. One of the most precious things in my life is seeing my kids with our parents, so this was a major highlight. We have the best memories of Chiang Rai mountains, cool/foggy weather, incredible flower gardens, and coffee trees. I love this picture of the Grandpa, Silas and Tom almost blowing away from a mountaintop in Chiang Rai. Tom also made a trip to Laos with the business group to investigate opportunities for a foundation.

FEBRUARY.  Miss Eliza was in a parade at her school. We were so blessed this year that both Eliza and Silas had extremely positive school years. Eliza is ready and happy to go to school every day and we are so glad! I hope our upcoming year of homeschool goes so well! Claire also had a standout 8th birthday with her guinea pig pet  and riding a horseback riding lesson.

MARCH.  This year was a big year of travel for us- both for work and vacation. We feel really  lucky for all the new experiences this year brought, even if we would avoid all the visa trips if we could. We saw how God used those trips and turned them into something good. Here, Silas is excited to make the train trip from Laos to Bangkok.

APRIL.  The girls most favorite Thai holiday of the year…Thai New Year/Songkran.  The water fights were as fun as ever and a good way to cool down during another scorching hot season.

MAY. Our favorite part of this entire year was our trip to Morocco.  It  makes my heart happy to think about our girls spending time with their cousins (here in a market in Rabat), the sister time I had with Carmen and all the incredible adventures we had.  We fell in love with the color/culture/food/beauty of Morocco in spring. Eliza celebrated a memorable sixth birthday with a carriage ride and rooftop party.

JUNE.  June was a month we mainly stayed home. We love our city and even though we’ve traveled a lot this year, we’ll always happy to come home.  We went to the art museum for my 35th birthday  and spent a lot of time getting the foundation set up and teaching.

JULY.  We said good-bye to our wonderful Reach team. We have lots of good memories of meetings with lots of friends like this at our house and office throughout the year. We have so many wonderful people in our life!

AUGUST.  A wonderful reunion with my sisters and other family  in Virginia. It was a jetlagged and activity packed whirlwind but also wonderful and full of great memories. It was perfect to see my youngest brother, Dietrich marry the lovely Abbey on a rainy and happy day in early September! Silas had a happy 3rd birthday, celebrated at the aquarium.

SEPTEMBER.  Claire participated and helped to M.C. her school’s English Program Grand Show. We are so proud of the way she’s worked really hard at all her tough subjects this year and really shone as a friend of Jesus even when times were not easy. We have tentatively made the decision to home school her this coming year and we all feel at peace about that decision.

OCTOBER.  More travels.  I went to Laos again for my visa and Tom headed to Indonesia for an Anabaptist conference. He came back inspired by all the faith stories he heard from Africa and Indonesia and was encouraged by all the brothers/sisters there. It’s not easy to be apart so much but God gave us the grace to do it. We had a wonderful team retreat and felt like it was a great time of learning and regrouping as a team.

NOVEMBER.  To Laos, yet again! We are beginning to believe that Laos is our second home and that God has been mysteriously calling us back there over and over for a purpose! We are praying about spending even more of our time there in the upcoming year.  Silas and the goats is my favorite picture from the his trip there with Tom.

DECEMBER.  A wonderful month of celebration and family time. If you’ve been reading this blog, you’re all caught up on our Christmas. One of my favorite parts was how joyful and excited the kids were and how generous they were about  creating and choosing gifts for others.

There were some really difficult parts of 2011, along with these highlights. In many ways, it’s been a rollercoaster year of travel, instability and change, and challenge. As we mentioned, Claire has had many challenges at school which added a lot of stress to our lives. In October we were extremely saddened to learn that our friend and teammate Efrain had leukemia and needed to return to Nicaragua. We also had a lot of stress relating to the beginning and ending of the foundation and all the government interactions were difficult and stressful ones.  Sometimes  it’s tempting to ask God to smooth out these difficult parts and just let our lives be easier. I find myself hoping that 2012 might be a more “calm” and “stable” year…but I look back and see that He was working and that he did a lot of wonderful things in our lives and provided abundantly for our protection, opportunity,  growth, connections, and happiness! We trust Him to do the same in 2012 even while we anticipate another action packed year full of travel and transition.
He is good and He takes care of his children!

Happy New Year!

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3 thoughts on “A Picture a Month: Favorite Family Memories 2011

  1. Aunt A says:

    Thanks for the re-cap–what a great way to review the year and see what God has been doing!

  2. Brittany Nisly says:

    Thanks for sharing! It is so easy to ask God to make things easy, stable and calm but His ways are always higher and better than our own.

  3. Melinda says:

    I loved looking through the pictures of your year. What amazing experiences/memories you have! Love you all and miss your fun faces! Melinda

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