Thursday, January 1, 2015

1,000 Gifts // 2014 in Review

....For all Your goodness I will keep on singing...

Two thousand and fourteen. So much goodness. So much grace. So many gifts.

I always have a hard time writing these yearly recaps. How to sum up three hundred and sixty five days in a few short paragraphs? 

It started off by answering the call of the mountains. Packing up coolers and cars, and a through-the- night drive to Colorado. Skiing down real mountains, inhaling mountain air, being filled with wonder at the majesty of creation, feeling small. Then it was home for a few weeks and then back to Colorado. Attending World Changers Summit. Seeing old friends, meeting new ones. One of the most practical/encouraging conferences I've attended. Sessions on finances, business coaching sessions, learning how to influence culture. Being challenged to "let God interrupt your day...after all He made it anyway". Oh and then there was Florida. A much needed respite from the frigid Minnesota Winter. 10 days listening to the surf crash against the sand, contemplating about in wonder, the God who tells them "This far you may come and no farther. And here your proud waves must stop." A brother who flew down to surprise my parents, and late night games of cribbage. Florida spaghetti, brilliant sunsets, early morning trips to Spring Training, and oh yeah, the famous photo with Joe Mauer. There were ordinary days, working at the hospital, getting to photograph precious little babies. Ordinary days spending time with my nanny family. How immensely blessed I am to work for people who have become like a second family to me. Ordinary days at home reading with little girls, having lunch and running errands with mom, celebrating birthdays, watching a movie or playing a game after Sunday night dinners. Ordinary days getting to work with extraordinary clients, and then ordinary nights spent at my computer editing. There was a sad goodbye to the best little puppy. How happy Mospy had made our childhood days. There were weddings on top of weddings. Some of my dearest friends starting their happily ever afters and letting me be part of their special days. There was the new puppy, Ruby. A furry little bear of a dog; life is just better with a dog. There was the Color Run, a brother coming home, summer days spent at the lake tubing, water skiing, and enjoying life. The annual camping trip to Itasca with two girlies this year instead of just one. Bluegrass music, pancake breakfast, s'mores around the campfire. So many memories. Then one of the highlights of my summer: a trip to Bearing Precious Seed El Paso. I don't think I'll ever tire of watching those big brown eyes attentively watching the chalk talks or the little hands clapping in delight at the puppet shows. There were softball tournaments and coffee dates with friends and family gatherings.

And then my brother and I hopped the pond. The long planned for, much longer dreamed about adventure in Europe. 17 days. England. France. Iceland. History. Architecture. Natural beauty. Exploring Bath of Jane Austen fame. Navigating subways, trains, taxis, buses, coaches. London. Baker Street. Touring Buckingham Palace. Churchill War Rooms. Big Ben. Listening to music from "Oliver" and "My Fair Lady" in the hostel at night. Westminster Abbey. Windsor Castle. Eating dinner in the Rabbit Room at the Eagle and the Child. Emerging from the Paris underground station and seeing the Eiffel Tower all lit up. French pastries. Touring Normandy. Standing on Omaha Beach. Visiting the American Cemetery. Standing on American soil in a foreign country, wishing I knew more about the men who sacrificed for my freedom. A drive through the French countryside. Seeing the American flag flying in the little town of Bayeux. On to Iceland. A harsh country, full of rugged beauty. Waterfalls. Geysers. Swimming in the Blue Lagoon. Icelandic ponies by the side of the road. Detouring for some ice cream. Spending our last night abroad in the middle of nowhere watching northern lights dance through the sky. What. A. Trip. 

And then it was back to normal life. Work. School portraits. Family gatherings. Birthdays to celebrate. Then back on a plane. Off to Ohio for the Passion4Christ Summit. Reuniting with dear friends. Meeting new ones. Seeking God together. Being challenged to see Him for who He is, not who I want Him to be. Kayaking. Volleyball. Campfire stories. Voices raised in song. Then there were nights spent rock climbing. Celebrating my 24th birthday. Midnight movie premieres with cousins. The annual ginger bread house decorating with the girls. Then there was the trip to Colorado. On a mountain top. Finishing out the year where I started it. Skiing down real mountains, inhaling mountain air, being filled with wonder at the majesty of creation, feeling small.

Sometimes it's good to realize how small I am. It's a big world out there, and I'm not the center of it. There is a good God sitting on His throne, weaving everything - the good times and the bad, the happy moments and the sad ones, the days you wish you could relive, and the ones you'd rather forget- He's weaving them all together for our good and His glory. Now that is goodness worth singing about. 

2866. Big snowflakes falling
2867. Warm cereal
2870. Warm sweaters
2871. {Psalm 49:15}
2872. {She's with Me}
2873. Christmas lights
2874. "He comes to make His blessings known, far as the curse is found"
2875. A quiet afternoon
2876. HOPE
2877. Handmade treasures from the little people in my life
2878. Finishing editing my last photo session of the year
2879. Trimming the tree
2880. The whole family together
2881. The little girls reaction to seeing Dan for the first time since he's been home
2882. Late night games
2883. Nightly Bible readings
2884. Hearing little voices in the next room in the morning
2885. Fixing little girls' hair
2886. A morning at Good Times Park
2887. Little people on Christmas vacation
2888. Apples for snacking
2889. An afternoon spent playing games
2890. Breakfast for dinner
2891. Brothers helping with the dishes
2892. The Christmas town all lit up
2893. Candles in the windows
2894. Presents under the tree
2896. {Mary's Song}
2897. Watching the Nativity Story
2898. "A Messiah for the lowest of men to the highest of kings"
2900. Christmas music ringing throughout the house
2901. Holding little people's hands
2902. "All your hopes and fears are met in Him tonight"
2903. Celebrating Christmas with my nanny family
2904. Such a wonderful, generous family to work for
2905. An owl ornament on the tree from Grace and Luke
2906. Christmas cards in the mail
2907. "Merry Christmas" exchanged everywhere
2908. Cheap gas
2910. The traditional, Christmas Eve's Eve viewing of "It's A Wonderful Life"
2911. Not setting an alarm
2912. Sleeping in
2914. Working with mom in the kitchen
2915. Soup simmering on the stove
2916. Cookie trays assembled
2917. Quiet time by the Christmas tree
2918. "The Maker of all things is made of the earth..."
2919. Time spent laughing, playing games with my family
2920. A second viewing of "It's A Wonderful Life", because really, it is a wonderful life
2921. Christmas Eve spent with Dad's family
2922. Catching up with cousins
2923. Traditional game of Christmas Eve Clue
2924. Chicago-Mix popcorn
2925. New slippers
2928. Christmas morning
2929. God's Son come to earth - a gift too wonderful for words
2930. Christmas morning coffee in my little fox mug
2931. Christmas brunch
2932. The whole family in the living room listening to Dad read the Christmas story 
2933. Watching little girls rip off wrapping paper and open up boxes
2934. Squeals of delight 
2935. Watching Whitney dance around in her new Elsa dress
2936. "Cinnamon Challenges"
2937. A game of Spoons
2938. My ornament from Iceland hanging on the tree
2939. The whole family sitting around the table
2940. Playing games together
2941. A necklace from Mom and Dad - Hope anchors the soul
2942. Staying up late, making the most of Christmas vacation
2943. Merry Christmas messages from friends
2944. Snow the sparkles like glitter
2945. Day after Christmas Chipotle with mom
2946. Quick visits with old friends
2947. A tray of cookies to the police station
2948. A movie theater double header
2949. "Unbroken"
2951. Quimby Family Christmas
2952. Socks from Michelle
2953. Playing the Dice Game
2954. Staying up way too late...again...enjoying good company
2955. Listening to Eric Ludy
2856. A Gospel that offers us daily salvation 
2857. New photos of my sponsored girls
2859. Ice candles glowing on the steps
2860. Reading with Whitney
2861. Sitting around the table playing Uno
2862. Watching Charlie Brown Christmas with the girls
2863. "And that's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown"
2864. "Christmas comes but once a year, now it's here..."
2865. A God who guides the future as He has the past
2866. The mystery hidden throughout the ages -- Christ in you, the hope of glory
2867. Little girls dancing
2868. Sunshine and blue skies
2869. A heated bathroom floor
2870. A morning spent playing games
2871. Lightsaber duels with Luke
2872. Ella coming to work with me
2873. Christmas vacation
2874. Tacos
2875. {Our Compassionate High Priest}
2876. Mille Bornes with Mom and the Boys
2877. Warm mittens
2878. {I know whom I have believed}
2879. Mercies that are new with every sunrise
2880. {Emmanuel, God with us - I love the piano only version of this song, but couldn't find a video of it}
2881. Recounting a year
2882. New books to read
2883. Planning upcoming adventures
2884. {The Romans Doxology}
2885. Frost making patterns on the windows
2886. The moon shining down
2887. The Hobbit take two
2888. {This testimony}
2889. Tiny little baby hands
2890. And chubby little baby cheeks
2991. {A reminder as we start the new year}
2992. {This post about Mary's Song}
2993. Spur of the moment invites, and friends that say yes
2994. A picture from Ella to send to Suwanni in Thailand
2995. The house - all quiet and ready for company
2996. Long overdue visits with friends
2997. The New Year's Eve spread of snacks on the counter
2998. Mad Gabbing until midnight
2999. Ending a year surrounded by family and favorite friends
3000. All His goodness that keeps us singing

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