This has been the most challenging year of transitions for me and my family, but as I look back, I see so many bright spots, too. Here they are, by family member.
|At the Western Wall |
sacred temple site in Jerusalem
Mary and her husband Ryan traveled to Israel with their two little boys this fall and had a splendid adventure. She continues to work part-time as a writer for a PR firm and he is a police car mechanic.
Julia and her husband Alex announced that they are expecting their first baby, a son, in May. They both work for a restaurant equipment company. This summer, they led a church mission trip to Bolivia. They have also led several local outreaches to the homeless.
Rachel graduated from UCF’s nursing school, summa cum laude with Honors in the Major. As soon as she passed her licensing exam, she was immediately hired as an RN at Florida Hospital. She also moved into her first apartment.
Joanna spent a semester abroad at the University of Canberra in Australia, and traveled as much as she could, including to the Great Barrier Reef and New Zealand. She has returned to work as a Disney World photographer, and has been taking all of her brothers and sisters in for free in the past few weeks. She plans to graduate from UCF in December with a degree in Interpersonal Communications.
Lydia graduated from The Regent Academy and is now an art student at Seminole State, where even as a dual enrollment student, she won two awards in the juried art show last spring. She works for Chick-Fil-A.
Andrew started public high school after being home schooled. He’s one of only a dozen high school students in our area taking Russian – two credits in one year! He's over 6 feet tall now.
Micah started attending a private home/classroom hybrid school part-time and is taking several on-line courses. He’s an excellent photographer, and you’ll see some of his work in posts linked below.
|At chorus concert|
Naomi is our first child to ever go to public middle school. She’s especially enjoying chorus class, and her first concert was last month. She loves to bake and hang out with her friends.
Ben continued in public school and is a talented artist and all around funky kid. He’s intent on growing his hair out long again (like it is in this summer picture) and mastering PacMan on his vintage Gameboy.
Melody returned to public school after a year of home schooling. She just got her first pairs of glasses, and is as spunky and cuddly as ever. She makes up random songs and says, "I'm as cute as a polar bear!"
Thad works as a trust manager for a family member. He enjoys getting out into nature and working out at the Y.
|Six kids and I at Luray Caverns in June|
Family Travel: We’ve got some globetrotters in the family, but the rest of us did a bit of traveling, too. After selling our 15 passenger van and buying a mini-van this spring, I drove six of the kids to Maryland for a three week vacation, visiting with family and having all sorts of amazing adventures along the way. Unfortunately, only a few days after we arrived home, we heard the wrenching news that my sweet mother had passed away unexpectedly from surgical complications after several weeks in the hospital. I’m glad that my husband and I, all 10 of my kids, a son-in-law and one of my grandsons were able to make it up there for the memorial service. It was good to see so many relatives again, including my grandmother, who just turned 99.
Virginia (that's me!) Besides grieving for my mother, I’ve had other life transitions, including turning 50, handling assorted crises, being diagnosed with severe sleep apnea and low thyroid, leaving a home school co-op after several years, scrambling to register five kids in four different schools in a very short period of time, revamping my homemaking strategies, and returning to paid employment after over 26 years of full-time mothering and over 20 years of home schooling. I'm delighted to say that I love my job teaching language arts, American history, and world geography three days a week at a home/classroom hybrid school. Yes, it is quite a juggle mothering, running a home, and working as a teacher, but my Christian counselor strongly encouraged me to keep on writing and taking pictures, too! I’m grateful that blogging is a powerful way to reflect on life, maintain sanity, stay in touch with my family, and hopefully make a difference in the world.
Many of my fellow bloggers are doing “Best Posts of 2013” recaps, so here’s my shot at it. I couldn’t pick just 10, so would you settle for 30 that represent my year in prose, poetry, and pictures? At least I categorized them for you… :-)
- Moth (A Picture and a Poem)
- Sarah P. Duke Gardens in North Carolina
- Catch It While You Can (just a momentary sunset!)
- Hiking in Catoctin Mountain Park (Traveling North)
- Beside the Still Waters (Psalm 23 in photos)
Transitions & Tributes
- Briarpatch Birthday Brunch and Ten Thousand Villages
- Pilgrimage and Jubilee (a poem and reflections on turning 50)
- Graduation Week Festivities (Rachel)
- Art Show Pieces and Another Graduate! (Lydia)
- Visiting Great Grandmother
- Radiant Nurturer: Recent Photos of My Mother
- Sacramental (Big Words)
Hymns & Scriptures
- Let the Beauty of Jesus Be Seen in Me (most popular post in Strength in Hymn series)
- Sanctuary (Big Words, journal reflections)
- Who is the Proverbs 31 Woman? Not Me Yet!
- Bella Sophia: Lady Wisdom Sets Her Table (a poem)
Home & Health
- Kitchen Organization Ideas from a Mom of 10
- "The Blue Bowl" and Thoughts on Making a Home
- Decorating and Organizing Bathroom Areas on a Budget
- Comfort Food: Cherry Lemon Trifle (Gourmet with Dana)
- Homemaking (An Index to My Blogs)
- To the Hospital and Home Again (An Update)
- Hypothetical (Big Words)
- Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us (Strength in Hymn)
- Trust and Obey (Strength in Hymn)
Ministry, Leadership, and Character
- Vision Forum and Friends: Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus (most read 2013 post, with 4,500 page visits)
- Abuse Thrives in a Culture of Shame and Silence
- Power: What Price and Purpose?
- Homeless in the Suburbs
- Hudson Taylor, Missionary to China (With Links on Missions, Prayer, and Home Schooling)
- Honesty (A Mini-Unit Study)
Blog Series Started in 2013
- Traveling North (Virginia’s Life, Such As It Is)
- Strength in Hymn (Watch the Shepherd)
- Big Words (Come, Weary Moms)