Thursday, January 1, 2015

So long, 2014's like taking that first step into freshly fallen snow, or cracking open the spine of a new book. Endings always make me sad, but beginnings are fun! 2015 is such a nice number, isn't it? I like it.

The past year of our lives was pretty spectacular, I have to say. I honestly have no clue how we are going to top it - a banner year. It did not come without it's share of heartache and trouble. Some of that I have never even shared here and don't honestly intend to. Not entirely our story to tell. But for the five of us - Eric, me, Evelyn, Grace, and Reagan I have to say that we were very, very blessed in 2014.

Eric started the year with the opportunity to travel to Haiti with The Pitch. It was a life-changing experience for him, and I would be shocked if he didn't spend part of his 2015 there. He's been trying to get back ever since. We continue to support The Pitch back home, but I know he wants to see some of those kiddos again!

Eric was also asked to speak at various engagements this year and was featured in some promotional materials for the school of business at SIU-E. (Oh my gosh, ask him about that some time, haha.)

I am so proud of the work that he has done, including his advancements and promotions at work. In 2015 he will FINISH his Master's degree and also earn his CFP certification. These are goals that Eric has been working on for several years, and it's one of the reasons he couldn't wait for this year to come. It's going to be a big one for him. :) And hello - no more night classes! Hallelujah!

March 7, 2014 was a historic day for our was the day we changed our family tree.

That morning our family gathered around and hit "submit" on our very last student loan payment. We had spent the first five-and-a-half years of our marriage paying off over $80,000 in debt. Holy moly, what could we have done with that extra $80,000?! Haha. It's something we hope our children will never have to ask themselves. (Student loans are the devil, kids. Go to in-state public schools, for real!!)

A month later, we traveled to Nashville, TN to do our debt free scream on the Dave Ramsey show. The whole experience seems surreal now. It was something we had only ever talked and dreamed about, and 2014 saw it happen. Pinch. Me.

Evelyn graduated from preschool, a bona fide genius...or so they tell me. ;) They sure as heck weren't letting her stick around for another year as we had planned. It was off to Kindergarten for this girl!

At the start of summer we were hit with a roller coaster of emotions as we thought we were experiencing a miscarriage. It would be our second loss in less than eight months. While I do think we lost one precious baby, it turned out that another hung on and we were super blessed to discover that we WERE still expecting!!

Later of course we learned that baby was a girl, and we gave her a name. I can't wait for Charlotte to join our family this year, and neither can the rest of the crew. As Gracie would say, "I can't wait to meet Chaw-let Wose!"

Speaking of summer ended we sent TWO of our children bouncing off to school. Grace fulfilled one of her personal goals in becoming a preschooler. :) And Evelyn began attending a full day Kindergarten program. This is some big stuff for the young ones in our crew!

We were already having a great year, but for the ENORMOUS cherry on my sundae, I finally...after years and years of to go to DISNEY WORLD!! I still can't get over what a great vacation that was. I mean, I knew it would be. But it was, it really was. I'm pretty sure that made my LIFE, so I can just cease to exist now. Haha.

There were so many other wonderful things...holidays, birthdays, amazing family memories...all sprinkled in amongst some of the "bigger" events. I'll never forget my sister coming home from her military service to surprise my mom, or some of the reunions we've had with old friends.

We will also never forget those that we lost this year, particularly our Grandpa Robert. I know that so many of our friends had some great losses in their families this year, and we continue to pray for peace and comfort in those families.

2014 was definitely the year for met goals in our house. Dreams came true. I don't care how cheesy that sounds, it's the truth! Eric keeps telling me that 2015 is going to be even better, and I still can't figure out how that's going to be. :) But hey, I won't complain if it is! 

If there is one lesson I have learned in my life thus far, it's not to plan too much for anything...and that's saying something coming from an OCD planner. But I've shared time and time again about how some of our very best laid plans have gone awry in the past. At the time it can be disappointing, but in retrospect you can often see how things work out for the best. So going into 2015, I'm trying to remain intentional with our goals, all while leaning on God to direct our paths in each decision we make. At some point I learned to "just surrender, sister, it's not going to go the way you think, anyway." :) So I will leave you with this verse for the New Year:

Many are the plans in a person's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:21

Happy New Year!

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