1.19.2015

one year - already and only

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in many ways, i cannot believe it was already one year ago today that the kids and i said goodbye to our charleston family (my mom, step-dad, siblings, my in-laws, my bff) to board a plane (kelly was making his way across the country state-by-state with what was left of our belongings) to come back home to where i grew up, to start seminary life and ministry in the Bay Area. in many other ways i can't believe it's only been a year. i know we've changed in this year, in ways we'll probably only realize a while from now. i feel a little more raw, a little more broken, a little bit unraveled, but i can't really put my finger on anything specific. instead of trying to figure out all the lessons of the year like a student of the King, i'm content with being His daughter. instead of asking or begging for why's and explanations like i would from a teacher, it's so much better to trust the Lord as my Father and Shepard (easier said than done). maybe this was the lesson all along, to let go of the lessons. very encouraged on this subject after reading a post about it here (thank you emily!).

the best storyline of this past year though, has been made of miracles. God's grace held onto us each day, our bills were payed, we ate more than just beans and rice, we were clothed, and well taken care of. so many friends gathered around us and supported us with prayers and generosity. we got to be a part of ministry here to see how the Lord is working in such a hard place (it is almost categorized by the North American Mission Board as an unreached people group!). and so, even after a hard year (much of which i have yet to process), i can say wholeheartedly that God is good. He never neglects His people.

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12.31.2014

2014 in Photos

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even in one of the hardest years, i know, without a doubt that HE is good - 
Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. - James 1 : 16 - 17


12.30.2014

20 things i've learned in 2014

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favorite photo of the year... too bad it's only an iPhone one!

so, in no particular order... here are the top 20 things i've learned in 2014 ~

1. our family of four can survive in a 650 sq. ft. campus apartment for almost a year! (not sure how much longer, though. haha!) related: i've survived without a dishwasher and disposal for 15 months. and also, without a washer + dryer for 11 months (man, will i be ever grateful to one day get those back... i will never complain about dishes or laundry again. ; )

2. friday night lights. i finally got committed and thoroughly enjoyed it. i only have a few episodes left (tears) but it literally got me through hours upon hours of photo processing.

3. jesus' glorification is tied to his death (john 13:31-32 and isaiah 49:3). i guess i have always known this in a way, but in a year that has felt so hard, it has more meaning to me.

4. sadness and lament are good, normal, and necessary. (the psalms)

5. it feels especially good + special when your team wins the world series while living just a few miles away from their field.

6. after having to go to assigned clinics for healthcare in the not-so-good parts of town, my eyes have been opened. driving around those parts is a reality check, and really sad... there's not a clear or easy way out. the deck is stacked against you. i am not better than them, i just happen to live in a different neighborhood with nicer libraries, schools, everything. (major blog post coming... still haven't gathered all my thoughts on it).

7. homeschooling is hard. but in a lot of ways, i kind of think it's harder to send your kids to school. based on the needs of our kids and the personality of our family, i don't envision homeschooling beyond this year. (also a lot of thoughts to gather here!)

8. i really miss having a dog. i never thought those words would come out of my mouth.

9. audio books are THE BEST for running. life changed.

10. fiction books do something so good for my creativity. (like this one, and this one)

11. reading too many parenting books makes me crazy. except this one - the concept is biblical and full of grace.

12. best spiritual book i've read this year: Comforts from Romans. it's completely cross-centered and helps you focus less on yourself. which, i need a lot of help with.

13. i love learning about different cultures. we live in such a diverse place, go to a church with 29+ different nationalities in san francisco and it is so fascinating to me. this show (on netflix) is incredibly interesting and eye opening.

14. i LOVE curry. related: i recently tried whole foods curried chicken salad and it's incredible.

15. my husband is so smart. i mean, i've always known that, but he is seriously book smart too. 4.0 in seminary this year! i'm so proud of him.

16. it's really difficult to move across country and try to settle/adapt, all while looking for jobs anywhere and everywhere. knowing a pending change in the future is coming (because the seminary is closing), makes it so strange to make a life in the temporary.

17. watching my son learn to play baseball (in the yard with daddy) is absolutely amazing.

18. i love folk music, mainly mandolin orange. my musician husband is proud/less embarrassed of me now. my musical taste has matured a lot since my n'sync loving days. (i still do love justin timberlake, fyi)

19. watching my girl have her first friendship is beautiful, especially since social things are really really hard for her because of social anxieties. i wish everyone could know her like we do - her crazy, funny, loud spirit - but it makes me all the more thankful seeing her be herself around a few other people now, too.

20. i learned an interesting way to read the Bible and to change my mind (people, i only learned this yesterday, but i'm excited about it!). my 2015 Bible reading is going to look a lot like this, Lord willing.

linking today with one of my favorites - emily @ chatting at the sky!
carissa graham. All rights reserved. © Maira Gall.