{2017.in.review & a.glimpse.into.2018}

1 year ... 12 months ... 52 weeks ... 365 days ... 8,760 hours ... 525,600 minutes ... 31,536,000 seconds ... 1 year!

At the beginning of 2017, we didn't know what the next 365 days held for us except the "time" that they represented! 

On January 1, 2017, I was working from home, selling LuLaRoe, Rick was enjoying and still settling into retirement, he and I were continuing to navigate our still "new-ish" marriage, getting to know each other better each day and learning how best to "do life" together. We were adjusting to an empty nest as the kids were all grown up and settling into their own "life routines".

The year  progressed with many changes ... 

I left LuLaRoe & joined up with another direct sales company before feeling very strongly that God was telling me that was not the path He had for me! Rick continued his ongoing love to learn and has spent hours studying {quantum physics, health & the Bible}, researching and growing in knowledge. His beard has grown right along with him ... allowing him to be called Santa several times this last month! 

Here is Rick, his beard and 3 of our "critters"; Smoke, Gretchen & Graycie ... we have 2 more dogs Bentley & Sterling & 3 cats Patch (aka "Grandpa Cat"), Darcy & Smudge of our own and are pet-sitting our fur babies, a cat named Doughnut & a Chinchilla Yugi (aka "Pig).

Tessa & Andrew settled into life as a newly married couple having been married on New Year's Eve 2016, Taya & Justin planned for their October 2017 wedding, took a mission trip {along with Kajsa} to Slovakia, bought their first home, got married and adopted a dog! Prior to going to Slovakia, Kajsa graduated from high school, finishing a semester before her classmates and moving to Georgia in February, where she worked until the Slovakia trip and then enrolling in the "Gap" year program Off the Wall and moved to Ohio for a year {or more} of Bible training.  We were blessed to get to visist with Ricky, Sarah & their sweet Emersyn this December and catch up on their busy lives with a precious toddler! They have such a beautiful family! Deiter moved back to the area from Green Bay and is working as the best server at the Landing Restaurant while he decides which life-path he wants to pursue next {so many options, so little money!} and Bryce got his own apartment in Green Bay to continue his education while he decides on what comes next in his life.

Whew, that makes me tired just writing about it all and it's just a portion of all the year held!

As if that isn't enough, at the beginning of November, after some phone calls and Facebook messages, Rick & I felt that it was time for a visit to his Mama {& family} in Florida as his mom had some health issues earlier in the fall. So, on my birthday, November 18, with just 5 days advance notice we packed our car with enough clothes to cover 3 seasons {summer, fall and winter} and began a journey that ended up lasting 38 days, taking us into 11 states with temperatures that ranged from 80 + to below 0! We saw and re-connected with several of Rick's siblings and helped out with his mom, spent some time at the beach, and explored several different areas of the country! Rick also surprised me with my first ever trip to Disney! It was a very good time of growth in our relationship with each other, and we saw God clearly at work ... I guess that happens when you spend 38 days 24/7 with someone! 

Here is the map our our journey which amazingly allowed us time with all 6 of our kids, parents, step parents, siblings, step siblings, friends and more! 

All of this rambling to say ... at the beginning of 2017, we had no idea what was in store for us over the course of the 365 days to come, just as we don't know what the next 365 days will hold. Not every day was sunshine and roses, life is hard, marriage is difficult, parenting brings joy and challenges {even when they are adult children}. We watch our parents getting older and facing health issues from time to time. I don't want you to read this thinking our life is "charmed" and only good has come our way, but I choose to look for the blessings of each day and to be grateful for what is given to me from the Hand of God!  We may have our own ideas s for what we would like to see happen in 2018, and will work towards goals and dreams, but we will do so knowing that God is in control of each day that is gifted to us.  

Come joy or sorrow, "adventure" or the "normalcy" of every day, wealth or need, we know without a doubt as we we enter into 2018, we do so holding tightly to His hand ... because we believe in the words of Jeremiah 29:11!

I'm not going to make "resolutions" this year; according to one study, nearly 80% of those fail by February! I do however, with God's help want to complete some projects I've begun, blog more {starting with a study through Psalm 139} and read {again} through the Bible and some other books on my reading list. I want to love well, laugh more, and serve others better than I have in the past!

Won't you join me this year? I'd love to have you along for the ride! 

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