I cannot believe that as of the beginning of this month, Jonah and Noah are no longer in the kids' ministry department of our church. Sixth grade is when they move to youth and with this initiation into youth comes preview weekend. It's a mini one night retreat where the kids are separated and put into homes to spend the night. Todd and I were one of the sixth grade host homes. Before that part of the night began, they had dinner and a pool party.
Drew was loving all over Abbey because he soaked her with pool water. And we took the phones away from the kids as they walked in. :)
It was a fun weekend.
School started for the public school kids that first week in August, then we started the next week.
Drew got his first paycheck and Graham celebrated his first year anniversary of working at Chick Fil A.
We did another ministry project in Memphis, this time for a church who puts on a carnival type festival for the neighborhood kids. It was a great day of fellowship with these precious children, and ministering to some older teenagers and parents. And before heading home, Graham asked if we could go see his friend from the summer, D'Korian.
Toddley and I had a date night at my favorite restaurant, thanks to all of our kids being gone at the same time.
I was selected as a volunteer for Lifeway to work at the Beth Moore Living Proof Live event and had an amazing weekend. By myself. I was hesitant to go alone, but because I had nobody with me and no distractions, I was able to fully focus on what God had for me that weekend. It was amazing and the best few hours of my life. And just a funny about that weekend, when she was walking by, she reached down to hug me, and my hand got stuck in her shirt. Clumsy girl problems. I was afraid I was going to rip her sleeve!
After that ended, later that day we went to a baseball game on what was, quite possibly, the hottest day of the year. It was miserable.
We started back to our homeschool classes and we celebrated my sweet mom's seventieth birthday.
It was a busy and awesome month.
Finally~vacation month! This was our year to go back to Branson, and as always, we had a great time. The weekend before we left, we had these kiddos over to watch a movie (that they never watched) and ended up having a dance party instead.
And then we left for vacation.
It was an awesome week. Any time away from home is fun and refreshing.
Jonah learned that dishwashing detergent is not all the same thing as dishwashing soap.
And on the last weekend of the month, my mom and sister and I went to Nashville for the weekend to see my sister Debi, who was there from Colorado.
Toddley and I celebrated number eighteen. We have now been together for more years than we have not. That is a strange thing.
During fall break, we watched scary movies with some friends and went to the zoo with our youth. Along with every other kid in Memphis.
I was selected for the second time in a few months, to be a part of Lifeway's ministry launch team for another Bible study. The first was a Beth Moore study on 1 and 2 Thessalonians and this time the study was by Kelly Minter, on first, second and third John.
We did youth things again.
And I made lists and lists and lists of things to take for a gigantic camping trip with an enormous group of people. It was probably the most fun we have ever had on a camping trip, to date. We went to Petit Jean in Arkansas and spent three nights and four days there. It was fun, though it was a little hotter than I like.
We got to see some old friends who were passing through while itenerating for a move to Africa.
And Halloween happened.
We got a new (partial) section of fence! My mom and I celebrated the beginning of the holidays by getting our first Starbucks of the season. And a friend and I went to lunch and got all excited when we saw men hanging lights for Christmas on the square. We adore Christmas!
The next weekend we had a girls youth retreat. And afterward, I could have slept for forty eight straight hours. I was exhausted, but it was so worth it.
Graham and Drew met the CEO of Chick Fil A!
And I pulled out the Christmas books.
We helped my dad hang his outdoor Christmas lights again. The more we do this, the better we become at it. We love being able to help him out and always have so much fun together.
And all of a sudden, Thanksgiving was here!
Perhaps the most favorite of Thanksgiving activities is going out in the back forty to shoot guns after the massive meal. We saw my sister and niece and her boyfriend and enjoyed an afternoon together. It was really nice.
And finally~my favorite part of the year started~the time to deck the halls!
The day after Thanksgiving, every year, is spent with my dad. We look forward to seeing his Christmas lights and then we eat and go to Zoo Lights.
And so begins another fun week. We went to our town square for the tree lighting service and the parade would have been that Friday night, but it was canceled because of rain. :(
I discovered that I cannot take my children anywhere.
And we celebrated Big Daddy's birthday. :)
The day after Bill's birthday was one of the worst days of my life. It didn't directly affect me, but someone I am in close contact with. Jonah's and Noah's best friend's mom died unexpectedly. We stopped our entire week and everything just kind of came to a halt, as we spent the whole week with Alex. I wanted the boys to be there for him, in case he needed them, and he did. I don't regret doing that for one second. Sometimes things in life cannot be learned in school books. Sometimes they need to experience life and all of its ups and downs.
We said hello to the last week before Christmas. We finished shopping one day when the school work was finished, and of course, the boys all posed for my camera.
We celebrated Christmas with my husband's parents that Saturday.
And we made goodies.
The sheriff's department had a Christmas get together and Jonah was in his happy place.
And the Monday of Christmas week, I hosted my Bible Fellowship girls for a party.
Graham joined in on the fun. :)
Christmas eve and day came and went, very full of gratitude and thankfulness and joyous moments.
I love these moments.
I got to see my best friend again and we celebrated Todd turning thirty eight. Finally.
And then, on a day I would like to forget, I hit the car of my sweet friend Abbey.
Today I didn't get any pictures, but I spent time with my mom and then my family came home! It was so good to see them again. And tonight we celebrated (not really) by having a bunch of teenagers come over. Supposedly to watch a movie, but I think they played games and had a dance party instead.
It has been an amazing year, one full of many (many, many) ups and downs (mostly not written about and some that nobody knows about, but us and God), but through it all God has been good. He has been faithful. I've enjoyed so much, going back over all these pictures and old Facebook posts. It makes me excited to start 2015. I love the new and freshness of the start of a year. I am actually making goals to work toward this year, but I will write about that in a few days. If I don't write again before Thursday, I hope you have fun ringing in 2015. I pray you make wise decisions about how you spend tomorrow night, and who you spend the night with, and I pray that in the midst of the celebrating, that you find the time to thank God for the past year. If you are alive and breathing, then He has been good to you.
Thanks for reading this crazy long post! I had too many pictures I wanted to document. :) Love to all and happy new year (almost)!