Usually at the end of a year, I do a year in review type post, but I thought I'd do something different for this year.
I know this was such a rough year for so many, and even for my family, it's been chock full of ups and downs. We've had health scares with ourselves and other family members, we've had money problems, car problems, house problems and just junk in general. But way more than the bad, the good has outweighed it all. We've been very fortunate. We have our health, we have a husband and father who work so hard to provide for us. We have family. We have friends. More than that? We have hope in Jesus Christ.
And because of Him, and the salvation that He alone brings, we have everything we could ever need.
And thus, this post. We were so honored to be able to go on a family mission trip this year. By far, this was my most favorite thing of the entire year. I've never been so far west, and the sights, the sounds, the smells, the culture of it all was amazing. Even better than all those things was the fact that we were able to go with a group of people and share with the Navajo nation the love and hope of Jesus.
We knew some of the people who went, and we met a bunch more, most of which I now consider family.
Here are some of the highlights from the trip.
There is not much in life that beats seeing my kids serve others. Noah loved pushing the kids on the swingset.
This tree? It provided refuge from the sun that beat down on us each day.
One of the nights we were there, during the time while we were all sleeping, a bunch of men in a pickup truck showed up outside the gates of the property we were on, and were chanting and beating drums to try to intimidate us. So many of the people were fearful of what could happen for the remainder of the time we were there, but my Graham got up and shared with us a passage out of Joshua. After he did this, the missionary there came up to Todd and asked him if he had answered that call to ministry yet that God obviously had on Graham's life.
We might have cried a tiny bit.
I have never been so proud of this young man.
The newest honorary Goodwin, Marissa (on the right) and Abbey and me.
If you don't wear hats and glasses there everyday, you will die. (Not really, but that wind is something fierce and you need eyeball protection.)
Jonah and Noah helped out with recreation everyday.
Graham helped out with the third and fourth graders, and I think Drew had the same group.
Todd did recreation with a friend from church and I taught preschool and helped with the opening and closing ceremonies everyday. We held Bible school for all ages, three through a hundred. We served dinner each night and got to eat with the Navajo people. It was awesome.
This was our eating area...here it was in the shade, but usually it was in full sunlight.
The Arizona sun is something to behold.
Tent city! Otherwise known as where every slept for the seven nights we were there...except for me, I slept in the camper of my friend Cathy and her husband Carl. I told them when we were leaving that we were the new kind of friends...we'd heard each other snore, and I fell asleep in the middle of our conversations every night because of sheer exhaustion. I've never felt so spent in my life, but each night, I had nothing left.
Marissa the new and honorary Goodwin. In the middle of our crazies.
I loved being with all the teenagers each day!
My sweet little kiddos that I taught each afternoon.
I've never been so dirty in my life, than while I was here on the Navajo reservation. The wind and that dust blew all over everything, and I promise, occasionally, traces of that reddish dirt can be found in our house or in the garage.
I've never experienced sun like that.
I've never experienced such extreme changes of temperatures. In the sun, it was hotter than Hades. In the shade it was thirty degrees cooler. I carried my sweatshirt everywhere because I was always getting hot or getting cold.
This trip was amazing! If you ever get an opportunity to serve like this with your family, do it. I cannot recommend that enough.
The second part of this post that I loved about this year and am eternally grateful for is the fact that my husband and I were able to take a second honeymoon for our twentieth wedding anniversary.
He had some training in New York and I tagged along. His schooling lasted two days, and the other four days we spent being tourists.
On the Sunday we were there, he took me to the Brooklyn Tabernacle for church. We toured Brooklyn and upper Manhattan the rest of the day.
The streets were something straight out of You've Got Mail and I loved walking them.
I loved seeing the ice skaters at Rockefeller Plaza.
My man rocks the subway system. I just sat back and let him tell me when to get up. I even slept on the subway one particularly exhausting afternoon.
Carnegie Deli was amazing, as was their hot pastrami sandwich and Hershey's chocolate peanut butter pie.
Starbucks, phone charging, venti Cold Brews and people watching were all things that gave me added energy to get through the rest of our long days in the city.
Central Park and Bethesda Terrace was everything I thought it would be, and more, because we had a man entertaining us with his saxophone playing.
The memories will last a lifetime....along with this picture of us accidentally walking to the wrong part of Hudson river one afternoon.
I love all the buildings!
The city that never sleeps was much better on our voyage journey there the second time.
I am so thankful we were able to go on these trips...especially because 2015 was a very disappointing year and every trip that we had planned ended up having to be canceled.
I have already asked Todd for another trip together alone in 2017, and we are working on it. I have no idea when it will be or where we will go, but I am excited at the prospects that this and the new year brings.
As always, thank you for reading my blog. Happy New Year!