Without a shadow of a doubt, I can share with you that my most life changing moments happen when I sit at the feet of Jesus and spend time with Him by praying, reading His word, and writing out passages of scripture. If there is one thing you resolve to do in 2020, make it spending time with Jesus. You will hear from Him each and every time, I promise. You won't ever regret spending time with Him. Make it your number one priority! I suggest having a plan for this, if for no other reason than just holding yourself accountable.
This piano was a gift to my mom, and is probably my most treasured thing that I own. I share it with my sister Trish, and we've both had it over the years, but I don't think I'll ever get rid of it. I love to sit here from time to time and pluck my way around new songs. I don't read music, but I can play by ear pretty decently. I remember on this night I was home alone and taught myself some of my favorite worship songs. I sat there and play probably for two solid hours, and sang and worshiped my sweet Jesus. He is so worthy.
I updated my little corner that I sit in for my quiet time, and had to document it to share. I use all those resources you see on that red cabinet, and it's when I'm sitting here in "my" spot (which is Noah's spot at the dinner table) that I talk to Jesus and read the Bible. (I'm about to change all of this, though. My sister Trish bought me a cute new thing I'm going to put here for my birthday.)
This is the daughter of one of my best friends, Abbey, and little Everly isn't so little anymore! I am writing this and thinking of how much I miss Abbey and Everly, and the newest addition to their family, Asher. I need to plan on getting over there to her ASAP to spend an afternoon. Sadly, it didn't happen in December, like I'd hoped.
What a milestone year for my youngest two. Jonah and Noah turned sixteen on March tenth, and drove off as I stood there all teary eyed and praying over them. It makes me teary to even write that! Time flies, and those sixteen years zipped right on by.
And the very next day, Graham turned twenty. I still can't believe how old they are.
We also celebrated two of the granddads in this month and they came over to eat dinner for the occasion. March is slightly chaotic for us Goodwins.
Drew hit his last year of being a teenager a mere few days after those birthday celebrations with Papa and Pappaw, and to celebrate him, I took him to Chili's, where he proceeded to eat all of his food, most of mine, and a whole piece of molten lava cake our waitress gave him for free. It was a good day. I remember this day, someone gave out his number to all their friends, and all these strangers were texting him happy birthday.
I had the privilege of helping lead worship at our spring women's conference at our church, and it was such a sweet two days spent together with like minded women. It's always a blessing to be at this event! We have one coming up soon again, and I'd love it if you'd come.
These sweet angels are a highlight of the year. Hearing them call me Jen is one of my greatest joys.
Reading more was a goal of mine for 2019, and it was a very successful year. I am currently reading book number fifty eight, and it'll be my last book of the year, most likely. I totally slacked and read nothing in all of November and December. I'm rolling my eyes at my own self.
I bought this lamp back in January with some Christmas money that I'd gotten that Christmas, and the day I decided to put all these rocks my boys have collected for me over the years was a light bulb moment kind of day for me. I love that they're all in one spot now, and I love looking at them! I've always said that someday I'm going to write a book about what being a mom to all boys has been like, and the title of it will have something to do with rocks. I love them so much, and I have LOVED being a boy mom!
These flowers were so beautiful that were at my mom-in-love's house this past spring and summer. They represent going and getting her and us swimming together during the warmer months.
See? We almost always had the pool to ourselves.
I spent two months in the summer in this boot. I fractured my foot for the second time in my life, and remember that I am deficient in vitamin D, so now I take this regularly everyday.
My husband and his partner Chris were both promoted this year with the sheriff's department, and I am so proud of him! We call Chris "work wife". He's a drama queen. ;)
You all know that I don't see movies in the theater, but occasionally I'll go and this one was my favorite! I loved Aladdin as a teenager, but this one blew me away. Missy and I were the last two people in the theater. We just kept sitting there and singing along with the music.
Speaking of Missy, this was another highlight of my year, going on a birthday trip for her to Bentonville, Arkansas. Missy's mom passed away in May, this was in June, around the fifth, and we thought we were going away for her to get away and rest after her mom dying. Little did we know that this trip was the quiet before a major storm, and that a short two weeks later, her last living sibling would die very shockingly and unexpectedly. God did that, as only He can in all of His goodness and providence, and this trip provided us with so much laughter. It would be a lifeline for her and for me both, as we walked that hard road together. If you think of Missy, pray for her. Grief is so strange, and hits at the most unusual times.
On a lighter note, I also got to see my beloved niece and great niece (and her husband, Mike) when they passed through town on their way out west.
That's sweet Claire with my boys. (Noah was at youth camp, and Todd was at home sick from dehydration from the day he had spent working with the sheriff's department.)
These lovebirds celebrated fifty years of marriage in August, and I planned and coordinated an anniversary party for them. My husband, mom, and sister Trish were a huge help to me on that actual day as I ran around like a chicken with my head cut off. It was an exhausting weekend.
My boys got to see their beloved first grade Sunday school teacher, Joanna Coscia that same weekend. She burst into tears when she saw them and told me she didn't want a picture of her with them while she was crying and carrying on, but we couldn't pass up the moment. Is she not absolutely precious? She reminds me so much of my Grandma Lloyd.
Also in this month, I got to celebrate my sweet mom's birthday! How fun that we were twinning on the day I took this picture? We laughed and laughed over this.
Just a few short days later in September, I celebrated Trish's birthday with Dad and Sandy at our favorite Mexican place. Mom and Bill were in Colorado with our family there, and she and I pretty much spent that weekend together. Again, with the quality time being my favorite.
My favorite man and I celebrated our twenty third anniversary on October fourth this year, and we went out a day early so he could work on that actual night. #reallife
We led worship at The Dwelling Place in Memphis in October, as well, and it was one of my favorite nights of all time. It's always such a privilege to be able to do this kind of thing, especially when it takes us outside our own church walls. My friend Tea and I rode together and were soaking wet upon getting into my car afterward in the torrential rain. It was a fun night, filled with laughter and worship.
Also in this month, I was invited to a private screening of NBC's (then) new show, Bluff City Law. I have no idea how my name was put onto such an exclusive guest list, but sure enough, when we got there, we had wrist bands with our names printed on them. (I had to email someone to tell her who I was bringing.) It was a fun, star studded night!
Again in this month, Drew started clinicals and back in August, started his first semester of nursing school.
In November, we got to see our sweet Marissa get married, and had a fun weekend as a family of six.
Beginning in the fall, all the renovations on our house finally started, and are still going strong. We had all the pipes replaced from the street to the house, we have all new and beautiful windows, we have new garage doors, and we will have all new vinyl siding, the kind with a lifetime warranty. My awesomely talented stepdad Bill and Jonah and Noah built this roof structure over the front porch (and will eventually do the same for the back), and when warmer weather hits this spring, they'll rebuild a low deck on the back of the house. I've been busy inside painting, but I took a break for Christmas and will start again next week sometime. I only have a small bit left in the downstairs, but I'm adding my kitchen into the mix.
Also in November, Noah had the trip of a lifetime, and traveled to L.A. with his best friend, his mom, and his aunt. They went all over the place while they were there and did so many fun things, but all of his dreams came true, and he came home with stories aplenty.
This year, I led small group twice for bible study at our church, and this is a small bunch of us as we celebrated sweet Kristen and her little baby girl who should be born any day. This was a fun night! It's a privilege to be able to lead a small group, and it's one I don't take lightly. We're starting round three of this in a couple of weeks.
Also this year, the Lord gave me an opportunity to work at my church with my friend and director of women's ministries, Amy. (I haven't worked since right before Thanksgiving, though, but plan on going back after the new year.) In saying yes to that, the Lord also opened up some doors for me to write. I wrote the first book of a series for young children that I thought of based upon the life of our dog Crash, and when I submitted it to some publishing companies, it turns out they wanted to publish it. I did not take them up on their offers, because they want too much money up front. I'm still getting phone calls about the book, but if the Lord wants to do something with that, He will provide a way and will make everything fall into place.
Additionally, I've started writing regularly for an online magazine for women called Tirzah Magazine. The latest thing God has opened up a door for is for a writing team at my church, and I am on it, along with a small handful of other godly, wise women. (But seriously, who am I, that God would give me such an opportunity? He is always so good!) We are meeting one day coming up in January, and plan on just talking, praying, and brainstorming for a whole day, if we need to, as we come up with a plan. Our first study will roll out in August of 2020, but it needs to be written first. If you think of us, will you pray for us? I know that they would all agree with me when I say that our deepest desire is to honor the name of Jesus, and that we desperately need the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us, and give us wisdom and insight as we write.
On a lighter note, this was the Christmas lights crew out at Dad's this year. Jonah and Noah were out of town, Graham was sick, and Drew got a free pass because it wouldn't have been fair for him to be the only one there helping if the others weren't. We outdid ourselves this year.
Our Fridays have continued, but they may look a little different in these coming days. Dad is pretty much down for the count, because of an issue with his back and the vertebrae being bone on bone. He is in constant pain right now, and cannot walk without the help of a walker like thing he uses in his house. Just last night he and Sandy and my sisters Trish, Terri, and Debi came over for dinner, and we gave him the one we borrowed from my dad-in-love that he can use when he's out in public. It's an actual walker and so much lighter than the one he uses in his house. If you think of him, will you pray for him? I am just asking the good Lord to help him have some relief from the constant pain. Also, pray for my stepmom Sandy, as her roll changes. I've made her promise to let me know of anything I can do to make her life easier in any way. She promised she would, so I'm going to hold her to it, but I know she could also use your prayers for endurance.
It breaks my heart to write all that, and it's not the easiest thing to see, but we are so grateful to God for all these wonderfully healthy years that Daddy has had, and still has possibly, with the exception of this back thing and pain. It's hard to see him like this, but we know that God is in control. He is still good, and we trust in Him and in His perfect plan.
The rest of the year is all about Christmas, and you've seen all the most recent pictures.
I have so very much to be thankful for. We have a beautiful home, we all have our health, we have good and dependable vehicles to drive, we have food to eat and clean water to drink, and most importantly, we have the love of the Lord. I am so grateful that all my sons know Him and love Him, even though that doesn't look quite like what I'd hoped. My prayer for them in this coming year is that their relationship with the Lord would be strengthened and grow, and that they would fully depend on Him as their cornerstone. I always pray that they would spend time with Jesus each and every day.
I am so thankful for my wonderful husband, and that he leads our family so well, with strength, and might, and with loads of integrity. He has taught our sons well, and I am so very grateful to him for that. I saw a saying a long time ago, that anyone could be a father to children, but that it takes a real man to be a Dad. I wholeheartedly agree with that statement, and the Lord gave me the best of the best, when it comes to being a dad to our sons.
The Lord keeps showing me, when it comes to marriage, that it grows and changes each year and with the growth and maturity of our sons. The older they all get and the more they grow up, the more the Lord shows me that just like it was just Todd and me at the very beginning, it's going to be just Todd and me again in these later years. Someday all the kids will be gone and out of our house, and if I don't work on our marriage more and focus more on US, the further apart Todd and I will grow. And that will not be the case, not for us. So my prayer is for us to focus more on us and our marriage this coming year. I would love to have lots and lots of random times together, just he and I, and I'd love for us to take a trip somewhere alone. I'll be over here busy and dreaming of that and making some plans. I don't need any place extravagant, either, I'd be happy with a short trip to somewhere just for a night or two. The main point is that I want it to just be the two of us, and that we get to spend precious time together.
Well, I think this is about as long as I can handle. If you're still here reading, thanks for coming along with me on my look back at this year. I know so many people who have had the worst year of their lives to date, and even though I've walked with some of them, it's not been that way for us in my own family. It's been hard from time to time, don't get me wrong, but overall, it's been more good than anything else. I'm thankful for 2019, and for the personal growth in my own relationship with the Lord. I grow closer to Him each year, and that is my continued hope.
I pray that for you, the Lord would keep you, bless you, and make His face shine upon you. I pray that you always find encouragement here on this little slice of internet, and that I always point you to Jesus. It's never my intention to boast or brag on anyone or anything but the Lord Himself, so I pray you never get that feeling from me on here. If you do, say something! From time to time, my eyes do get off focus from Him, and sometimes I need some perspective. Just say it in a kind way, please. I don't like meanness.
May your 2020 be wonderful, and full of the love of Jesus.
Thanks for reading my blog! Love to all.