It seems almost silly to post after a full year away from this space, and yet such a memorable year documented and spent away seems to deserve some sort of closure, reflection, remembrance…something.
We left New Zealand with little idea what our lives would look like “after NZ”, and honestly we still don’t fully know. We know that Fairbanks is our home for now, that surprise -we are to be parents, and that the past year was one of the best we’ve had so far. Taking a year “off” feels like an undeserved privileged, and a gift we cannot explain. We do know the decision to leave was the best thing we’ve done for our marriage, for our relationships with God and for our future. We highly recommend it.
For now we enjoy this Thanksgiving in our little cabin the woods, awaiting the arrival of our babe (anytime, baby, you can show up anytime). We reflect on how quickly this year has gone and what little we know about what is next. Clearly the unknown does not bother us like it once might have. If we have come back changed in anyway, it may just be the loss of “our plans” for this life. Of course that doesn’t rule out dreaming.
We laugh about our hermit like tendencies all the while scheming of our next family destination. Spain, South America, Austria, anyone? Okay maybe just a farm in the hillside.
Oh, the possibilities.
We kind of forgot to post this before we left:
There was no way we were going to hang around the lodge feeling depressed and sorry for ourselves (an empty lodge is a very sad place to be).
So we took Sam (and two boys from ABS) and spent her last few days in New Zealand enjoying the east coast.
hang out time
hot water beach
trying to make kumera fries (our favorite)
pesky sister was not helping
Packed, having said our goodbyes and moved out of the lodge we spent our last evening in New Zealand at home with our good friends. We ate our meals outside, swam in the pool and played our last riveting game of “oh shoot” (we play this every time we get together) and went to bed feeling okay about our departure.
This has been a really good year (okay, a really amazing, life-changing year).
Our conversations and reflections and thoughts are saturated with one common theme. Gratitude. We are so very thankful for our lives, and this year and our families and our friends and every good and perfect gift God has chosen to bless us with.
We celebrated this year with turkey chilli and cornbread on the porch overlooking Lake Karapiro. We ended the evening with fireworks. Not traditional, but filled with gratitude none the less.
We have learned a lot about community the past seven weeks. These students became our family as we ate together, lived together, worked together, cleaned together and traveled together.
We got in each other’s space and lives and listened to each other’s stories and shared our own. We’ve been challenged and encouraged.
We’ll miss you
Cliff, Ben, Landon, Seth, James, Dave, Kenton, Baby Rino, Kevin, Kris, Kym, Holly, Sam, Jodi, Maddi, Kalee, Michelle and Jessica.