Yesterday I mentioned how our lives have been developing spiritually this past year. This has also been a great year for our family. Here are some of the things God has been doing in our family in 2014.
*Moving. We're gearing up to move in 2 weeks. This will be our third move in the past 13 months (and if we buy a house this year that will be yet another move!). It was so nice living in the same house in California for over 3 years... it was the first time since the beginning of college that I hadn't moved on a yearly basis. Well, this year has made up for that! All I can say is that moving a lot is helpful to continually get rid of unwanted/unused items and to stay flexible. That being said, I hope God settles us down for at least a few years (until we move again after Alex is done with classes!). For the first time since we've been married I've had a desire to settle, decorate the house, cultivate a garden on our own soil and establish ourselves somewhere. Also, moving a lot is entirely unhelpful for having a ministry among your neighbors.
*Hudson's birth. He came 3 weeks early, at the end of March and has been a blessing and a joy ever since. Esther took a few weeks to warm up to him but now she absolutely adores him and always asks to play with him as soon as he wakes from naps. I'm glad for her sake she has a "permanent" sibling- she's had two foster siblings come and go since she was born (both of whom she also adored). He's by far our worst sleeper so far, but I know its just a season of life and we need to be patient. He's a very eager and active baby, not waiting any time at all to crawl (started at 5 months 5 days old!) and will very likely be walking before he turns one. Everywhere we go he gets tons of compliments on his eyes, which are so dark brown that you can't even see his pupil. He is also frequently called "pretty", which is Alex's least favorite "compliment" for him.
*Fostering. 2014 was the first year since 2010 that we haven't had any foster placements, but not entirely by our choice. We started the re-certification process a few months ago but have been more or less ignored by overburdened social workers. So it may take a few more months until it happens (moving is also one of the steps in the process that has to happen). We are looking forward to getting placements again, but selfishly I am hoping for Hudson to start sleeping through the night (like solid 12 hours of sleep) before that happens... so please pray that his sleep improves. There are two other families at church who are certified or in the process, and its nice to again have local friends who we can relate to in this area (a strong support system is crucial in fostering).
*Alex's work. Our move, combined with a few other factors, has allowed Alex to start a business based off of his computer. He runs this website with a friend and sells stuff on ebay, among other things. This work is something he's wanted to pursue for a while and is a blessing as it allows a lot of flexibility to pursue ministry and take classes. It will also provide income for us to go overseas in the future (Lord willing). Its also the most enjoyable job he's had in years, which is a blessing to our whole family to see him doing something he enjoys.
*Parenting. One of the strengths of our church, and one reason we wanted to move here is godly parenting. Over our first full year here we have certainly grown in that area. Two big ways I have grown in being better about disciplining our children (its always easy to make lots of excuses as to why you don't need to discipline, all at the expense of the child) and to show more affection. Though these things may seem opposite, they are actually hand in hand, as they reflect the severity and kindness of the Lord. I am also learning about training children in godliness and teaching them about God and the Bible. Seeing how much progress we've made this year, I am excited to learn more in the coming years.