Hello from Hondo, TX. We've just spent a busy two weeks in Texas seeing family and friends, shopping for, wrapping, and opening Christmas gifts, eating lots of food, drinking lots of iced coffee and enjoying the local sights and the warm weather. (More on that below.)
It's been SO long since I've written anything here, so I thought I'd spend this lazy (finally!) afternoon and evening sitting under a blanket on the couch at my in-laws house "watching" the Baylor Bowl Game (we're winning so far!) and trying to remember ALL of the things that happened in the second half of this year. (Not that I wrote much about the first half!)
The last thing I really wrote about was Owen going to school and before that it was the upcoming Taylor Swift concert. That was July and August, but I'm going to back up just a bit to document some of the special things that happened over that past 8 months or so. So, here goes...
The month of May always involves baptisms at Puffers Pond. Those are my favorite days of our church year. This May we also traveled to Texas to celebrate Robert's parent's 50th Anniversary. We marked the day by going out to eat at their favorite nacho (yes, nachos!) restaurant near Hondo and having all of the cousins (except for Kory) together. Fun time!
Back home in MA, Kory came home for a few short weeks and we were able to celebrate Father's Day in Portsmouth, NH and Ogunquit, ME. (It was a bit cold and windy for our beach day...)
Just before Kory's birthday, a friend and hero of mine passed away. Kory actually texted me while I was at the grocery store on June 15th to let me know it happened. Robert, Kayla and I traveled to Gordon College for Elisabeth's funeral.
He spent nearly the entire time 40 feet up in the air sending campers down the zip line and coaching them through the high elements ropes course and loved every minute of it.
Home long enough to do another wedding and teach another couple of weeks and then it was time to say goodbye to Coop. Robert gave him a proper send off at church...
A couple of weeks later I went to Texas for a third time in one year...
On Christmas Eve we ate an early dinner at El Jarro's back in San Antonio and then attended my dad's church for their candlelight service. After that we made little stop at Starbucks and took this photo. It's been great to have my sister Melinda and her boyfriend, Brent in town from Denver. Brent is certainly getting full exposure to the Rowland family!
It was such a full year, and I didn't think they could get any fuller. I didn't even tell you about the PURE women's conference I went to in New Jersey in November (because Paige Benton Brown was speaking!) or the Fusion Student conference on Cape Cod where I got to speak to the young women about embracing their femininity "fearlessly," or the Simply Beautiful Conference that I took Kayla and friends to last month. And I certainly didn't mention any of the hard things. There were lots of those, but I'm learning to be grateful for the lessons and the growth in those circumstances.
I've said it plenty of times before, but if you are still reading this ~ thank you. Thanks for caring and for praying and for loving us and being a friend.
I love that Christmas is a week before the beginning of the new year. I kept marveling at the Incarnation this Advent season. The fact that Christ came down and entered my world and even my own heart gives me renewed hope and strength to welcome 2016 and all that it will bring.
And being a better blogger is not really one of my resolutions, but I do hope to keep up a little better. It's good for me, and I love the connecting with you!
Happy New Year!