2019, how could we NOT love you?! You were the year (along with God’s goodness and grace) that gave us our daughter Shilo Hope DeAtley. She’s been full of life and light from day one.
You were the year that sisters were born. Not just a second daughter for us, but a sister for both girls. They went from being blissfully unaware to one another’s existence, to “don’t touch me” (on Noella’s behalf), to crawling after one another and laughing together.
My mom, sister, and SIL came to visit! This was no small feat as my mom doesn’t travel to the nearest outlet mall by choice, let alone board a plane to middle-of-nowhere San Angelo. It was so fun to show off our house and our daughter and Noella in the stage she was in. Their three days here were short and sweet. We had a Sip n’ See party where friends came to meet Shilo, and meet my family while they were in town too.
May brought a trial we didn’t foresee, but they’re never foreseen are they? They’re times to decide if we will walk with God in the unknown or not. Shilo was hospitalized with RSV. It was scary. It was long. A whole week, every day wondering if she would improve. Every day wondering when we could go home. Every day praying. Just five months prior we were hospitalized with Noella. If you have little ones in your life now and you’re reading this in the middle of flu and RSV season, turn your worry into prayer. It’s easier said than done, but there’s only one way to strengthen our faith.
I try not to live with too many regrets, but my purple hair was purple hair regret. Don’t get me wrong, I loved it the idea of it. But man it fades fast. It just ended up being way too much time and work and money and Shawn telling me to hold still while he retouched it, him in rubber gloves, and me perched on the guest room bathroom toilet (lid down, obvs). It was fun while it lasted, but colored wigs are surely the way to go.
This is one of those ongoing lessons, and one that isn’t always easy to learn. I’m learning to encourage over criticize. It’s easy to criticize. We might feel it’s our job to point out people’s flaws or weaknesses or mistakes. It’s not our job, and in fact the opposite of criticize is to encourage, and that is our job. It falls under “love all” commandment we read about in the Bible. “Encourage over criticize”. I’m taking that with me into this new year.
Be generous with your smile. This is something I read one day, and it has really stuck with me. It makes me wonder why I’m not more generous with my smile, especially to those I love a million times over. Love someone today with your smile, with your kindness, with a listening ear. This is another one I want to carry with me into the new year.
Noella definitely hit a “wear sunglasses all day” phase, and we were HERE FOR IT, loving it. Especially the pjs + rainboots + sunglasses combo.
One of the lessons from this year was one I was kind of thrown into. There was no band practice or warm up. T’was the lesson of who to care for in this VERY moment. Wait. I have two kids now, two under two for the first six months, both at very demanding ages. I was thrown into the life lesson of balancing who to hold when, who needs care when, who can cry it out on the floor while I finish changing one, nurse the other, and who needs immediate attention. It’s pretty cool to see the beauty of a multitasking mom. (Did I manage to finish my hazelnut latte in the midst of it all? Youbetyourbottomdollar.)
We flew with the girls to Ohio for a week in July to see friends and family. It was a memorable time.
I’ve been thankful for the opportunity to be a Mops table leader this year, and for that community that I needed in my life. I loved being able to share about our time in West Africa as missionaries, our years dealing with infertility and grief, and the time I had Malaria. As a group we were able to raise money for 150 mosquito nets to be handed out to communities in need, both in Guinea and in Senegal! Our old stomping ground! It meant so much to me to see these moms pull together as a global sisterhood to help those that often can’t afford a net to sleep under. On a deeper level, it warmed my heart to see my current community of friends helping out my community of friends in Guinea and Senegal.
It was a year of laundry basket rides for two little ones. And stroller rides.
I started a new job as a travel advisor with Cruise Planners! I flew all by myself (only the second time ever!) to Florida for a week of training. It was one of those times where I had no idea what to expect from the whole week, but I met some great people, learned so much (x 1,000), and was just really thankful and overwhelmed (in a good way) for the whole experience. Shawn’s been the best cheerleader in all of it.
Shawn and I celebrated 15 years of marriage in Jamaica! Take me back to our balcony with a view, those clear Caribbean waters, and the excitement of going somewhere we’ve never been before.
2019 was the year both our girls saw and touched snow, met more of our Colorado family, and flew for their second and third time on the airplane. Travel with kids is probably the very definition of chaos, but we try not to let hard things hold us back.
Travel in December was fun and festive, but so was coming home to our own living room where a stocking hung for each of us. His and mine are wax print stockings, handmade in West Africa, fitting for the two of us, and the girls have brightly colored striped stockings, perfectly fitting for them and the joy they bring us. We’re thankful for our community of friends here, the coffee shop at church where we get to volunteer, our Community Life Group (even though there are some major theological differences – namely, they view soup as an appropriate dinner choice, and Shawn simply does not).
God was with us this year, and that’s what made it a good one.
2020, we’re ready when you are.