January 12, 2010: Mark was already in Chicago. I sat alone in my house, riveted by the images on the television. Tears were streaming down my face as I watched the aftermath of the earthquake that shattered Haiti. I wanted to help so badly. My heart hurt. I wanted to help so badly...I just didn't know how or what... I had seen devastation before, but for some reason this was different for me....a spark was lit....I couldn't get Haiti out of my head and heart.
Feb-March: Enjoying life in Chicago. Great City. Great Food. We ate our way across this city during our short time there. We were there for Mark's Opportunity International internship from the end of Jan-May. It was so good for our family unit. We only had each other.This fact alone caused us to really get to know each other and lean on each other in ways we have never experienced, no distractions. Chicago will always hold a special place in my heart for that reason. We look back on our time there with such fondness.
April: Mark and I flew from Chicago to Seattle for a job interview with World Concern. I remember getting in the car after the interview and just staring at each other, not knowing what to say....the weight and excitement of seriously contemplating a cross country move was so overwhelming that all we could do was stare at each other....Now, they didn't formally offer him the job at this point but alluded to it basically being a done deal.....which had us all up in knots....we took a lot of time that day to pray and talk to family members....which, like the dork I am, took a picture of....because it felt so monumental at the time...Mark is talking to his family in the second picture.
May: Mark graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary. He did a 2 year degree in 1 year and a half and I was very much the proud wife. Mark's time at DTS was such a special time for us, he learned so much....I, subsequently learned so much proofreading all of his papers. It was during his time at DTS our"call" to do ministry was specified to issues of social justice, mainly community development. I was able to audit a class with Mark on Community Development, and man, were my eyes opened on what works, what doesn't...this class and the books we read really solidified in our hearts,after much prayer, that this is what the Lord is going to have us do...Some influential, view altering, life changing books read during this time were When Helping Hurts by Steven Corbett and Brian Fikkert and Walking with the Poor by Bryant Myers
June: We moved across the country. It was hard.July: We went back to one of our favorite spots on this Earth....the little community of Rio Hondo, Guatemala. I am so incredibly happy that we had the chance to go back this year, even after we had moved. The trip was especially special this year because Mark's dad joined us. It was also special because we got to see several of our friends make public displays of their faith by getting baptized in front of family and friends. I love this community so much and a piece of my heart gets left behind there with each trip..
August-September: We celebrated 7 years of Holy Matrimony. This has been the hardest and best year of our marriage thus far. God has made us so incredibly different, but with the same life desire.I love Mark so much more today than I did 7 years ago. I am so proud of him. I love his heart and am so thankful for his logical, eternal perspective when I get so overwhelmed by little things...that in reality, don't matter. During these months we also made a HUGE decision for our family, to pursue something we have dreamed and prayed about for years....details to come about this in the months to come October-November: We took the time to really explore our new city. Having family and friends in town during these months helped us find pride in our city as we searched out scenic spots to take our company. These months meant a lot to me personally as I began to love Seattle....yes, it doesn't have a chick fil a....but it is Beautiful. I really like the people too....everyone has this "come as you are, anything goes" mentality...that is hilarious, and endearing to me at the same time. I love the diversity....I love that you see a multitude of races everywhere you go. December: I loved making paper chains as a kid to rip off and count down the days that lead up to Christmas...I love the anticipation and the giddy excitement of Christmas. As I got older, the anticipation and excitement would dwindle with each passing year. This year it came back! We were so excited and filled with great anticipation for Christmas...because that meant we got to go "home" and celebrate with FAMILY....many of whom we had not seen for 6 whole months. Christmas was indeed special this year as Mark, Ryann, and I got to spend quality time with each member of our family. It was so nice to be around loved ones...it was special, indeed.
January 12, 2011: Mark was already on his way to Kenya. I sat alone in my house, tears streaming down my face, as I sat staring at my computer screen, my heart moved beyond words by the personal stories of hope relayed to World Concern staff that were there for the anniversary of the Haitian earthquake that rocked this little nation one year ago. So much to do...so much to do....but there is HOPE...beauty from ashes....
Little did I know January 12, 2010 that we would both be working at an organization that is so heavily involved with Haiti.....I get chills thinking about God's providence this year.. ..2010, what a hard year, what a needed year....we have come full circle....looking forward to 2011....Lord, please use me.