2009 was a wonderfully wild year. Life is an adventure, and we don't intend to miss out. Our journey this year has brought us across the States and further.
Spring - On March 29th, we said good-bye to our home in Mankato, MN and to many friends and family. Our purpose: to get a Master's degree from Seminary. Our school: Southwestern Baptist Theological in Fort Worth, Texas. I promise you, driving through the night across the States with two toddlers in the car wasn't easy (not to mention wiping away the tears from a dreaded good-bye to some of our very favorite people). Our spring Texas experience was warm - the kids enjoyed playing outside every single day in the beautiful weather, Jill got to go through the morning sickness of this pregnancy without the support of family baby-sitters around, and I landed my first paying church job. Living in campus housing we were only 3 miles from the zoo -- so we became members of the Fort Worth Zoo, where Brooklyn and Jeremiah are able to let their imaginations run wild. Brookie & Miah have become the best of friends, it is so incredible to watch them play and interact together. They are 20 months apart, and they love each other so much. It makes me think about how much I really do love Stephanie and Nathan, and how there is nothing that can compare to the deep relationship of siblings.
Summer - HOT. Living in a different part of the country is a wonderful learning experience, and I would reccommend to all. As Jill's baby belly grew, so did the daily high temperature. Many back to back days in the triple digits. The summer also provided another move for us. My new job was a Minister Intern at a church in Plano, TX. The hour long commute was helpful to me for learning Greek in the car, but I missed the time with Jill and the kids. So on July 1st, we moved into our current home in Carrollton, TX. We are now able to be only 4 miles from the church and learn what it means to be a Minister's family. The internship at Prestonwood Baptist Church was an incredible experience. The church has a staggering 29,000 members and provided us with daily opportunities for impact and for learning. As I kept busy learning Greek and working, Jill teaches piano lessons out of the home and enjoy's her ever changing days as a stay-at-home mom. Our new home provides a fenced in back yard where Brooklyn loves to utilize the rope swing and the trees for climbing, wereas Jeremiah loves to run and hit home-runs! We also had the priviledge to learn how to exterminate cockroaches - gross, gross, gross.
Autumn - The weather cooled off, but was just perfect for a Minnesota family to enjoy the outdoors daily. We have gone on many family walks, including the "Graham Family Flashlight Walk" around the neighborhood before bed time, and I have been able to grill out most every single Saturday and Sunday. We have been blessed to enjoy so many family and learning moments this year as we continue to grow and change. Our favorite moment this fall came at 9:28pm on 11/09/09. Savannah Kate Graham joined us at 9 lbs and 12 oz, measuring 21.5 inches long. What a beauty she is. (I even got to snuggle with her for a nap today). Both Brooklyn and Jeremiah adore her, smooch her, and talk about her often. It is so incredible to watch Jill mother Savannah along with Brooklyn and Jeremiah -- it is quite clear how much she loves being a mom. Also, our Thanksgiving was just perfect, my parents visited from Minnesota (for the 2nd time this year) and the kids couldn't stop hugging them and playing with them.
Winter - Savannah is starting to be awake a little more often and is sharing more smiles with us. Brooklyn and Jeremiah are both quickly expanding their vocabulary and entertaining us with their questions and comments. We are lucky to be getting ready for a few more visitors: Jill's Family, and my siblings Stephanie and Nathan along with his bride Heidi are all coming for a visit in January. We love our experience here in Texas, but we love our family and friends much more. Lastly, we are gearing up for another big change - the Army. I enlisted for active duty for 4 years starting on January 25th, 2010. I know, the adventure continues. Many have asked the obvious - what about school, your family, etc. The short answer is that we are continuing to pursue God's leadership and guidance in our lives. We believe in our God, our country, in all of you, and that this is part of our overall big picture plan. We don't have all the puzzle pieces to the big picture yet, and this next "puzzle piece" may look a little rough around the edges, but it truly does fit. We believe we will learn and experience much - and if we approach it with the correct attitude, we can grow abundantly from this future journey. It will also provide us with the financials for school, as we plan to continue my 3 year Master's degree at Bethel Seminary in St. Paul, MN.
Today - I am relaxing for this last day of my Christmas break and I am going to grill for dinner, Jill is dying diaper covers (she cloth diapers the kids), Brooklyn is playing with her new dollhouse accessories, Jeremiah is analyzing his new train set, and Savannah is sleeping in her swing and keeping warm with a Boston Red Sox blanket (thanks Uncle Nathan and Aunt Heidi).
We wish you a wonderful 2010. We challenge you to make time to read an extra book or two this year. We hope you take life's curveballs as the adventure and opportunity for learning they are. We pray for you to grow closer in your relationship with God. We love you and miss you.
May God bless you and keep you, The Graham Family - Savannah, Jeremiah, Brooklyn, Jill, and Michael