Posts Tagged year in review

2016 in Review

We sent out Christmas cards this year, but I didn’t include a family update with them, so consider this blog post our yearly update. 😊


It seems like 2016 was a rough year for many people. Our family was no exception to this–this past year was full of changes and transitions. Let me just bullet point a few of the major ones:

  • We temporarily moved out of our house & into my parents’ home, where we are currently living (other family is currently living at our house…long story)
  • May I add that the decision to move & the actual moving all happened within about a week and a half AND I was 8 months pregnant at the time 
  • Zephaniah was born (fast & furious)
  • Gerald & I both resigned from our jobs
  • Gerald started a new job & I transitioned to my new role as a stay-at-home mom to our 2 boys
  • We’re still adjusting to life with two kids (a challenging transition)

We also dealt with some other challenging personal things that came up earlier this year, so a lot has happened and changed in our family for sure! Though we’ve had (and still have) our rough moments, God reminds us that His timing for all this is perfect and that we need to continually trust Him. 

How has God shown this?

  • Results in our favor from the personal issue that came up this summer (though it was still costly financially & emotionally)
  • Zeph was born 4 days early, which allowed Gerald to have a full week at home with us before starting his new job (perfect timing!)
  • I wanted an epidural for Zeph’s birth but never had time to get one since he came so fast so I will remind him of how he saved our family money by not having to pay for the drugs!
  • Though it’s not my ideal situation to be living at my parents’ house again, it has actually been very helpful to have some extra hands around to help me with the kids, especially when Gerald is not home or is working overtime.
  • Our living situation also allows us to help family out while also saving some money ourselves (good especially since I transitioned to not working)
  • Although I’m not working at Tyndale anymore, I am able to stay on as an on-call employee allowing me to work occasionally from home & stay connected to the business world 
  • Gerald’s job transition allows him to be more fully present when at home (he can leave work at work) 

My word for 2016 was “comfort.” I actually forgot about this, but just remembered when I saw a draft of a post I was going to write about it but never finished. Although I haven’t been thinking about my word throughout the year, now I can see that God was still using that word in the way I intended when I chose it. I picked comfort as my word for the year because I wanted to remind myself that I don’t want to stay comfortable. I don’t want to get stuck in my own comfortable little world and miss out on things God has planned for me. 

Clearly this year was about pushing me out of that comfort zone:

  • Having to move out of my house and back in with my parents = uncomfortable, humbling & made me have to let go of what I feel is “mine” (my possessions, house, etc)
  • Natural childbirth when not planning on doing it that way = DEFINITELY uncomfortable!! But so worth it & I wouldn’t have changed the way things happened
  • I agreed to be a MOPS small group leader, which pushed me out of my comfort zone because I wasn’t as comfortable leading with people I don’t know as well. So far it has been a good experience & I’m still growing and challenging myself. 
  • Becoming a mom of two has pushed me out of my comfort zone. My kids challenge my patience, make me put my desires on the backburner, and teach me more about my sinfulness (my toddler definitely sees the not so great side of mommy quite often & I feel bad about that). God’s growing me and teaching me in this area…and allowing me to gain a better understanding of His love for me. 
  • I can no longer consider myself a book publicist (for the most part). Losing that part of my identity still hasn’t completely hit me yet (I still feel like I’m on maternity leave), but it does feel strange and almost shameful when people ask if I’m working and I say no. I’m not ashamed of being a stay-at-home mom. This is what I always wanted to do for my kids, but I have to remember my worth and identity is not wrapped up in my career. My job as a mom is no less important even if it doesn’t come with a paycheck. 
  • Even more now that I’m not working, I need to work on making more mommy friends, which is intimidating, especially for an introvert. They say making mom friends is like dating…very true!
  • After going down to one income, we need to financially make sacrifices in order to save more money. So maybe for now we can’t live as comfortably as we’d like.

So my prayer for 2017 is that I would continue to step out of my comfort zone and into God’s comfort zone (a phrase I heard in college and still remember). Here’s to 2017!


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2011 in Review

On my drive in to work this week, I was listening to Moody Radio Chicago and Mark Elfstrand, the morning show host, said that 68% of people think that 2011 was a bad year. I’m with Mark and don’t necessarily think that any year is particularly bad. There are ups and downs in our lives every year. 2011 happened to be a fairly eventful year for me, so maybe I’m part of the 32% that enjoyed it. Here’s a little recap of some of the highlights of this year for me (in chronological order):

1. Wedding planning. While this may be stressful to some (and at times it was), I enjoy planning and loved planning all the details of my wedding. It was amazing to see how it all came together. Plus, having the wedding this year made it possible for me to see my Canadian cousin Justine at least twice as much as I normally do (we usually see her just once a year)! My mom, sister, & Justine were a HUGE help in planning details & with the creative side (that was mostly Melissa & Justine).

Melissa, me, & Justine

2. Completing the Soldier Field 10 Miler. I didn’t feel like I was ready for a half marathon this year and at this point, I have no desire to run a marathon. Before 2011, I’d never run double digit distances before, so this was a huge accomplishment. My goal was to finish in 1 hour and 30 minutes and I actually finished in about 1:28! Now I’m ready to tackle my half marathon goal of 2012. I also set new personal records this year in the 5k and 8k distances.

After finishing the Soldier Field 10 Miler in 1:28:46!

3. Moving. Moving is actually pretty stressful, especially when you do it frequently. Last year I lived in an apartment by myself and I remembered the stress of trying to find a good place to rent. I wasn’t looking forward to doing it again since Gerald & I needed to find a place to live that was inbetween where both of us work. It was a total God-thing when our pastor and his wife found out we needed a place to live and they wanted to sell/rent their condo. The timing worked out perfectly with them being able to find and purchase a house they liked and with when my lease on my apartment was up. It was such a blessing to have the living situation figured out and much less stressful knowing our landlords personally. So far it has been great living in our new place (although we’ll be getting ready to start that apartment searching/moving process all over again in 2012…but I won’t worry about that now).

4. Wedding-related events: Bridal showers & Bachelorette parties. I was completely blessed by the bridal showers held by my family/church family and my coworkers this year. Then again by the surprised wedding shower my parents threw for me so many of my Taylor friends could attend. From that, my sister/maid of honor threw TWO bachelorette parties so different groups of my friends could come. Some friends even came to both parties! I hate being the center of attention, but I felt loved and appreciated by everyone who came to these gatherings to celebrate my marriage with me.

Taylor girls + husbands & baby

5. Getting married! Is there really more to say? The day went by so fast and everything felt so surreal. We started a little late and even with my very detailed up-to-the-minute ceremony schedule, the ceremony ended way earlier than I anticipated (and I was worried about it being too long). Gerald and I look back on that day and wish we could relive it–it was practically perfect. But now we have a lifetime together to create new memories.

Right after the ceremony

6. Honeymoon to the Dominican Republic. This was a much needed vacation after everything that went on in the beginning of 2011. All-inclusive and relaxing by the beach/pool is the way to go (except for the horrible sunburn we both got our last full day there) 😦

On the beach in the DR

7. Working with great authors for a great company. I’m blessed to be on my fourth year of working at Tyndale House Publishers. Those four years have flown by and over this past year I’ve gotten more opportunities to work with and meet wonderful authors like Lisa Velthouse (Craving Grace), Cory Cotton (Go Big), Lisa Whittle ({w}hole), and Matt Mikalatos (Night of the Living Dead Christian). I’m also looking forward to working on publicity for an Olympic gold medalist next summer!

8. “Firsts.” We had a lot of firsts this year–first Thanksgiving together, first married Christmas, etc. This is definitely a year of adjustment that will continue into this first year of marriage, but it’s great to be able to start our own new family traditions and start setting the tone now for the rest of our marriage.

Our First Christmas + the pug that's not really ours

Looking back at my 2011 calendar, it was crazy busy. These are only highlights of the year, not including various retreats, youth group events, work trips, and the little details of life/wedding planning that kept me busy all year long (especially the first half of the year). I’m grateful for it all though and for the ways God has reminded me of how I’m blessed and how He provides for me.

I don’t really do New Year’s resolutions, but I’ll post my goals for 2012 very soon!

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