Goodbye, hello: The year before and the one ahead (including the ‘best of’ for 2013 and why we’re now homeless)
Ohhhh friends. Have you ever moved across the country? Because that’s what we’re in the middle of right now – moving across the freaking country. (Hold me.) So I’m up to my eyeballs in lists and boxes and piles and a MESS of a house.
The year 2013 was nothing short of an intense year for us. So much going on behind the scenes as we processed and prayed through this major life transition, and then of course so much going on in plain view as well, especially with my third pregnancy and subsequent miscarriage.
Two thousand and thirteen will forever be marked as the year we lost Scarlett. And as defining as that was, there was also so much more.
Without giving the entire back story (you can read that on our family blog if you’re interested), I’ll summarize and say that after 14 years living on the field, we’re headed to America for a while.
Call it a sabbatical, a furlough, a break – whatever you’d like – we’re taking it. We need it and long for it, and some days it feels like we’re hanging on by a thread, waiting for the day to come when we can exhale.
It’s been a huge decision and transition for us to process as a couple and also as a ministry. Townsville, Australia is the place we became a couple, became parents, and “birthed” and developed some of our passions. (I never knew I had such a passion for maternal health until I became a mom and then met the women of Papua New Guinea.)
We’ve worked hard and prayed hard, cried hard and laughed hard.
It’s difficult to say goodbye, even when you know it’s right.
As a family we’re in the midst of packing our entire house into a shipping container and putting it on a train to Sydney where we’ll store it for several months while we travel to the States for our break. After returning to Australia we plan to live in the Sydney area (or somewhere near) and we hope to continue our work with YWAM, which we love. There’s a lot up in the air for us, and even those plans are by no means concrete. We feel that as we rest and pray our next “assignment” will become clear to us, and will very much flow out of who we are and what we’re passionate about.
Some of what we do know is that we want to continue to pursue the things we do best. For Ryan this means preaching, teaching, and being a life coach or pastor (for lack of better terminology). For me this means writing and speaking and mobilizing others to serve the poor and the marginalized. For both of us this means honoring our family, discipling our kids, and offering encouragement to a world that needs it (and needs Jesus) as much as we do.
Ryan will relish the opportunity to be a stay at home dad for a period of time (which he’s been longing for) and I will focus a bit more on writing. (Which might even translate to a few more blog posts in the future – one can dream, right?) I also plan to just sloooooow down and enjoy my children and husband and LIFE more.
For now we just need some downtime. Like serious, for real, unstructured, unpressured down time. Enough time to address our health in every area: body, soul, and spirit. We want to continue running the race and not grow weary of doing good, but we realize this means a major refuel and tune-up every now and then.
About the blog:
So now let me talk about this little blog for a sec. I’m kind of amazed that you’ve stuck around here – especially after how sporadic I’ve been in blogging, this last year in particular. I guess I’ve gotten a bit lucky with Pinterest and a few of my posts have gone a little viral recently. Mostly this one for new and first time moms, that I wrote three years ago and was somehow magically resurrected from the internet graveyard recently. Still no idea how that happened, but it’s now roping in a couple hundred thousand visitors a month, which is completely baffling to me.
A savvy blogger would be capitalizing on that right? You know, adding affiliate links, saying yes to advertisers, writing more, cross promoting, etc. But me? Well, I’m not a savvy blogger at the moment… I’m a tired one and a busy one. But also a grateful one.
Which leads me to want to say:
Thank you for sticking around, even when I haven’t. You are incredibly faithful. Some of you I know by name and others I don’t. I’ve mostly come to peace with that, though at times I still find grappling with the medium of writing hard since it’s mostly a one-way street as far as communication is concerned, and I genuinely do love the back and forth.
I love writing and I love what blogging as opened up for me. I could write a thousand things I’ve learned about writing and myself and parenting and the world and my faith and influence and platform and leadership and humility (and on and on the list goes), just by dipping my toes into the online world of writing and social media these last few years. I’m seriously thankful. I could also write thank you notes for days to those who have reached out and befriended me, written me encouragement, written me thanks, offered insight, and generally just opened up your lives to me. It’s humbling. And for that, I’m also incredibly grateful.
This next year holds a lot of unknowns for me and for our family. I do hope it holds time and space for me to meet you here more often – writing and sharing and connecting really does charge my soul.
Again, thanks for being faithful, even when I’ve not been. I love that you just keep coming, keep sharing, and keep journeying with me.
If you don’t hear from me for a while, don’t be too surprised. It’s probably because I’m buried under a pile of moving boxes somewhere. Or maybe it’s because we’ve found a cabin in the Cascade Mountains and we’re doing absolutely nothing on purpose.
Either way, just know that I love you and I think about you with all the warm fuzzies in full force. It means a lot to me that you keep showing up.
P.S. For those of you in the States, we’ll be in Central Oregon from mid-March to mid-August. Let me know if you’re in the area. I’d love to meet up. And who knows, we might be doing some world traveling too. Wouldn’t that be grand?
The year 2013 in review
For those of you interested, or those who would like to catch up, below is what was popular around here in 2013. By far the most clicked posts on the blog this year were posts I wrote before this year that have somehow gained traction and have begun to go stupid viral (I don’t know whether this is a compliment or an insult – but it is what it is.)
Here’s what’s been super popular overall:
- 100 little things about pregnancy, birth, and being a first time mom (This three year old post was the most viewed post by a landslide. Thank you Pinterest, I guess?)
- Kids cowboy birthday party
- Celebrating Advent with the Jesus Storybook Bible
- 150+ Ways to celebrate Advent and the countdown to Christmas
- How to transform a crib into a toddler loft bed
- Bokoro’s story: Giving birth in the mud
- Dealing with gender disappointment in pregnancy
- Hello Judah: a successful VBAC birth story
- A gentle caesarean – ever heard of it?
- 10 Tips and tricks for breastfeeding in public
Most popular posts actually written in 2013:
- The day I lost my baby
- 35+ Resources and encouragement for new and expecting moms
- Judah’s first birthday circus party (with Levi’s rockstar birthday party trailing right behind)
- Dear pregnant woman on the playground… Love, a babyloss mom
- Breaking the Silence: Mothers share their stories of miscarriage, stillbirth, and baby loss
- The Sunshine Project
- How to prepare for a successful VBAC
- Why “breastaraunts” like Hooters are a big deal
- A pregnancy announcement caught on camera (This one when a bit silly viral on Pinterest, too.)
- A mother’s confessional about anger
The most meaningful posts to me personally this year are the ones I wrote about losing our daughter to miscarriage (as well as Stories of life and loss in Papua New Guinea, which is also deeply personal). I’m not sure if I have a “favorite” but I recently read Grace like Scarlett again and am so glad I took the time to write about why we named our girl Scarlett Grace.
I did a series on Women Empowering Women during October this year and it was one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done! I felt to do it for personal reasons, and am glad I did, but I would think long and hard about writing that much in the period of a month ever again! A table of contents of the posts can be found here. Reader and personal favorites were:
- Hope For Our Future Looks Like This
- Beauty, Unedited – Thoughts on buying into the Beauty Myth and why I’m not editing out my wrinkles anymore
- What Jessica Rey didn’t tell us and why the modesty debate matters (Modesty, Power, & Bikini Burning part 2 )
- Dear moms who think I have it all together: Allow me to (gently) burst your bubble
- Growing friendships in the season of mothering littles (Hard, but worth it)
- “Why are you still single?” | A single woman’s perspective on the dreaded question
- The Problem of the Period: Why menstruation is holding us back from changing the world and how you can reverse that with your sewing machine
- Dear Girl, It’s your day. Love, your Big Sis xo
- How to Care For a Friend After Miscarriage or Stillbirth
- “Don’t you want kids?” | The secret burden of infertility
Most googled things that brought people here:
- Cowboy birthday party (and related combinations)
- Gender disappointment in pregnancy
- Jesus Storybook Bible advent
- Women giving birth
- Breastfeeding in public
- DIY toddler bed
- And of course ‘Adriel Booker’ made it into the top ten, as well as “Mommyhood Memos” (my old blog name).
Other semi-interesting stuff:
My biggest traffic referrals in 2013 were pinterest (by far), facebook, google, and direct traffic (no big surprises there) and my greatest periods of facebook page traffic was definitely over the Christmas period (y’all loved our #xmasjammies rip off pictures and video), my pregnancy and miscarriage, and my two trips to Papua New Guinea.
Hey friends – what do you hope to see around here in 2014 in the event I actually have a bit more time to write like I think I might?