January, as many of you know, started off in the unimaginable tragedy of losing my Mom very unexpectedly to cervical cancer. It was a deeply difficult time for our family, and we each still feel the void that Mom left behind in different ways every day. We had the pleasure of my Dad staying at our house in Wake Forest for weeks on end, and we were able to enjoy the comfort of having him nearby.
What a full year it has been. I feel like I need to take a deep breath just from writing all that! It sounds so crazy when you try to put it all in a nutshell, but I think it's good to take the time to look back and see everything that we have enjoyed and survived through the year- the good and the bad. Our prayer for 2009 is that the Lord would continue to lead us in everything we should be doing, and that we would draw near to hear Him even more clearly in our days to come.
February was a bit of a blur of work and trying to get 'back to normal.' I spent Valentine's weekend with my sister in law at Dad and Mom's house in Orlando, FL sorting through all of Mom's clothes and crafts. We also remembered what would have been Mom's 54th birthday at the end of the month, and Matt and I began praying together about how we felt God telling us to go into ministry in some way.
In March we celebrated two birthdays... Matt turning 27, and our nephew Evan turning 1! I took Matt to our first Casting Crowns concert for his birthday, which was a great Christian band we had discovered during the difficult past few months. We applied to over 100 churches this month, including one in Beaumont, TX and Randleman, NC. We didn't know it yet, but we were already pregnant with our first baby in these pictures at Evan's birthday!
The first week of April, we found out we were pregnant with our first baby! We told my Dad first, and were excited to share with both our families that there would be new life after all the sadness. Matt continued to interview by phone and email with two churches in particular, Beaumont, TX and Randleman, NC. Our families began to root for Randleman so that the new baby on the way would be close to them while growing up! We began preparing our house to go on the market for when we did find the right ministry position.
We started May with a day trip to the beach just for fun. We spent a beautiful spring day at Topsail Beach with just our dog, each other, and some fried shrimp. We also celebrated my Dad's graduation from his PhD program with a small graduation party at our house. Mid-month, we had our ultrasound and discovered that our babyto-be was a GIRL!
June started off with me starting a new job as an office manager for a small dental school. We took our first trip to meet the church in Randleman, NC where we were still in the application process for Matt to be a youth pastor. We took a second trip for house hunting, and the church voted for us to officially start the job in August! Meanwhile, we already had an offer for our house in Wake Forest.
(house in Wake Forest)
(new house in Randleman!)
(new house in Randleman!)
We stayed constantly on the road in July, taking loads of our things to the new house, and getting carpeting and painting finished. Each weekend was a trip either to attend church, or to move things a truckload at a time while we stayed with Matt's parents in Raleigh. I can't say that moving at 5 months pregnant was a smart idea!
We hit the ground running in August, with Matt's first official week on staff at Forest Park Baptist Church being Vacation Bible School week! By the end of the month, we were also holding 5th Quarter outreaches after the football games. I was also busy finding a new OB practice and transferring all my medical records of my pregnancy from Raleigh to Randleman. We spent lots of time getting to know our new church members, and unpacked the whole house in two weeks!
September started with the birth of a new nephew, Beckley, born to Matt's sister and family! We also celebrated Matt's ordination service after he had studied for and passed his ordination council! Several family members were able to be in town for the service and a little reception at our house. We also went to our first church annual picnic, and my friends in Raleigh threw me my first baby shower!
October started with our 4th wedding anniversary! We celebrated with a day full of movies, and enjoying not yet needing a babysitter. The same week, we took our youth group on a trip to Carowinds for Youth Music Day. A great day of rollercoasters and Christian bands ended in heartache for our church family when our church bus was hit on the way home. Matt and a youth parent were both hit by an oncoming car, and the parent ended up losing her legs in the accident. While we still struggle to understand how evil this fallen world is, we were proud of how our youth took the opportunity to grow closer and support each other as a group of friends. At the end of the month, Matt and I took a day trip to Boone, NC to see the fall leaves and clear our minds a little.
November was, of course, a blur of baby preparations and countdown! It felt like we were constantly at the OB for more check ups, and Matt was going to the orthopedist almost as often as a result of the bus accident. I didn't think I'd ever get everything done that I wanted to finish, so I distracted myself with a women's conference and rehearsals for a Christmas musical. We were anxious to see if our little girl would arrive before, after, or on Thanksgiving! Kenna McKay arrived at 2am on November 23rd, throwing our lives into a happy tailspin. We finished out the month with a nice Thanksgiving with our families, and celebrating my 25th birthday.
December was a whirlwind of holiday preparations and church events. We had a Christmas musical, women's group Christmas lunch, staff Christmas dinner, and youth caroling! We celebrated two family birthdays, our sister in law and brother in law. We also spent Kenna's first Christmas in Raleigh where we got to see both families. We stayed with Matt's parents, who gave us a great Christmas present- a night of sleep while they took care of the baby! From my family, we got the gift of a growing family- Alisa announced that she and Jason are expecting their second baby in June, and my Dad announced that he was engaged and would be married in January.