Counting my blessings in 2017

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One of the ways we can glorify God is to be publicly thankful for His blessings. This year was quite an adventure with ups and downs and a fair share of struggles. Still, along the way, God blessed me in numerous ways and this year is filled with precious memories of the Lord’s goodness and blessing. Here are a dozen in no particular order:

1. Ashley tries on Mom’s wedding dress

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No engagement yet, but marriage is definitely being talked about in our home. In addition to looking at engagement rings on a Chicago outing, we opened Heidi’s wedding dress from its archival box home of 22 years.

 

 

 

 

2. Kaitlin gets orchestra rookie of the year

IMG_1621Kate’s middle name is Joy and it’s a great name because she has so much joy in doing the things she loves and brings joy to me when I watch her work hard at something and enjoy it. Everyday in our house you can hear the deep sounds of the cello from our aspiring young artist.

 

 

 

 

 

3. Hiking the Manistee River Loop

IMG_0244Got to break in some new gear on a two-day hike with my friend Jason during the peak of Michigan fall colors. An enjoyable hike with great fellowship. Also, after two solid nights of rain, I can testify that the tent stays dry.

 

 

 

4. Working for Hometown Mortgage

picture 8EditedWhile mortgages are not my true calling, God gave me an opportunity this year to work with a great team during my ministry sabbatical. In many ways, working with my partner Dennis has been an encouragement for me and I’ve enjoyed this time of learning and growing in new ways.

 

 

5. Max graduates early

IMG_1707I’m a proud dad of an outstanding young man. Graduated early, runs his own business,  enrolled in college, ready to take on the world!

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Heidi finishes cancer treatment

IMG_1353The news that Heidi’s cancer had returned for a third round was not what we had hoped for, yet God has used this cancer journey to demonstrate his love and faithfulness toward us. Finishing radiation was a milestone (Lord willing, the last) and I am thankful for God seeing us through this storm.

 

 

7. Remembering Kylie

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This has been a tough year for our family as we lost our niece in a car accident just before Christmas last year. In September, on what would have been her 21st birthday, we gathered as a family to remember. It was a meaningful day for all. We spent the day doing what she had planned to do on her birthday, remembering her, and being a family for each other. Thankful for the testimony of Kylie’s dad (my brother) as he continues to serve and trust the Lord.

 

 

 

8. Family Vacation in Arizona 

IMG_0989Because of my work with the Pastor’s Conference this year, I was able take my family on a short vacation to Sedona and the Grand Canyon. God has blessed us to be able to take family trips together over the years and enjoy time together!

 

 

 

9. Bailey reunites with her family after 10 years in foster care/adoption

IMG_1050Our daughter Bailey has longed for the day when she could be reunited with the family she lost when she became a foster child 10 years ago. That day came earlier this year and the reunion brought joy to my heart.

 

 

 

 

 

10. Praying for Shane

IMG_1853My friend Shane Hall is continuing to battle stomach cancer. It was my privilege both to nominate him for the SBC Pastor’s Conference in 2017. Gathering with the PC team and preachers to lift this man and his family in prayer was perhaps the most meaningful moment of the year for me. Shane’s sermon, preached just before this moment, testified that in the midst of suffering and trial “Christ is Enough!”

11. Hiking the Grand Canyon

IMG_1496Growing up, one of my dreams was to go to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. This year that dream came true as we did a one-day rim-to-river hike with my friend Paul Smith. Coolest thing I’ve ever done and planning to hike the canyon again in 2018!

 

 

12. Working with the SBC Pastor’s Conference

IMG_1816IMG_1866Honestly, this was the highlight of my year. Last year, I nominated Dave Miller for SBC Pastor’s Conference President on a platform of featuring all smaller-membership churches. He won, and for the next year, I became his his administrative assistant and event planner. What a tremendous joy it was to work with him and our band of bloggers at SBCVoices to pull off the event. Love these men!

I could fill the entire page with blessings from being involved in this project, but just being privileged to be a part of it and having a bird’s eye view as stage manager, was a true blessing and a real life-line for me this year. Thankful to the Lord for the opportunity, for the friendships we grew, and for His faithfulness in enabling a bunch of small church guys to pull it off.

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All in all, 2017 was a great year. I’m thankful for the Lord’s blessings and for family and friends to share them with. Looking forward to 2018!

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