Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Has it been a year? A year in review...of sorts.

Wow! Has it truly been a year since I last posted on this blog?  Crazy!

 Actually, "crazy" is a fitting word and one that describes the past year pretty well, but in a crazy "good" way.  :)  This past year has been one of renewal.  I might even say that would be this year's word over our lives.  With the previous year being quite emotionally difficult, this year is just another piece of solid evidence of God's great care and grace upon our lives.  He has been so faithful to be with us and we are so grateful. 

As the time went by, I (Janice) took each day as it came trusting God to take care of the hurt.  Each day that went by more and more healing came and slowly, I rose out of the ashes.  I know I have a ways yet to go in being fully "recovered" from our unexpected return but I have made great head way and for that I am thankful.   In this year, God reminded me of what I already knew about myself but had started doubting through our trials.

I am faithful. I am loyal. I am a doer.  I highly value honesty, and that is a good thing.  I love people well. I am well loved.  I am committed to the end.  I don't like quitting. I am trustworthy.  I am able. 

A lot of those qualities are what made our return from Portugal so painful but they are who I am and I am so thankful for God's reassurance of my high value.  Might sound very pompous but it is truth, God highly values us all!  We are all His favorites!  :) 

Favor
 
This year saw God's great favor over our lives.  Luke has continued to grow in favor in his job at CGC Medical Billing, becoming everyone's new best friend and helping them out of their IT troubles.  ;)
One of the most exciting things for me, was being offered a spot on the Spellbinder's Design Team!  Spellbinders is an amazing company led by an amazing lady and team of talented staff.  They produce paper cutting dies and I have had the privilege of creating projects for them to use on their website or for advertising as needed.  Back in August, all of the designers were flown to Phoenix Arizona for a week long retreat and a tour of their facilities; an amazing time was had by all!  With some help from family members, Luke was able to hold down the fort more than satisfactorily!  ;)

We felt like movie stars!

Outside Spellbinder's HQ.  :)

Third Grade Teacher

Right after I returned from our retreat, I started preparing for my new job!  I was hired on at the boys' elementary school, teaching third grade.  This was a great answer to prayer for us financially.  Where as we didn't need another income to get by, we have been able to live much more comfortably with two paychecks coming in!

 It is tiring and I am not much good for anything after I come home but we are all pressing forward, knowing that a little bit of sacrifice now will produce fruit later.
The boys doing push ups on the desks in my classroom.  Super safe.  Uh huh.
 
My beautiful girl.  :)


A house in the trees!

In October, we bought a house!  :)  As we prayed and sought God for direction on our lives, we felt he said that we would be in Waco for five years before he called us out on the mission field again.  That set well within our souls.  We bought a house. :)  Here are a few pics that were on the listing, the furnishings are not ours except for the picture of my studio which I took recently.
 

Our house in the trees.  On a cul-de-sac.  :)

 
 Little bit closer view.
 
Kitchen
 
 
We are using this as our dining room. It is right off the kitchen.
 
This pic shows a bit of the dining and full kitchen.  Again, not our furnishings.  We need bar stools!  Lol!  All in good time!
 
One of the things that sold me this house, this spacious living room with BIG windows looking out at beautiful trees.
 
Now a few pics of my little "Studio".
View from laundry room.

Printer station on left.


View from top of stairs from kitchen.

My sewing "station". 
Cabinet holding fabric and sewing supplies.  Shelves holding all sorts of things.  ;)

My main work space!

So this space pretty much sold me!  :) We have been in since November and with all we have had going on it is a complete wreck but I smile regardless of that fact because I love the space so much!  :)
 
If you need a house in Waco, get Jason Rankin to be your realtor.  He is the best.  Shameless plug for our dear friend! ;)  He really is exceptional, just sayin'. 

We are blessed!
 
Craft and Hobby Association (CHA) Tradeshow

Semi-recently, I was chosen to be amongst a small group of designers to be apart of the CHA crew for Spellbinders.  Every year there is a huge tradeshow in California for the crafting industry and this year Spellbinders is kicking things up a notch (or ten!) and making their booth at the show be spectacular!  They flew us in for a week long booth-creating boot camp!  LOL!  We painted, distressed, created, die cut, upholstered, painted, created and then some!  The even more fun part is when the fly us out to Anaheim to set up the booth in January!  LOL!  Again, Luke was the hero while I was gone, and did a grand job of holding down the fort.  I am one blessed woman! 

In Phoenix.  CHA booth crew.
 
He had everything under control.  He even managed to take a selfie of himself and all three kids.  Lol!
 
The kids have been loving school and Bella has just fallen in love with our dear friend, Jenni Carlisle who watches her while I am at school.  I knew that there would be no way of me working full time without some one trustworthy watching my little one.  Isabella is well cared for and well loved!  God takes care of it all!
 
10 Year Wedding Anniversary
 
This past weekend Luke and I threw a party for our 10 year wedding anniversary.  It was pretty special.  We felt it fitting to honor the friends, family and supporters who have walked with us through these past 10 years of marriage and most recently, through our time as missionaries and our difficult return from Portugal.  We just felt so supported and loved through it all,  that we felt throwing a huge party and giving our heartfelt thanks in person was the only way to go!  Here are a few snippets my friend Tiffany Bonow was able to take, more photos will come later.  :)
 
The GORGESOUS cake my sister made.
 
We set it on this awesome tree trunk stool!
 
Candles center piece.
 
Vase center piece.  I brought in branches from outside to tie in with the nature/woodsy theme.  :)
 
I made these little tags/ornaments as favors for our guests.  Proverbs 11:25 was a meaningful verse for our ministry at The Haven in Portugal.  We thought it very fitting to gift these to our guests since they have been so generous and a great source of refreshment to us in this past season of our lives.
 
Loved seeing our guests enjoy their time.
 
We gave thanks, honored our friends and family, and honored each other.  "God knew what he was doing, didn't he?  We didn't, but he did?"--Janice
 
I wanted to keep our mason jar d├ęcor simple.  :)
 
Tea anyone?
 
 
Right side of reception hall with dance floor area in the background.  We had a photo booth--pics from that later.  :)
 
                                                                    Photo booth fun!
 
 
 
We ended our testimony/share time with Luke's parents praying a blessing over our marriage.
 
What a great end to this year. 
 
To those of you who weren't able to make it, here is our thanks to you, may you be continually be refreshed in the Lord!
 
Proverbs 11:25
"A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed."
 
 
Much love and blessings to you all,
Luke, Janice, Elijah, Judah, Isabella!