Monday, January 4, 2016

2015 - The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Hey there! Where've you been?

Just kidding. I know I've been AWOL for a while now. As my dad reminded me at Christmas, we're still looking at Butternut Squash Soup.

Sorry, Dad. Here's something new to chew on. (Get it?!)

Anyway, there are lots of reasons that I haven't been around--most of them have to do with travel and none of them are really good excuses at all. It's a new year, though, and a new chance to share life with all of you.

Today I thought I'd share a bit about my 2015. I realize I haven't been consistent about writing (which is something I'd like to correct in 2016), but I've tried to focus on quality over quantity in my blog posts. I hope that's something I've achieved just a little bit in 2015.

So here we go with a bit of a review. Some might be redundant and some might be news to you, but hopefully all will point to the faithfulness of a loving Father. He has been so good to me.

The Good
As I looked back through my Instagram feed, I realized that I logged a lot of miles in 2015. I've traveled a ton, which is so cool because it's one thing I absolutely LOVE to do. I've traveled from New York to Austin, TX to Arizona to San Antonio to Eagle River, WI to Scotland to Italy to California to Dallas (with a side trip to Magnolia in Waco!) to Europe (again) and back to Dallas.

I'm tired just thinking about it.

And the funny thing is, I didn't even realize I had gone to so many places until I scrolled through Instagram!

It's time to stay home for a while now.

Anyway, in addition to travel, we had guests in our home--another thing that I LOVE. People from all over the world, people we love and care about, even strangers-who-became-friends have all stayed in our home this year. We've loved every minute of it.

We hope for more visitors in 2016.

The other really GOOD thing has been time with family, which accounts for part of the travel and part of the guests in our home. I'm grateful that our parents are still in good health and able to come see us. And I'm grateful for times together that have enriched all of our lives this year.

Finally, our kids are also GOOD. Caroline graduated from college this spring, which was a GREAT thing, and our two oldest are both employed full time in jobs that they love. Julia got accepted to her top (and only!) choice for college and will start there in the fall. Big stuff.

The Bad
With so much GOOD, it's hard to imagine that there could have been any BAD in our year, but unfortunately there was. The main thing that sticks out to me is that I attended three funerals of men who died much too young. It's been a heartbreaking year as dear friends of ours lost a son and two colleagues of mine from Wheaton died within a week of each other.

These have been hard to think about and pray through, let alone write about, but God has shown his steadfast love through it all. And I know that my sadness over these losses does not even come close to the grief that their families are feeling. (Your prayers for these families would mean a lot, I know.)

The Ugly
If I'm really honest, I'd have to say that I've had some personal defeats this year that have been hard on me.

A student whom I had mentored for three years left school suddenly in the spring. That was probably the single biggest disappointment that I have had to deal with this year (so deep I just couldn't write about it). I've cried many tears and prayed many prayers over the nine months or so that this dear girl has been gone, and I still miss her. I'm holding on to the knowledge that God knows her, loves her, and is pursuing her like crazy.

I left my teaching position at Wheaton College at the end of spring semester (my choice), and this has proven to be harder than I thought it would be. I've missed being with students and feeling like I had something to contribute there. I've missed the classroom and the preparation. I've missed my colleagues and friends. (I have NOT, for one second, missed grading papers!)

But still, I know God has called me to new adventures and new opportunities, so I trust Him to open the right doors. And to help me deal with change in my life--I really hate change!

As I look back on my year, here's what I know: that despite some difficulties and despite deep sorrow, God is still good. He is still faithful to me. He is still walking right beside me. And He loves me, no matter what my circumstances may be.

Friends, as we move into 2016, let's remember these things: God is good. He is faithful. He is always with us.

And no matter what, He loves you.

Here's to a great year ahead!


  1. I have missed you and your beautiful blog posts!! And I'm looking forward to reading more from you in 2016!! I enjoy reading about your beautiful daughters, your amazing travel adventures, and especially your posts about Jesus and his unfailing mercy and grace. Blessings to you in 2016. May God use you in mighty ways to further His kingdom!!

  2. That's a lot of travel! Wow. What a great year. I loved reading your update and loved spending a little time with you in November. :)

  3. My goodness, Shelly, it's hard to believe just how much you were on the go in 2016--both at home and abroad! Here's to a 2016 full of healing and renewal, fresh starts where we need them, and encouragement to keep on keeping on in the places we need that! Love you, friend.