A Year in Review

From our New Year’s letter to friends (because we were tardy on Christmas cards)…

Happy 2011, friends!

Well, it looks like we all survived 2010. We hope the year brought you plenty of adventures and good times. For us, the adventures of this year gave us an overload of excitement and many wonderful memories, but also plenty of opportunities to soldier through less than ideal circumstances. Ironically, those difficulties gave us a new appreciation for blessings in disguise. The year will probably make more since if I describe what happened in order:

January found us still fixing up the house we bought the previous October, a foreclosed Cape Cod with plenty of potential and a lot of sweat equity. You know the movie “The Money Pit”? Yeah, it wasn’t that bad, but some days we empathized emotionally.  We repainted every single wall and ceiling and redid all the floors, but this month the dreaded kitchen and bathrooms were still to come. Still, we were thrilled just to enjoy a space to call our own.

In February, the seminal event of the year was brought on by Katherine’s foray into donut making. Here’s some free advice: triple-check that the stove burner is off when dealing with several inches of hot oil under pressure. Thanks to some neighbors (who just “happened” to be outside in the freezing cold weather to hear Katherine yell for help and grab their fire extinguishers) and David (who just “happened” to drive home from the store at the same time Katherine had given up extinguishing the blaze with baking soda), The Fire was already out when the fire department arrived. The whole kitchen was just a black hole afterwards, and the stove knobs looked like clocks in a Salvador Dali painting. We were very, very lucky.

March showed us how The Fire was part of God’s provision. We had planned on saving up for a remodel of the kitchen in a few years, but now discovered that home insurance would finance much of it. Goodbye, two sticky layers of linoleum! We completely gutted the kitchen, and got really good at cooking with a microwave. This month, we also started helping out as the requisite young couple with our churches youth group. It’s challenging, but we love it.

In April, life started to return to a new normal. That is, by the end of the month, we weren’t spending all our spare time rehabbing the kitchen. The real test was in late April, when the Britton chateau hosted a bridal shower sans running water in the kitchen. Actually, it wasn’t too bad!

Naturally, though, we soon experienced another kink in the works. At the end of May, we won the middle spot in a five-car pile-up. Neither of us were injured, but we had to start hunting for a new car immediately. Because…

In June, we depended on that extra car to get to and from Katherine’s college roommate’s wedding! We loved hosting Grove City people we hadn’t seen in years after the event.

In July… we took a minute to breathe. It was quite an unusual experience. We enjoyed going out to ball games with the youth group and just hanging out a little more.

August allowed us to take a real break and let us quiet the urge to travel. We spent five days in Houston with David’s sister, then skipped over to San Diego for another five days to see David’s college roommate and his wife. Most importantly of all, we checked “Watch a Pacific sunset” off our bucket lists. David continued to the trip for another week  (the perks of a teacher’s schedule!) for a father/son trip to Alaska, fulfilling a lifelong wish for his dad and affording David some amazing photos.

David started his second year as a special ed teacher in September. He teaches a class for with moderate intellectual disabilities. He says he likes it because the kids are willing to laugh at his jokes. Katherine is still with Salem Web Network, the company she joined right after graduation.

In October, we celebrated one year in our house! And that’s pretty cool. When we celebrated Thanksgiving in November, all the near misses and God’s obvious mercies were definitely on our minds.

And so we come to the month so lately finished, December. The year was so full of crazy events that it seems to have snuck up even faster than usual. 2010 gave us a personal — very personal — look at how fleeting our perceived security is, while at the same time reminding us that God cares for his children. We are aware that this year could have had very different endings, and that “every good and perfect gift comes from above.”  God bless and happy New Year!

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