We halfheartedly started a 2015 Christmas letter; actually a video this year in an attempt to top our quiz, website, magazine, and other creative formatting attempts. But “halfheartedly” is the key word here, mainly because I’d like to kick 2015 in the teeth and walk away, never to look back.

Of course that view is incredibly skewed. Although the accident seemed to blacken the entire year, the first three quarters were nothing short of outstanding.

We took a family trip to Atlanta in the spring, resulting in Jonathan’s wanting to move to the Drury in Marietta and work at the Coke Museum. Since there’s a great brewery so close to the Drury, we’d have fun visiting.

aquarium

cornhole

Derek and I went to Germany, where we soaked in the Martin Luther sites and participated in the dedication of the International Lutheran Center in Wittenberg:

"Junker Jorg's" room at Wartburg Castle. AKA where Luther translated the New Testament into German.

LCMS President Rev. Dr. Matthew Harrison preaching at the dedication of the Old Latin School at St. Mary's church, Wittenberg.

Postcard-perfect, everywhere.

Our crew.

Then on to France, where we walked miles and miles, ate chocolate croissants and macaroons, and chilled in our adorable airbnb flat.

eiffel-tower

flat

We also hiked Mt. LeConte on the most beautiful spring day the Lord could have ordered up for us.

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The family hiked Benton Falls in the summer, resulting in this epic photo by Sophia:

sophia faces

Derek turned 40

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Went to a preaching workshop near Nashville with Dr. Fickenscher and read a resolution at District Convention after serving on the budget committee

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And got new glasses.

christmas-2015

Kate passed me up in height in January, and is currently clocking in at a full 5′ 7 1/2″. Now that I can’t wear heels, the difference really shows.

kate-me

She was confirmed in the Lutheran faith

kate_confirmation

And had reconstructive ear surgery in December. (She’s doing great! Those hours with her under the knife are on record as the slowest, most excruciating hours of my life. There’s no sweeter sound than the intercom calling you up to hear from the doctor that she did just fine and is waking up.)

kate-pre-surgery

Sophia’s going gangbusters on piano, and she joined the school Singers group this year (and is the cutest of the bunch if I do say so myself).

sophia-singers

She also got new glasses this year.

sophia-glasses

Jonathan started kindergarten and became the second Star Student in his class

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Was ringbearer in his first wedding

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And is hoping against hope for a loose tooth, but while he waits, he plays superhero/pirate/Star Wars games and saves us from the bad guys.

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We were given an Amazon Echo for Christmas and my new favorite entertainment is listening to the kids talk to her.

“Alexa, do you believe in Santa Claus?”
“Alexa, will you read me a Bible verse?”
“Alexa, play ‘Everything is Awesome!'” (Nooooooo!)

This Christmas was so warm we ate dinner on the porch, and today have the windows and doors flung open to catch the breeze. (Are we in Florida?)

christmas-eve-2015

2015 really was a good year. I got to see my favorite band, The Avett Brothers, at the 2015 Cheerwine concert at the Tennessee Theater. I finished working for The Man. I redid our bedroom. I got to go to Fall Creek Falls for a pastor’s wives retreat last spring. And mostly I got to participate in life: our family life, our church life, our ordinary but compelling life.

Most days I’m acutely aware of and grateful for simply being alive, yet I cannot seem to shed this ambivalence and inability to process last year–or, to be incredibly specific, the accident and its role in 2015 and my life. Maybe I never will, and it’s enough to be grateful for all our blessings and to continue to move forward and push through the physical and emotional burden I now carry.

But we may never get that 2015 video done.