Thursday, December 29, 2016

2016 - My Year in Review!

Most of you know that I have my blogs printed into blog books!

See? 2007 - 2015 for the Tidwells!

Last year, I did a "Year in Review" post that looked back at the one picture of each month that summed up what happened! I decided to do that again (I promise it's not all vacations this year!), so that I can always look back at 2016 and remember what happened! So here is my 2016 Year in Review!

January - I will always remember January 2016 as the furlough trip where we arrived on our 15th wedding anniversary, Blu got stuck in South Africa for having ammo in his bag, and I flew back with the kids and stayed in Livingstone by myself and did all of our grocery shopping. With the kids. In jet lag. On our 15th anniversary. Good times.

February - getting started on the house for my parents - what a fun year of building and seeing the house come to completion!

March - this will be the month I remember early morning workouts with Mallory, Rachel, Kailyn, and Jamee! Loved having those 4 here together that month!

April - school is out and it's Field Trip time! We took the "Middle Kids" to Livingstone to see Vic Falls and go on a game drive!

May - the New Day Ladies Retreat! Laurie and I shared a room for 3 nights, and we both taught sessions on the churches in Revelation! Such a great time!

June - might be the best month of the year! Blu's parents were here for 3 weeks, and my parents moved to New Day! (and Wes had a stroke...maybe NOT the best month of the year!)

July - a busy month with volunteers! We celebrated the 4th with Kailyn, Jamee, and Erin!

August - that 3 day camping trip for the Youth Conference...

September - that time we climbed the Great Wall of China!

October - I turned 36 and got a FitBit - my new best friend!

November - a wonderful trip to Cape Town, South Africa!

December - so much to choose! Christmas with my parents, moving them into their house, TONS of Christmas festivities, and the Camp family being with us for the month!

If I could sum up 2016 in one year, it would be EXHAUSTING. Or UNEXPECTED. Starting with our trip back from furlough, to a visit from Blu's parents, to Wes having a stroke, to Jacey joining us at New Day, to a trip to China - there were a LOT of things that happened this year that we didn't know were coming. Some were amazing, some were hard, but God knew about all of them beforehand, and He was with us through it all. I am looking for one thing in 2017 - RENEWAL (and rest!). Praying the same for you in 2017!

2016 End of Year Book Review!

Aaaahhhh.....I love this time of year - time for my end of year book review!!! I read 52 books this year, a little less than usual, but I read some DEEP and INTENSE books. The Kitchen House and Glory Over Everything were REALLY good books (similar to The Help), Rescuing Hope was an amazing book about sex trafficking, Trail of Broken Wings - a book about abuse in an Indian family, When I'm Gone - a book about a woman with cancer who leaves notes to be delivered to her family/husband after her death - I read some GOOD books! This year, I chose only 2 categories: fiction and non-fiction. Here goes!

Without a doubt, I chose The Tears of Dark Water by Corban Addison for my Fiction Book of the Year! I love everything Corban Addison has written, and I have never read anything like this: piracy off the coast of Africa, a father and son sailing alone, a wife at home waiting for them. I loved this book!

I read some really good nonfiction this year - I loved Killing Reagan by Bill O'Reilly, but I decided my Non Fiction Book of the Year had to go to Lost in Shangri-La by Mitchell Zuckoff. I read this, I read it to Blu, I got it for Blu's dad, and he loved it, and I just got it for my Dad as well! It is a true story World War II plane crash novel - the story of 3 survivors, their encounters with natives in the jungle, and the harrowing mission to rescue them! Another great read!

This year, I am sad to say I did not read a lot of Christian fiction. I am having trouble finding Christian novels that I feel are really GOOD books. I would love some recommendations in the comments!! (My friend Amy just told me Charles Martin is a good one!) Have a good reading year in 2017!

A Visit from the Kimbroughs!

We had a quick visit from my sister and her family this week as they passed through our neck of the "bush" on their way home from South Africa! It was great to be with them for a couple of hours, and of course, we had to get some pics!

Amos & Cason

Had to do a quick braid for my sis!

Mama and her girls!

The Originals!

All 13 of us!

Just visiting in the living room!

Isaac & Caedmon - the "Cool Kids"

Chest bump!

Isabel, Cambree, & Abigail

Mama & Dawni

Heading to Happy Hollow!

And...we finally got all those braids out!

Cason's new Messi jersey!

Lots of football around here!

It's pretty exhausting!

We currently have Celebration Church here from Hoschton, GA (I learned today - the correct "Georgian" way to pronounce it is "Hush-tun"!) There is going to be lots of tie dyeing, painting, garage cleaning, washer repairing, New Year's Eve party planning, sink fixing, garage door installing, shelf building, tutu making, and playing with kids going on around here for the next 7 days!

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas Lunch & Supper!

Our Christmas worship at church was...different! Sometimes I just long for American worship, in my heart language. This morning was VERY humid, and there was a VERY strong smell in church. Yet, as I sat there, longing for some air conditioning (or air freshener..) I was reminded that everyone around the world today who is attending church is celebrating the same Savior who died for us all - whether in a bush church in the middle of Zambia, or in the finest city church in suburban America! (But I bet they didn't discuss whether or not Jesus was born in the rainy season in YOUR church this morning!!)

After church, we headed to Happy refuge of peace! (Because nobody can find me there!) Poor Grandpa was not feeling well due to the hand he drilled into yesterday, so he and Caedmon chilled on the comfy furniture!

Cason loves his new bike helmet!

The "kids" table - every grandparents' house has one, right??

Me & my girl!

Mama & Caedmon (Blu was at a church meeting.. )

At 2:30pm, the team and the New Day kids headed to make widow basket deliveries to 6 widows from our church who live near us. This is one of my favorite things we do each year! The kids LOVE it!





Stella (the new chitengi wraps were a big hit!)

Walking to one of the ladies' village

Then, for Christmas dinner, all of the Americans at New Day convened at The Ark for supper and a game of "Dirty Santa!" (also called White Elephant or Chinese Christmas!)

There were 25 of us! We had roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, rolls, green beans, pineapple casserole, cherry cheesecake, strawberry pretzel salad, and layered chocolate dessert!

The adults had fun! We walked away with good gifts - Bath Bombs and a Bath & Body Works Candle!

Dad was excited about his coffee!

The kids had fun too!

And that's a wrap on our Christmas Day, and on our team from Rosemont! We will miss them, especially these two. :)

Merry Christmas from New Day!