As parents, we believe in the power of routine. Routines give children structure and safety. From the foundation of a stable routine, they can be confident in launching out into new little adventures of discovery, assured that they can return to home base if things get a little too overwhelming.
As adults, we see wisdom in that for our own lives. That where ever God puts us, one of our first priorities is to establish routines of responsibility and healthy activity. That “home” is not so much a physical place, rather its what you do and how you behave when there’s nothing more challenging going on. A good routine means that you don’t settle into negative habits, but positive ones. Habits that allow you to recover from past challenges, learn from them, and prepare for the next ones — automatically, and as a default behavior.
So that was 2013 — by and large. Not our most exciting year, but not devoid of little adventures either. Mostly about finding our rhythm, and helping our growing kids find new rhythms of their own. These things are made a little more challenging, of course, when your world shifts around you. For Ben and Abi, and Nicole their chauffeur and guide, new schools were their biggest opportunities to adapt. Each were more than ready to graduate from their pre-schooling efforts (pre-K for Abi, Kindergarten round 2 for Ben), and excited to move on. But of course there was trepidation and emotions involved. For Nicole it was figuring out how to juggle 2 new schedules. And for Eli, life continues to be a race to beat her older siblings to every milestone. (At barely 2 and a half, she can write her own name, and just this morning she got up before the rest of the family, turned on the TV, woke up the Roku, opened Netflix, selected a show, and settled in to watch quietly until everyone else was awake.) For me it was wrestling my professional life back into the right direction after a re-org that was outside of my control.
But of course if you never launch out from your routine, it ceases to be healthy and becomes a rut. So we happily shipped our favorite babysitters over from home and hit the road for Disneyland, entertained a regular stream of guests from both North America and further afield (Siberia and Malaysia!), and I even squeezed in minor surgery as my own routine continues to adapt to a 2 year old accident that still irritates. We also joyfully welcomed a new member of the family, visited home, and attended a couple pretty special weddings.
Combine all that with opportunities to serve our church and church family, new and growing friendships in our new home, some great hikes in the nearby Cascades, biking through an old mountain pass train tunnel, renting a boat and tubing in Lake Chelan, and multiple road trips to Western Canada, and you’ve got an interesting, but pretty peaceful and gentle year. Not a bad thing for a young family!
Our outlook and early plans for 2014 look good, 2015 looks to get a little more adventurous again, but our God is bigger than our human plans, and we’re confident that His are the best. So we’ll continue to pursue Him, and try to figure out how to give Him the glory for both the challenges and the many blessings He sends our way. Happy New Year to all of you, and to our friends and family, whom we love very much — regardless of geographic location!