Sunday, December 29, 2013

2013 - 13 Big Moments

When the world marked the days this year, the number “13” played a leading role. 

The number 13 won't make such a prominent appearance again for another 100 years. If the world is still spinning as it is now, I won't be on it, and neither will you. This is, I admit, a sobering thought. But it's a good sobering thought. It makes you think about real things - eternal things. The Bible speaks to this in Psalm 39, verses 4 and 7.

“O Lord, make me know my end
and what is the measure of my days;
let me know how fleeting I am!

“And now, O Lord, for what do I wait?
My hope is in you.

Good verses to ponder as we look at the future. Good verses to ponder as we reflect on the past.

And speaking of the past and the number 13, we'll let it make an appearance in the yearly update. Following are 13 of the big, but fleeting, moments of 2013.

1. When the son of lifelong friends gets married on the west coast (and when Luke is a groomsman:), you get up at the crack of dawn on January 1, 2013, and whisk your way to the great Northwest. Even though the weather in Portland, Oregon, was cold, wet, and miserable, the celebration was warm, dry, and sweet.

Forrister and Harris kids: lifelong friends

My dear friend, Louise - mother of the groom.

2. Speaking of Luke, he got our attention this year when he quit his job as a Pharmacy Tech in Fayetteville, AR, packed up all his belongings, and moved to LA to try the acting thing. In between going to auditions, he’s parking cars and taking acting classes. He’s had a little luck modeling and even more luck when he landed a small part in Carley Rae Jepsen’s cover of Part of Your World. If you buy The Little Mermaid, Diamond Edition, you can see Luke in high definition.  He's the piano player and makes his appearance a little after the 1 minute mark.

3. Our Hannah finished her 4 years in Fayetteville in May, graduating from the University of Arkansas with Honors. That little degree from the Sam Walton School of Business helped her land a good job with Market Fresh Produce in Nixa, MO. 

4. May 2013, also saw sweet Faith graduate from dear old Bolivar High. It also saw her provide some excitement for our crew (and her coaches) at the State Track meet. Her chance to make All-State came down to the very last Triple Jump of her prep career. With hearts beating out of our chests, we watched her sprint down the runway, then hop, step, jump! She hit the pit and the sand flew. We watched her. We watched her coaches. Joy and more jumping when the tape measure showed she had jumped far enough for a medal.

Changing the BHS record board:)

5. David successfully finished his freshman year at the University of Arkansas, and immediately headed to Branson, MO, where he hung out with 7-9 year olds all summer. As a counselor at Kanakuk Kamps, he was paid to swim, eat, play, camp and ski. It's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it.

David and U of A roommate, Judah


6. July began with Lou and Faith journeying to El Salvador on a medical mission trip with our church. Lou saw a lot of patients, Faith took a lot of blood pressures and played with lots of kids. God was glorified, and many were encouraged!

7. Something pretty big happened in July that changed the course of our fall. While Lou and I were out on a date, Hannah was being proposed to by one Alex Joseph Hughes. Talk about happy and excited and...busy! She said, "Yes!" on July 19, 2013, and they said, "I do." on October 26, 2013. Those two dates are a mere 3 months and 1 week apart.

They might be a little excited!

8. While we were still trying to grasp the fun wedding mountain that lay before us, we hiked a few Rocky Mountains around Estes Park in August. We saw the top of Flattop Mountain, and  Lou, Luke, Faith, Elizabeth, and Mary Grace hiked Longs Peak, a 15 hour trek to the top of a Colorado 14er. We always come away from our time in the mountains amazed at God's beautiful world. 

Flattop Mountain
Faith, Elizabeth, and Mary Grace on their way up Longs Peak
The Narrows

The Home Stretch
The Summit

9. In those three pre wedding months, Elizabeth began her senior year. This is our third year in a row to have a senior. (That kind of pace makes a parent have senior moments!!) Elizabeth has decided she wants to study computer science in college. Now we've just got to decide where that studying will take place! In the mean time, college Calculus, dual credit Biology and English Composition, Fit and Well, Speech, Weights, Volleyball and Basketball are keeping her from being bored.

10. Also in those three months, Faith left for her Discipleship Training School in Colorado Springs with a mission agency called YWAM (Youth With A Mission). Her training, which had an emphasis on justice and mercy, lasted 3 months, and she is now currently on the field in the Middle East, working with Syrian refugees. She's there until February 19. She's loving it and we are loving her and praying for her from afar. My heart aches and is full all at the same time.

11. Could any other major event happen in those three months? Like the baby of the family starting high school, playing a varsity sport (tennis) and getting her driver's permit? Could we be talking about Mary Grace, who also plays the violin? Yes, we could. And I'm here to testify she is juggling all the changes like a champ. She's got what it takes.

1st day of high school

Thankfully, the last one to teach to drive

12. Speaking of having what it takes, my 87 year old mom has got it going on. She's not the spring chicken she once was, but she's doing pretty darn good for the shape she's in. At the wedding, she looked positively radiant. 

13. But nobody looked as radiant as our Hannah, who gave her hand to Alex on a beautiful fall day in our backyard. Thank you, God, again, for the sweet grace of that ceremony and reception. It was a blessing and a blast!

Our girls

Lou and I are still holding hands and hearts in this our 26th year of marriage. We're also still holding on to God, for "in him we live and move and have our being." (Acts 17:28a) We are grateful beyond words for his kindness and faithfulness this past year. 

We pray God's blessing on you and yours as you begin 2014!


  1. Hey Shelley, Just read your post! WOW! What a year for you and yours. You are truly blessed beyond measure. You have some bright and beautiful "kiddos" and I know you are proud of each one. They are all so gifted! You and Lou have much to be thankful for. Your family is a blessing and inspiration. Thanks, always for sharing! Carla

    1. Thank you, Carla! Next time I'm back in Munford, I hope we can connect! Blessings to you!

  2. Shelley, moved beyond words as I read your letter...God is indeed faithful! So blessed to know you and Lou and your beautiful family! You two are a testimony and an example of finding True Life in Christ. We can only believe for the same and reach out to you as mentors to those of us a few steps behind. Blessings and Love!
    Dan & Jamee', and The Stimpson Family

    1. Thank you, Jamee, for your kind words. Life is hard and good and blessed all at the same time! Our God is faithful. Blessings!