Friday, January 2, 2015

2014 - Transitions

If I had to use one word to describe 2014, it would be Transition.

Some of our transitions were easy and joy filled and  relatively seamless. Some were hard and painful and made us cry.

In them all, we felt the steady hand of our God and we leaned hard into the hope of verses like Isaiah 43:2a.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.

One way God used to remind me of this truth in 2014 was in the beauty of the sunsets. As I looked over the pictures we took these past 12 months, I was struck by the number of sunsets I had taken. I don't know if you can have a good year for sunsets or not, but I certainly had a good year for taking pictures of them. Seeing the beauty and majesty of a sky on fire reminds you of eternal truths and an eternal being waaay bigger than you. And this One who paints the sunsets loves, is in control, and can be trusted. His goodness in giving us a book, The Bible, to hold in our hands, to read, and to remind us of all He is and all He said blows me away sometimes.

While we were seeing stunning views like this over Bolivar at the beginning of 2014, our Faith was seeing stunning vistas over the Mediterranean and ministering to people in the Middle East. 

She loved her time with the ministry YWAM, and was there through February. Since then, she's transitioned back to Bolivar  - still ministering, working, and singing. She's now going to Southwest Baptist University, where she studies Biology and is a jumper on the track team. 

Faith was here to enjoy her sister's senior year basketball swan song. Elizabeth finished strong but we all had to encourage her to be a little more vocal and aggressive. (wink, wink)

In March, my midwest men (Lou and David) headed to California to spend a week with our Luke, who has transitioned to life on the West Coast. They hiked and ate, toured and ate, drove and ate, and ate some more. Definitely good male bonding time.

All were awed by the Redwoods
Spring in Bolivar wasn't quite as warm as spring in Cali, but warm or not, Elizabeth played her favorite sport, soccer. And I flipped out when she did her signature flip throw, a highly effective offensive weapon. So much fun to watch.

Soccer was actually a 2 for 1 sport for us. Our freshman, Mary Grace, played right alongside her senior sister.
#23 and #17 ---> my favorites

Senior Night

In between soccer games, we made time to get served by our favorite waitress. 

Glad she carried food trays up and down these steps and not me!

True confession time: Having a child who's worked in food service has made me a better tipper.  

At Easter, Lou's sister, Dona, was smiling beautifully in our Easter dinner pic. Our family enjoyed her sweet self for a chunk of 2014. We prayed God's blessing over her as she (and her cat, Bobwinky) moved on and down to Dallas at the end of July. Her living with us was a gift to our family. 

Clockwise from my 88 year old Mom: Elizabeth, Faith, Lou, Alex, Hannah, Mary Grace, and Dona
Me and my girls on Easter

May brought Mother's Day and Graduation and all the happiness that surrounds those days. 

Mom and 5 of my kids

David, Me, Faith, Elizabeth, Hannah, Mary Grace, Lou, and Alex
The transition from a busy school year to the warm, slightly slower days of summer is always welcome. 

The only thing unwelcome is that sometimes the college student who just came home from school leaves again for his "job."

David spent his summer as a counselor -  playing sports and encouraging young men at Kanakuk Kamp. His time at kamp was a nice break from accounting classes!

Summer also meant lots and lots of hammocking with friends. I wish this had been a thing when I was young. So cool.

Summer also brought July, and July meant we packed up Hannah and Alex's cute little Springfield cottage and moved their stuff to an equally cute (and significantly smaller) garage apartment in Tulsa, OK. It is so OK that they are there, but we miss spur of the moment,  "Hey, we're in Springfield! Want to get together?"  
One last pic in front of the house on Fremont
Mary Grace and Hannah saying good-bye after we moved them to Tulsa.
People mistake these two for each other.

Hannah and Alex have affectionately coined their garage apartment the "treehouse."

Alex is inspiring 4th graders at Chouteau Elementary through Teach for America and Hannah is learning all about the business side of construction at Stava Building Corporation. They live near downtown and are completely adorable.

July also brought a more permanent good-bye. My mom, Violet Marea Petty Vaughan, died on July 13, 2014. I wrote about it here. She has made the final transition to heaven, which means we are transitioning to life without her. Because she lived with us for a couple of years, she had become a part of our daily life - of who we are as a family. How thankful I am that my children really knew their Grandmother and had the opportunity to help care for her. In that same vein, enough cannot be said about the kindness of my Lou to her. He loved her well.

And, she taught him how to make her awesome pound cake! 

Mom loved me well and I'm glad God put us together on this earth.
Mother's Day 2014
She was still beautiful at 88 years old!
When the family was all in for Mom's funeral, the Harris boys joined their dad in his favorite pastime. I love pictures of my three favorite men.

Luke, Lou, David
My siblings were also here for the funeral. How glad I am for this one picture we took that day.

Keith, Hugh Jr, Andy
Kathy and me
We didn't know it at the time, but it would be the last picture of all 5 of us. My oldest brother, Hugh Wynn Vaughan, Jr., died on August 6 - a few short weeks after my mom. One friend wrote, "Grief has followed grief for you right now. We will pray for you and for all who loved your brother." 

We felt those prayers. God was faithful in those deep, dark waters.

Summer ended with 3 of us participating in their first triathlon.

I was not one of the 3;). I made a great fan, though, and we loved the atmosphere and heart of such a physically challenging event.

David tackled it as an individual, and Lou and Faith snagged our friend, and D1 swimmer, Emma, to compete as Team Elf. (Emma - swim, Lou - bike, Faith - run). They all did us proud.

Fall came, and so did the mass exodus.

David and Elizabeth headed to Fayetteville to call the Hogs and study a little.

Faith moved her stuff into the dorm at SBU.

Now the only ones who made noise around here on a daily basis were me, Lou, and Mary Grace. Mostly Mary Grace. She and I were actually pretty chummy until that fateful day at the end of September, when the state of Missouri awarded her that most coveted of all official documents - her driver's license.

Everybody has driven their Papa Hugh's 1987 Dodge Dakota.

In between driving all the places a sophomore in high school needs to go, Mary Grace managed to hit the tennis ball around.

And her Dad enjoyed watching her (me too:)

Our Cali kid is still auditioning and writing and working in LA. We are always glad to FaceTime or message that boy. Did you know California is a really long way away?

We were super glad he was home for the holidays.

Everybody was home for the holidays, so the noise was back...and welcome. It's a good thing to really like your adult children. They are all so different...and interesting. They make me think. They make me pray. They make me smile.

We are far from perfect and have our tense moments just like every family, but we have good, deep history - and that is a good, deep gift from God.

Thanks for scrolling through. As we all transition from 2014 to 2015, know that the Harrises send an old Irish blessing your way.
Sampler my Mom made

God's blessings to you and yours.

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