2019: A Year In Review

A dear friend of mine sent an email out last week to her email list, and asked a series of questions I loved (you all know I love a good question). One of the questions she asked and encouraged her people to journal was, “What is ONE WORD that describes 2019?”

I had to really think about that a minute. To be honest, the last three months of 2019 have been insane. October I finished up working my last conference of the year, November we had a string of unexpected disappointments, it was National Adoption Awareness Month so super crazy time for me, then December we have been hard at work finalizing everything for my second book to publish in January, plus all the added everyday life things and holidays. It’s just been madness. One thing I will say, is I’ve already resolved to not end another year like we’ve ended this one-completely exhausted and depleted in every sense of the word. Sometimes, it’s easy for the hard things to be so “loud,” we forget all the other wonderful, amazing things that also came. So when I sat down to answer my friend Allison’s question of the one word that describes 2019? I ended up with the word, full.

It was full of answered prayers, surprises, some disappointments, goals being accomplished, new seasons and beginnings with our boy, and a whole lot of sweetness. God did some really great things in 2019, both in our family and in our work, and I felt like I needed to take the time and actually celebrate instead of rushing ahead for what’s next (something I’ll be working on in 2020). So, here’s our full 2019 in review.

Family 

2019 was full of our normal favorites – lots of trips to the zoo, all the gymnastics, playtime with friends, weekly mall dates, family adventures near and far, homeschooling, the things that make us us and I cherish so much! 2019 also brought some BIG things for our family too! In March of 2019, we headed to San Diego for a family vacation to visit Jonathan’s oldest brother and family. We enjoyed time with them, a trip to the San Diego Zoo, Kai’s first experience at the beach and seeing the ocean, enjoying the sea lions at La Jolla Cove, and ending the week by heading to Disneyland with my family – Kai’s first trip to Disneyland! It was definitely a highlight of our year, and Kai asks us weekly when we can do that trip over again he loved it so much (and has a goal to learn to surf…shocker).

In May, a big prayer of provision and surprise for us was answered and we bought a house! It literally came right at the time that our lease on our apartment was ending and we were unsure where to go. The house He provided is more than what we hoped for. It was a blessing for us to actually get to see the process of our house being built from start to finish, going out weekly to check on the progress was so fun, and we truly feel we are literally living in a testament to His faithfulness to us. Kai is so excited to have more space, a backyard, and more importantly, our Sirius Pup back home with us. We moved in August, and have been settling in ever since! It’s the perfect space for us and we love it more each day. In September Jonathan and I celebrated nine years together and our baby turned SIX. I don’t know how that happened.

Kai had some HUGE accomplishments this year and I feel we just entered into a whole new season of life. Gone are the toddler days, completely bittersweet for me, but there are still dinosaurs, legos, superheroes, and star wars toys everywhere which I never want to change. We started something new this year with homeschool, and in August (yes the same month that we moved), began a curriculum called Classical Conversations. We are enjoying getting together once a week at a “campus” with other homeschooling families, and Kai is loving being in a “class” with one of his best friends. It’s a new challenge for me too, of course, but it’s been a good change of pace for us. We especially love the community aspect since we’ve been on our own these past couple of years! In addition to that, Kai learned to read this year! We finished our reading curriculum right before thanksgiving, and yes I cried.  For someone who said she would never homeschool, I tell you what, being able to see that process from start to finish was one of the most amazing things ever. I love being able to do this with him. Now, we will just be practicing and honing those skills! He fell in love with reading aloud this year and we read through all The Chronicles of Narnia books, all of the Harry Potter books, and most of Mary Poppins. We’re continuing to learn Japanese and found this boy is quite good at writing hiragana! He’s lost two teeth, taught himself to dive this summer, and someone tell me what is happening to my baby because he’s growing way too fast!  As always, he is still our little gymnast and cannot get enough of it. He is officially on a boy’s team now with our gym as a Level 4, and ended this year mid-December by competing in his first of many gymnastics competition! He totally crushed it, taking home three medals: 1st in rings, 1st in high bar, and 2nd all-around. I am absolutely amazed at his drive and discipline and love for this sport, and of course how gifted he is in it. It was sweet to see him encouraging and cheering on his team mates, get up there and lead with such confidence, and at the end tell us it was awesome and said “So when’s my next one?” We’re so proud of all of his hard work at just six-years-old, and he will forever outdo us and far surpass us in any athleticism. Right after Christmas Jonathan took the training wheels off his bike he got for his birthday in September, and seriously after five tries, he had it. So he learned to ride a bike this year too! We know God has such great things in store for him, and we pray he continues to know who these gifts come from and that he will glorify Him in them.

 

 

 

Writing

This year was full to say the least for us with writing, and we are so grateful for all of the work and opportunities that came our way. Before You Adopt was published in November of 2018, and I cannot believe all that has been done with it in just one year for a self-published book. I really didn’t know what would come of this, I just knew that God clearly told me to do it, so I did. And He has done great things. Over 300 books were sold, I had the privilege of being featured on multiple podcasts, officially became a contributor for Kindred + Co., sold workbooks at three different adoption and foster care conferences, connected with some of my sweetest online friends in person, and…wrote a second book! Yes I am crazy. Moving Mountains will be out January 15th, and fun fact: I started writing it immediately after Before You Adopt published. It’s our family’s story of honestly the past decade, all we’ve overcome in our marriage, adoption, finances, struggles in motherhood, you name it. He has moved so many mountains in our lives, ones most of you don’t really know the details to, and I’m nervous and excited to share it all with you. My hope is that as we start a new year and new decade, it will deeply encourage you, especially if you are in or have endured a hard season. Be sure to get on the email list if you want to be notified about the new book, and there’s links to all the podcasts and guest blogs below if you want them.

Live Abundantly Podcast: Turning Your Hobby Into A Career

Adopt Well Podcast: Navigating a Closed Adoption

Adoption Hacks Podcast 1: Before You Adopt

AdoptionHacks Podcast 2: Sensory Processing Disorder, Part 1

Adoption Hacks Podcast 3: Sensory Processing Disorder, Part 2

Beauty Is Rising Podcast: Nothing Is Conventional In Adoption 

Birth Culture 101 Blog

Adoption & Immigration Blog

My Fears As An Adoptive Mom Blog

Most Read Spoonful of Jordan Blogs

Last thing I want to celebrate for my year in writing, is this blog! I re-launched in July of 2018 and started taking it seriously, not just as a hobby. Though I still have a long way to go and lots to learn, one of my goals this year was to reach 1,000 views per month. I got so close every month, but finally I not only hit that in September, but surpassed it, and it kept growing till year end. Here are my most read blogs this year:

Five Myths About Homeschool

Sweet Things In Small Spaces: What Living Simply Has Taught Me

To The Waiting Mom

Motherhood Series: Meet Hannah

5 Things We Can Learn From Mary Poppins

Jonathan is also always working and writing something, I can hardly keep up with all his projects! 2019 has been a year for him with lots of planting to harvest for 2020. Earlier this year he hired a manager who helps him manage and prioritize script-writing and works with his agent to of course, get him contracts! We are actually waiting to hear news on one of those, so we are hoping 2020 kicks off with that. He’s edited four books this year, all being published in 2020, and I wish I could tell you more about the stories he’s actually writing about but…you’ll have to wait and see them 🙂

2019, you have been full indeed and sweet to us.  This decade has been a wild ride, but we are grateful for it. Though we have high hopes and big dreams for 2020, I loved taking the time to pause and reflect on 2019. I hope you won’t rush ahead, but do the same. See you in 2020!

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