The picture above is of Mt. Whitney–one of America’s 14ers. In fact, it is the highest mountain in the lower 48 states. When I climbed Whitney several years ago, I was struck by the various zones on the mountain. Life is like that. There were arid zones in 2014 and some lush ones as well. It was a challenging year for my physically, but it was also filled with moments of laughter and joy. There were lows, for sure, but there were also mountain tops. Here’s my list of those summits from the past twelve months:
The Rose Parade – Relaxing as a family to bring in the new year! We love traditions in our family and this definitely one of them. We all stay up on New Year’s Eve to celebrate and we lounge around on the first day of the year.
Our February Snow – Fun in the cold! We love snow (even though I grew up in Wisconsin and spent two winters in northern Japan). It is so fun to watch children build snowmen and make angels in fresh, fallen snow.
The Arrival of Cadence Peace Wehse – THE HI-LIGHT OF THE YEAR! Baby #5 arrived on March 31st. It was so wonderful to have another baby in the house! Our moments of true joy were countless (even if we were quite sleep-deprived many, many days).
Celena–The big sister/second mommy – Having another baby at our age required Celena to setup and assist in a major way and she did not disappoint. She proved to be a huge help to use with Cadence. For that, we are grateful! I love seeing our kids mature!
Dayton learning to ride a bike without training wheels – Finally! And the best part was that TJ–his “big” brother taught him to do so. Dayton is not the adventurous type, so this truly was a reason for the family to rejoice!
Singing the greatest pop hits of the 70s and 80s with Jodi – We laughed. Kids were amazed as their parents belted out songs from artists like Christopher Cross. “Lost in love and I don’t know…” “Islands in the stream…”
Drive-in theater with the kids for the first time – We saw How to Train Your Dragon 2 at the Midway Drive-in outside of Athens on July 4th weekend. The children loved the experience.
July 4th Fireworks in Soddy – A real fireworks experience for the family! It was awesome to see a decent display. Cadence wasn’t that impressed, but the older kids seemed to enjoy it.
George of the Jungle 2 – Also July 4th weekend. We laughed, and decided to make this an annual tradition.
The Rush’s visits – An unexpected visit with dear friends we met in Las Vegas. We saw them twice and very much enjoyed the fellowship together!
Lake Winnie – A hot July day to celebrate the blondes’ birthday! The kids had a blast, but their parents wished they would have picked a different day due to the massive crowd! Did I say that the kids had an awesome time?
Lost in Luminary (getting lost on Evansville Mtn. with Dayton) – Blog fodder and a memory! Dayton and I ran an errand on the mountain and thought we were in the middle of nowhere (after I turned the wrong direction! Dayton–our boy who loves to stay home–was a bit out of his comfort zone for a while! We made up stories and sang silly songs.
Packers vs. Titans (and buckets of rain) – TJ and I in Nashville watching a preseason NFL game in a hurricane! Talk about laughing! We were complete soaked and the weather was so bad we had to spend a night rather than return home. It was a weekend we will never forget.
Mountain trip to purchase a monster – A quick trip to Ashville to buy a van and an overnight at Wilderness at the Smokies! The kids loved the “new” van and the waterpark. We also enjoyed the Bush’s Baked Beans visitor’s center near Sevierville, TN.
TJ’s Birthday Celebration – McD’s breakfast as a family, Bowling, Bumper Cars, Chinese buffet, Movie! It was another mini-vacation together. Thanks to Mommy deciding not to bowl, Daddy ended up as the champ!
The holidays – We are big on tradition. Tradition is one of the anchors that children need to be secure. On Thanksgiving, we watched the Macy’s Parade. On Christmas Eve we attended a service, go out to eat and came home to Santa-filled stockings. Christmas morning we opened gifts and hosted a brunch for Grandma and Grandpa Rouse. And on New Year’s Eve–tonight–we’ll eat Dad Wehse’s shrimp and a bunch of other treats and usher in the new year as a family with Uncle Paul and Aunt Vonnie. Good stuff.
God’s Grace – Once again, we experienced God’s manifold grace throughout the days and months of another year. Without a doubt, He did not treat us as our many sins deserve. It was a year–for the most part–without drama or trauma in our immediate family. No broken bones. No hospitalization. Our needs were provided, and we received most of our wants. Meditating upon their blessings, many often remark, “God is good.” Of course He is good! He is always good! But sometimes–much of the time–He is also gracious. He has been gracious to us yet again. We closed the year thankful for that grace!