When Spencer turned one this year, I took a moment to reflect on the previous 12 months. Looking back, I could see myself at the hospital, holding our new baby in my arms. Our family was complete and I felt so happy!
At that moment, if you’d told me where we would be just 12 months later … moved out of our home, living at my parents and having condensed our most loved possessions into 16 boxes on their way to Thailand; I would have thought you were a little strange!
If you then said I would be a going to be a volunteer or be a missionary in Thailand, I would have laughed (very loudly) at you (not with you) and said with confidence “there’s no chance”.
However, here we are! How life changes!
It’s funny because I have never felt even remotely interested in the activities of missionaries, or overseas aid. I felt that we were doing our family’s “bit” by sponsoring a child overseas (ironically she lives in Thailand).
I really can’t explain the past 12 months. All I know is that I have felt a God-given passion rise up from so deep within me, that it has compelled me to act.
I have become so focused on the children of Thailand, that I am pushing hard to do whatever it takes to get us there next year, so we can start helping at the ZOE Children’s Home. As much as I would like to say that I have a clever plan, we haven’t yet worked out how the next 12 months will be funded.
What we do know is that this is a cause we believe in and the experiences we have had over many years in foster care and children’s camps have helped to prepare us for this next step in the journey… however long it is.
Quality Signs has felt the rises and falls of the market and it looks like we are slowly headed back towards the sales figures of previous years. It has not been an easy year. I have, however, been truly blessed by some great people who work with me and some phenomenal individuals who have been involved with assisting in planning for next year.
Our children have grown up a great deal since last Christmas and each of them continues to develop their own unique personality. Tobi’s a real thinker and often comes up with some deep and left field topics of conversation and is learning to articulate what’s on his mind or clarify when he is confused about something. He has a wonderful imagination and sense of humor, which helps to keep our family laughing!
As Andie mentioned, both Tobi and Eli have achieved some significant milestones this year. Eli loves both her dancing and swimming classes. These seem to be the only times when she is not talking constantly! Mind you we have heard her still talking as she’s jumped into the water but it quickly turns into more of a gurgle!! It really does not matter the day, time or topic. She is quite the social butterfly and as long as she is pumping out words, she is satisfied!
Tobi and Eli have become wonderful friends and we love to sneak in on them while they are in the midst of an imaginary game and hear what’s going on. It’s very amusing.
Spencer is just as Andie described: a very happy boy with music in his bones. When he hears any song he just starts grooving!
Andrea has been the rock throughout the past 12 months. She has navigated the move of the house and been instrumental in organising and liaising with the ZOE staff. Though our schedule has been full with Thailand related appointments, on top of the weekly activities, she still managed to organise the 3 birthday parties for our children; each one themed to the very last detail.
Andie is a wonderfully gifted mum and we all love having her around to keep the fun in the place!
Yes, it definitely has been a roller coaster of a year. Though I have struggled with my concerns of how everything is going to work out (and had many teary moments as I think about leaving family and friends) I know that God has not brought us this far to leave us hanging at the last minute.
We have experienced many amazing things in the past few months. We have felt people’s thoughts and prayers uplifting us and greatly appreciated the generosity and support we’ve received from our close friends and family. We look forward to sharing more with you in the coming year.
May God richly bless you and the time you spend with your family this Christmas.