As the year comes to a close, I look back and am overwhelmed at the vast number of memories and highlights, trials and valleys that we experienced in 2017. I wanted to capture just a few of them with you, as I sit here with Eric today and reflect just what God has done for us in the last 365 days. So many of these things I have shared with all of you, too. I am just so grateful you have chose to follow along with me on my journey towards Jesus down my Dirt Road.
February – The newest member of our family, Deacon Edwin, arrived 3 weeks early via c-section on February 2 of this year. He weighed 5lbs 14oz and came pretty fast… and a little traumatically. But everyone was alive and healthy at the end of his delivery. Deacon has been the easiest baby and our little buddy is the greatest blessing!
March – Eric’s cousin Rajeev got married in Omaha and we made our first “big” outing as a family of 5!
April – This month started our season of fishing in our pond. We had a great year, Andi finally decided that she enjoyed fishing, Nora perfected her cast, and Deacon enjoyed watching from the baby carrier.
Andi also got potty trained this month. Surprisingly, it was easier than we thought it would be with our strong-willed second child.
I figured out how to be a SAHM to 3 under 4. It’s so strange…I remember knowing that there was something not right with me when I took this picture. It was the week that I really recognized that I had PPD.
My best friend realized that something was really wrong with me this month. One day, she took me out shopping for an entire day, from 8am to 8pm with her mom and sisters. This was really the first day that I was able to collect my thoughts about what I was really feeling and experiencing in my mind. This picture might not look like much to anyone else, but this represents God’s faithful timing in my life.
May – We had another great season of planting on the farm and got through the Spring storm season. There was rain when we needed it, sun when my farmer needed it even more, and rainbows after all of our storms.
I had my first speaking engagement as Lauren at From Blacktop to Dirt Road. WOW! So exciting!
June – Eric went on a week long mission trip to Haiti with our church. While he was gone, the sweet guys from our Bible study helped me pull off a great surprise for Eric by installing his basketball hoop. So thankful for these hard working friends of ours!
I had my debut writing for the Today Parenting Team! My first post with the Today Show went viral and I started a really special writing-working relationship with them. I have been amazed to see how God has been able to take my words to, literally, millions this way.
The same week, Eric’s parents took us all to Great Wolf Lodge in Colorado Springs with all of Eric’s sisters and their families. We had SO much fun and our kids still talk about it almost daily.
On Father’s Day, we had Deacon dedicated back to the Lord. It was such an exciting day to publicly share our desire to raise him in a home that seeks Jesus daily and give our son back to the One Who created him.
July – Aaron and Allison had their annual 3rd of July party. And just like every other year, it was SO much fun! We look forward to it every summer.
Anderson Joy really blossomed this summer. She only continued to confirm what we already knew… she is definitely our ornery child! We love that girl!
We spent a lot of time “water-painting” on the front porch the month of July in our underwear (the kids in their underwear, not me, ha!)
Eric and I took the trip of a lifetime to Washington D.C. This was a bucket list trip for both of us and for sure one of the top highlights of our year!
We got to attend TWO Royals games this summer. One in July and one in September. This was another huge highlight for both Eric and I.
We also ran through the sprinkler a lot this summer. These girls LOVED that we finally got grass in our yard this year!
There were also lots of beautiful summer sunsets. There really is no place like home, is there?
I’ve been pretty open about my PPD and anxiety journey on this blog. And one of the things that I shared a lot about was that it was OK to not be OK… AND take antidepressants and anti anxiety meds… even if you’re a Christian. Little White Pills have been a game changer for me this year.
We rode in our small town parade this summer as a family and had an absolute blast!
Our sweet friends, Katie and BJ, and their kids came to visit us this summer. It was a JOY to have our KC friends here with us!
August – Our little town was directly in line for the solar eclipse. We had a watch party all day at the farmhouse with out of town family and friends. It was truly one of the most amazing things I have ever experienced!
We took lots of trips to KC to see my parents this summer and they came up to visit us lots, too. And to ride the 4 wheelers around the farm, of course!
Our Bible study took an end of the summer day trip to the lake… WITH OUT KIDS. It was one of the most fun days of the year. God continues to show us the beauty of these authentic friendships and we are so thankful for our sweet friends. They really are the best.
Nora started preschool this year! Our girl has really struggled with nervousness and fear the last couple of years. But once again, God showed up in big ways and our girl has thrived at school this fall semester. She absolutely loves it and it has been amazing to watch her blossom. We can’t wait to see what the Lord has in store for her!
September – Over Labor Day Weekend, Eric and I landscaped around our entire house. This was such a fun (exhausting!) project to work on together, but we love the way it turned out and are so proud that we were able to do it together. Doing manual work projects together in one of our favorite things to do, and having kids has made that more of a challenge. But this was one project that we worked really hard to make happen and I’m so glad we did!
Nora started ballet and tap classes this fall! Another big step for this sweet girl, and once again, she is totally thriving! She wants to be a ballerina rock star when she grows up 🙂 It wouldn’t surprise me if that’s exactly what she becomes.
Nora turned 5 this fall and we celebrated with a ballerina party. Complete with a chocolate fountain, of course.
The next week, Andi turned 5. All she wanted was a party with both sets of grandparents at Chuck-E-Cheese. So that’s exactly what she got!
We had another great harvest! Late in the harvest season, we had a large wind storm come though that cause some damage to some of our corn, but we are so thankful for good crop insurance. We finished out the season strong the second week of November. I enjoyed taking meals out to the fields with the kids again this year and loved being a farm/machinery runner for my hubby.
One of our projects we completed over Labor Day was our fire pit. We finally got to use it in November, even twice in December! We can’t wait to use it for years to come.
In October, Eric’s oldest sister, Erin, married her new husband Wade in Colorado Springs. It was a gorgeous outdoor wedding and we had a reception back in Nebraska in November.
At the end of October the kids and I made a trip to KC to go to Schaake’s Pumpkin Patch in Lawrence, KS. This was the 32d year we have gone with my parents 🙂
The same weekend, I attended my first writing conference, HACWN. This is where I met my agent, Les Stobbe and gained so much insight into publishing a book and networking in the literary world.
November – HARVEST COMPLETED!!
On the 4th of November, Nora made the most important decision of her life and asked Jesus into her heart. Other than Deacon being born, THIS was the highlight of our year!
I wrote, finished, and submitted my first book proposal and was accepted to the Les Stobbe Literary Agency. OH MY WORD! I’m actually writing a book! Les actually sold his agency at the end of this year and I am now signed under the Steve Laubbe Agency. I am trusting that God will bring my manuscript and proposal to the right publisher this year.
Eric’s tree company, Triple E Tree Care flourished beyond his wildest dreams this year! I am so thankful for a husband who works so hard to provide for our family and truly loves what he does, farming AND being an arborist!
December – This gal… I am so grateful to have found such a faithful friend. Allison and I may not have many pictures together, but we have a friendship that has truly changed my life. I am thankful how she always points me to Jesus and how she has helped me through my PPD this year.
Nora and Andi had their Christmas program at church. It was so fun watching both of them up on stage together singing Christmas carols.
We had our annual Bible Study Christmas Party – these sweet friends of mine. Allison, Jill, Brittany, and Megan. I don’t know what I would do with out them. Their husbands are pretty alright, too.
For the blog, this has been an incredible, humbling year. In January I started out with less than 1,000 followers. Now at the end of the year I am over 20,000. I truly continue to stand in awe that God has given me the platform to proclaim His name and spread the Gospel with my writing and speaking. Earlier this Fall, I began working for Her View From Home, recruiting new writers and finding new content to publish on the site, as well as continue to write for them. Her View is hands down the most special place in the internet world – I continue to be so grateful that I get to be a part of something so beautiful where I have made so many friends, including the owner and my “boss lady,” Leslie. I am so grateful that she let me publish my first piece with her a couple of years ago.
This next year will be full of more writing, completing my manuscript, speaking, blogging, and most importantly raising my babies and farming with my husband. I can’t wait to see what 2018 brings!
From our family to yours, I pray that your New Year is full of God’s faithfulness and sovereignty in your and your family’s lives. I continue to be so humbled that you follow along on my blog and am glad that you stopped by to see a recap of our year.