Overall, we enjoyed this year and are incredibly thankful for the unbelievable opportunities and joys it brought. We are also very excited to have survived it, and are looking forward to the next more than ever. But first, here are some pictures of our 2013 highlights:
We started the year 2013 heading to Jerusalem.
Geoff especially loved the opportunity to lead and teach groups around the land of Israel.
We were thrilled to welcome a new nephew in March, though very sad to be so far away.
Later in March we headed to Egypt and greatly enjoyed traveling around the country, seeing incredible sites, and getting to know some truly beautiful, hospitable people.
Thanks to a well planned layover, we even got to enjoy a day in Turkey on our way back to Israel. We enjoyed it more than we could have imagined - beautiful city and people!
Jamie's dad came to visit us in April and we had a great time exploring and spending time with him.
Later in April we went to the Samaritan Passover celebration (a first for Jamie). Incredible cultural/religious experience full of priceless Biblical imagery (even if Jamie couldn't look at half of it).
In June, Geoff's youngest brother Kevin and a friend came to visit us in Israel and we had a great time traveling around the country showing them some of our favorite sites. They were such a joy to be with.
We were finally reunited with our beloved Reyah dog at the end of June when we returned to Texas. This was by far the hardest day in day out part of being gone for so long. We love our dog. She's amazing.
It was so good to finally meet and spend time with our new nephew Levi.
Soon after arriving back in Texas we were off on another trip. In July we joined my parents for a roadtrip through several states, specifically the Black Hills area and Yellowstone.
Due to opportunity and our job, we spent a lot of time traveling back and forth to Amarillo the second half of the year.
With Geoff's large family, getting everyone all together at once is a big highlight. This gathering in August was the last time we'd all be together for a while as Geoff's sister and family were moving to Africa in October.
Turning the big 3-0 was quite the experience for Jamie this year - but we did our best to handle it in fine style.
We enjoyed lots of hard, creative work renovating the house we lived in from August through October, in exchange for rent.
It was hard saying goodbye to Geoff's sister, her husband, and our sweet niece and nephew when they left for Liberia in October. Thankful for the "Brantly Bunch" and their work as medical missionaries, but we miss them!
So thankful for our newest nephew who arrived in October...
We were so grateful for a brief but much needed visit back to Ecuador in November...we love these kids.
We've enjoyed selling alpaca products we purchased in Ecuador to help support the indigenous artisans and kids at the orphanage in Ecuador, while sharing their fabulous story.
It was wonderful to spend Thanksgiving with so many of Jamie's extended family, who we so rarely get to see but who breathe so much life into us. Thankful indeed.
We were able to enjoy an early Christmas with Jamie's family and then traveled to Abilene for a week over Christmas with the Carroll's. Fun to enjoy so much good time with family over this holiday.
Tonight we went out to Belton lake to watch the fireworks as the year ended and the new began. We are excited about 2014. A lot of hard work and dreaming has already been invested into the opportunities before us this year. We have high expectations and are pretty sure this will be our best year yet. Welcome 2014 - we're glad you're here!