January began with good friends on a freezing cold night overlooking the city enjoying the fireworks. We had quite a mild winter last year but the views of our lovely city remained a joy to take in.
Of course, January is easier to swallow when February in California awaits you! The desert sun was extra memorizing this year as we ended up buying a house at Mission Lakes in Desert Hot Springs, 15 miles away from my parents, on a golf course (Doug's dream), with tennis, swimming, hiking and a fitness center all nearby. It was crazy and we have no idea how much we'll be able to actually be there but a series of uncanny events unfolded and we felt it was too good of an opportunity pass up.
March brought us back to Sweden where winter was still firmly planted. We jumped back into church life and prepared for a wonderful Easter celebration.
In April we spent a rainy but joyful week in London at the International Pastors Conference. This group of colleagues and friends have become extremely important to us in our ministry and we thank God for this rich time of fellowship and learning each year. I climbed to the top of St. Paul's, we took in two shows, and had a blast just being in London surrounded by English speakers!
In May we took to the high seas, embarking on a Baltic Cruise with the St. Peter's Cruise line. Stockholm-Tallin, Estonia-St. Petersburg, Russia-Helsinki, Finland-Stockholm. 4 nights, 4 cities. It was great fun and included all the quirkiness of being on board a Russian cruise ship. Highlights included sailing on the waters late at night, with the sun just rolling along the horizon as the white nights of the spring and summer were beginning to take shape.
In June we returned to the US to marry a young couple who had met in our church. She an American, he from Malawi, this was one joyous celebration. We took a couple of weeks in CA to work on the house as well.
July found us back in Sweden, working on our children's summer program at church and getting out on the boat into the archipelago as much as possible. The summer was chilly so we didn't swim much and had jackets on most of the time, but still...those long summer days are hard to beat.
Since we had been away during the Swedish midsommar, we went to the summer place of our friends we are usually with and shared in a crayfish party with them! It was lovely to spend a couple of quiet days away from the city, enjoying the beauty and charm of little Mellösa.
September turned out to be a gorgeous month after a fairly chilly summer so we continued to enjoy being out on the water. We spent a lovely evening at the island home of our good friends and took in the fantastic views that their place provides.
October took me back to both California and London. California to see my folks and enjoy our home, London to speak at a women's conference. I wrote my talks for the conference in our cozy little cove off the master bedroom in our little house.Both were fantastic experiences and I cannot wait for Douglas to enjoy our home in the same way that I was able to then!
In November we celebrated a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with friends from around the world. We were also very thankful that the US presidential election went the way that it did and we hope and pray that the US can make some progress in the areas where they have been stalled for far too long.
December came and went once again with the fantastic seasons of Advent and Christmas. Our church services were filled with joy and hope. We continue to feel so blessed by our church family and of course, very thankful that we get to share our lives with one another. Our dog Tanner continues to bring us joy while providing endless amusing entertainment.
2012 was a very good year in many years. We have been stretched and challenged in various ways. We have been visited by sorrow and joy. We have hosted many friends in our home and enjoyed those visits immensely. We have hope for the future and anticipate the new year with a sense of humble gratitude. We are grateful that throughout our adventures and our journeys, we feel the love of Christ surrounding us, beckoning us, pushing us along life's fragile and wonderful pathway.
Happy New Year dear Readers! I pray you have a safe New Year's Eve and that the year ahead will be filled with the grace of God in your lives, however the year unfolds.