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Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017 in the Rear View Mirror

One year ago Doug and I had were ringing in the new year in our home in California with friends we had met in London, having absolutely no idea that a few weeks later we’d be moving to Paris. Such is life when God leads the way! As this unlikely year comes to a close, I could not be more delighted with how it unfolded. The opportunity to live in Paris, join a phenomenal staff at the American Church in Paris while shifting ministry gears to focus on youth and young adults have been the gifts of this year. 
 What a great adventure it has been. 
We have loved hanging out with kids again and discovered that we still have quite a bit of kid inside of us! 
Working with young adults has always been a joy of ours and to be able to journey alongside of so many young people, who are interested in living lives of significance and service all the while seeking a deeper faith has been wonderful. We will treasure this year in ministry and miss our colleagues, the kids, and the congregation very much as our interim ministry comes to a close in one week. ACP will welcome a new youth and young adults pastor in the coming weeks and we are excited for what awaits everyone! We will return to the desert on January 13 and begin a brand new that we have no idea about right now! 
And as weird as this may sound, we actually got through 2017 without the death of an immediate family member. It’s been too many years in a row where we’ve lost someone near and dear to us so we are thankful for the health and well being of our family at this time.
Of course, having the opportunity to actually live in Paris and not merely visit has been a dream. Paris is the ultimate wander around and discover cool stuff city! I’ve greatly enjoyed stumbling through a new area and discovering yet another thing that stands out in this dreamy city. Indulging in the cuisine scene, drinking so much rosé last summer that my skin turned pink, walks along the Seine, discovering real crêpes Amorino ice cream, café cremes, and of course, the bread and the butter in all its glorious deliciousness...I will miss these things! Got to check going to Roland Garros for tennis off my bucket list. 
And of course, I was able to get two trips to Disneyland Paris in during these months! 
Additionally, the opportunity to take short trips in order to discover more of France has provided us with more beauty than I can adequately express. And the challenge and depth of walking the Chemin de Saint Jacques from Paris to Chartres will continue to linger in my mind’s eye. France is a truly remarkable county and while we’ve seen a lot of it, I still feel like there is so much more to discover! 

We’ve been blessed to have many visitors here in Paris, each person sharing in the joy of our life together. In addition to our travels throughout France, we’ve also visited friends in Belgium, Luxembourg, and returned to Stockholm for a glorious visit last summer. Additionally, the added bonus of attending yet one more International pastors conference in Vienna, Austria and Bratislava, Slovakia was icing on an already wonderful cake.
So as we end this year and begin another one, I do so with an open heart and mind to what 2018 has in store for us. It is a real gift to be able to be open to whatever possibility might present itself. We are so thankful for our beautiful home and we look forward to living there again. The promise of deepening relationships with those in our community awaits us and this brings us joy. 
We will miss ACP. It has been a wonderful church to work at but more importantly, a wonderful community to be a part of. It has felt like home in much the same way Stockholm did and we have benefited from being part of a warm, healthy, vibrant, worship filled place. We do not look forward to the challenge of finding a new church but we do feel we have a much clearer sense of where we want to land.
So we wish you a very Happy New Year...and this year we also say bonne année! 
We’ll be drinking the last of the bottles of Champagne from Champagne and savoring every sip. 
Here’s wishing you and yours a wonderful new year and great adventures ahead in 2018.