One year ago on July 1st we moved into our home here in Oregon. We were warmly welcomed by our neighbors and were immediately incorporated into the community’s Fourth of July bike parade/party in the park. Can’t wait for this year’s Independence Day celebration!
On our one year Oregonniversary we drove to Cannon Beach with our neighbors and spent the day at Haystack Rock. It’s such a magnificent formation! The kids played in the sand and surf for a while, and then we all walked over to explore the tide pools. The water was super cold, but the sea life was fascinating.
We saw sea stars, large anemones with green tentacles, and small circular anemones and mussels covering almost every visible rocky surface. Barnacles made their home on top of the mussels.
Touching the anemones was the coolest part. Their tentacles would grab on to my finger like smooth, sticky velcro and try to close inward, thinking my finger was a bit of food.
Haystack rock itself is the nesting ground of several sea bird species, including puffins, so access to the rock is prohibited. The Oregon coast is gorgeous with its cliffs and formations and light houses.
After a picnic lunch, the kids enjoyed some more sand play. The wind was great for kite-flying, and there were at least two kite shops in town. The weather was chilly—in the mid-60s—so it was a very different experience from our San Diego beach trips, but fun to spend time with friends and see the beautiful coast.
This past year has been an exciting one, for sure, and full of changes. We moved almost 1,500 miles across the country, celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary with an Alaskan cruise, started our oldest son’s public education, and weathered our first blizzard as a family. As of January 1st of this year Stephen became a partner at GreenLoop IT Solutions where he is the Chief Technology Officer. We became a mini van family and purchased this house we love. Silas graduated from kindergarten, and we’ve made many friends. Oregonians have welcomed us with open arms.
Our faith has flourished as we’ve sat under the clear Christ-centered preaching and praying of our pastor, Michael Lawrence, at Hinson Baptist. He and the other preaching elders have taught us to see the hope of the gospel in every passage. Micheal’s pastoral prayers lead us by example to pray for the spiritual growth and perseverance of the faith of those in our church family, to pray for religious freedom and the evangelical church throughout the world, to pray for those in government (foreign and domestic/federal and local), to pray for other gospel-preaching churches in the area and to pray for the continued work of God’s grace in our hearts. The pastoral prayer is one of the highlights of our Sunday gatherings.
Stephen and I have also grown in developing true Christian community through our small group from church and through authentic conversations with other Christian friends we’ve made at Silas’s school and from nearby churches. It’s hard to be vulnerable and transparent about our sins, struggles, failings, desires, victories, and graces. But it’s also liberating and life-giving to be free to expose our true selves and to take off the masks of self-righteousness as we link arms in this walk of faith towards the Celestial City. I like to picture us as Christian and Hopeful and Faithful from The Pilgrim’s Progress as we keep pointing each other to Christ and help each other to keep believing the promises of God.
Silas’ ability to make friends and play with others has developed even more, but it’s been especially fun to watch Cooper and Brynn. With Silas in school for the first time, Cooper has had to be courageous and try new things by himself. He’s desired friends of his own, and now he has two best friends he plays with regularly. Brynn has a big personality and tries everything her brothers do. With the freedom and safety of playing outside with friends, learning to ride a bike, climbing trees, picking cherries, and watering the garden, the kids are maturing every day. As their mommy, I’m happy and sad at the same time.
We look back on this year and see God’s many undeserved gifts to us. We see His hand guiding us and His love holding us as His children. We look with happy hearts to this next year.