“A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices…”

This line kept popping into my mind as I thought about Christmas and the overall theme for our family this year. While we have experienced so much beauty, generosity and blessings in 2018, we are weary travelers. At the end of last January, we packed up our house and I moved to Oregon with the kids while Josh finished up his job at AFIT and sold our Ohio home. We lived with my supremely generous mother while looking for a new house close to Portland. The kids were hit with cold after cold and ear infection after ear infection. A month after we moved back, my beloved Poppy passed away, somewhat unexpectedly (we knew he had cancer, but his life expectancy was still longer). The months ahead were marked with deep grief and navigating childhood grief with John-Paul. Then came more loss; both of Josh’s maternal grandparents passed away within two months of each other. A glimmer of hope came in May when we found out that we would have a third child. While we rejoiced that our family would grow, I experienced extreme morning sickness and chronic migraines for about four months. It also hurt to know that Poppy would never hold this baby here on earth. On top of it all, Josh’s commute from Silverton took 1.5-2 hours each way, every day.

So, we are weary…quite weary from a year full of loss, shifting, coping, stretching, moving, crying and mourning. But as we reflect back on the pains of this year, we are so grateful for the love of friends and family that helped us provide stability for the kids. They are happy and thriving and growing, despite our numerous setbacks and changes. Their happiness gives me great peace. While the sting of loss pricks the memories of this year, we also rejoice for many special moments. We bought and moved into a house in Oregon City – a long time prayer to be back in the PNW, fulfilled. A family trip to Mount Hood and to Sunriver. Friends and family helped us paint and settle into our new home. Then those same family and friends filled our home with warmth as we celebrated Josh’s 30th year of life. We have the joy of driving back to Silverton whenever we want, for reasons big or small. Reunions with many old, dear friends have taken place. Baking in our new kitchen. Creative growth in crochet and lettering. The Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival (which JP loved and still talks about!). Car shows. Swim lessons. Seasonal fun. An abundance of snuggles and love filling in all the inbetween. One of the best things right now is that Abby calls for John-Paul when she wakes up, and he eagerly runs in to greet her and bring her to us. Their imaginations have grown so much, as they make up imaginary scenarios and conversations together. We started homeschooling and JP has very much taken to our educational adventure and Abby is along for the ride. Josh started his job back in the Spring and hit the ground running. It’s a much different environment and pace than at AFIT, and we certainly miss our people in Ohio – both work and parish friends. But we are grateful for the change and for what the future may bring.

As we look forward to 2019, we know the arrival of the new little person inside of me will bring more change and shifting for our family. Adding a new family member is always a big undertaking! My prayer has been that no matter how hard the journey ahead, this baby will help unify us and draw us closer together in love. People ask me if I want a boy or a girl and I really don’t have an opinion. In my heart I know God will give us WHO our family needs and longs for, and I trust His plan for our family. I am so excited to see our three children together – they are eagerly waiting the arrival of the baby and hug and kiss and talk to my belly all day long. Please pray for all of us as we adjust to a family of 5 in the next month. And please, stop by for a visit if you’re in the area!

Thank you for your continued friendship, love and support. When I send out cards each year, I so enjoy thinking of each of you across the many states and countries. We are blessed to have so many people we love around the world…even if it means we miss you terribly. We remember you and offer thanks for you. May your hearts and homes be filled with Christ’s joy this Christmas season and New Year. May you remember the Christ Child, the light of the world, born into the dark and cold….and know that in your own moments of darkness, His light and hope still shine for you. As John-Paul says (quoting his favorite Christmas movie) “Baby Jesus is holding his arms out to the world! he became a baby because He loves me!” And so he does. He holds out His arms to you, now and always.

The Dills

PS, these photos were in order…multiple times. And wordpress keeps messing it up. So use your imagination haha.

Videos:

  1. JP loves to play his little guitar and at the beginning of 2018 we sang Sing of Mary probably 237 times.
  2. Shortly after Poppy passed away all our family was in town as we prepped for the funeral. Abby brought us all a bit of joy with her dance performance.
  3. When the kids heard the baby’s heartbeat and understood they would have a new baby in the family!
  4. Abby, normally our little stoic, brought out all the kisses after we buried poppy and for a while was incredibly affectionate. We say that it was Poppy, passing on his spirit of love through Abigail.
  5. The kids loved going to sunriver and loved this little play area at the Village. But we were all pretty surprised when Abby, not even 2 yet, decided to climb the big one.

 

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