My Family’s 2013 Review

Check out “The Story of My Family Told With Christmas Ornaments” to get to know us better and see how God brought us along from the day Jennifer and I met in 2006 through the end of 2012. Also check out my “14 Goals for 2014.”

THE CRAZY ADVENTURE THAT WAS 2013

God did some pretty amazing things with my family in 2013. It has been quite an adventure beginning with our move from Decatur, Alabama to Kokomo, Indiana in January for me to start my new job as Children’s Minister at Fairfield Christian Church. I came up for a couple weeks without my family while we were finalizing our home purchase. I left Alabama on January 2 in a t-shirt, and the next morning, 1 year ago today, I went to work at Fairfield Christian for the first time. When I walked outside that day it was 3°, literally the coldest temperature I had ever experienced. Another day that month it was 0°, and we experienced the deepest snow storms of our lives (close to a foot deep). After a couple months, it had definitely crossed our minds that we were crazy for moving up here!

A YEAR OF FIRSTS

Kokomo, IN is known as “The City of Firsts”, and that description has rung true for our family during our first year living here. After a year, we are still adjusting to things like extreme weather in the winters. As I type this, the whole region is preparing for a huge winter storm that will lead to the coldest temperatures that Indiana has felt in 20 years! On Monday, January 6, 2014, the windchill will be at least -30°. I cannot fathom that kind of cold.Another big difference here is the landscape. I’ve spent a lot of time in the mountains throughout my life, and there are no mountains here, not even what I consider to be large hills! It is so flat, and outside the city it is nothing but corn and soybean fields. I also rarely see lakes or rivers, except for the pond behind our house. This is all very different from the places I have lived the rest of my life (mainly Tennessee and Alabama).

A few things we acquired in 2013 for the 1st time in our lives include:

  • Snow Shovel
  • Snow Pants
  • Balaclava
  • Kids’ Snow Boots
  • Kids’ 3-in-1 Ski Jackets

HIGHLIGHTS OF 2013

There was a lot more to 2013 then just some crazy weather, so here are some of the major events for the Davis family…

1ST HOME PURCHASE

This was an exciting, yet frustrating experience. Surprise expenses, mortgage company headaches, and miscommunications somehow led to a huge 1st for us and a true blessing to know that our money is going toward something we will own instead of toward rent.

WILL’S 1ST SPORTS LEAGUE – INDOOR SOCCER

Will inherited my soccer skills, but you would not know if you watched him wander the basketball court/ soccer field aimlessly with his hands crossed as other kids ran back and forth past him chasing the ball. By game 3 he came out of his shell and scored at least 1 goal every game after that.

JULIE BETH POTTY-TRAINED HERSELF

She decided she wanted to be a “big girl” and just started sitting on the potty to go with very little prompting from us.

UPWARD FOOTBALL & CHEERLEADING

I had my 1st season as Upward Sports Director, and Will played on his 1st football team. Jennifer coached the cheerleading squad.

NANI PASSED AWAY

My grandmother served as a greeter at church that Sunday morning, as she had done for decades, and when she left, she drove a couple blocks before she passed out, slowly drifted off the road and quietly died. She was in generally good health for her age, so this was unexpected and sad for my family. However her funeral included stories from people she had discipled and mentored over the years, memories of all the great ways she had served her church for 40 years, and overall encouraging words about the lives she had touched and the dedication she had to the Lord in all aspects of her life.

SAM STARTED WALKING

He has done a lot of new things this year, including walking and speaking his 1st words. Recently he has decided that he wants to be like his big brother and sister and sit at the kitchen table instead of in his high chair.

SAM TURNED 1

We no longer have any babies!

GULF SHORES BEACH TRIP

As we have every summer for the past 7 years, we spent a week at the beach in Gulf Shores, Alabama with Jennifer’s family. We had 16 people on this trip!

KINGDOM ROCK VBS

This was one of my favorite weeks of the year, directing my 1st Fairfield Christian Church VBS program. Nearly 60 people volunteered either during or before VBS, and God touched the lives of 126 different kids. He really took control of this week, and it was amazing to see my church body come together to show God’s love to these kids.

Also, just as I promised the kids at VBS, when we had over 100 kids show up, I shaved my hair into a blue mohawk for the rest of the week.

Check out Weird Animals VBS, which we will be using in 2014.

I STARTED RUNNING AGAIN

My senior year of college (2005-2006) I got tired of looking at myself in the mirror and got in the best shape of my life, dropping 60 lbs from 210 down to 150. Then life happened! As Jennifer and I started having kids and became busy with ministry and life experiences, I slowly gained it all back and then some. In 2013 when I tipped the scale at 220 lbs, I felt like I was not honoring God with my body. I also come from a family of runners, and I felt like I was not honoring God with the abilities that He had given me. So I started running again in August 2013.

I had no real goals or expectations other than somehow getting back into decent shape both to honor God and to be a more interactive, energetic father to my children. I could not even run a mile without walking those first couple weeks. 5 months later, I know God has been with me every step of the way to help me change my lifestyle. He helped me overcome my own obesity and laziness, my first dog attack, shin splints, extremely cold temperatures, rain, sleet and snow.

On New Year’s Eve, I finished the year with a 10-mile run, my longest run ever without stopping to walk, stretch or rest. In those last 5 months of 2013, I ran 636.7 miles and lost 37 lbs. To come this far in just a few months can only be credited to God keeping me healthy, motivated and free of major injuries. I’m excited to see where this takes me in 2014!

JULIE BETH’S 1ST CAMPING TRIP

When I was Julie Beth’s age, my Dad took all 4 kids camping by himself at Fall Creek Falls State Park (still my favorite park) in East Tennessee. He took my sisters, brother and I hiking, swimming under waterfalls and into some pretty tough terrain. Camping was always a regular part of my family’s calendar growing up, and I decided that I would not let my own kids miss out on these amazing experiences. Will had his 1st camping trip in 2012, but this time I was brave enough to take both Will and Julie Beth camping for 2 nights to Turkey Run State Park in Indiana. This was at times difficult, but the whole experience confirmed to me that getting the kids out into God’s beautiful creation is an important part of teaching them to appreciate just how awesome, powerful and creative our Creator truly is.

We had a great time hiking, wading and swimming in the creek, exploring the wilderness, escaping from snakes, building campfires, cooking outside, making smores on the fire and sleeping in a tent together. I look forward to making many more memories like this with my kids, and I think once Sam is old enough to come, I will be able to finally convince Jennifer to brave the great outdoors.

WILL’S 4TH SURGERY

2 surgeries for a broken elbow; tonsils & adenoids removed; and now Will had surgery to remove a cyst that had developed on his gums and jaw, preventing some of his baby teeth from coming in.

NEW PRESCHOOL

Preschool schedules in Indiana are very different from Alabama, so Julie Beth only gets to go 1 day per week. However, Will started his 1st 5-day per week preschool.

WILL TURNED 5

He missed the Kindergarten birthday deadline by 3 weeks, but Will is still excited to be 5.

JULIE BETH TURNED 3

She got to move up from the Toddlers & 2s Room at church and start going through the Sunday School rotation with the 3s & 4s Class.

D6 CONFERENCE

Jennifer and I went to this family ministry conference in Louisville in October, and it was a great experience for us to enjoy together. To meet so many other church leaders who are also passionate about family ministry and multi-generational discipleship gives me great hope about the future of the church in America, despite the bleak picture that the statistics paint.

THANKSGIVING IN MEMPHIS

This was only our 2nd time to visit my family in Memphis, TN in 2013. The hardest part of living in Indiana is not the cold weather or flat landscape, but it is living 8-9 hours away from our families. This week with my parents was much needed.

WILL LOST HIS 1ST TOOTH

However, he is a hoarder who is emotionally attached to EVERYTHING. So he would not let us give his tooth to the tooth fairy.

CHRISTMAS IN ALABAMA

We got to spend a few days with Jennifer’s family in Alabama for Christmas. This was a nice time, but it was also the 1st Christmas of my life that I did not spend in Memphis. My work schedule, and the travel distance, just did not really allow us to go to both Memphis and Alabama for Christmas, so we spent Thanksgiving in Memphis and Christmas in Alabama.

NEW PUPPY

Meet Lucy Davis, the newest member of our family.

As you can see, my family had an action-packed, exciting 2013. It was a year of firsts, a year of loss, a year of great change and opportunity, and a year in which God blessed us tremendously.

  • Sherrie Davis

    Wonderful reading about these experiences this past year. Being Stephen’s Mom has been a true blessing for his Dad and me!