Well it’s been so long since I’ve posted anything on this blog I wasn’t even sure it still existed. But it does. And you’re obviously here reading it, so I suppose I should say, “Merry Christmas, Dear Ones. And a blessed 2012 to you!” :)
As Greg and I were flipping through some pages of family photos from this past year, we humbly shook our heads and smiled. For the Duvall family, 2011 has been a year filled to the brim with life, blessing, rich fellowship, change, growth, victory, loss, new friends, new places, and
new depths of faith. September marked our fifth year in Grand Rapids, MI. We continue to be amazed at how God so clearly has brought us here for this season in our lives. We feel honored and grateful to get to ‘do life’ with these wonderful souls here in West Michigan.
New on the horizon for our family is our recent journey into the ever-changing, long and winding road of international adoption. Greg and I have been talking, dreaming, praying and researching together the possibility of adoption for a long time – really even since before we were married. This year, however, we felt the time was right to finally take the first steps…baby steps (literally!). For several reasons too long to mention here, we decided on international adoption. And while there are certainly unknowns and x-factors around every corner, we keep prodding along and keep entrusting ourselves to the Maker…the Father of every good gift and the one who holds this whole universe in the palm of His hand. He is Provider. And in His time and in His way He will bring to fruition the desires of our hearts and His, however that may look. In the meantime, I think an entire forest of trees has been cut down to provide enough paper for all the forms we have filled out. We have completed our home study and are now tackling the country dossier. From there we get on the wait list, and…we wait (possibly another year or two.) Right now our country of choice is Thailand. So please pray for us. Pray for our hearts to be still and trust in our God. Pray for this little one (or ones? We’re open to a sibling group) and his/her birth mother. Pray for Micah and Savannah as the Lord prepares their hearts as well. Many things are still fuzzy at this point, but one thing is certain. It truly takes a village. We will not be naïve enough to face both pre and post adoptive experiences alone. And we unashamedly invite your prayers and support in whatever capacity. We look forward to sharing more of our story – God’s story – with you in the coming months and years as the Lord graces our lives with the power of His Gospel through the ministry of adoption.
Well now (*deep breath*) that was quite an introduction to a yearly update. If any of you are still with me and are waiting to hear about the kiddos and a recap on 2011, I’ll try to keep it brief :)
Micah turned 6 in October and entered Kindergarten this year. He’s thriving at his school with
phenomenal teaching and strong academic and moral focus. He just doesn’t like the “sitting still for so long” part :) This past year his neighborhood buddies formed a band called “The Belfast Badboys” and had their debut garage band show. He’s continued to show interest in music, so he’s getting an electric guitar and amp for Christmas this year. (Pray for me.) He also loves soccer (his Dad was his coach this Fall – Go Bulldogs!), sports, playing outside, reading, video games, tearing holes in the knees of his pants and any time he can get with his buddies. He’s
growing up way too fast, but is loads of fun and brings life and laughter into our home on a daily basis.
Savannah turned 3 in March and continues to make us smile with her laughter, joy and
sheer delight. She’s an independent spirit, but incredibly compassionate and tenderhearted. She’s a “little Mommy” in every way – especially when it comes to telling her big brother what to
do. She and the other little neighbor girls spend hours playing imaginary house or “family”. She loves ballet and dancing and hopes to take her first class this coming year. I’ve loved every minute having her home with me. These are precious days.
Greg is still with Marketplace Chaplains as the Michigan Division Director and nat’l account manager for GFS (Gordon Food Service). His days are a mix of chaplaincy and administrative
duties, but he truly enjoys his work and feels blessed to get to serve alongside such amazing people. His big victory this year was his first marathon up in Traverse City, MI. He was very pleased to have qualified for the 2012 Boston Marathon so he’s in the thick of his training schedule, planning to run it in April and hopefully finish with the Kenyans :) (just kidding). A
highlight was his 20th year college reunion in NY which we were both blessed to be able to attend (sans kids!). Greg had a great time reconnecting with old friends and reliving some fun (and not-so-fun) memories of “Go Army” days past.
And me? Well, I’m loving being at home with the kids and have been surprised at how much I’ve enjoyed this new season of “mommyhood” as we’ve just gotten our feet wet in the grand realm of elementary school. It’s really been fun. My biggest change came in June when I started working part time at our church as a co-team leader for the women’s ministry team. I have absolutely loved the opportunities I’ve had to get to plan and cast vision, teach Bible studies, serve other women and watch God work powerfully in others’ lives. I’m also still finding time to run and work out, cross country ski, cook, write & meet with other women to chat and pray.
Some family highlights of the year included a trip to Chicago to visit friends, fun visits from grandparents and family members, several weddings (many of which Greg had the honor of officiating), a family reunion/vacation to the Outer Banks in NC, camping at Lake Michigan, our NY trip, and most recently a fantastic week in Washington for Christmas with my side of the
God has blessed us abundantly and we are so grateful. And although we do not know what 2012 holds, we can with certainty say that God is good and we can rest in His unfailing love for us.
We pray your hearts and your homes are filled with His love, peace and joy and may that carry you well into the New Year with songs of hope and thanksgiving.
Greg, Shawna, Micah and Savannah Duvall
4 years ago