2009 Highlights

On this last day of 2009, I thought it only appropriate to share with you some highlights of the year.
Ringing in 2009 at Henry and Bekah's

We got a cat!

I was able to go on a cruise through the Caribbean with my family

The canal fire of '09 across the street, it shut down the downtown area for days

We visited the Cheney's in Colorado!

We celebrated our wedding anniversary in Memphis (yes that is Graceland in the background)

The Slagor's bought a new house in Champaign! (sadly it was not in Indianapolis or Cincinnati...)

For about 6 months this year, Ryan and I were not sure if we were going to have to move for my job (possibly Illinois, Mexico, or California). We celebrated with friends when we found out we got to stay in Indy for another year!

Lauren and Ben got married!

I got to go to Florida with Tiek and Kara

Celebrating my birthday at the Art Museum

Ryan and I moved into a house

We went to visit the Hartmans at Niagara Falls

In Louisville for Ryan S's wedding

We visited a bourbon distillery when we were in Lexington for a wedding

Annual Hurd family camping trip

Ha, we had to stop and see the house from "A Christmas Story" (the movie) when we were in Cleveland for Henry and Bekah's wedding

We went to visit Ryan's grandparents down in Arkansas

Paid off our student loans!
A squirrel ate my pumpkin
At the Purdue/Wisconsin football game while visiting the McQuiston's in Madison
Ryan and Kara bought a house!

Ryan ran a full marathon and I ran the half!

Pilgrims and Indians Thanksgiving dinner

Herre family Thanksgiving

Sawrie family Thanksgiving
We watched two puppies for a couple weeks

Annual cookie baking and decorating party with Tiek and Kara

We have been really blessed with getting more involved with our church, Indy Metro. This is the team we will be going to Guatemala with in January.

Christmas Celebration!
What a fantastic year to celebrate! We have been blessed with a great church here in the city that has taught us so much about loving others and what it means to walk with Christ for a lifetime. Though this year has been a big year of making decisions as far as moving for work, a new job for Ryan, and financially, I feel blessed that these have all taught us so much. Even through the frustration and the lonliness sometimes, God is so faithful to us when we are obedient (and sometimes even when we are not). Trust me, this was not my attitude when I found out we weren't moving to Colorado or that we might be moving to middle-of-nowhere Illinois. This is why I love looking back on a year, things sometimes look a little different than they do in the middle of different situations. Thank you to all the friends and family that have shared in both the dissapointments of this year, along with the celebrations...and always pointing us towards Christ in the midst of both.
Here's to 2010!
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Eph 3:20


A Christmas Celebration!

2nd Annual Christmas Par-tay:

We made some gingerbread houses...

Definitely a woman's sweater...

Merry Christmas!


Guatemala and Generosity

Maybe some of you know, but Ryan and I will be travelling to Guatemala this January with our church, Indy Metro. Our church has a partnership with 6:8 ministries, and we will be serving the local community of Magdalena. One of the main opportunities on our agenda is to add on to a building at the local art school. Many children in Guatemala are taken out of school prematurely to go to work and help support the family (see article below). This art school allows kids to not only get an education but also earn money by selling their art, and allowing their families to keep them in school. The gentleman running the school also teaches the kids biblical principles and about the love of Christ. What a great opportunity to serve this community!

We will also be meeting the needs of the community with food, clothing, etc... Our team is hoping to pack duffel bags full of extra clothes, toys, and art supplies to take down with us. (If you have any of these things you would like to send with us, just let me know!)

As Ryan and I consider what we feel called to as far as long term missions, we are so excited to get to experience this together. Christ's love and compassion for the world is so evident in the gospels, and how can we react other than to go and serve the least of these (Matt 25:40). I could go on and on about this, and maybe a few of you have already heard me go on and on about this, but I have to agree with Rick Warren when he says "We are most like God when we are giving." I believe this applies to both our time and finances, and I would encourage you, in all that you do, cultivate a heart to always give generously. I know I personally have such a long way to grow in this area, but I am encouraged to keep going because generosity pleases God.

"A generous man will prosper, he who refreshes others will be refreshed." Proverbs 11:25
"Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability." 2 Cor. 8:2-3

More information on issues in Guatemala: (pictures from the last trip)

Photos by Casey Jo Ailes


2nd Annual Cookie party

It has become sort of a tradition that the three of us bake and decorate cookies every year before Christmas. Tiek had these wonderful aprons this year to get us in the mood. I am so appreciative of these girls and their willingness to sacrifice to get together. Sometimes it is hard when we are all on different schedules, but I value time with them so much. I am so thankful that they live close and I can see them often. They both know how to ask the right questions and challenge me in my walk with the Lord.

Thanks girls for a great night!