This past year has been rather intense for the Sanders family. At the beginning of the year, both Chip and I heard the Lord speak to us specifically and individually on topics that would very much be tied together. Chip heard a message of perseverence and hope. I heard a message of joy and thanksgiving even in times that were tough. Little did we know how important those simple lessons would become to both of us. How absolutely essential it was that God taught us those lessons.
In January, Chip got sick. In the first time in almost 10 years of marriage, he was out of commission. February found him still sick. At the end of March, he was finally admitted to the hospital. What started out as a chest cold, turned into bronchitis and eventually pneumonia. His xrays simply would not clear up and after almost a week in the hospital, a specialist was brought in and tests done that revealed a mass in his chest.
April brought good news. Noah turned 4. I turned 31. Elijah turned 9. And after a biopsy, we learned Chip did NOT have cancer, but rather a weird fungus that had set up camp in his chest. Almost 9 months later, he still has some remnants left, but the mass is MUCH smaller and as the doctors have constantly reminded us – cancer does not simply get better. As much as we take the drs word for it, we also know that God is in the healing business and really believe that He had a hand in all of this.
The beginning of the year wasn’t all hard. We were able to spend A LOT of time together as a family. We found out that we ENJOY spending a lot of time together as a family. We don’t remember one single instance of wishing that the other wasn’t around. We fell in love with the show “The Office.” TV just doesn’t get funnier than that! (Please stop popping my cast! What does this look like? Mailboxes, Etc???) Chip and I were able to see Bethany Dillion and Jeremy Camp in concert and have dinner with friends the week before he ended up in the hospital. We strengthened friendships – both in real life and online – with some very special friends. Through it all we felt very blessed.
In May, we celebrated Seth’s first birthday. We took a trip to Wisconsin to visit my family. We made special memories as a family and then came home and jumped into work at the church like never before.
The summer passed in a blur as the kids played baseball, attended Vacation Bible School and had a social calendar that kept them busy. They enjoyed running the neighborhood with their friends like you can only do in a small town. And right at the end of summer, Chip turned 31.
In October, we took a couple trips. We went to Nashville for the first time since Chip’s sister moved down there. Well, our entire family went down. Kait and Elijah had both been down before. With a new house, she was a wonderful host – even when I accidentally scrubbed the paint right off the wall in her brand new house! OOPS!!! We had a great time and I think our favorite memories are the day we didn’t do anything but hang out at her house and play games and nap after church. I am now an official Scattergories addict and I’m spreading the disease every chance I get!
We were home from Nashville for only a day before heading back to Wisconsin for a slightly longer visit. The highlight of that trip for all of us was definitely the trip to the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago. The weather was beautiful and it just doesn’t get better than going to a zoo that is IN the City. I’m certain we’ll definitely visit again. Although on the next trip, I think they kids will be ready to handle the Museum of Science and Industry. I’m enjoying sharing these memories with my kids – some of the same that I had myself as a child.
November came in much quieter than last year (last year we had straightline winds that ripped the windows off the front of our house). We celebrated Kait’s 7th birthday – which still seems rather unreal to us. She’s turned into quiet a beauty in the last year. And like I realized just a few days ago, she is FINALLY sleeping through the night! As Kaitlyn’s birthday came and went, we entered into the holiday rush. Thanksgiving was upon before we realized it and Chip’s family was all home for Thanksgiving this year. We had a lot of fun and FOOD on Thanksgiving. Carina and I spread the Scattergories bug to the rest of the family on Thanksgiving night (there were TWO requests for it for gifts for Christmas this year).
December started off with a major ice storm hitting the area. While our little town didn’t get hardly anything, it was very surreal as we drove by the nearest city and saw all the damage. We drove up to Chicago for the third time this year to attend a friend’s wedding. The day after Christmas, another friend will fly home with her new husband from the mission field as they prepare for the birth of their first child this winter. Chip’s brother has officially arrived “in town” with his family as we get ready to celebrate Christmas tomorrow and Monday. I can think of nothing better than joining together with family to celebrate Jesus and his birth.
I’ll be back tomorrow with more Christ reflections.