Friday, January 1, 2010

Our Family's 2009 in Review


For Our Family


2009 started with lots of treasured memories....

Tyler came home on leave and met his new siblings...

And we played and had lots of fun....And made some memories as a family (minus Abi, Ryan and Jubilee)

Taken the night before Tyler returned to his base....Just two days later (on January 14, 2009) while Dw was out of town

& in the wee hours of the morning....And life would never be the same again when we lost our beloved log home....

*and*

the very next day (2/15) Graham had to have emergency

surgery for his appendix....*and*
the very next day after that (January 16, 2009) our beloved Lucy died.....*and*

two days later we put our yellow ribbon up and our hearts ached for our son depl*yed with the Special For*es......Life meant living for 5-1/2 weeks in a hotel with our six kids in two rooms (Dw in one and me in the other - each with kids) down the hall and around the corner from each other.....

and a luggage cart became our indoor gym in the hotel

during the sub-zero temps...

and we began the tedius process of sifting thru the remains

of our beloved log home....

Weeks later we learned that Autumn had a tumor in the

pituitary part of her brain and Dw & Autumn ended up at Mayo in Arizona...

In April we had the remains of the log home bull-dozed....

And at the same time we started 17 weeks of double casting for Isaiah...
which meant driving 900 miles round trip each day once a week ....In May, I graduated from a 16 week Chaplain Police Academy CourseLate in May Dw led a team of 19 to Africa with Emma and Graham along tooDw came home from Africa and found that Tyler was going to be home on leave and marry his long-time sweet heart Sarah (with 2 weeks notice)And we were together as a family for the first time in a long time (with only Jubilee missing)Two days after the wedding, Dw, Liberty, Isaiah and I left driving to Iowa for Isaiah to have double leg/foot surgery As Isaiah lay recuperating, Dw was admitted thru the ER....he was very sick

with what turned out to be one of the worst cases they had ever seen

of Hepatitus A

which he had picked up in Africa....He lost 30 lbs. in 3 weeks and was in the hospital in IA for almost a week

And I drove us back across the country.....Then my sweet bloggy friend, Cindy, passed away.....
In September Josh Gulvas was lost in the wilderness and so many of you prayed....Tragically, the horrible news came that his body had been found....
Oh how people around the world grieved....and prayed for the family left behind...

**********************

Later that same month, with crazy excitement and

wild delight we purchased our dream RV (again - what the heck were we thinkin?)

(to drive across the country)

Which turned out not to be a dream, but our hellish nightmare.....

On the trip in our rented car after we ditched the stupid RV, we stopped to see Josh Gulvas' mom & dad - our friends for life now....


And throughout the year the kids grew....and the babies smiled and knew that they were home forever....








Thanksgiving brought Ty & Sarah home.....and before long Abi and Ryan came too....



And we got a family picture again (!) with a picture of Jubilee


And right after Thanksgiving our Yellow Ribbon went up again....

and that familiar ache in our hearts returned....

And within days Emma & I left for China to grab our long-awaited Jubilee Promise

And bring that treasure home forever....

Oh yeah, and somewhere in there we built a house and

actually MOVED into it....

And we wonder why we are kinda' tired??


And yet, through it all - Our Miracle-working, Mountain-moving, Awe-inspiring, Gasp-giving God was completely faithful. No, it wasn't a year like we had planned. We couldn't even have imagined it. BUT He was entirely faithful, providing for our needs, protecting, giving us extra grace, sustaining us, and loving us unconditionally. How thankful we are for our relationship with Him....

From our home to yours.....Happy New Year.....May you know the deep, abiding love of our Father and may you know Him better and love Him more this coming year....

64 Simply Sweet Words:

  1. What a testimony to the fact that God can help us get through anything. Wishing you a peaceful 2010 with lots of time to enjoy all your beautiful children. You deserve it!

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  2. Linny, what a year you've had with such deep sorrows and overwhelming joys. Thank you for sharing, and Thank you, God, for Your strength and sustaining love.

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  3. OMG, guys.
    did I missed it when you said you moved in the new house, or it just slipped you mind? being that tired and all? ;));))
    I am so happy that this year made you stronger guys and more in love with the One worthy to love and be loved by.
    here's to many more years to blog.
    and here's to more babies;));))

    Ioana,
    in Romania
    :):)

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  4. Happy New Year!!!

    I pray this year is filled with nothing but good things for you.

    I love your new house and I'm so glad you have a place to call HOME now =)

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  5. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!!! your year in review. But when did you move into the house? Did I miss that?!?! How exciting! What a blessing to bring JP home to real home! Yippee Jesus!
    Happy 2010--may God continue to richly bless us all and keep our soldiers safe!

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  6. WOW, what a year...and I thought we had a lot going on...so wonderful to see GOD in each part of your year...blessings on 2010 for your family. May it be a year of REST, PEACE and much JOY!

    Melodie

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  7. ...and through it all your faith has shone through for all of us to be witness to. You are a precious family and have become like a best friend next door neighbor. First thing I do as I drink my morning coffee is check to see if Linny has written a post. You are a breath of God's light in a dark world. Blessings on your 2010. You deserve all the good that God can send your way but we still know that when the bad times come, He is your/our sustainer. Love to you and your family of the most beautiful smileys I've ever seen, Martha

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  8. You all had a truly amazing, God-inspiring year...through triumph & tragedy!!!

    I love following your blog...I have been blessed...thank you!!!

    Have a Happy New Year!!!

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  9. Linny, I am tired just reading about your year! I have followed along through all of it but when you put it all in one post it is staggering to think that your family went through so much in just one year. How do people go through things like this without God? You are all such a testament to His faithfulness and an inspiration to so many! 2010 is surely your year of Jubilee!

    ~Lynn

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  10. Can I just start jumping around screaming right now? Your house is beautiful. Wow, this post really made my day on this first day of 2010.
    Truthfully, last night I had the night to myself, and when midnight came I balled my eyes out. I was so relieved that 2009 was over. I don't ever remember feeling this way about any other year.
    I know its almost been a year since the fire and since I've been reading your blog. it feels like I've lived life right alongside your family. Blessings to you this year.

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  11. Oh. My. Goodness.
    Linny!!! The year you have had sounds absolutely positively exhausting! I am praising God for carrying you all through this last year and PRAYING your 2010 is full of a little bit more REST :)

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  12. OH MY! OH MY! I had to cry through this one Linny! I am so glad we can have HOPE in God and KNOW that he will care for ALL the details HUGE and ITTY BITTY! WHEW!

    Happy New Year to all of you!!
    Jill

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  13. Linny,
    Thank you for sharing your testimony. Even though your family had ups and downs, God was holding your hand through it all. Excited to see what God has in store for all of us in 2010! Blessings!!!
    We save an AWESOME GOD!

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  14. My goodness, sweet friend, what a YEAR this has been for your family. I got tired even looking at your journey :) Whew. How faithful the Father has been through it ALL. How we have seen His hand NEVER leave you nor forsake you. It has been such an honor to journey with you over the last year. I can hardly wait to see the amazing doors He will open for your family in 2010!

    Happy New Year, dear Linny.

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  15. Happy New Year!
    May 2010 be much better and bring you even more blessings than 2009.

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  16. Happy New Year to you all too! Our amazing God has brought us through the heartache of 2009 as well, and now this is the year of Elijah for our family.

    We are eagerly waiting for our agency to call and give us travel approval and dates to travel SOON! Yippeeeeeeeeeeee Jesus (to borrow a phrase from someone :) hee, hee)

    Love and hugs from our family to yours,
    Janet, Kevin, Ted, Philip, and soon to be home Eli
    http://threefingerprintsofgod.blogspot.com

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  17. What a crazy year you have had!
    May you have a peaceful,relaxing, and drama free new year!

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  18. Happy New Year to you all. I wish you health, happiness and...

    Peace!

    :)De

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  19. Happy New Year, from our house to yours :o)

    Your post reminded me of Robert Frost's poem...

    TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
    And sorry I could not travel both
    And be one traveler, long I stood
    And looked down one as far as I could
    To where it bent in the undergrowth;

    Then took the other, as just as fair,
    And having perhaps the better claim,
    Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
    Though as for that the passing there
    Had worn them really about the same,

    And both that morning equally lay
    In leaves no step had trodden black.
    Oh, I kept the first for another day!
    Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
    I doubted if I should ever come back.

    I shall be telling this with a sigh
    Somewhere ages and ages hence:
    Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
    I took the one less traveled by,
    And that has made all the difference.


    And what a difference Eay!!!!

    God Bless..

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  20. Oh, Linny, to read over all of it again in one post, your sweet smile is a testament to God's grace and mercy. You and your family will continue to be in our prayers. May 2010 bring happy surprises unimagineable!
    Love and prayers,
    Robbie

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  21. Wow..who would have believed it!!! Amazing..and amazing God!!! Oh Yeah...when did you move into the house???...how did I miss that!!!!!
    Hugs
    Kathie

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  22. What a year full of challenges and huge blessings. Sure puts things in perspective! May 2010 bring your family such great joy and peace. Love your beautiful family.

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  23. Dear Linny,
    Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing your family with all of us! I go to your blog when I need encouragement and always come away feeling closer to God. Your New Year post is beautiful and such a testiment to your family's love of the Lord and strong faith in his provision. Even as we morned with you over the loss of your log home, Lucy, Josh, and beautiful Cindy we celebrated Tyler's safety and wedding, Graham, DW, Autumn, and Isaiah's recoveries and the gift of Jubilee's homecoming. I'm happy to hear that your family is safely moved into your new home. Praying for a safe, healthy, happy 2010 for all of you.
    Barbara

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  24. Wow, what a year 2009 was! It was so nice to see the summary of it all - as I've followed your blog for about a year now and you never cease to amaze me - you truly have an amazing family and amazing faith! You keep me motivated!!! My 2009 seemed very boring and average compared to yours (haha). I wish for you and your family and wonderful 2010! And congratulations on your new home - what a wonderful way to start the new year.
    The Tennant Family (GA)

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  25. Wow... what a year! Crazy to read all that has happened in one year to one family... good and bad. Praying peace and joy for your family this year! Love you my friend.
    Cheremi (for the life of me I cannot figure out how to sign in on my own account... so I am using James'!)

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  26. Absolutely amazing what your family has gone through. Even throughout the struggles I've watched your family remain faithful. What an inspiration you are to me. Can't wait to see what 2010 brings.

    btw - sent you an e-mail Hugs and love

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  27. I started following your blog about six months ago....I though I have had a year...spent last Jan-June with my four kids in MN with my mom who had been diagnosed with cancer, she passed away 6 weeks ago. I have a SN child from China9 (CP), and two days ago on our way home from MN (2nd MN trip in 3 weeks) he had over an hour long seizure. We were in the middle of MO so ended up in Kansas City at the Children's hospital..So now....2010 will begin with yet more specialists!! BUT..we are SO blessed, so grateful and excited to see what this year holds (hopefully another adoption, still praying over that). Happy New Year to you!!! You have a beautiful family!!!!

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  28. Wow, what a year! Here's hoping your 2010 is slightly less dramatic. Y'all must be craving a few weeks of calm about now! And how did I miss your big move? That's wonderful- congratulations! That was a super fast build!

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  29. Oh my gosh you guys, I love you.
    I totally remembered when all of this happened; praying with you through it all. For me, it went so fast, but I bet it was a much different story for you.
    May this year be full of blessings (even unpleasant, refining ones at times) and memories!

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  30. Dear Lin,

    I am SO glad that I have stumbled across your blog...it is such an inspiring blog to read and challenges me to trust God more fully. After reading in ONE POST, everything your family went through, my really bad year seems like nothing. I cannot tell you how my heart is rejoicing with your family as I read about bringing your dear Jubilee home...I have both laughed and cried with you and prayed both with and for you as I have read. I am going to be sharing on your memorial boxes at my homeschool parent meeting on Monday...If you ever come to Washington State, I would love to meet you and your family...
    Happy New Year Dear bloggy friend.
    C~

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  31. I'm exhausted just reading that. I can't imagine living it. However, your faces are smiling happily in the photo's and you have each other. God and family, what else do we really need? Wishing your family many blessings in 2010.

    Julie

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  32. Happy New Year! I think, hands down, you guys definitely had THE most eventful year ever. I never dreamed one family could go through so much in just the span of 12 months (not to mention, just before that you had brought home your two babies from Africa- another life change!). If anybody can see anything through the course of your year, it is without a doubt how truly faithful God is. I'm sure that at the beginning of the year, if someone had shown you this blog entry and said "This is what you'll go through this year" you'd think "There's no way I'll survive all that!" Yet God lets us know just enough to get through each day, and showers us with grace each morning to make it. We don't have to know the future or how to handle it all- only that He is by our side and will get us through.

    I had no idea you guys had moved into your house! Maybe I missed it somewhere, but congratulations!! I am so happy for you guys and this new chapter you've begun. I love you my sweet friend!

    We are praying for Tyler everyday, and for Sarah as I'm sure this is not easy having him gone all the time. <3

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  33. Your post often make my day. As a single Mom to two kids with SN both adopted, I love hearing your stories. My kids biggest SN is their behavioral challenges not the physical ones. Its hard sometimes, but its fun to meet others like you, and know there is also a lot of joy in adoption.
    Thanks for sharing your life with all of us

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  34. Wow. That's all I can say to such a breathtaking year. Wow!

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  35. Linny, who what a ride!!!

    I'm so glad your year was bookended by such joy which has framed a year of pain and sorrow on so many levels. Yet the joy on your faces and seeing you all together and smiling on each end of the year is wonderful.

    Blessings!

    Oh, and when the heck did you all move to your new house. I think you forgot that in your day to day adventures!

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  36. Happy New Year!
    Praising God for all the smiles... and continuing to pray for his gracious protection.
    Sending Love & Hugs to you all,
    Barbara Lyman :-)
    Marysville, WA

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  37. You really wouldn't believe all that was actually packed into one year if you hadn't been there. And being a person who saw it all up close I can vouch and say it definitely happened. All of it! Kind of weird to read about it all at the same time. You guys really should write a book about surviving life. :) Love you!

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  38. That house is wonderful. I love a great big front porch and hope one day I get one.

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  39. Amazing. Brought tears to my eyes. I'm thinking, "I'm bored" is a thought that never enters your minds!!!

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  40. Oh, what a life of abundance you have had! Abundant in ups and downs. Linn, would you please treat us all to a virtual "open house" and show us your new place? May God continue to bless you all in 2010!

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  41. What a year 2009 has been. Praise the Lord - he has been with you every step of the way.

    Hoping and praying for a more peaceful 2010!

    God's Blessing to you!
    Jean

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  42. Happy New Year!!!!!
    after a year like that,2010 might be a little boring... OH wait this is The Saunders Family !!! What am I saying! hang on for another beautiful and inspiring amazing faith filled to the brim year!!!!
    I don't want to miss any of it!!!
    Love and hugs to all of you!!!!

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  43. I totally missed the part about moving into the house and let out a "YIPPEEE JESUS!" so loud that my husband came running into the room to see what was going on! "Linny's in her house! She's back in her house!" Then I had some 'xplaining to do. LOL

    God has brought you so far this year and I can't wait to see what 2010 has in store for you and your family!

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  44. WOW!!!! I followed your blog through all of these happenings, but it still amazes me that you went through all of this in one year!! May 2010 bring you great happiness, and a grandchild too:-)

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  45. You guys are unstoppable !!! Satan must be feeling very defeated.

    Praying that God will pour His blessings on your family this year.

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  46. I haven't posted in a while so first of all CONGRATULATIONS on finally bringing Jubilee home!! I am so glad that your trip went smoothly and your sweet girl is finally where she belongs!

    I had tears falling down my cheeks today as I read your post. What a year you have had! Even though I have followed right along with you throughout this year it is still overwhelming all that you have gone through as a family. Your faith is incredible and you are truly inspirational. I will pray for a year full of peace, health and joy for you all for 2010!
    Many blessings - Charissa

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  47. You stinkers! You moved in and didn't tell us! Hee,hee....I LOVE IT! The house is beautiful...praise God you are home! I stand in awe and amazement of your endurance, love, and the true definition of the hands of feet of Jesus Christ! Okay, I am bawling...tissue please!

    Love you guys,
    Julie Hoagland
    PS Should be leaving for China to get Noah in the next 3-6 weeks! Traveling alone...EEEEKKKKKK!

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  48. Ok, how did I miss that you moved into the house? I know it must feel good to be home. I want you to know how much your faith and transparency encourages me...thanks for being so real. Happy New Year!

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  49. I had suspicions you guys were in your house because the kitchen all of the sudden looked radically different in a pic and there were boxes everywhere.

    I hope you have a boring, in a good way, 2010.

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  50. Good grief! Talk about an eventful roller-coaster year! I have so enjoyed reading your blog the last few months and I wish your beautiful family a wonderful new year with maybe a little less drama LOL!

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  51. What a beautiful account of one incredible year. Hope God blesses you a little less dramatically in 2010 ;] Emily so enjoyed meeting and sharing with you in GZ and meeting your wonderful Jubilee. They arrived home today and I got to meet our little Lia Kate. You're right, she is beautiful. God bless you all in 2010.
    Margaret S

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  52. wow, i've had the blessing of following along your beautiful journey of faith and perseverance this year, but still can't believe ALL that can happy in a year!
    many blessings for 2010, linny!!

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  53. I have been thinking a meaningful way that I could express to you how I feel going through all of this with you over the last year, but as the night grows old I decided I better just post telling you how much I love you and however selfish this sounds, I am so glad that I have been able to be on this entire journey with you this last year. I am just hoping that 2010 can be a year of Jubilee for your entire family and no longer needing to live in crisis mode all the time. I love you and adore you! BTW, no trips to see Abigail in February...yep off limits while I am in China!!!

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  54. I have been thinking a meaningful way that I could express to you how I feel going through all of this with you over the last year, but as the night grows old I decided I better just post telling you how much I love you and however selfish this sounds, I am so glad that I have been able to be on this entire journey with you this last year. I am just hoping that 2010 can be a year of Jubilee for your entire family and no longer needing to live in crisis mode all the time. I love you and adore you! BTW, no trips to see Abigail in February...yep off limits while I am in China!!!

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  55. Linny, I love your house!! How exciting to see pics. Alexis made changes for you to review for your blog but I bet you might want to use the new family pic! I'm thankful you are in your new home...a year later...and many blessings along the way. I'm sure you will never forget 2009. Hugs, Linny. Happy 2010!

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  56. Oh, Linny, I'm out of town and haven't been able to check your blog till now, but I want to wish your sweet family a belated happy new year!!! What a year you had!!! I'm praying for a wonderfully uneventful coming year. It is the Year of Jubilee and I pray that start to finish, it is one fabulous celebration.

    I'm so so upset reading the post about the rude comment regarding your beautiful girl. I would have reacted like Emma. That man would be missing some teeth and singing falseto in the choir.

    Thanks for sharing your trials and triumps. I can't wait to see what God has planned for your special family in the new year.

    Much Love,
    Kathie

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  57. OH Linny, I got exhausted just reading the review. :) But I also know what an incredible witness to many you have been through all of those trials. A witness to me and my family! Love you all and praying we can meet you in 2010!

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  58. I agree with Somewhere in the Sun....it makes me tired just reading about your year! I can't even imagine all that you guys have been through. You all are a testimony to what it means to truly love and trust God with your whole being. Praying for a restorative, restful, healing year for you all in 2010.

    Thank you so much, Linny, for sharing your lives with all of us through your blog - I love it! You are certainly an encourager and challenge me to love and trust God more.

    Didn't know you guys had already MOVED - your new home is beautiful!! Happy New Year!

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  59. Wow! Even though many of us read your blog daily, it's hard to imagine all that happened in one year! You are such a strong and inspirational family! Here's to hoping 2010 is full of blessings!

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  60. Quite a year! Hopefully 2010 will be a bit less eventful for you. Glad you are in your house!! No more worrying about what the kids might spill on the rental carpet, huh?

    Praying for Tyler!! Ryan leaves for boot camp in two days.

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  61. Linny, I'm sitting here sobbing my heart out. I just don't know what to say other than I thank the Lord for bringing me to your blog. I will lift you up in prayer every day in 2010.

    Kate x

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  62. Linny....I am not sure you remember me...but we met at the consulate in Guangzhou last month. I have been looking for your blog since....and just I just found it! I have Kate on my lap....but will come back later. I just saw your year in review....WOW, WOW....you guys are amazing and very blessed!

    Wishing you all a very Happy New Year!
    ~Deb

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  63. Oh my goodness! I just found your blog and started reading various posts. I came to this one and thought, "How much can one woman take?" Wow. Just wow. You are so inspirational and I have so much to learn! God bless!!

    Love,

    Rory

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It's always good to hear from bloggy friends. Bless you.