As the holiday season and the year draws to a close, I look back and am so blessed with everything God has given us. Our Christmas looked a little different than we were expecting, but we loved the day anyway. Our pastor and his wife had graciously invited us to spend Christmas with their family. Jared picked out a special bottle Californian of wine to bring and I spent the evening of Christmas Eve making some “nibbles” to take along. Christmas morning we woke up giddy, at least I was. I love Christmas, and for the first time in our lives, we could open our presents whenever we wanted! Growing up, my parents filled our stockings with goodies, which we were allowed to get when we woke up, and open them in my parents bed. Their plan was that this would give us something to do until they were ready to pry open their eyes and let us open our presents. But this year, we could open whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted! (side note: some of our friends here told us that they opened their presents like a week before Christmas, just because they wanted to and could, now that we are all adults.) With our limited income, we had just a few gifts under our tree, so we savoured the experience. I had been buying small things over the last few weeks to fill our homemade stockings. We opened our stockings, and I put our giant cinnamon roll in the oven. Right about that time, Jared said he wasn’t feeling very well. A few minutes later he asked if we had a bucket. A little later we were cancelling our plans with our pastor’s family. It wasn’t quite the start to our first Christmas together that we had envisioned, but it was real life. We opened our gifts and enjoyed the morning cuddling together. I nursed Jared for a bit, ventured out to find him some medicine, and we just relaxed. By late morning, Jared actually felt much better (good enough to eat about half of the giant cinnamon roll. I had already eaten the other half.) In the afternoon we took a walk around this town we call home, enjoying the beach, the castle, the cathedral, and the town. We Skyped with the Michelsons and the Gudnasons, enjoying time “spent” with our families on Christmas day. By nightfall Jared was desperate for Chinese food, obviously feeling much better.

Our stockings hung by the [mirror] with care

Our stockings hung by the [mirror] with care

Our giant cinnamon roll!

Our giant cinnamon roll!

Looking back on 2013, I am amazed at all that has happened.

In March we found out that Jared had been accepted into the Master’s program at the University of St Andrews. We decided he would do their distance program in the fall. Then two days later we decided he would do the program at St Andrews, and we were going to move to Scotland.

The Spring was full of bridal showers where we were shown so much love through the gifts and prayers of my dear friends.

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In May, after 5 years, I graduated from Nursing School, fulfilling a lifelong dream. Saying goodbye to my nursing school friends was one of the hardest things. I still miss seeing them every day. Life isn’t the same without them.

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In June I took my nursing boards. And then waited almost 4 weeks to find out I had passed. Jared went on his last youth trip as the youth pastor at SCBC, and gave his last sermon to the kids who had become part of our family.

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In July we got married surrounded by 300 family members and friends. It was literally the best day of our lives. Then went to Vegas on our Honeymoon and stayed in the nicest hotel we’ve ever stayed in and ate until we fell asleep, and then ate some more.

*J+B_282

In August Jared gave his last sermon at Veritas, and we took a trip to LA with Jared’s parents to spend some last days with his siblings. I was in my dear friend Amy’s wedding, and was somehow the resident marriage expert at her bachelorette party.

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In September we moved to Scotland. Jared started classes. I started working at the Tailend Restaurant. Jared started working at the Central Pub.

A kind couple offered to take our picture looking out at Anstruther

A kind couple offered to take our picture looking out at Anstruther

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God has continued to bless us and provide for us in ways that we cannot even imagine. Somedays life is hard. Somedays I break down and freak out and Jared comforts me, he does what he can to make it better, he challenges me, he makes me laugh. This year has been wonderful, perfect, hard, sad, joyful, and exciting. There has been so much change, so much newness, so much good. We don’t know what 2014 will bring, but we are excited to find out! Happy New Year πŸ™‚ I’m off to ring in the new year with some crazy Scots and my crazy bar tending husband!

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