New Year’s Eve

I am writing on a Wednesday morning. A heavy frost covers all I see and this morning when I took Bonnie out I could hear the frozen blades of grass bend beneath my feet. The sky is white, the sun straining to be seen. It is the last day of 2014 and we have plans to celebrate the passing of another year with friends tonight.

I have spent the morning looking back, drinking coffee, and letting tears wash away the old. While other bloggers will share “my favorite memories” posts or “what I learned this year” posts, I feel grateful only to have survived—my chin scraped and knuckles permanently whitened from grasping for the end. The other day, Jeffrey asked me, “What was your favorite part of this year?” Asking, asking, that boy is always asking.

We are doing better, but still, this year will be remembered as the one covered in darkness. And yet, there have been many holy moments—times when light broke through and we glimpsed our true purpose.

There was Haiti, the way my heart was broken for a doe-eyed, brown-skinned people and their insuppressible joy in the midst of incomprehensible poverty. I do not want to forget. I have been changed by that one short week, my vision altered forever. In truth, I may never get another opportunity like this again. All the images we see online fail to mention the great expense required to make such a trip—the magnitude of resources required. I look back in gratitude at being allowed the privilege of such a journey and will treasure it always.


I published a book; a gift I am still unwrapping.


There was the trip to Connecticut with Teddy, which allowed me a glimpse of a new side of my boy. And I was so proud of the gentle way he is learning to love. There was watching Jeffrey play snare with the marching band, my heart swelling inside of me. There were two surgeries for one of our boys, these moments of vulnerability burn inside of me still. Our Bonnie-girl came to us, bringing a whirlwind of joy.


There was Ferguson and Russia and the missing airplanes. There were moments of triumph and moments of despair.

My word for the year was “shine” and I didn’t. I hid behind fear and ran from good things because I wasn’t brave enough to meet them. But there is grace and with each new beginning I am humbled anew by the fresh start.

This morning God whispered a name in my ear. Joshua. Through tears I nodded at Wisdom. And then I opened the book to see what this ancient text would speak to me about this particular place I am in. I read chapter one, which I know well.

“Get ready to cross the Jordan River,” said the Lord. “… As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

And so I’m dipping my toe into the river of a new year. And this seems the best promise to carry with me.


  1. says

    Oh Laura…sending much love today. You DID shine. To me you did. And I see so much Jesus in you. And you and your work have inspired me greatly this year…from James memory work printables, to your masterpiece, Playdates with God. I am so touched and honored to know you, and I’m sending so much love today, sweet friend. xoxo

    • says

      Thank you, Jacque. I feel the same about you, friend. You inspire me in so many ways! Thank you for your encouragement. (And your Christmas card was gorgeous :)) Praying we get to meet up some time in 2015.

  2. says


    Nice to meet you. I am new in these blogging circles, but keep stumbling across your name. Wanting to stop by to greet you, I was pulled in by your gentle humility here. I am sorry for the hard times, and excited by your stories of overseas experiences (as a former missionary kid), and glad to hear or possible adoption stories, since we have loved being side by side by dear family and friends who have walked that road too. May this new year be one of gentle walking held up by the One whose hand helped Joshua across the water too. And He can still bring the shine! 🙂

    Respectfully, warmly,
    Jennifer Dougan

  3. says

    I read another chapter of Playdates this morning after a brief entry in my journal. The chapter was about the power of stories. This last year, in our village called family, was a rough one. Your words above are encouraging merely because of their candor and vulnerability, sprinkled with hope and a perspective of knowing that there is a greater story at play. I have been fighting for transcendence to awake again in me. Not to live in denial of a tough life of a family of adoption, but because of it. To revive the calling in which we have been called. Funny, God brought to mind this morning the words “Be of good courage” from the book of Joshua. Be encouraged, and keep the shining words coming!

    • says

      Thank you for these words, Jerry. We were created to need company in the journey and I am grateful for yours. The book of Joshua is speaking good things into my heart during these cold mornings. Should I ever forget, let these words be stones of remembrances–the Living Word brings me courage and strength. May it be so for you as well, my friend.

  4. Lynn D. Morrissey says

    Laura, actually, you shone as a very bright life in my life this year. I feel so privileged to have met your personally after Shelly’s introduction, and every glowing, shining word she conveyed about you, I found to be absolutely true. You have a rare gentelness and humility in light of all your giftedness, and I think that that is one way that you shine the spotlight on Christ. You are such a beautiful reflection of Him. I love the book of Joshua, and how often God has spoken to me through it. Maybe this is your year of preparing your provisions. The Lord has impressed upon me my theme this year, which is Bride. And surely a Bride (I’m capitalizing that on purpose as part of the Bride of Christ) is to prepare for His coming. Obviously, none of us knows when that might be, but I, personally, j ust know there is so much in my life that I need to prepare, particularly in the depths of my soul. I also love, from Joshua (3, is it?), when the priests stepped into the Jordan at floodtide, the river parted. Maybe as or after you prepare, God is asking you to step into the water–maybe waters that you consider to be too deep or fast-flowing. I know you have already done so in the Frio, quite literally! Amazing those photos of people driving right INTO it! I would encrouage you, too, to erect memorial stones in your journal, to remind you of God’s faithfulness, and to be reminders in the future. It’s a joy to look back through the years, and see what you have written about your encounters with the living God. I wish you such a joyous New Year. It will be, because as you said, He has reminded you that He is with you!

    • says

      Ah, Lynn, and you have been a shining light for me these past months. I finished reading your book just two days ago and cannot say enough about how your words companioned me through Advent, building me up and encouraging me. I have been journaling every morning during this break from work and I hope it will set a habit to continue when the old schedule breaks back through next week. Much love to you, my friend. Happy New Year.

      • Lynn D. Morrissey says

        Laura, what a lovely thing to say. I’m humbled by your words. So I am playing, and you are journaling! =] I love how God uses each of us to teach/encourage others. ACtually, I think that you will find journaling to be its own kind of playdate with God. Have journal, will travel. You can take your journal anywhere you go. As you know from my book, one of my favorite rendezvous (playdates) wtih the Lord is an a cafe, journal in hand. But I also have taken my journal to parks, hotel lobbies, art muuems, our cabin, and on and on. And you can journal for hours or minutes. This is a very versatile discipline…..or rather, play “vehicle.” I look forward to our continued encouragement of each other in the New Year. Happy 2015, dearest Laura !

  5. says

    Sweetie pie, you shine when you breathe. You don’t have to try. BELIEVE ME. This has been a hard and wonderful year for both of us, I think. Holding you in my prayers tonight, dear Laura and stepping into that river right beside you.

    • says

      Yes, you have had a hard year too, haven’t you? But, yes, wonderful in the way God stretches us. It is such a tender, vulnerable kind of joy, isn’t it? Praying your 2015 is full of so many blessings, Diana. Much love to you.

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