2019 is coming to a close, and what a year it’s been. In so many ways, it has been a year of healing, wholeness, and increasing hopefulness for whatever lies ahead in 2020. We hope you too feel surrounded by the warmth of this season and the seeds of new life that have been planted in your soul.
To give you a quick overview of this year for the Funkhouser family:
- In early 2019, Ben was accepted into the School of Social Work at Portland State University! (Cue the confetti!!) This dream was many years in the making and we were thrilled to make the transition into college students again. He began classes in September and has another year and two-thirds to go before receiving his MSW.
- In February Jenna traveled to Tanzania again with Loom, and loved getting to reconnect with friends and partners there. She has also perfected her recipe for Tanzanian ginger tea and would love to share a cup with you!
- In May, Jenna broke her wrist in a freak accident on the way to jury duty (she’s finally ready to talk about it). Thankfully, it was a smooth healing process and didn’t interfere too much with her plans for summer hiking, camping, and kayaking!
- In June we both traveled to Minnesota for a family wedding that became the best sort of reunion. It was wonderful to spend a few days on the lake as well with family and make new memories together.
- This summer was also full of many wonderful outdoor adventures, including a rafting trip with friends, three camping trips, and a college reunion on Mt. Hood. That was certainly one of the highlights, as well as a camping trip to Crater Lake with Ben’s family. We’re so thankful for all the friends who love to soak up the beauty of Oregon with us!
- In August, we moved yet again – this time into housing near Ben’s school specifically for students. We love living the downtown life and making our cozy little flat a home. You’re welcome anytime!
- Jenna traveled with Loom again in October to be part of a training at the World Without Orphans forum in Thailand, then visited a friend in Indonesia. This was definitely one of the highlights of her year – you can read more about it here!
- We continue to be richly blessed by friendships – including one family who arrived this April from Afghanistan. We’ve kept trying new recipes and love seeing food or a generous cup of tea bring people together.
If we’re being honest, both of us came into 2019 feeling a bit fragmented and pretty weary. We entered the year in a season of waiting and fragile beginnings, and it’s been incredible to see how those little seeds have begun to grow into something nourishing and beautiful. We made a commitment this year to prioritize beauty and the practice of finding and experiencing God in all things – and it has made each season such a rich journey, even in the midst of struggle and heartache.
Now, as we head into a new year full of new dreams and new adventures, we pray that God would give us the eyes to see Him in places the world often overlooks, to keep embracing rhythms of wholeness, and to keep learning how to become our truest selves in Him.
We pray that this blessing from John O’Donohue would be true for each of you as well:
May you recognize in your life the presence, power, and light of your soul.
May you realize that you are never alone.
May you have respect for your own individuality and difference.
May you realize that the shape of your soul is unique;
that you have a special destiny here,
that behind the facade of your life there is something
beautiful, good, and eternal happening.
Merry Christmas, everyone!