Looking back at this past year really helps us to understand that we are living out some of the best years of our lives. God has blessed us so much! The McGee family has had a very full year, as usual!
In January, Josh’s parents paid for all of the McGee family to spend two nights at the Great Wolf Lodge. What a great way to start the year! So many fun memories!
In February, the twins turned 4! My parents were able to fly here and we had a great unicorn birthday party for them. We also had our annual Valentine’s Banquet at church. We love decorating and planning for that each year. I (Jen) got to surprise Josh with a surprise party with some friends and an overnight trip to Galveston for his birthday. That was so much fun! I love surprising him.
In March, James turned 8! We had a Spiderman birthday party for him at Grammy and Grandpa’s house. Josh and I got to attend a Pastor and Wife conference in Pensacola, FL. With how busy we stay with church and family responsibilities, we really look forward to those times of spiritual refreshment.
In April, Josh and I took a whirlwind 2-night trip to California with two young adults so they could see West Coast Baptist College. One of them decided to attend there and we are excited that we could be a part of that. We also got to spend some time with my parents in April and see the bluebonnets and Bluebell Factory. Our church was blessed to host Scott Pauley as well!
In May, Jaiven turned a whopping 10 years old! How is that possible? He requested a homemade peanut butter ice cream cake. Yum! Our church was blessed to be able to host our annual First Responders’ Day. I may or may not have been pulled over the MORNING of that event by an officer who I invited to our church…and she showed up! Haha.
In June, we celebrated our 13 year wedding anniversary! We took a super quick trip to Atlanta and stayed on Stone Mountain Property. As this was the location of Josh’s first church ministry job, we did a lot of reminiscing. We definitely want to return here with our kiddos someday. We came back and immediately started prep work for Vacation Bible School. I directed the VBS skit again this year and also made daily videos to help get the kids extra excited. Definitely a very busy week, but we had several salvation decisions made which makes it all worth it!
In July, our church had our annual 4thof July Picnic. It was so much fun this year! We had an official softball game, kickball game, Kona snow cone truck, bounce house, lots of food, music and great fellowship. Looking forward to next year! I need to get some running practice in before then. Haha We loved having Pastor Steve and Deb come down this year again. Deb Hall was our guest speaker for our Ladies’ Brunch. She did a fantastic job and we had a really great turn-out! Josh and I got to explore Galveston with Pastor Steve and Deb later that day. Great memories!
In August, Josh and I and our kids took the church kids to Junior Camp at Southland in Louisiana. I am so glad we got to see this camp in person. We were really impressed how well it was run. Several of the kids made life-changing decisions. It made the whole trip and all of the fundraisers totally worth it! I also made an unexpected trip to Florida as I had gotten word that my Gramma Ruth’s health had taken a major turn for the worse. I spent several days in the ICU with the whole family as we waited to see if Gramma’s health would improve. She ended up coming home to my mom’s house on hospice. She has done remarkably well since then, Praise the Lord!
In September, I had the privilege of helping out with our church’s 10thAnnual Widow/Widowers’ Luncheon. The ladies in charge of this do such a great job! It was a privilege to help decorate/plan with them. Our church nursery renovation began this month. Because of so many other issues that needed to be taken care of with our church building, it has taken awhile to complete, but we are now just weeks away from the “big reveal”. So excited! Okay – back to September. We took our kiddos down to Florida the next week. Definitely a huge highlight of our year! They loved spending time with grandparents and cousins in Clearwater and Orlando. So many amazing memories stand-out from that trip! Jaycee turned 7 this month (our first baby girl! Wow!) and she had a zebra birthday party at our resort in Orlando. I also turned a year older this month. 36! Sometimes I still feel like I’m 17. How did this happen? Lol. This month also marked a very big change for our family! Our older 3 kids started a “trial run” at Angleton Christian School. I love the idea of homeschooling, but I’m not the best at it and have known for a while that we needed to make a change. Christian school has always seemed unfeasible, but the Lord has greatly answered prayer in that area. As I look back now with a completely different perspective, I see just how many details He took care of for us! We made the decision after a couple of weeks, that our kiddos would be officially enrolled in ACS. They have some catching-up to do, but overall, they are doing very well. This has been a huge change for our whole family, but we are slowly getting adjusted. We very much appreciate the ACS teachers and staff who love the Lord and love on our children every weekday. Thankful to the Lord for answering this prayer!
In October, I filled in some again for our church secretary and also made and sold lots of earrings. Josh and I attended a Couples’ Retreat in Galveston that we go to every year. We got to go with our new youth pastor and his wife. We also randomly met Glen Beck at our hotel! We also stayed busy with regular school and church activities. This year for “Halloween” (I don’t let the kids call it that – we say “Fall Festival” or names like that), we dressed the kids up and drove around to visit elderly or sick church members. Fun times!
In November, our church had our annual Ladies’ Retreat. Fun! The next weekend, our church hosted our annual Fall Festival. I did face painting again. I enjoy getting to talk with so many kids and their parents. It’s probably the station where you can talk to people the longest which makes me like it even more. 2 days after this crazy week ended, Josh and I took off with about 9 other church people, on the trip of a lifetime! We left Houston, had a layover in London and finally arrived in Tel Aviv, Israel! We spent the next 10 days traveling all over Israel and seeing the very places where Jesus, His apostles and even Old Testament characters would have walked. I am still in awe when I think back to the places we got to visit. As someone said, it has turned what has always been black-and-white into color! I feel incredibly blessed to have seen the Garden of Gethsemane, the Garden Tomb and the Eastern Gate! It would take me hours to tell you everything, but if you want to see the video of our memories, it’s on Facebook.JWe couldn’t wait to see our kiddos after that trip. We enjoyed hosting the entire McGee family for Thanksgiving the week after our return to the States.
And now we arrive at the current month – December. This month has flown by! Jaiven took it upon himself to decorate our whole inside and outside of our house for Christmas. Besides a bit of a mess with all of the tubs, he really did an amazing job! Jaycee and James’ class performed the, “Random Acts of Christmas” play. They also got to perform it in two different nursing homes and did a fantastic job. Our WMU also visited local nursing homes and passed out goodies to our church members who lived there. Throw in Christmas parties at school and church, a wedding of our church member, and a night in Houston at Josh’s parent’s church to see their over-the-top Christmas play and you can see why this month has basically disappeared right before our eyes! To end out the month, we went to Moody Gardens in Galveston with the entire McGee family (minus Katie and Amy). Swimming, sugar cookie decorating, s’mores, slime making, ice slide, Festival of Lights, ice skating, Rainforest Café, Coastal Grill, batting cages, Rita’s. We packed as much into 2 ½ days as possible. Thanks to Josh’s parents for starting this great tradition with the family in lieu of a bunch of Christmas presents.
To go over the little details of our year would take hours…so many ups and downs and busy times and milestones and memories. Through it all, God has shown Himself mighty and amazing. We are truly blessed beyond measure!