As 2014 comes to a close, I can look back and see it as a year of amazing growth. A lot of that growth was expected, but some of it has shown up as unanticipated blessings.
Just before the beginning of this year we were able to get back to the water. After deciding to sell our beach home because it was too far for quick get aways, we purchased a home on Lake Oconee and have never regretted leaving the beach. We still love the beach and have many great family memories at Fripp Island, but this is an expansion of borders and growth for us all into a new season of “lake life”.
In January, we hosted our dear friends from Kosovo at our cabins in Sautee. We saw many students make deeper professions of faith and take steps towards a growing relationship in following Jesus. They grew in other ways too. It was so cool to see them do so many things as a first for them. They ate s’mores by the fire, got their first Bibles, rode 4 wheelers, and shot skeet and targets. Seeing them in the beauty of our North Georgia mountains was watching God at work!
During the first part of the year, we were attentively watching Hope as she was narrowing down her choices for college. Applications were sent and she was checking the mailbox almost on a daily basis. In early spring she made the decision to attend Georgia College in Milledgeville, GA (about 30 minutes from the lake house). There were quite a few teary moments in seeing our “baby girl” preparing to leave home for college. Graduation, parties and family celebrated the occasion with us. She is growing up into a beautiful Godly young woman and God seemed to be working to keep our family close together at our new refuge on the lake, near Hope’s college choice. He is amazing.
Literally a week or so after Hope’s decision, we got a call from Trey and Katie who were serving as associate staff with Young Life in Rome, GA. They were 1/2 way into a three-year journey there before being assigned a permanent area. They called and said we’ve got some exciting news. They told us that Young Life had contacted them about an area of growth. Trey became one of only a handful to become an area director for Young Life in less than 3 years. Guess what! He and Katie were being relocated to Milledgeville, GA to become the Area Directors for Young Life at Georgia College, Baldwin & Putnam Counties. Another incredible move by God to continue uniting our family into this new season of life. Shortly thereafter, they bought there first home and moved to Milledgeville. So exciting!!
I’m sure you’ve heard of “fish tales” that grow bigger and bigger each time they are told, but we’ve got a real one with no need for it to grow. Our family went to Hawaii for Hope’s senior trip. We enjoyed lots of the islands and sites, but the highlight was our fishing trip off the coast of Kona, Hawaii. We caught two blue marlins and 3 yellow tuna. Zach topped the day with an 11 foot, 400 pound blue marlin. Now that’s a big fish. It barely fit on the wall at the lake.
Zach’s senior year is in full swing. He has been accepted at Georgia College, and he is anxiously awaiting other options. God is equipping Zach to reach and grow to great heights as he endeavors into a new phase of life. He is excited about traveling with his discipleship leader and Bible teacher from Providence to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa this summer.
Growth involves lots of firsts. We just returned from a Thanksgiving first. The crew went to the Big Apple and stood at Central Park to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. We saw lots of New York City and had so much fun together!
Our church, Grace Fellowship, has expanded to 5 campuses with a 6th soon to be established. God continues to amaze us as we grow with new people into new areas around our city, state, and country. I am grateful to my friend and pastor, Buddy Hoffman for continuing to cast vision and lead the way.
Last but not least, our business has grown in leaps and bounds. We are consistently seeing double digit growth around the globe. The US and UK markets were phenomenal this year in particular. We added Tower Gardens with indoor grow lights to allow families to grow their own food without soil right from their decks and patios. Also, our COMPLETE brand of nutritional products has helped so many reach new health goals in combination with Juice PLUS+. We have now grown to over 30 published medical studies on Juice PLUS+. This has helped many grow healthier and strengthen their immune system. Together, these great products and this great company have helped me build and grow a platform to help people “make a life, not just a living”.
Most importantly we have all been blessed with a deeper relationship with God, and he has brought new and key relationships into our lives that make the future brighter than ever. THE BEST IS YET TO COME!
From my family to yours, Merry Christmas and Have a Happy, and Healthy, New Year!!