A Look Back on 2014

I know a lot of people hate on social media, and some for good reasons.  If it’s leading us to compare our lives to others, feel insecure, or eat up a lot of our time, we probably need to turn it off.  I, however, actually love social media.  It helps me keep in touch with friends I have in different parts of the country, my family that lives out of town, friends from high school/college, former coworkers, and I even keep in touch with former students.  There’s another reason I love social media, it documents my year, sort of like a photo journal of 2014.

As we were driving to visit my family out of town, I glanced through this past year’s Instagram pictures.  It’s amazing what we forget happens in a year.  I am so glad I documented some of the extraordinary moments of 2014, but I’m even more glad I documented the ordinary moments.  I don’t want my phone with me everywhere I turn, I want to be present and in the moment, not behind a screen, but I am so thankful I had these pictures to look back on because I forget.

When we went to Israel, we got a ring to wear around our finger that had the words “Remember, do not forget” in Hebrew.  In Deuteronomy 8, the LORD through Moses reminds the people to remember.  Remember what the LORD commanded, remember what the LORD led you to and saw you through, remember the hard, remember the good, remember His grace.

I looked back at pictures and moments from 2014 and realized remembering is a spiritual discipline, looking to all things and seeing God’s work in your life, in the extraordinary and the ordinary moments. He is Immanuel, God with us, at every moment, those that are captured and those that are not.  Here are some of my moments, of remembering the LORD, and refocusing on His presence with me.

Some marked moments and rocks of remembrance in 2014

I started seminary in January.  This had been on my heart for years, and I started and completed more than half of master’s degree in Ministry & Leadership: Pastoral Care to Women this year.

Seminary

We visited Imago Dei in Portland and took communion next to my friend from high school.  Such a sweet moment of realizing we both used to drink wine to party, and we’re now drinking wine to remember the LORD and His grace.

Imago Dei

We hosted IF:Gathering at The Well.  Nearly 200 women came from different churches in our city, some even as far as the central coast, differences aside, united in Christ.

IF

A marked moment of the women gathered kneeling in prayer.

unnamed

These encouragers.  Kim, Jen, Katie, Yvonne spur me on, challenge me, encourage me, and love me.  Grateful for these friendships!

unnamed-1

I visited some of my old students.  I taught them 3 years ago.

Students

This one.  Giovanni, forever on my heart.  What a year we had together.  I was sure he thought I was the hardest teacher he ever had. Until I saw him 3 years later, and he ran up to me, nearly knocking his desk over, and we hugged each other.  It was the sweetest reminder from the LORD that sometimes you have no idea the seed you are planting and the fruit it will bear until years later.

Giovanni

I started a new job at The Well, full time ministry shepherding women and leaders at the North Campus and partnering with this girl.  She is strong where I am weak, so grateful for her and her love for making phone calls and updating F1!

North

Starting a new job meant leaving an old job.  I said goodbye to teaching after 8 years.  I still miss Gustavo!

Teaching

In June, we celebrated 8 years of marriage!

8

Santino bought me a bike.  I tried the road bike thing like 3 times and realized I’m much more of a beach cruiser kinda gal.Bike

We celebrated Santino’s 33rd birthday exactly how he wanted, with his family around the table, in our backyard.

Family Meal

We spontaneously took a trip to San Francisco to catch a baseball game. Go Giants!

SF

Our neighbors have become like our second family.  We just love this little lady Ellie.

Ellie

This is all of us on Christmas Eve.  Love those Cipollas.

Cips

I wrote my second bible study, and for the first time ever taught in front of about 200 women.  This was scary obedience, and yet I’ve never felt more clear about the call on my life to write and teach.

SOTM

We spent slow evenings at home, eating cookies and watching TV.  It’s these ordinary moments I love the most.

TV and Cookies

A week of rest at the coast.

Coast

We celebrated a year at Self Talk the Gospel!  Many articles, readers, and writers.  Such a blessing!

STG

Grateful to partner with these two (terrible picture, great people).

stg

Watched lots of 49ers games with the family (even though they’re the worst right now).

49ers

Celebrated Christmas with friends from high school.

Friends

Santino built these awesome bookshelves for our room.  We’re moving our office to our bedroom, it’s been a fun design and DIY project!

Bookshelves

Christmas with my family, my mom still hanging our gold macaroni wreaths each of us made in kindergarten!

Lynn Girls

50 attempts of taking a picture with my nephews who are growing so fast!  This was my favorite.

Nephews

Lots of slow, quiet evenings at home.  I had such a full year, that I said no to a lot during the week to keep from being so busy and enjoyed slower evenings at home.

Home

There is much more that happened this year, hard, good, ordinary, and fun that isn’t captured.  I’m ending this year and starting next year with Sabbath, a few days to rest, slow down, delight, and enjoy all that God has done in 2014 and look forward to 2015.

I’m teaming up with OneWord365.com and Self Talk the Gospel to pick one word to meditate on for 2015.  I’ll post more in a couple of weeks.  

One Word

I hope you’ll take some time today to reflect on your year, how you use social media, and what you are hoping for in 2015.  I’d love to hear your reflections!

In love,

-Melissa

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