Twenty Fourteen.

It’s been over a year-and-a-half since my last post. In the ensuing 18 month typhoon, I’ve learned much about myself, my family, my friends and my community. I didn’t intend to write a year-end recap (or year-and-a-half-end), but as I sat at my favorite coffee shop, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the sweetest memories from this unusual period of my life.

Honor

When we left SoCal in September of 2013, we were loved, cared for and blessed on the way out the door. I had resigned my position in nonprofit leadership and church leadership within a two-month time. Leaving Rooftop 519 and leaving Desert Foursquare Church were stark contrasts: one was bittersweet while the other was bitter-bitter. With each day that passes, the memory of being honored by my church family and denomination becomes more meaningful. Thank you to all who welcomed and loved us.

Gratitude

About once each month I sit down with one of the kindest and most discerning individuals I’ve ever known. I call our meetings “thermals”, the updrafts that help birds and hang gliders travel to higher elevations without much effort. He asked me about my time in the Coachella Valley, with full knowledge that we had some real struggles during our three years. “I’m very grateful for my time,” I told him. “You can’t be grateful and bitter at the same time,” he replied.

I hold onto that, and I’m so glad for my experiences, great and sad alike.

Ashes

When things fall apart, God can do something even better. It is nearly impossible to reconcile this against present and pressing pain, but I believe it to be true. God does his best work in the ashes.

I wish I could list each person who has meant so much to me during this time. From my cigar buddy to my employer, and my denomination to (especially) my wife. I am exceedingly glad for each person who helps me through this broken life.

Looking forward to an amazing 2015,

Shawn

The single greatest experience in 2014 was the opportunity to travel with Elijah to meet his family. This lead to an opportunity to help my Liberian friends during the Ebola crisis and recovery.

The single greatest experience in 2014 was the opportunity to travel with Elijah to meet his family. This lead to an opportunity to help my Liberian friends during the Ebola crisis and recovery. My sincerest gratitude to all who have helped during this time.

This is a Christmas present from my 17 year-old son, Andy. He took a picture from about 14 years ago and recreated it for his mom and me.

This is a Christmas present from my 17 year-old son, Andy. He found a picture from about 15 years ago and recreated it for his mom and me.

My favorite picture from 2014, a shot from just above Mowich Lake near Mt. Rainier.

My favorite picture from 2014, a shot from just above Mowich Lake near Mt. Rainier.

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