Jar of Happiness: Reflections on an Amazing Year

Last year, Crystal started something new.  Perhaps it will grow into a family tradition.  She simply calls it, the "Jar of Happiness," a jar with slips of colored paper beside it.  Don't let the simplicity fool you, because the slips of paper are opportunities for any member of the family to write out little things they're thankful for.  The jar becomes the happy collection of these incredible notes throughout the year.

At the close of 2013, we sat around the table and read these notes, laughing together, and thanking God for His blessings.  Here are a few of those notes (employing the original spelling) organized into categories.

The Value of Time

"Lessons are done"
I wrote some curriculum that a family member was thankful that I finished, taught my first two courses at Messenger, studied at Asbury, worked full time, etc., etc.  The year was so busy that I didn't even blog, because I gave all of my extra time to my family.  I thoroughly enjoyed teaching, and for the first time I was able to co-write some material with my Dad, Vernell Ingle.

Family Entertainment

"Family Wii night 3" (Mateo)
"We watch The MAN OF STEEL" (Cruz, Mateo, Dad, Mom, on the silver screen)
There are certain entertainment choices we make as a family, like our traditional movie and homemade pizza on Friday nights - delizioso!

Good Weather

"Opening windows in JAN. b/c the weather is so nice"
We are an outdoors, camping, biking, walking, hiking, jogging, exploring type of family.

Specific Family Prayers

"New computer"
We pray together every night, and often very specifically.  Mateo and Cruz eagerly take our concerns to the Lord as we share them.  There are other answered prayers of 2013, but the computer is a central one, necessary for so much of what we do.

Friends like Family . . . i.e. the Shaffers

"We went to Gatiland with Ms. Kayla & Baylee" (Teo, Cruz)
"Mr. Ron’s house with Call of Duty" (Mateo) [editor's note: this was completely supervised lol]
"Got Toys R Us Cards from Mr. Ron + Ms. Kathy" (Mateo, Cruz)
We are so very thankful for families over the years who have invested time in our family.


"Surprise visit from Papa and Gamma" (05.19.13)
"Both sets of grandparents visited at Thanksgiving right after the move to MI"
Both of our sets of Grandparents are taking time to visit, FaceTime, and everything possible to bridge the miles.  We love them and are so thankful for the ways they connect with our children.

Family Vacation

"Dallas Trip" (Mateo)
"We went to TEXAS to see Gramma and Grampa!  Then we went to see our other cousins!" (Mateo, Cruz, Jared, Crystal)
"TX VACA: museums, friends, etc."
We have traditionally chosen to spend our family vacation time with extended family.  On this occasion, we were able to spend extended time with the Palmers, Vernell and Pam in Dallas, and the Ingles in Missouri.

"Making good friends in MI" (Mateo)
"There will be 80 inches of snow every winter in Mishagan!" (Cruz)
"We are moving to Mishagan!" (Cruz, Teo, Jared, Mom & Eliseo)
"Strong boys to help move furniture"
We have been invited to minister in a community of faith that is completely new to us, Mt. Zion Family Worship Center.  We have accepted the offer, moved up north, and are enjoying this totally new adventure!

The McMillans

"Jeremiah + Minnie May’s Wedding"
"We got a new Bow and Arrow!" (Cruz, Teo)
Lindsey Palmer became Lindsey McMillan, much to Jeremiah's delight.  After years of courtship, 2013 became their year.  We were privileged to be an integral part of so much of their celebration, from pre-marital counseling, to wedding planning, to the ceremony.  We are grateful for all God is doing with them, and our children are thankful for their wedding gifts from the McMillans.

"Pregnant! :)"

"Cruz felt the baby move first" (5.15.13)
"Cruz + Teo felt baby move" (5.17.13, 21 weeks)
"Growing Belly" (05.28.13)
"Had to move stuff around before the baby came" (Cruz, Teo, Mom)
"Got stuff out of storage" (Mom)
"Baby shower @ Church w/ a massage"
"Baby head down" (40 weeks) [one of the various miracles of this birth]
"Ms. Stephanie watched the boys while giving birth"
"Eliseo Joel"
"Gammaw taking Teo + Cruz to VA so Mom could heal"


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