- Baby - Gabriella has officially turned 1/2. We used the day as an opportunity to discuss integers and rational numbers. I think she caught on, though she started asking some questions about irrational numbers and I told her we'd wait until she was at least 5/6 to discuss those. The imaginary number can get a little confusing. :-) It truly has been amazing to me to see how much I'm enjoying each new phase more than the last. Often I can actually see her learning something new. It's such a fresh, new perspective on life to see someone trying something and doing something for the very first time. It's really made me appreciate again the unique diversity and beauty of our world, things that are so easy to take for granted. I'll post some new pictures below.
- Holidays - We were able to enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving and Christmas with family and friends. We got to spend some time in Tampa with Brad's family and then enjoy a Pittsburgh Thanksgiving with my family. For Christmas, Brad took me to Bronners CHRISTmas Wonderland for the first time and I hope it's a tradition that we can continue as a family for a while. It truly made me happy making Christmas memories as our new expanded family. :-) Gabby was blessed with many wonderful gifts from Grandparents, Aunts, and Uncles and she's definitely enjoying playing with them now (although she seemed to enjoy the wrapping paper the most).
- Philly Project - God has been doing some amazing work in the hearts of both Brad and me over these past few months. It's ultimately resulted in us stepping out in obedience to leave Detroit and plant a new church in Philadelphia, PA. You can read about the initial process of making the decision to plant a church here on Brad's blog. And you can read about the way God led us to Philly here on his blog. Honestly, more than any end result, I'm so grateful for the way that God used it as an opportunity to bring us closer to Him and to each other. It was really the first major decision that we made together as a married couple and we learned a lot about how God has spoken to us individually in the past and how He's speaking to us as a married couple. I'm so grateful and humbled that we serve a God who actually speaks to us and guides us. In the months since, I can honestly say that God has been growing the seed of faith and excitement that He first planted several months ago. I never imagined planting a church, but the more that I've learned, studied, and felt God planting a new dream in my heart, the more excited I've been. It's definitely bittersweet to leave a home, church, and family that we love, but we are filled with hope for the next chapter that God is bringing.
- Next Steps - So that brings us to the specifics and logistics of now. I've noticed several comments on FB that have been wondering what I'm talking about when I discuss packing and moving. Yesterday was our last official Sunday at COTK, although I'm sure there will be visits in the future. :-) Brad preached such a meaningful message and you can read the highlights here. We will spend our 2 year wedding anniversary tomorrow packing up the last boxes, cleaning the house, and loading the moving truck. We will head to Pittsburgh on Wednesday morning and unpack there as we will be staying with my mom and dad for a few months. Allison Park Church is going to be partnering with us to launch a church planting movement in the city of Philadelphia. You can read more about Pastor Jeff's thoughts here and here. It is then our goal to be in Philly by June 2010.
- Prayer Requests - I have heard so much encouragement and prayers from so many people as they've found out. To each of you, I truly am grateful and thank you so much for all your kind words. We would continue to covet your prayers. Specifically, our house is on the market at a time when it is not the most ideal timing to sell a house. We're praying that God would help it sell to the right person in His perfect timing and that He'd give us the patience, faith, and strength to trust Him in the meantime and glorify Him throughout the process. We'd also ask for prayers as we'll be making some major decisions in the upcoming months as far as location, housing, team building, financing, etc. We really trust that God will continue to lead us and want to remain soft and open to hearing the Holy Spirit each step of the way.
I guess the length of this post is evidence of what happens when you don't blog in 3 months. Sorry about that. :-( Hope to be better in 2010! You can also follow on Twitter if you wish at LeahLeach. I seem to be able to manage 140 characters a little better. :-)