The Friday Five: Gratitude for 2012

The Friday Five is back with five things (and a host of pictures) I am thankful for in the past year. I hope you have also been able to pause with gratitude, as we enter into a new year. 1. Family Our parents are healthy, our family is thriving and growing, and James and I just celebrated five years of marriage.

Mom & Dad came to Africa with us in January.


My brother (with me, above) and sister-in-law are adding a new baby to the family in April.

2. Friends As leaders of international non-profits, more than a third of James and my year is spent traveling and it is often difficult to maintain close friendships at home in Nashville, let alone all over the country. But we are learning that intentionality and mutual commitment make life-giving friendships possible. We are beyond blessed.

I have been friends with these girls for over 15 years and now we all are starting to have families!

Some of these sweet friends have recently moved away from Nashville...which gives us a great reason to visit North Carolina!

And these great people have just moved TO Nashville! What a blessing.

3. Mission I continue to see Blood:Water thrive, and am humbled by the growing team of Africans and Americans working together to combat HIV/AIDS and water crises across Africa. The year, we celebrated 50,000 more people with access to safe water, as well as comprehensive HIV care for 230 men, women, and children.




4. Surprises As the history of this blog over the past year can certainly attest, 2012 brought quite a few exciting surprises! I was honored to deliver the commencement at my alma mater, shocked to be invited to pray at the Democratic National Convention, and delighted to wine and dine at the White House for a Holiday Reception. And one more fun surprise? The San Francisco 49ers had another winning season!




James and I about to walk into the White House!

5. Rest Since October 15th, I have been on a complete sabbatical from my work at Blood:Water Mission. I've needed to take time for myself to rest, reflect, and recover from eight years of unending travel and responsibilities related to a start-up nonprofit. This rest has been exactly what I needed, and I've never been a greater advocate for observing the Sabbath. However, I recommend observing it every seven days instead of waiting seven years!

James and I traveled to Costa Rica in October to kick off the sabbatical.

Exciting, right?