Every year, usually in the car while traveling during the holidays, Katie and I have a conversation recapping everything that has happened over the last 12 months. So, here is 2008 in a nutshell.
- I totaled the Volvo wagon on our way home from a movie. Three cars in front of us slammed on their brakes…we came in and slammed into everyone! Thankfully no one was hurt. But the car was paid for.
- We took the plunge and bought a Honda Odyssey! Some family members went to an auction and found us a great deal. Katie loves being a van mom.
- I began substitute teaching at Farragut Middle School. This was a lot of fun. I knew many of the kids already. It was a great chance to get more involved, meet more faculty and serve the community where I live.
- Katie and I got LOST! We began streaming LOST episodes online, starting at the very beginning! (We eventually watched all four seasons…see August)
- Katie and I went away to a lake house for a couple of days together.
- Thanks to the Bush stimulus package, we – er, I – went out and bought a flat screen TV just in time for March Madness to begin! I’m a patriot. I was asked to put that money back into the economy, and I did that.
- Casting Crowns concert with our friends, the Rows.
- Church Volunteer Appreciation Event – Chris Jessen and I repelled from the ceiling in our worship center. My mic cable got caught in the rafters and finally plummeted to the ground. It was funny. I’m just glad I escaped with my life. But our sound guys were like, “Who cares about Jon…is the mic broken?”
- Total #2 – This time I totaled my 97 Honda Accord. This one WASN’T my fault. And this one hurt more than our wallets. A lady pulled out in front of me on Kingston Pike and I could do nothing but T-bone her. It was some of the worst pain I’ve ever felt. I was strapped to a board and put in an ambulance. When I arrived at the hospital they left me strapped there for what seemed like an eternity. After x-rays and tests, I was released with no broken bones. But my chest hurt for 6 weeks – it was from the seat belt and airbag.
- I accepted a new position at Two Rivers as the Pastor of Worship and Programs. I told the middle school leaders, students and parents in April, then started the new role in June. This was tremendously difficult.
- My last summer camp at Sharp Top Cove as middle school pastor at 2RC.
- We put our house on the market! It was a long process, but we finally decided to build a new home with my old friend Jeremy Odell. Jeremy listed our old house as well as built our new one (see September).
- I started my new job at 2RC. This new role affords me more opportunities to teach the congregation on Sundays. During 2008 I taught eleven times. This is significant experience for me as I continue to learn how to communicate God’s truth effectively.
- Took my first canoe trip down the Caney Fork with dad. Caught several large trout, and dad caught the biggest brown trout I’ve ever seen! It was good to get my canoe out – this is the one the middle school students gave me last year at Big Wednesday! Still blows me away to think about it.
- Took my first trip to New York City! Went up to shoot a video about our new Executive Pastor, Mike Sommi. He toured us around Manhattan and Long Island. It was fun to see all the places Billy Joel sings about! I went to a Yankees game at THE Yankee Stadium, which is significant since this was the last season for that historic stadium.
- Took Annie on her first fishing trip! She held a minnow and got my line all tangled up. Perfect first trip!
- We vacationed in Chattanooga with my parents this year. Lots of fun at the TN Aquarium and Children’s Discovery Museum!
- We also went on a short trip to the mountains in Georgia with the Peacocks! Had fun fishing, playing in the river and visiting downtown Dahlohnega, GA. Annie and Gabriel invented a game on the pool table they called the “puma game”. I have no idea where that name came from. But they loved standing on chairs next to the table and rolling the balls as hard as they could!
- Katie and I celebrated our 6th anniversary!
- We FINALLY sold our house! I realize it was only on the market for 3 months – which is short in this market – but we had so many offers that fell through, we didn’t know if it would ever happen. And we were on a tight schedule with our new contruction. It was bittersweet selling that house. Four years ago it just didn’t feel like home, but it became our home with a lot of great memories there.
- We moved into Katie’s parents house for the second time in four years! Just until our new home was completed.
- We moved all our stuff into the Jessen’s garage! It all fit! They are such great friends!
- We finished watching the fourth season of LOST! It was a lot of fun getting into a show like that. It’s the second time we’ve done something like that; the first being 24.
- On September 2 we welcomed Hope Katherine into the world! Life has totally changed with the new baby! I wondered if I would be able to love a second child as much as Annie; I found out I could! I love my kids so much!
- We moved into our new home nine days after Hope was born! It was raining hard, but thanks to Mike Turner and many more friends, we got everything into the house!
- I had the privilege of speaking at the 2RC student ministry fall camp. I really looked forward to sharing the weekend with my students and leaders.
- While at camp, a horrible accident happened. One of our students, Zach, was on the zip line when he crashed into a large, wooden structure that had not been moved out of the way. Four days later we lost Zach, though we rejoice that we know he is in Heaven with Jesus today. I had the privilege of leading Zach to Christ and baptizing him in the fall of 2007.
- October was a difficult month, but we continue to see God’s work in the midst of tragedy.
- I finally got a car to replace my old Honda. After borrowing cars from friends for five months, I got a ridiculously good deal on another Honda Accord. I’ve had to start over with my purple tree air freshener collection. This 05 Accord will hopefully be Annie’s first car! (So in case you lost track, that’s two paid-for cars totaled in one year – two new (to us) cars, one paid off, one almost.)
- We went to Dollywood with the Jessens! This was the first time for Annie and me! Annie was a little scared at times, especially on the Bee ride that went up and down and round and round (daddy told her it would not go up and down…oops!). It was a great trip to the mountains with our great friends Chris, Katie and Oliver Jessen.
- 2RC celebrated 10 years as a church! We had a big celebration at church. So many lives have been changed by God through Two Rivers!
- We took Annie to see the musical, Annie, in Chattanooga! She loved it, of course!
- Annie had her ballet open house. It was so fun to see what she has been learning in ballet class. She is always dancing; whether she’s in our house or out in public, she’s always dancing.
- Hope’s first Christmas.
- Our first Christmas in our new home in Reagan’s Landing.
I’m sure there were other great moments along the way this year, but these are the big highlights, I guess! God is always faithful; in the good and the bad. He is the Good Shepherd and we are His sheep. I continue to learn more about being a Christ-follower, a husband and a father.