What I've been up to these last 4 years

Monday, January 13

I was absolutely overwhelmed at the love I received when I announced I was going to start blogging again. Like, literally, blown away...I cried tears of JOY that evening and celebrated the warmth and kindness of women.

I thought I'd take some time and share with you what I've been up to these last four years!!

started out with a bang...and brought a lot of change...
We spent that winter in Europe on a family Christmas trip in Switzerland, France and Germany. I hope to share some pictures with you on IG about that, so feel free to follow me @hopeengaged if you want to see them:)

Coming back from Europe, we packed up all of our earthly possessions and drove them from Southern California (where we had been living with Kevin's parents while I went to graduate school) up to Northern California (which is where I grew up and where we were moving!). We bought a house!! (I'm hoping to share a TON of project's we've slowly been working on over the last 4 years, so stay tuned!!)

After moving our stuff in for like 2 days...we jet setting out on a plane to India!! The amazing company Sari Bari flew us to Calcutta to take pictures of the women who make their gorgeous bags! It was a once in a lifetime opportunity!

I got a job at a local Christian Counseling Center. As a Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT), you have to get 3,000 clinical hours before you can become licensed. I have been working hard these last 4 years and have a big announcement to come about that...so stay tuned (I may say this on repeat, haha)

We were blessed to be sent on a yacht cruise around Tahiti with Inspiration Cruises & Tours!!! (Visiting Bora Bora, Moorea, and other islands!)

We got pregnant & found out it's a girl!!

We hosted our British Friends for a 3 week trip around California!! 

We visited our family in New York City at Christmas & prepped for baby girl!

was a sweet year of family...

I was so incredibly showered (6 showers!) for baby girl.

I went on maternity leave in March, and on April 4th, our precious peanut, Avonlea Grace, was born. (her birth story here)

Becoming a mother was astounding, I loved (and currently love) it more than I could have imagined! The sweetness, the connection, the bonding...ohhhh I wanted to bottle all those newborn feels up (except for lack of sleep, hahah)

We took a few domestic trips but took it pretty easy this year.

was a year of TRAVEL....

We arrived in England on New Years day of 2018 and spent the next 3 weeks with our best friends (who are British) traveling through the Lake District, the island of Jersey, and The Cotswolds. You guys, it was such a. life-giving trip. Our friends rolled out the red carpet for us and every night we laughed, swapped stories, and relived our adventures. Its as so fun. I didn't blog a single blog about England, so get ready for those pictures this year!!

{in Liverpool at the Beatles Museum!}

That summer we visited Kevin's sister (and her family) in Delft, Holland. Our brother-in-law was doing his PhD there and we stayed in their 4 story Dutch house in the fairytale city of Delft (I want to move there, haha). We then took a flight over to Sweden to visit my family and attend our family reunion! I didn't blog any of those pictures either, so hopefully we'll get on that. Sweden is a dream...our family was so hospitable and cooked for us and took us all around. Such a lovely time!

Sadly, the year ended with the Camp Fire burning down the entire town of Paradise (10 miles from the city where we live). My mother's childhood house was burned to the ground (along with most of the city) and my parent's were evacuated from their home (although the fire didn't make it there). It was devastating and people are still reeling from the loss.

was a year of pressing into meaningful projects and facing fears...

In the spring, I spoke at two difference women's retreats...one for my church's women's retreat, and the other for CRU's women's retreat. It was so amazing to ask the Lord for His words to flow out of me, and watch as he crafted a message that ministered to hearts of women. I love speaking and bringing God's word to other women:)

I also had an incredibly difficult last month of pregnancy. I had terrible pregnancy insomnia which kept me up all night for almost 3 weeks, it was quite scary.  I think between the stress of seeing client's, and the responsibility of crafting numerous talks for my speaking engagements, my fears started flying out of control and my thinking was so skewed. Thankfully on Easter, a few weeks before our boy was born, God freed me from the insomnia and the anxiety. (All the praise hands for that!! Thank you Jesus!)

On May 13th 2019, our cherub of a boy, Everett William Cook, was born. I still need to write out his birth story (so stay tuned, haha). He has been the biggest blessing of my life this year...his smile and countenance have lifted the most dreary of day. I adore him.
The rest of 2019 has been pretty chill, trips to Washington, Hawaii, and San Diego with the family, and mostly just learning how to be a mama of two kids!!

I also have almost completed my MFT hours...so "stay tuned" for an announcement regarding that!! (How many times can I say "stay tuned" in one blog post? ha!!)

Sooo I guess as a recap, the last four years have found us in Northern California, having babies, working as a counselor, and figuring out how to love and care for our neighbors in this place. It's been a totally different season being a mama, but I wouldn't trade it one bit!!

I can't wait to spend 2020 with all of you seeing what God does with this space and in my heart!! Please update me on the last few years of YOUR life! I'd love to connect more with you. And again, if you are on IG, please come say hi @hopeengaged.

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