I’ve spent some time reflecting on all that has happened in 2013 for our family. We’ve had a good year in many ways, but it has definitely had its share of heartache.
Matt began seminary full-time this January. He’d taken a winter class in December right after we moved here, but he jumped in all the way that spring semester. Between full time grad school and full time work he’s staying pretty busy.
I’ve been very impressed by his work ethic in school this past year. He’s naturally gifted with an amazing intellect, but he works hard too. Especially in Hebrew! Yowza…many late night study sessions for that class. I learned a few Hebrew words myself when drilling him with flash cards. We discovered how much fun we can have together even while studying foreign languages.
Matt took the summer off classes since we already had a big trip planned. He just finished up his Fall semester not too long ago, taking a whopping 12 hours! Thus far, he’s been able to make straight ‘A’s in all his classes. Way to go, Hubby!
We celebrated our very 1st anniversary in February with a weekend getaway. We went caving and hiking… you know, romantic stuff like that! May not seem like your typical anniversary getaway, but we loved it! Matt and I both enjoy the outdoors, so this was fun for us. We had time to relax and just enjoy each other’s company as well, going out to a nice dinner and sleeping in late!
I celebrated my 25th birthday this year, and I had not one, not two, but six visitors from Arkansas! I knew my mom was planning to make the trip, but she brought my brother along too! And the next day my friend Liz, her Mom, and her two kiddos all showed up at our place. What a special birthday! I love surprises and visitors, so this was one of the best birthdays I’d had in a while.
I got to stand by one of my best friends, Joy, on her wedding day in late April! We took serious and goofy pictures, but of course I had to share the silly one!
Since the wedding, our hubbies have had several chances to hang out with each other on double dates. They also became besties…we were thrilled! We hang out with them on average once a week now, and we love every minute of it! Here we are on our first annual Christmas-themed double date waiting in line to see ‘The Lights Under Louisville’. It’s where you drive your car through this man-made cave under Louisville to see an array of Christmas lights.
Also in April, Matt’s parents moved from Arkansas to California for his mom’s job. We were both sad and excited for them at the same time. It’s been hard with them being so much farther away, but hey…it’s California! Who wouldn’t want to have family out there?
We jumped at the chance to take a trip out to see them just two months after their move. Like any good newlywed dreamers, we decided to drive the 32 hours instead of flying. We made a whole cross country trip out of it, stopping to see my aunt and uncle and then camping at the Grand Canyon (maybe illegally…still not sure about that one) on the way down.
While we were there we went to Newport Beach, Coronado Island, Sea World San Diego, Hollywood and Los Angeles! It was a jam packed trip to say the least. Our trip crossed paths with Matt’s sister Lyndsey’s trip for a few days too. It was good to have all five of us together at the same time! These are Matt’s parents, Jodi and David, at Coronado Island.
We drove through the night and then stopped to see some of my cousins on the way back home. They make some beautiful babies (number 5 on the way now)!
July was rough. Shortly after Matt’s birthday, we learned that his dad was diagnosed with cancer. He began an aggressive chemo and things began to look up.
The last weekend in September, Matt and I drove to Jackson, TN for my alumni soccer game at Union University. It was a humbling experience and I was sore for the next week.
While out to eat with some good friends in Jackson, Matt received a phone call that his grandmother had unexpectedly passed away.
That same weekend we got news from my mom that my grandmother had liver cancer and was choosing not to do treatment. She’s been through treatment once before with breast cancer and didn’t want to go through that again, she’s nearly 90 years old now.
We drove to Arkansas for Matt’s grandmother’s funeral in early October. Despite the circumstances, we were thankful for the chance to see his parents.
We spent Thanksgiving with my family in Tennessee, you can read all about that here.
Shortly after Thanksgiving while we were driving home from church, Matt received a phone call from his Dad saying that the chemo he was on had stopped working, new spots had appeared. The doctors decided to do another kind of chemo instead. We continued to pray and hope for the best.
We both had a week off work for Christmas this year. We drove to Jonesboro, AR to see my Mom first. My brother flew in from Seattle so we were able to see him for a few days too! We had a short visit, but a good visit. Lots of food was eaten, presents were swapped, and movies were watched.
Matt’s parents were able to catch a flight to meet us at their Arkansas house in Conway. We spent a week there and drove to see his sister in Ft. Smith one day too. Our visit with the Kramps was bittersweet. We always enjoy their company, but it was hard to see David in so much pain. The cancer had clearly taken a toll on his body.
We all said our goodbyes and headed back home. The Sunday after Christmas we received a call from Matt’s mom saying David had to be taken to the hospital in a wheel chair from the airport because the pain was so intense. Once admitted, they did an MRI. The results were not good.
The cancer was now growing too rapidly to control with chemo and no further treatments were suggested. Hospice has been called in. They are hoping to move back to Arkansas at this point, but wanting to make sure David is well enough for the trip.
Our first full year of marriage will go down in the books as one filled with trials. But we know and trust that God is good through it all. Cancer and death are nasty results of the fall, but for those who put their faith in Christ there is a hope that persists throughout the grief.
With love from the Kramps,
Thank you Cara for taking the time to write out your story of this past year! I love reading it and keeping up with you guys! You are missed! Prayers and blessings for God-filled adventures in 2014! Love you guys!
Thanks for reading, Bev! We miss all y’all at UBC too!! Tell everyone hi for me! -Cara
Wow. You had quite a year! So many fun things and so many trials. That is a lot for the first year of marriage! Praying for your year ahead to be full of blessings!
Yes, very mixed emotions this year for sure. But God is good all the time! Thank you for the prayers, hope you and your family are doing well!! -Cara