Every year our team pauses in the hustle of this holiday season to reflect on the gifts and graces the year brought. This practice is a way for us to posture our hearts toward gratitude and intentionally look for the good we might have missed over the course of a year.
Like most of the world, our years were filled with challenges, unexpected changes, and mourning the loss of what was supposed to be. As a team, we are intentionally pressing in, with a desire not to miss the moments, small joys, and the good gifts we can be grateful that this year brought to us…even in a year as wild as 2020.
Maybe you’re tempted to believe that 2020 was a complete waste and you’re hoping 2021 is a redemption story. Maybe the darkness loomed over so much of your year that you couldn’t even see straight, let alone look for any good. Give yourself permission to grieve the valleys from this year. I know that I did. But also, give yourself permission to intentionally pause and look for any small evidence of good gifts and God’s hand in this year.
We encourage you to make time for the other important things this holiday season—to make space for laughter, silly games with your families, meaningful conversation, generous giving, and a grateful heart. May you recognize that every good and perfect gift is from God, the One that knows you by name. May you never forget that the Lord is with you always, in the easy, joyful times as well as the moments of mourning, and each dark trial you walk through.
Wishing you and your family a Thanksgiving that is filled with the sweetest of memories and love as you step away from work and focus on what matters most.
01. New opportunities to create passion projects that bring me life. 02. Celebrating the love of my life as he walked across the stage to receive his new title, Dr. Wayne Carney… with honors 03. People that do life with us, in the pretty, curated moments and the raw, unfiltered moments. 04. Delighting in the little moments at home with my kids this year. I’ve been blessed to get to know them more with the extra time together. 05. All of the coffee for all of the things this year.
As challenging as it is to navigate the children at home while I work, I experienced a lot of joy in making simple memories. Having Saturdays off because of lockdowns gave me PJ weekends, pancake breakfasts, and late-night Disney movie nights. We have also had more opportunity to be the ones influencing the kids in the day to day as we choose the labor of love in intentional teachable moments. – Ingrid
Graduating and passing boards. Also, celebrating with those closest to me. -Wayne
As we approach Christmas, my family will be celebrating the one-year anniversary of opening our own gym! Never would we have thought in our first year, we would be experiencing all that we have, however, God has been kind to us. I am grateful for the new people that I have gotten to know, as well as the chance to push my body to do things it’s never done. – Kim
Acceptance into a dream program (nutrition). UNF BABY! – Tori
I’m grateful for the stillness this year brought. Stillness and quiet pauses are such a challenge for me. I often choose to fill every minute of my calendar and life. This year brought the discomfort of quiet and lots of time at home. Which resulted in processing, praying, and dealing with things that had long been avoided. – Ashley
01. Having this cutie right here next to me in my hardest and last year of school. 🥰 02. Passing boards and finally being finished with everything! 03. The amount of joy there is when our families get together. 04. I love being a dad to these two. And this is just the best picture ever. 05. The support system that helped me get through school.
Exodus 14:13-14 “And Moses said to the people, Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you need only to be still.” This was a pivotal verse for me this year as I navigated new territory within work decisions, questioning plans, and walking through personal heartbreaks. It is my reminder that I am still seen and cared for by the God of the universe. – Ingrid
James 1:2-4 – “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” – Wayne
Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to me all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gently and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” 2020 has been an unusual year and a long year. I feel that it’s been heavy and full in so many different ways. There is freedom in this verse. I love that God promises rest. It brings me comfort and leads me to gratitude knowing that I’m not supposed to do this life on my own. – Kim
Hebrews 4:15 “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Even in the hardest of moments, we have a creator who is able to feel with us, care for us, and understand what it’s like to experience what we’re going through. – Tori
Colossians 1:17, “He existed before anything else, and he holds all things together.” This verse stirs my heart with gratitude as I recall the goodness of God to hold all things (including me) together, especially in these uncertain and changing times. – Ashley
01. Our new tradition of weekly family nights. This night was spent playing laser tag in our yard after the baby went to bed! 02: Making family memories! 03. Getting to work again and accidentally matching! 04. Celebrating Halloween with my parents! 05: Running a gym with Jon
We are visiting my parents and meeting my new baby niece for Thanksgiving! The Carneys are still planning our own (early) private Thanksgiving beforehand though. We are planning on having breakfast for dinner, taking out my traditional tablecloth filled with each year’s gratitude notes, and then watching a Christmas movie in our Christmas PJs with the kids. – Ingrid
I am very much looking forward to spending time with my family. For the last 4 years, I’ve had looming assignments and exams, specifically around Thanksgiving. I don’t have that this year. It will be nice to just be with my family and not have my thoughts preoccupied. – Wayne
Having littles lets me see things differently. I am so excited to watch our 1.5-year-old experience Christmas for the first time. I’m excited for little traditions of seeing lights, decorating our home, making cookies, visiting with family, and opening presents. – Kim
Christmas puzzles and decorating all of the gingerbread houses with my nieces and nephews, and Ingrid’s nuggets. – Tori
EVERYTHING! But mostly, Friday night Christmas movies every week, all the peppermint desserts and COOLER WEATHER (hopefully). – Ashley
01. The newest addition to our family…another niece! Little nugget is a cutie pie! 02. The sweetest gift of a relationship with a quality human who happens to be one of my best friends. 03. A roommate unlike any other. Kind, thoughtful, supportive, and a servant’s heart. Incredibly grateful for the opportunity to live with her again, have quality time, and make yummy food together. 04. Thankful for Goodwill and all of the memories that were made there with these two sisters. But also, cheap and stylish is the way to go. 05. Thankful for the freedom and opportunity to vote. Also thankful for these quality parents!
01. Virtual celebrations! This year I really got to flex my creative muscles to celebrate with friends near and far. FaceTime birthday baking dates and pregnancy announcements, zoom cocktail hours, FaceTime spa nights, and a drive-by birthday parade… just to name a few. It was really sweet to think of out of the box ways to love and celebrate my people. 02. Covid helped me pause and appreciate the mundane moments of life. I started taking walks through my neighborhood every morning before work. 03. My bedmate and little sister, Tori, moved in this Fall as she transitions to UNF to pursue her dreams (she didn’t want to sign a lease for 4 months). While she very regularly steals the covers, it’s been such a joy to live under the same roof again. 04. Charcuterie…do I need to say more?! 05. Roomie dinners. Every night during quarantine, we cooked and ate dinner together as a house. We took turns cooking and cleaning each night and made sweet memories together in the kitchen and around the table. Asian nights were my favorite nights.
With love and much gratitude for YOU, the MP team!