Wednesday, December 28, 2016

2016- looking back

2016 has been a wonderful year for us. At the beginning of the year, I stated 3 goals.:

1. Update our 72 hour kit.  We did that. Our one huge backpack has grown to 2, and it is still the barest of bare necessities, but includes up-to-date copies of passports, vital records, and other important info that I could see us needing access to in a real life emergency. It is comforting knowing that it is there, though I hope to never need it.

2. Walk, run, or crawl a 5k, 10k, and half marathon this year. I didn't do a half marathon.  And as usual, I have been more sedentary than active, but I will continue to work on this.

3. In 2015 we visited 3 other countries.  In 2016 we hoped to visit 9 or 10 countries.  We made it to France, Switzerland, Italy, Slovenia, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Estonia, Russia, and Spain. That's 10!  woo-hoo!!  Slovenia was a new favorite- it is so beautiful there. We also were surprised by Copenhagen, Stockholm, and Tallinn. We may need to explore that Baltic region a bit more.

We had many opportunities in 2016 that we could not have foreseen at the beginning of the year... but the biggest has to be the Rebstock Refugee Library. As we watched the refugee crisis unfolding in Germany (and the world) in the first half of 2016, we participated in several relief projects- donating clothing and shoes, collecting and repairing bicycles, assembling hygiene kits for distribution.  But I had a feeling, that I couldn't shake, that I wanted to do something more. Something that would give a part of ME and use my talents. The idea came to me for a library at one of the camps and I got in touch with a few women that I know that work with refugee aid in July, and the whole thing just snowballed from there!

At this point the library has been open for four months!  It is a beautiful and welcoming space, with over 1,100 books (and counting,) puzzles, and toys, where people can gather to read, talk, work on school work, practice German, or just play. And all because of the overwhelming generosity of friends (and strangers) sharing their time, talents, and resources. I feel blessed just to be a part of this project and to have gotten to know some incredible, strong, beautiful people- even if it is just a little bit and with a language barrier to work around. Our entire family has been deeply involved in this, and we have gained so much from this opportunity to serve.

We look forward to much more excitement, travel, and challenges and goals to meet in 2017! I have some ideas, but will wait until next week to write down my goals for next year.

1 comment:

Aubrey said...

Well done, Julie! You completely crushed the vast majority of your goals!

Love that you took on the library project. Here's to an amazing 2017!