"How was your year?"
It's the question we all ask each other in these final days of December.
As 2015 comes to a close, Gerald and I have been reflecting on the last 12 months with great thanksgiving.
I don't mind saying: it's been a really special year.
And now, in no particular order, here are our
Top 10 Moments of 2015:
(I've put in lots of links to bring you to photos & the original stories)
Nine years ago, we sold our marital home to fund our dream of moving to Nashville. This summer, after years of renting and moving, a long held dream was fulfilled to buy a house again! Gerald spent hours digging through real estate listings til he found our beautiful century home in St. Catharines. We've only been in here a month, but to see our Christmas tree in the corner and our puppies on the couch, well, it's just about perfect...
As a proud Newfoundlander, this was particularly special. Our latest CD - How The Light Gets In - was nominated for Gospel Recording of the Year at the 2015 East Coast Music Awards. We traveled to my hometown of St. John's to celebrate in all the festivities, including performing at the Gospel Showcase. As we say on the Rock, "Twas a time!"
Our tours of the East Coast become more special every year. This past spring, we spent 9 weeks travelling and singing throughout Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, and eastern Ontario. We revisited favourite spots, and even had the chance to bring our music to new and wonderful places. Truly a blessing in so many ways!
In the spring, we started an epic hunt for a new guitar that led to an amazing conclusion: we were offered an Artist Deal from Stonebridge Guitars! We're so honoured to represent these amazing instruments, and love having this stunning guitar as our new 'band member.'
For the first time ever, we headed west! This fall, we traveled over 7200 KM over 6 weeks to sing in western Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta. Every single venue was new to us, and we felt welcomed wherever we went. As an added bonus, we had the chance to sing with several other Christian singer-songwriters, such as Ali Matthews, Natalie B, Rhonda, and Sally Meadows!
To be recognized by the Gospel Music Association of Canada is to be recognized by our peers, so it was a double honour to receive not one, but two nominations for the 2015 Covenant Awards! How The Light Gets In was nominated for Folk Album of the Year, and Tonight, Everywhere Is Bethlehem was nominated for Seasonal Song of the Year. It was amazing to visit Edmonton for GMA Week, where we celebrated the vast and richly creative Canadian Christian music scene.
This July, I celebrated 10 years since I said "yes" to God's calling on my life. When I first experienced that powerful moment, neither Gerald nor I had any idea where it would lead, but we are so incredibly thankful that it has led to our Infinitely More adventure!
#8. Most Denominations Ever
Infinitely More feels called to cross denominational lines, and encourage others to do the same. This has been an incredibly diverse year of ministry, singing concerts and leading worship in a wide range of churches, such as Anglican, United, Lutheran, Roman Catholic, Pentecostal, Church of God, Baptist, Christian Assembly, Christian Alliance, and many churches and ministries with no obvious denominational association. The more we do this, the more we recognize how much we have in common, and how we are all part of the family of God.
#9. Great Health for Everyone
As I read the Facebook statuses of friends, and especially those who also have aging parents, I'm reminded how blessed we are to have such good health in our family. We faced a rough month in July. It started with an allergy attack for me, and continued as extended family, and even our sweet puppy Sebastian, faced challenges. But as we close out 2015, it feels like everyone is on the right path. Help is in place where needed, and we're all able to enjoy an active lifestyle.
#10. A Surprise for 2016
In the last month, we've been offered and accepted a truly special opportunity. We'll be making a big announcement about it in the New Year, so we still want to keep it under wraps until we work out the details. But trust me, this will be a new level of ministry for Infinitely More, and we're truly excited it about it!
As we move into 2016, we feel so encouraged. Only two years ago, we took the leap from church staff to a full-time touring ministry. It's definitely had challenges, but this year in particular, we've really felt a wonderful sense of growth and momentum in our music and ministry. On a personal note, I also feel it's been a really special time for growing relationships, both in our family and in our friendships.
For each of us, I pray we can look back at 2015 with gratitude and peace. I pray we can leave any struggles and bad habits behind us, and move into the New Year with lessons learned, new optimism, the joy of discovery, and an openness to God's plan for our lives.
Glory to God, whose power working in us can do
Infinitely More than we can ask or imagine!
Happy New Year!!!
All the best in 2016...