My Favorite Photos Of 2019
As 2019 comes to a dramatic close, I can't help but be amazed at all of God's blessings over the past 12 months. Here are just a few pictures that prove just how good our God is.
Winter is my favorite time of year on the property, and the year began with a beautiful blanket of snow.
When the Bullriders of America come to town, I live at Bridge View Center for the weekend. This year they added a Cowboy Breakfast that included meeting some of the riders and having breakfast right next to the bull ring.
But the highlight of the weekend was my amazing husband making his debut as a celebrity bull rider! Danny rode longer than any of the others, and our teens were totally impressed.
The puppies had a great year, too. Molly had some health problems we had to deal with, but they have been simple to treat. She adores her vet and knows that we'll go to the park when we're done.
From the day we moved onto the property, we've been blessed with an abundance of wildlife. A few months ago we heard the baby coyotes having nursery practice and then saw this beautiful adult coyote making its way around the pond.
The ladies of Calvary Baptist Church in Ottumwa made it a priority to attend women's retreats throughout 2019. These trips were packed with Bible study, speakers, fellowship, fun and much-needed time together.
For Danny's birthday in 2018, I got him tickets to the Red Green Show in 2019. Red has been a longtime favorite, and we weren't going to miss what might be his last comedy tour. It was such a creative, hilarious show and we had so much fun.
Now that I'm working in town, I don't have as much time for photography as I once did. But God blessed with vibrant colors and dramatic scenes around the property to make up for it.
Speaking of work, I absolutely love my job at the Convention & Visitors Bureau. I have a direct impact on our community while letting visitors know what we have to offer. It doesn't get any better than that!
This year both of our grandbabies turned 1. We were able to go see each of them on their birthdays and spoil them a little.
My greatest joy came watching Danny interact with them. He has so much love in his heart for his family, and it's so easy for him to share it.
On the way back to Iowa from one of those birthday trips, we stopped in Branson for a little couple time. And by "couple time," I mean "let's go zip-lining!"
Danny had zip-lined like this before, but it was the biggest one I had ridden. The only other time I had zip-lined was at a ladies conference and you had to step off the platform on your own. This scared the padoople out of me, especially since it was just a harness and no seat. But with Danny I was able to sit down and they sent you down this massive hill. Best. Ride. Ever.
This may seem like a strange picture to include in a year-end wrap-up, but it makes me incredibly happy. An entryway full of shoes means our home is full of teenagers.
As youth group leaders at Calvary, we have so many opportunities to teach, study, share and learn, but sometimes we just have to sit back and relax with our teens. Our door is always open to them, and we want them to know there is love and peace here.
And it doesn't hurt that we laugh hysterically every time they're around.
This year we added another fur baby to the Carrell clan. Danny's sister's family couldn't keep their dog, so we drove down and picked up Parker. He is about the same age as Molly, even though he's about a quarter of her size. After just these few weeks, it's like he's always been here. He and Diesel love to partner up against the girls and cuddle every chance he gets.
Every fall we get at least one buck and his females on the property. This year's buck is drop-dead gorgeous.
For the first year we actually saw the otters we knew were there. But no, there is not a baby otter living in our bathtub, despite my best efforts. I know...it's disappointing, but I can still watch them playing in the backyard.
November 2 was a momentous day as we celebrated Danny's 50th birthday. He's the first to say that God's blessed him above and beyond over this half a century, and Danny has been such a blessing to everyone around him. Here's to the next 50 years!
My prayer for 2020 is that God will use me in small ways and big ways to touch the world for His honor and glory. I can't wait until this day next year, to show you all the blessings God had planned for me, my family and my community.