Christmas Letter 2019

The past two years, I have done a digital Christmas card/blog post update. You can read 2017 here and 2018 here. And while I did actually mail out about 25 paper Christmas cards (to family only), I have had so much fun doing a year-end wrap up previously, I decided to do it again this year as a means for reflection on all of the good that 2019 brought.

Christmas Card 2019

Mae (14), Thomas (16), and Kate (12)


How about a little seasonal timeline review?

Winter (January, February, + March)

  • FTCA second semester of 5th, 7th, & 9th grade for the kids & 4th grade for me
  • Thomas was a homecoming escort and his varsity basketball team went to the state tournament at UL Monroe
  • Mae started softball season and took the ACT through the Duke TIP
  • Kate participated in a choir competition at Louisiana College with her school choir and began practice for the Fort Polk softball team
  • Ryan and I both celebrated turning 42
  • All three kids competed and placed in the Fort Polk Strongest Youth competition and Mae and Thomas attended a youth group retreat

Spring (April, May, + June)

  • We all finished out the school year strong; all three kids earned loads of academic awards; Thomas attended the state literary rally at LSU, Mae and Kate finished their softball seasons, and Kate won the DARE Spirit Award for 5th grade
  • Mae and I got new glasses
  • Mimi and Papa came for a visit and we attended the FTCA state softball tournament in Abbeville, LA
  • Walmart Grocery Pick-up came to Leesville!!!
  • Ryan and I attended a military ball and the girls and I helped serve during our week of Pine Cove Camp in the City here on Fort Polk
  • The kids and I drove to Tennessee for my Papaw Roberson’s funeral
  • Thomas got his driver’s permit

Summer (July, August, + September)

  • We spent several weeks with our families in Tennessee and Georgia, including a week at Big Canoe
  • Came back to Fort Polk where the kids served for a week as LEGO Camp (VBS) volunteers
  • Kate had her 12th birthday
  • We brought home our newest Boykin baby, Maggie
  • We enjoyed a week of family vacation at Broken Bow, Oklahoma on Ryan’s block leave
  • Kate and Mae completed a babysitter and first aid course and began babysitting regularly
  • Thomas started his job as a rec-league soccer referee
  • We took a last minute trip to Gulf Shores with some friends
  • I started a monthly IF Table, taught Missional Motherhood at PWOC, led FPU at chapel on Wednesday nights, Mae, Kate, and I got on the monthly children’s church rotation, and Kellie and I launched our podcast, Advice Not Given

Fall (October, November, + December)

  • Nana and Granddaddy came for a visit
  • The kids enjoyed not one, but three Halloween events
  • Thomas turned 16 and Mae turned 14
  • We met my parents for a week in Houston, TX
  • Mae got her ears double pierced and got her braces off
  • Kate has upped her crochet and knitting game to professional status
  • We hosted our Chapel Next Friendsgiving
  • Ryan went to Washington, D.C. to receive the Honorable Order of Titus award for his work as an OC here at Fort Polk–
  • And in only two more days, we will be back home for a long visit and a Tender Tennessee Christmas


Other items and incidents of note:

  • We had been under the impression (since summer of 2017 before we even left Fort Gordon/Augusta that our time at Fort Polk would go from December 2017 through December 2019. Earlier this summer, due to some clerical/admin errors our projected move date was bumped to this coming summer (2020). I didn’t initially swallow this pill with ease, but after much prayer and discussion with Ryan, we began to see this as an opportunity to stabilize here a few more months and ultimately get back on a summer move schedule. We have heard “penciling in” and “tentative” word about our next assignment, although we are waiting until it is more official with an RFO to announce it to friends and extended family. So as we head into a new year, please pray that this assignment sticks and that we would finish well here in Louisiana.


  • Ryan has just finished his 10th or 11th JRTC rotation of 2019, and his 21st since he arrived! He never complains, but HE TIRED! We all are–this operational tempo has been rigorous and demanding for our whole family, but one that has its rewards too. Between his “day job” (which LOL–it’s not limited to daytime hours) and serving as one of the pastors of our Chapel Next and worship team, Ryan has been busy. We are looking forward to our move simply from the standpoint of hopefully resuming a modicum of normalcy with our family schedule.


  • The kids and I returned to homeschooling this fall because we THOUGHT we’d only be here until December and it felt like the safest path of least resistance for the kids’ schooling. We likely would have still chosen to homeschool even if we’d known we were staying the full school year, but it has been a bit of a challenge for all four of us thus far. We are all adjusting to the shifting needs of the kids and doing more and more independent work. I say all of that to say that I’m just super proud of Thomas, Mae, and Kate for their continued academic efforts despite our cramped living quarters and limited out-of-the-house social and extra-curricular opportunities. We are praying fervently that God would redeem this time with what’s coming next in terms of schooling. We are hopeful to have many options for what that might look like as we PCS.


  •  Losing my Papaw has been a difficult thing this year. We are so grateful we could return home to mourn with family during his funeral. His absence leaves a huge void in our family and for me personally. There was just something about knowing he was praying for us–something about the strength and presence of Papaw’s faith in all of the moments when mine feels weak.


In all, 2019 was a wonderful, very FULL and FULFILLING year for our family. We have loved adding another puppy to the crew and seriously, having teenagers has been so fun! (Hello late bedtimes, Taco Bell runs, watching The Office and Parks and Rec with kids who share your sense of humor!) We have enjoyed lots of travel as well as many quiet moments at home together.

We thank God for sustaining us and keeping us in his care and love another year. We look forward to all that 2020 (a new year! a new decade!) will bring for us. We pray that you, too, would know the light of God’s love!

Merry Christmas,
The Wood Family


4 thoughts on “Christmas Letter 2019

  1. Mom says:

    Loved your 2019 Christmas Letter!
    Your year has been full of life and living indeed.
    There have been many highs and and lows, joyous laughter and buckets of tears, but God has sustained and strengthen each of you through it all. We are looking forward to spend several days together as this year and decade comes to a close. May the Lord continue to bless, guide and keep him hand upon you as we enter into the new year. Dad and I love you all, and are so proud of you!
    See you soon. 😍❤️😘


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