As we look back on this year, we are in awe of how blessed we have been again this year!
We started our year with plans to start house hunting in May, but certain circumstances started that search in early February instead, a truly providential situation. After looking at about 30 houses and four offers, we closed on the first house we put in an offer for on March 29. The next month we spent doing minor renovations, including scraping the popcorn texture from the ceilings throughout the entire house and painting the walls. Good Friday was a really good Friday for us as it marked moving day and our first night spent in our new home! We celebrated six weeks later with family and friends at our housewarming party.
We hosted our first overnight guest in September when John’s grandmother visited us for a weekend during her vacation to California from Philadelphia. Trips to the LA County Fair and Oak Glen for apple and berry picking gave us a chance to show her around our part of Southern California – the Inland Empire.
After a successful Thanksgiving 5K run last year, Katie started training for her first half-marathon. On May 1, she started out on the 13.1-mile course in Irvine, crossing the finish line with a time of 3:24:03. She had originally planned to run two additional half-marathons this fall, but the good news we received in July cancelled those plans!
Since moving, we have started attending a new church, Pomona First Baptist, and attend a Sunday School class for married couples (though we still are part of our small group from our Orange County church). This fall, we also started volunteering once a week with the AWANA program, mentoring 3rd through 6th grade boys and girls as they learn and memorize God’s Word. We have even taken on the challenge to complete a book this year, right along with the kids in our group.
Just days after closing on the house, Katie was laid off from her position at the Crystal Cathedral, something we now consider a huge blessing in light of the current uncertainty they are facing. She then put her photography skills to use starting her own portrait business, KatieJ Photography (katiejphoto.com). Then, just three months later, in July, Katie started a new position as an Administrative Assistant in the Dean’s Office at Talbot School of Theology at Biola University. Her primary responsibility is planning a prophecy conference that will occur in March, for which they are expecting 2,000 attendees!
July was a busy month as we learned that we are expecting our first child in March 2012 – a precious daughter we will name Sarah EllenJoy. After trying for over a year, it was hard to believe at first, but we are both so excited, as are both of our families. We’ve seen her several times via ultrasound and shared the wonderful news that Baby Julius was a girl at the second party our house hosted – a gender reveal party. Both future dad and grandpa have been hard at work on her nursery, including Katie’s dad making the crib and dresser.
In October, we celebrated our second anniversary with a trip to MCAS Miramar for the annual air show and dinner at Cheesecake Factory. It became a non-intentional tradition for us to see the Blue Angels to celebrate our anniversary.
Our house has definitely been getting a lot of use this year (as we had hoped), hosting 13 people from both of our families for Thanksgiving! We can’t wait for the celebrations we will have in 2012, with the birth of Sarah in March and Katie’s 30th birthday in May, among other things!
We are so thankful for all God has given to us this year and we look forward with anticipation to what He has in store for us in 2012.
We pray that you and your family have a blessed Christmas and 2012!
The Julius Family