2018 – Joy

It’s the last day of 2018 and I’m wondering how much more we could cram into the next 24 hours. To say this year has been completely, totally overflowing full is an understatement. Our word for 2018 was joy. The joy of the Lord is our STRENGTH and in 2018 we have needed all the Joy aka Strength we could get.

January: We started the year off by celebrating Chase’s 18th birthdayFlew to Atlanta to help produce the AT&T Playlist and Kendrick Lamar half-time show for the College Football Playoffs I turned 40 and had the best surprise when my husband arranged for my best friends from junior high to fly in for a Saved by the Bell themed party.

February: Toby and I actually attended the XO Marriage Conference. We’re always producing and working shows and events,  but this year we actually got to just attend, be present, not work and enjoy each other for the entire weekend and it was amazing. We had the honor of watching Chase take the stage in one of his first concerts and I can’t tell you how proud we were of him, watching him operate in all that he has been called to do, it’s the greatest feeling in the world and we are so thankful to the people who believed in him and allowed him to take the stage.

March: We made it. That’s what I have to say about this month. We made it to March 2018, we made it through March 2018 and we give all the glory to God for that accomplishment. We surprised the kids with a trip to Disney World for spring break and it was the best week being able to spend time with them in the most magical of places and they loved it, they loved being together and being with us. We celebrated Toby’s parents 50th wedding anniversary and the next day, Chase received his acceptance letter with his scholarship to The University of Arts in Philadelphia.

April: This month had one of the most precious events our family experienced; we were baptized together on Hudson’s birthday. Toby and I had been baptized when we were kids, Chase and London were both younger when they were baptized and Hudson and Willow had never taken the plunge, literally. The kids had been talking about baptism for a while and Chase felt that it was really important for him to get re-baptized before heading to college. Standing in that water facing my husband as we were prayed over, then having the honor and privilege to baptize our four kids, I truly believe I felt heaven touch earth that day. We wrapped the day up by celebrating Hudson’s 11th birthday playing paintball at the indoor shooting range.

May: This month, fraught with emotions of all kinds, made me feel like I was all over the map in the feelings world. Chase had prom and high school graduation. London graduated from middle school and officially became a high schooler. We celebrated Toby’s birthday and Mother’s day, with my Nana who earlier in the year, after a horrible health scare, we weren’t sure if she was going to be here for any sort of family get together. And on May 30, Toby and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary.

June: We Faced our fears. Well, I faced my fear of heights and jumped off a 12 foot ferry to swim in an open water race in Cape May, New Jersey and did it again the next day as part of a relay team for the Escape the Cape Triathlon. Crossing that finish line, hand in hand with my husband and sister was euphoric and made me realize that in life, when you choose your team make sure they love you deep, work as hard as you do, cheer as loud for you as you do them and operate in a judgment free zone when it comes to carb consumption.

July: Bittersweet. So sweet in the fact that we were able to celebrate Willow’s birthday at the beach Bitter in the fact that we lost our precious Uncle Jerry very suddenly to a heart attack. Sweet in the fact that the kids got to meet and connect with some of their cousins for the first time and bitter in the fact that as we adults sat around talking we realized how our lives had become so busy that some our kids were just meeting for the first time.  We made a pact that it wouldn’t be so long and our kids have continued to stay in close connection with all their cousins.  The girls and I went to Kentucky were we “Unbecame” all the things that we allowed others, ourselves and the world to tell us we needed to be. Those few days, watching my girls experience God and I myself being so totally wrecked, will forever be a memory in my heart that I cherish always.

August: This month was a crazy dance. In the midst of school and dorm supply shopping,  Toby was asked to go to Africa and he had about 10 days to get ready for it. Talk about a sprint! I’m thankful we knew people who knew people who could get him his Visa and Passport paperwork done quickly and that he was healthy enough to take on the amount of shots needed in order to go overseas. He left for Africa, the younger kids started school, Chase spent the last few days at home as we made final preparations for him to leave for school. When the day came for him to leave for college we loaded up his luggage and headed to the airport, met Toby at the international terminal where he dropped off his Africa luggage and switched it out for his domestic suitcase, then we drove over to the C terminal where Chase said his goodbyes to friends and family. That flight to Philly was brutal, I think I cried the whole way while Toby tried to sleep off the international jet lag. Our time helping Chase get settled was sweet and leaving him there wasn’t as hard as it was taking him there.

September: We continued to adjust to being a party of five, and I still haven’t mastered cooking for one less person, who is like a human garbage disposal. I’m waiting on Hudson to step into that role, but in the meantime, we have a ton of leftovers. Running Club at the elementary school started and it’s one of my favorite things to do with the kids, I’ve helped for the past six years and this year had been so much fun. Toby and Hudson did a father/son camping trip and I loved that they got to spend the weekend with each other just being guys. I was a forum speaker for the Life Arts Festival in San Antonio where I met other people who are as passionate about anti-human trafficking as I am. And we added a puppy to the crazy; a Bullboxer named Ace to go along with our Boston Terrier Black Jack.

October: We officially start the “holiday season” in October. Fall is probably Teambohl’s favorite season and we do it big. This October though, not only were the temperatures changing but there was a lot that began to change and stir in mine and Toby’s hearts and we really started to consider some serious adjustments to our lives. London attended her first Homecoming dance and I tackled (not very gracefully) the whole Texas Homecoming Mum tradition. I’m still trying to figure it out, and I’m already saving up to ORDER one next year. We also watched our beautiful girl turn 15 and she has continued to amaze us with her strong personality, discipline and determination in school, on the basketball court and in life in general. Toby  got a phone call and was asked to direct the College Football Playoff half-time show for ESPN featuring Imagine Dragons. I think I yelled louder than he did and I totally fan girled all over the place.

November: A time of Thanksgiving and reflectionon all the things we have especially family because we lost another dear Uncle, Uncle Clyde, again unexpectedly to a heart attack. So as Toby and I revisited some of the things we felt stirring in our hearts in October we began to reflect even more on some changes that we needed to make. At first the changes we talked about seemed “involuntary” based on circumstances, then as we got further into it we realized that they weren’t involuntary they were necessary. We are moving into the  next “phase” of our life, things in our family dynamic are changing with the kids getting older and we realized that in order to get from where we are to where we want to be we really did need to change, just like the seasons. That change included downsizing in every area of our lives that wasn’t helping get to the next place. So we started eliminating things, all kinds of things and started operating on less. Less stuff, less stress, less, less, less. One of the biggest things we needed to have less of was our house, so we put it on the market November 30, I wasn’t expecting much movement due to the holidays but it sold on December 2 for asking price with a closing date of January 4.

December: This month has been a blur and we’ve had all the highs and lows that you can imagine. We have seriously questioned our decision to sell our home knowing that at the end of the day we didn’t really NEED to, we could have stayed put and just STAYED. But then, we look at things and say, “No, if want to reach our goal that is in our heart within two and half years, we needed to do this.” If we want to operate in LESS then we needed to do this. Christmas was different this year. It was packing boxes and wrapping gifts, leaving up enough Christmas decor to make it feel like Christmas but un-decorating everything else.  It was purging and cleaning and purging and wondering why we have so much STUFF and why do I have so many black shirts, and why do we need half the things in the house and why do the kids have eight bottles of shampoo and copious amounts for face wash?? Downsizing is hard. It’s hard because you have to go through every drawer and closet and really think about what you want to keep. It’s hard because you realize how lazy you get and how much you depend on having massive amounts of storage space that allows you to just throw stuff in a drawer of closet and say “I’ll deal with it later.” But, we are doing it because we have a very specific goal in mind and in order to reach it, we have to have less. This past week we have moved into the perfect home that will help us accomplish our two and half-year goals. It’s not tiny by any means but it is definitely smaller than what Teambohl has been in for a long time but we’re okay with that. I’ve had to remind myself, we are not the only family in America that decides less is more, or sometimes, less is just less and while I want to be overwhelmed with where I’m going to store those eight bottles of shampoo that the kids have, I won’t let it deter me from the finish line that we have set.

Yes 2018 has been full. It’s had its highest of highs and its lowest of lows, but through it all God has been so faithful. There have been moments when I have had all the words to say and pray and there have been moments when all I have is my silence but in every moment we have had HIS unending strength, HIS overwhelming joy and we have known that HE sees, HE sees everything and HE is so so faithful.

So here’s to the end of 2018 and the beginning of 2019 may you experience everything that God has for you this upcoming year.

xoxo, Gena


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