Happy Holidays, friends! Another virtual Christmas card from our family to yours. As this year draws to an end, it’s a moment filled with mixed emotions.
You know that saying, “The days are long, but the years are short“? It often feels quite the opposite. Days are flying by in a whirlwind, and swiftly followed by years racing past even faster.
But maybe it’s the stage of life we’re currently in with an eight, six, and three-year-old. Despite consciously trying to savor moments, time seems to slip away even more rapidly. We’ve deliberately slowed down this past year, yet the pace of life continues at its relentless speed.
This year has been quite an interesting journey, to say the least. At the start of each new year, Jamie and I typically choose a word, or in the case of last year, a few words to define our focus. For 2022, “Growth” was our joint choice. Moving into 2023, Jamie’s words were “Connection, Breakthrough, Gratitude, Money,” while mine were “Strength, Self Care, Family, Change.”
Reflecting on those initial words, it’s pretty wild to look back to see just how these words shined through our lives in 2023. God wasn’t messing around this past year. What strikes me now is how our journey has epitomized the essence of “resilience,” encompassing the achievement of every single word we aspired to live by.
It’s pretty cool to see how these words, initially selected with distinct intentions, emerged more prominently and profoundly, all exemplified through the lens of resilience. These concepts have manifested in unexpected ways, showcasing their significance and impact throughout our journey this year.
“Is it odd, or is it God?” A question I was challenged with this year, and let’s just say I ask myself this multiple times a day. And as I’m looking back on our words … yep, that was undoubtedly a God thing. And they came into our lives most powerfully.
Throughout life’s unpredictable moments, we’ve confronted challenges, navigated hardship, embraced transformations, and clung to unwavering love and hope. This year presented a mix of victories, obstacles, and moments that truly tested us—a testament to resilience and its transformative influence. As we look ahead, fueled by these experiences, we’ve laid a new foundation and are fearlessly ready to conquer the opportunities that 2024 has in store. Hand in hand, one foot in front of the other – stronger together, better than ever.
Let’s recap 2023 with our babies at the forefront…
Every passing year feels like stepping into a new chapter of navigating the perplexities of parenthood—a perpetual learning curve that keeps us on our toes. Most days there’s a frequent sense of, “How do we navigate this now?” with Jamie and me exchanging big-eyed glances as we figure it out together.
Our eldest, Greyson (9), ventured into the realm of third grade. He remains our gentle, deliberate, and introspective soul. Immersed in VR and YouTube, he’s also an avid outdoorsman, relishing moments on his dirt bike, diving into the pool, or skis (this year he said he’s going to flip to snowboarding). He’s on the cusp of discovering his school friendships, and he even tried flag football for the first time this year, though he’s undecided about continuing.
Beckam (6), our spirited middle child, leaped into first grade and embraced it wholeheartedly. True to his imaginative self, he spends days lost in self-play, crafting tales and posing questions that often leave us in awe—some queries, we’re not entirely certain how to answer or where they originate. He’s now joined his brother in diving headfirst into VR, often engaging in daily Facetime sessions with his cousin Mason to immerse themselves in building countless Minecraft cities together. While occasionally hopping on the dirt bike alongside Greyson, he doesn’t share the same deep passion for that sport. This year, he ventured into soccer and is open to exploring more sports in the future, although he hasn’t quite decided on which ones just yet.
Our Ellie (3), our delightful beam of sunshine, (known as our little chicken), continues to adore her days at her Christian daycare and school. Her love for her teachers and friends shines brightly, all while revealing her spirited and independent nature. She’s a whirlwind of curiosity, energy, and expanding independence, making this stage an exciting journey to witness. Her vocabulary surprises us with words we never expected, and her humorous remarks keep us endlessly entertained. Already embracing makeup and nail polish, all while enjoying her dollies and self-play, it’s been a treat to see what she gravitates into unlike her brothers that we were so used to. There’s no shortage of lively girl power in this little one!
Despite their distinct personalities, independence, and different interests, these three share an extraordinary bond of love. Although they each have their bedrooms, they choose to snuggle up together in bed every single night, a heartwarming tradition that has persisted throughout the entire year and melts this momma’s heart. This has been going on all year long.
Regarding Jamie, Myself, and our Family Unit …
This summer, we slowed down and our pool witnessed endless laughter and splashes from all our kids. We know this will forever be a cherished haven for family fun and relaxation. Though time seems to rush by, we hold each day close, cherishing every moment and never taking them for granted.
Jamie’s passion for golf has been in full swing, hitting the course multiple times a week with his buddies. Despite it being Christmas weekend, he’s still gearing up for a round today. The weather in Minnesota has certainly been unusual lately. He recently cleared out the workshop and made a firm decision to step away from building cabinets altogether. He’s prioritizing the growth of our c2s business rather than physically straining himself on job sites.
As for me, you read about my most recent life journey here, starting from last spring. I’ve embraced a life filled with newfound clarity, and it’s opened doors to endless possibilities. My daily goal is to live with utmost intentionality. I’ve eliminated unnecessary noise, chaos, and clutter, fostering a fresh outlook on work, family, business, and life in general. My summer was filled with cherished moments—enjoying golf league, exploring new books and podcasts, relishing poolside relaxation, traveling, and spending quality time with Jamie, my children, and my family. Along the way, I’ve fostered some remarkable new friendships, let go of others, and rekindled old connections in new ways.
Despite a year with less travel, we managed to explore remarkable places. Our focus shifted towards slowing down, spending more time at home, and embracing a restful summer to reset. We prioritized leisure amidst our commitments—delighting in golfing, skiing, and relishing moments by the pool, lake, and ocean waves. While our travels were limited, we still cherished the opportunities to visit Vegas, Austin, TX, Palm Springs, and Orange County. These trips served a dual purpose, blending business objectives with personal enjoyment, making them even more memorable.
As for our Brands and Businesses …
We started a new company! It’s called Neon Lion Media. And are pretty excited about this new venture. Despite already having over 20 clients, we’re approaching this endeavor deliberately and with intention. We’re carefully selecting clients who align with our vision—those we want to support, believe in, and uplift. This year has taught us that work and clients can significantly impact our mental, physical, and home life, even reaching the dinner table. As a result, we’re committed to being discerning and selective in our partnerships within this new venture.
At construction2style, we encountered challenges and shed tears, but amidst it all, moments of immense joy and fulfillment illuminated our design and build journey. We had to let go of team members and had to make aggressive changes such as selling our building. All of which I’d never like to repeat in my lifetime. With the hard lessons learned, we made some swift and aggressive process changes and added to the list, “never will we ever again” list. Despite the obstacles and setbacks within c2s, we persevered and celebrated yet another incredibly successful year, come year-end. We triumphantly achieved every goal we set out for, further solidifying our progress year after year.
Our Contractor Coalition national conferences stand strong, and we’re well on our way to planning for 2025!
Our non-profit, resilience2reform, allowed us the privilege to speak before the state of MN on prison reform.
Both personally and professionally, we encountered tough decisions, but each choice has paved the way for a better path forward.
I can’t with this face … ha, ha. Ellie was not a fan of family photos, yet again this year, and I was here for it!
As we immerse ourselves in this Christmas season, let’s embrace the diverse emotions it brings. Cherishing the moments of joy, acknowledging the poignant ones, and understanding that amidst life’s ebb and flow, there’s an enduring love that prevails. May this Christmas be a tapestry woven with tranquility, love, and deep comprehension. It’s a time for heartfelt celebration, nurturing our spirits, and embracing the strength we’ve discovered within ourselves.
Wishing you a Christmas filled with warmth, grace, and the unwavering belief in your incredible potential.
We love you all very much. Thank you for taking another trip around the sun with us.
From our family to yours, Merry Christmas!
Jamie, Morgan + Fam & Team(s)