When 2015 had gently surrendered its hold on our calendars, 2016 kicked the door down and began with a tirade. Somehow, it managed to pack in the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, a contentious presidential election, the Cubs winning the World Series, as well as several personal milestones.

In 2016, we bought a new home in Blacksburg that we love and is incredible for hosting our small group, friends and gatherings. Adelyn started her senior year at Blacksburg High School, and Sam moved into his own apartment in Charlotte.

I began teaching through the book of Acts in a prolonged sermon series, and as winter approached at the end of the year, I cut my own firewood for the first time in my life.

Here are the monthly highlights:


  • Snow in Blacksburg.. which necessitated the annual Slanket Sermon for Northstar when we had to cancel church.
  • It was also the first year that we’ve gotten to witness the Cadets vs. Civilians Snowball Fight on the drillfield at VT.


  • A Texas trip for Carolyn’s grandfather’s funeral, which I had the honor of preaching.
  • Carolyn and I hiked Barney’s Wall.
  • People got tired of me posting pictures on Instagram of the Huckleberry Trail in the snow.


  • Took Adelyn on a college preview trip in which she eventually chose Christopher Newport University.
  • Sam came home from Charlotte for his birthday.
  • A lightning storm caught the roof on fire at Blacksburg Middle School. Fortunately, it didn’t cause Northstar to miss meeting that Sunday. Workers found “Jesus” painted on the fire wall near the roof. I swear we didn’t do it. 😉


  • Even as we prepared to say goodbye to a lot of people at Northstar, I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know others.
  • We sold a home and bought one within 48 hours!
  • I took a trip to Arkansas for a friend’s funeral. While there, I got to visit friends in Monticello.


  • Mom and dad came for a visit.
  • My love affair with Cap’n Crunch Donut cereal continued.
  • Jamie Sanchez graduated with her PhD from VT.
  • We said goodbye to Adam and Jenn Wilson who left Northstar to move to NC to begin seminary full-time.


  • Carolyn’s sister with our twin nephews and niece came to visit!
  • Northstar Kids’ Camp
  • Sam began work at Camp Ridgecrest for Boys in Asheville, NC


  • Loved another summer of BIGsmallGroup with Northstar.
  • A fun beach trip with the fam, minus Sam, plus a friend of Adelyn’s.
  • While at the beach, we got to see our college friend Wes Hamilton who was speaking at a youth camp in the area.
  • Carolyn and Adelyn went to her family’s lakehouse in Texas, and I thoroughly enjoyed a few days of quiet and home.


  • Sam came home for a few weeks after working at his summer camp.
  • We ate a LOT of apples from the neighbor’s apple tree.
  • Our house’s grape vine produced grapes, and Carolyn made grape jelly.
  • Ministry season kicked into high gear with schools starting.


  • Hokie football games!
  • Adelyn made homecoming court for BHS, and we got to escort her.
  • We got a free ping pong table from the Evanses, and it’s led to many many games (nightly) between me and Adelyn.


  • Northstar’s second annual Harvest Hoedown
  • The candy corn and peanuts addiction continued.
  • As long as we’re talking about corn… I found a new addiction: corn hole.
  • Hiked McAfee’s Knob with the Connect College ministry.
  • Carolyn’s friends Paula and Kim made the trek to Virginia. The three of them were nonstop.


  • Mom and Dad came to visit during Thanksgiving, and we got to see the turkeys that President Obama pardoned (they were given to VT).
  • Hokies basketball games!
  • The most contentious election that I can remember resulted in Donald Trump being elected the 45th President.
  • I took a personal retreat to Smith Mountain Lake (second year to do so) and especially enjoyed reading encouragement notes I took along on the trip.


  • Our first Christmas in our new house!
  • Carolyn’s mom and grandmother came to visit.
  • Another year of December Nights with Northstar.
  • We went to Charlotte to watch the Razorbacks win the first half of the Belk Bowl against Virginia Tech.

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