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Archive for the tag “2019”

My Last Decade in Pictures

The last decade was a roller coaster for me. Of all the previous decades, 2010-2019 was the toughest time I ever had in my life. The lowest lows and the highest highs.  So what I would like to do is give you a glimpse of my last decade through the pictures I took.

The first thing I learned is that I didn’t really start taking pictures until about 2012. This means that the lowest time of my life has no pictures to accompany it. The decade started with my divorce. It was rough. I was married for 18 years and it ended pretty rough.

I moved out of a large home on 5 acres and into a small rental home that was built in the 1940s that was freezing in the winter and deathly hot in the summer. I would get the kids every other weekend and the occasional holiday.

It was rough, but thanks to the men at the church I was attending, they brought me back to Christ. By 2012, I became a deacon at that same church. And a little later that year I was asked to lead the mission journey to Peru.

That was one of the most impactful trips I ever took in my life. I learned that even though I was going through a rough patch in my life, it couldn’t compare to the lives that many of the people in Peru were leading.

This would be the first of many trips to Peru over the course of the decade, which you will see more pictures later.

Since I worked at Whole Foods Market, I was able to take several trips throughout the decade to coffee farms throughout the world. I was able to see some of the most beautiful farms and meet a lot of great people.

Throughout the early part of the decade, I spent time simply getting to know my kids again. Working for Whole Foods Market, I was required to travel a lot. There were some years that I was traveling 45 weeks out of the year.

Matt Fred 2013

So I took the opportunity to do all the crazy stuff with Matt that I didn’t have a chance to do earlier. We would hang out, go to DC United soccer games, and practice his soccer skills.

Matt Fred DC United 2013

In 2013 I became an elder at Chesapeake Christian Fellowship. The same men that built me up are the same ones in this picture ordaining me to become an elder.The two of us

Then, early in the decade, I also took a trip around the United States with my kids. I took 3 weeks vacation, turned in all my stock options, and rented an RV and traveled around the United States. It was during this time that I not only got some great time with the kids, but I met a woman who would go on to make a major impact in my life. You see, it was during the trip around the United States that I officially met Mimi Baker (now Mimi Noble). We had spoken online for about 3-6 months prior, but had no idea what each other were really like.

As I sat on the side of a lake while both our children were playing in the water, I got to know her and realized that God was showing me the woman I would eventually call my wife.DSC00893

In 2014 Kenzi went to her first middle school dance. I couldn’t believe how much she had grown up.

Kenzi Fred 2014 MIddle School Dance

That same year, I was able to start seeing Mimi much more often. She moved to Virginia and then eventually, after I moved out of the little rental home and into another one, she moved into the rental home. We were only 15 minutes apart now, not a couple thousand miles.

Fred Mimi 2014

In 2014, as the relationship between Mimi and I grew, we decided to make our first purchase as a couple even though we still didn’t live in the same house. We got a dog. Funny thing is that the dog’s name is Peru. We didn’t give her that name, she was given that name at the pound. Mimi and I had gone to Peru a couple of times by 2014 already and she had fallen in love with the country and the people there as much as I had.Fred Peru Dog 2014

In 2015, I realized that I had fallen head over heels in love with Mimi Baker and I asked her to marry me.

ring 4

SHE SAID YES!!!

wedding day

Later in 2015, we went back to Peru. It was this year that I totally screwed my back up. A few months later in 2016 I would be going back in for back surgery.

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I love serving side by side with Mimi! She has such a tender heart for people and a great work ethic.

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Also in 2015, Kenzi would be playing her final year in sports. From this point forward she would be focusing on her photography and art.

Kenzi sports 2015

When we got back from Peru in 2015, Mimi and I had finished having a home built and we moved into it. We made God the promise that if He were to give us the house, we would use the extra bedrooms to house missionaries and people who were in need. Since we made that promise, we had a whole bunch of children who were rescued around the globe and were now part of a national concert tour, we have had several young adults stay with us, we had a young woman who was lost and has since become a missionary to the nations, and we have housed several other missionaries from around the world.

boyz

2016 saw Mimi and I heading back to Peru and spending more time there with the people. We would meet Paige and Stalin, a couple missionaries, one from America and the other indigenous. They will become more important to us as the decade continues.

franks-house-6Peru 2016

I was also, beginning in 2015, but really by 2016, learning how to be a stepdad. Being both dad and stepdad is a very challenging thing. Each of the kids are so different, and their backgrounds are tough to bring together.

Jake Ryan 2015

Also in 2016, my little girl, Kenzi, got her first job. She would be a junior counselor at the local church camp in the summers. This would become a job she would love and grow with throughout the rest of the decade.

Kenzi first job 2016

2017 came in and was immediately rough. My mom was diagnosed with a very aggressive cancer. From the time she was diagnosed until the time she went home to be with Lord was only a matter of weeks. My mom was born on Easter Sunday and she died on Easter Sunday.

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But a week before Easter, my mom wanted to make a big dinner for her own birthday. It would be the last time that all of us would see her alive.

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We went back to Peru later that year and enjoyed a great time there with the people we served as well as the people who joined us on the journey.

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Ryan had a great year. He was on the JV baseball team and was doing very well.

Ryan Baseball 2017

Ryan also received plenty of awards academically in 2017.

Ryan award 2017

Also in 2017, Mimi’s oldest daughter, Brieanne, married the most amazing young man ever. Hopefully he will continue to make foods with Old Bay in them, so I can continue to respect him. 😉

Brie wedding 2018

Also in 2017 I undertook my largest home improvement project I ever did, I built a patio, with my 75 year old dad.

Patio 2017

Matt got his first job in 2017 selling fish and crabs.

Matt first job 2017

And he decided to switch things up a little and play football. He was actually very good! But he didn’t like all the pain his body felt after each practice and game.

Matt football 2017

I took the kids white water rafting in 2017.

Kenzi Matt Fred Rafting 2017

Kenzi had her first art show where she sold her photos.

Kenzi art show 2017

Jacob graduated high school in 2017.

Jake Graduation 2017

At the end of 2017 we had the opportunity to take everyone to Disney.

Disney 2017

And, in 2017, Jacob got his first car, a 40th anniversary Mustang.

Jake first car 2017

In 2018, Kenzi graduated from high school.

Kenzi and I

Those same missionaries, Paige and Stalin, would come to DC and spend almost 2 weeks with us. We took them on the tour of the area.

DC with Paige and Stalin 2018

Also in 2018, which was a good year for Kenzi, she won several awards at a local art show and won over $100,000 in scholarships to college.

Kenzi art show 2018

In 2018, I wanted to give Mimi an opportunity she was talking about for a long time. She had always wanted to take a horse drawn carriage through Central Park in NYC. We decided to do that and it was just as magical as we through it would be.

NYC 2018

In 2018, Kenzi started college at McDaniel in MD.

Kenzi first day of college 2018

Mimi’s and my final trip (for now) to Peru would be in 2018. It was such a beautiful trip and we fell in love even more with the people of Peru.

Peru 2018

At the end of 2018 and really starting in 2019, I left the retail/restaurant world and went into ministry as Director of Ministries for Friendship Community Baptist Church in southern MD. I was sad to leave my church home of 16 years, but in order to keep growing, change is required. And this change has been such a good fit for me and my family.

New job 2019

In 2019, Matt and I had the opportunity to take a skiing/snowboarding trip. It didn’t end so well because the friend that came with us hit his head on one of the final runs of the day and got a pretty bad concussion.

Skiing with Matt 2019

2019 saw Mimi’s aunt Becky going home to be with Lord. But before that happened, Mimi got spend a lot of great time with her in Minnesota, almost a month.

Mimi and Becky 2019

Also in 2019 Mimi decided to start farming Monarch butterflies. Apart from having a few endings that were not so desirable, most of the Monarchs were grown from egg and released into the wild.

Mimi butterflies 2019

2019 was also Matt’s final year of soccer. He had been playing soccer with many of the same boys since he was 5 years old. It was great to see him be able to finish his high school soccer life with those kids.

Matt Soccer 2019

In 2019, Friendship Community Baptist sponsored 5 homes in the county and did construction projects on them. We did everything from adding gutters, replacing windows and doors, and installing hot water heaters.

Christmas in April 2019

Also in 2019, Friendship Community Baptist did 6,208 boxes for Operation Christmas Child. A church of 200 doing 6,208 boxes is a pretty amazing feat!

OCC 2019

We have made a lot of friends at Friendship Community Baptist. Our small group had a Christmas gathering at one of the houses and we enjoyed a wonderful time of fellowship.

Small group Christmas gathering

The Christmas gift that Mimi got me was given to me early, concert tickets for Tran Siberian Orchestra. It was an amazing concert! Not exactly Mimi’s favorite music, but I was in heaven!

Tran Siberian Orchestra 2019

Also at the end of the year we started going to concerts with my dad. This one was in DC, the military Christmas concert.

Military Christmas Celebration 2019

Wasn’t exactly on our financial plan for this time, but Mimi’s car decided to die. We ended up purchasing a new-to-us 2015 Mazda.

Mimi new to us car 2019

Christmas service at Friendship Community Baptist reached almost 300! Not only that, but God blessed us with 20 baptisms and several Gospel encounters throughout the year.

Christmas 2019

This is the picture I will end this with. My Christmas gift for the end of the decade was ending it with a woman who truly loves me and cares so deeply for me.

Christmas 2019 2

So there you have it. My last decade in a few short pictures. A lot happened last decade! I can only imagine what will happen in the 20’s.

 

2018 Year in Review

Nehemiah 2:18b, 20 – They laughed at us and despised us, and said, ‘What is this thing that you are doing?’… So I answered them and said to them, ‘The God of heaven Himself will prosper us; therefore, we His servants will arise and build.

2018 was an uncomfortable year for my family and I. We had a lot of struggles come up that many families have had to face, but we hadn’t…until 2018.

Both my wife and I had job problems throughout the year. For her, the company she worked for shuttered her department and she was laid off. This led to us losing insurance and having to scramble to figure it out. Fortunately, my boss stepped up and set up a plan for us. But then, unfortunately, he neglected to pay the premiums and our insurance was cancelled a couple months later. Then, add to that, the fact that my job went through a financial downturn and paychecks were coming late, and, even those that were coming, we only partials.

This led to a lot of inconsistency in both health and finances this year.

But God….

Staying uncomfortable, when kept in front of God, leads to spiritual awakening. That spiritual awakening can lead to all sorts of blessings from God whether they be spiritual, physical, emotional, or mental.

In this case, it was all the above!

Both my wife and I changed jobs this year. My wife changed jobs because she had no other choice. After being laid off, she needed to find something new. This led to her finding a new job in the same industry but in a capacity that is a better fit for her skills. She still works from home. Every day that she works she truly enjoys what she is doing.

God knew.

He knew that she was unhappy at her last company and provided her, after going through the storm of being laid off, the mercy and grace of a new job that satisfies her emotionally, physically, and mentally.

As for me, I have been seeking to follow my call into vocational ministry. That opportunity came late this year. I started interviewing with a local Baptist church (fcbc.church) around the middle of the year, and by early December, I was able to start as their Director of Ministries. I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am that FCBC chose me. Even more exciting is that God granted my call!

As 2019 opens, Mimi and I are in a better place professionally and emotionally. Financially we won’t be making as much as we could have been had I stayed in the corporate world, but God….

God provides.

Even through the job craziness the past couple months, we have noticed something.

Our bank account has continued to grow.

Even though I am making less and Mimi isn’t making any more than she was before, we are actually banking more money away, and our expenses haven’t really reduced. If anything, because of 3 cars breaking down in the same week, our expenses in the final month of the year increased!

Simply put, but God…

God knows!

I am always amazed that He knows what we need and provides. I never want to be so rich that I forget about God, but I never want to be so poor that I dishonor Him either.

2 Timothy 4:17 – But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me

As for this blog, I only posted 31 articles this year, my lowest number ever.

But God…

This blog had its highest readership this year in its 7-year history!

I averaged 78 views per week with over 4,000 visitors this year!!!

It was viewed in 77 different countries, which is just shy of 40% of the world has had access to this blog! The top 3 countries are the United States (over 70% of the views came from the USA) followed by both China and the United Kingdom. I am really excited to see that the number 2 location for reading this blog was in China!!!

1 Thessalonians 2:7-8 – But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children. So, affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us.

I pray that this blog is an encouragement to the Christians in China! Please stay strong, know that your sacrifice for the faith is seen by God. Your faith and your sacrifice will bring about a harvest for the kingdom. The disciples you are raising up will lead to change in generations to come. The struggles you face right now will see an amazing return in the faith of others.

Of all the stats I have ever read about this blog, seeing that it is being read in China significantly a both humbling and remarkable. I pray that God gives me the words to say that will encourage those who are risking everything for the faith.

As for the top posts that were read this year, I always facepalm when I read that my post “Spiritual Farting” is the top read post. This is now 5 years in a row that this has been the number one post.

If I can, please stop reading about spiritual farting lol. Almost 15% of my viewers for the year read that one blog post!

One key learning I have from reading which posts are the most popular is that series seem to be more popular than single posts. The series about Jesus’ disciples provided the most popular posts of those put up this year.

So, what does 2019 look like?

I have no clue. Considering most of my posts are triggered by something that happens in my life at that moment, I don’t know what I will be posting about. The rest of my life is fairly organized, so I like to give this blog to the movement of the Holy Spirit.

One thing I do know, as I move into the next year, boyradd.wordpress.com will continue to post and, God willing, grow.

Psalm 125:1-2 – Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved but abides forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds His people, from this time forth and forever.

Thanks for all your support through 2018.

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