Garman Year in Review: 2013

Dear Ones All,

Oh, how to recap Garman 2013 for you…

Obviously, there was a lot of this…





Yes, we’ve endured our share of teething (Lord, have mercy…are we done yet?!), conflict management, sibling rivalry, stomach viruses, instruction and training in righteousness, and potty training…but we have also had moments that have shone through the occasional rubble:

In all reality, 2013 was a year for the Garmans to learn how to be a family of six.

Let’s start at the very beginning…A very good place to start…

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Penelope Raine is now 1. You don’t need to know that the wrong birthday was written on the calendar for our little Penelope this year. What you DO need to know is that she is very, very loved by all members of our family, has almost a full set of teeth, loves to dance to Toby Mac and RUN across the couch, is fought over by her sisters when she is awake, has learned some baby sign language but has not yet learned how to sign “Get out of my personal space” to her sisters therefore does a lot of screaming when they are invading it. Additionally, she despises bubble baths and tries to escape every time.


Gracie Kane is now 3 and did an AMAZING job with her open heart surgery this summer. She recovered as well as anyone could have hoped. This was Gracie’s THIRD and FINAL open heart surgery as far as we can tell. Many days go by and we forget that she has a severe congenital heart defect. Gracie loves to sing and has now learned all her letters and numbers. In the past month, she has decided that she no longer takes naps which means she emerges from her bedroom at 3:30 PM adorned with all her sister’s jewelry from their jewelry boxes. Gracie’s mommy has begun taking energy supplements to counteract this phenomenon. Gracie brings much joy to our home…and a decibel level that is tough to rival.



 Darcy Elaine is seven and a true delight to our family (when she is well rested). When our neighbor got a new cat this year, Darcy went to her house every single day to help care for it. She continues to be our little scientist and even asked for a planetarium for Christmas. Darc helped care for our small container garden this year and even planted some corn and beans in the neighbor’s garden. Additionally, she trained a little with Mom and ran her first race: the Turkey Trot One Mile at Marine Corps Base Quantico.  Darcy is an excellent second grade student, violin player, daughter, runner, and sister. Her tight hugs at bedtime are especially helpful when I begin to question the meaning of my existence.



Haley Jane is NINE and in fourth grade which is semi-unbelievable. We forced Haley to sing with us against her will at the Christmas Eve service this year and she did amazing. She has some real musical talent and we continue to try to cultivate it (we did violin lessons again this year). Haley also has shown a real interest in art and at this exact moment has scrapbooking materials spread across the entire kitchen table and is simultaneously trying to open her first oils and canvas set. She excels academically and is in the honors program at school. Haley took tennis lessons from Daddy this spring (Darcy too), and attended a soccer camp coached by her Daddy. Thank God for that Daddy…speaking of him…


Colby continues to be the most amazing human being on the planet. Given his talents ranging from culinary genius to fashion designer to Old Testament Law Scholar to bathroom cleaner to financial wizard to writer to childcare worker, it’s amazing that he still has friends who aren’t too intimidated by him. Colby and I escaped to San Diego together this spring for my brother’s wedding, and also flew to Iceland together in the fall for a week. We are VERY thankful to the grandparents for affording us these get-aways (See first paragraph).

As for me, I continue to try to keep everyone fed and washed and dressed and happy.

This is not always possible.

My defining moment of 2013 was when I brought a meal to our church pot luck that said, “EAT AT YOUR OWN RISK”….(I have learned the hard way that egg noodles left in the crock pot ALL DAY will disintegrate).

I blogged six times in 2013…an all time low for me. However, I have been working pretty consistently on documenting “Gracie’s Story” in the last twelve months. I have now written 41,000 words, have finished the rough draft, and am now editing it. I continue vacillating about what to do with it and need a lot of prayer in regards to this project!

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So, there you have it. The Garmans are all very thankful for a year full of growing and laughing and loving and learning. Most of all we’re thankful for Jesus, who through His death and resurrection has made a way for us to have a relationship with God that is personal and powerful. It is IN HIM that all our hope resides. It is THROUGH HIM that we move and live and have our being. It is TO HIM that we hope to give all glory. All else will eventually fade and decay and die, and we are thankful that we have something stable and secure upon which to stake our hopes and dreams and lives. We pray that you too will seek and find HIM this coming year. “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart,”  Jeremiah 29:13

We’d love to connect with you in person in the coming year so give us a holler when you’re in D.C!
Happy New Year!

Grace and Peace,

The Garman Six




  • Sheryl Usener

    That was the absolute best year-end family letter that I have ever read! What a beautiful family! God bless you!