Christmas Card, Faith, Family

Our Family Christmas Card 2023

A very merry Christmas to you from the Meidells!

What a year!

I stopped trying to predict what would happen in any given year a long time ago, but WOW, was 2023 a year to remember for our family!

Pretty much every member of our family had a huge milestone; we completed our family with the arrival of Naomi Jean in April; we had a total shift in career/job/life trajectory; and a lot more.

Here’s the quick rundown by family member:

gotta have the quintessential “flower farmer” pose #iykyk

Matt (37) had a massive career change this year. He’d worked in upper management for the same company for over ten years, but changes in the company over the past couple of years had made him increasingly restless and not totally in alignment with the direction it was taking, and we’d been looking for other jobs for him for quite awhile. In August, he was unexpectedly let go, and while it wasn’t fabulous timing, it ended up being literally the best thing that possibly could have happened for us.

Our flower farm finished up its third season this year, and we were experiencing huge growth with that, with our production not even coming close to meeting demand. When Matt lost his job, it coincided with the busiest part of our season, and having him around allowed us to see what flower farming could look like with us both working on it. A curious string of circumstances (that I can only call divine) happened right in a row, and it basically led us to multiple things we needed in order to take our flower farm to a full-time business to support our whole family, including available land to rent, a crucial mentorship from someone who could show us a more clear path forward, award money that helped us to have infrastructure costs upfront to scale up next year, and so much more. We officially decided in October that Matt was no longer going to look for any other employment — we were going to take our flower farm full time for 2024!

So now Matt is officially the operations manager and over all heavy manual labor on the farm (and gets to play around with–I mean, operate–all the heavy equipment), and we spend our days splitting house and farm duties and just enjoying having him around way more. He helps us keep it all together and is the best father and husband our family could ever have. I definitely couldn’t have made it through this year without him!

I (Torrie, also 37) had a year of incredible personal growth. When our daughter Naomi unexpectedly came six weeks early at the end of April (with a Down syndrome diagnosis, also unexpected), it changed our lives forever in the very best way. Having her joyful spirit in our home has given us crystal clear clarity about what we want for our family life and what’s most important, and the numerous miracles we’ve seen this year in regards to her, especially while she was in the NICU for six weeks, have strengthened my faith and made me even more grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who is aware of each of us individually, and a redeeming Savior, who never leaves us comfortless or alone. While I still have my moments of anxiety and fear and doubt about the unknown, I feel like having Naomi is helping to transform me every day into a better and better version of myself.

I was also pushed in many other ways this year, especially as we made the decision to take the business full time. As I’ve always been the “public face” of the business, I had to do a lot of scary things this year, like entering some business pitch competitions, being a keynote speaker, and totally having to put myself out there in general to get the word out about our business. It’s not always a super comfortable thing for me, but it’s given me a lot of confidence as I’ve just made myself go for it over and over again.

Raven turned 8 this year, and with that milestone birthday, she chose to be baptized a member of our faith (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints). We had to push her baptism back by a month because the original date coincided with Naomi being born, but it was the most beautiful, joyous occasion, and we’re so proud every day of our sweet girl, who has a strong sense of right and wrong, the most compassionate and thoughtful personality you’ll ever see, and who loves to bring happiness and joy to others through service, art, and love. She helps me more than I could ever say around the house, and she loved starting “baking lessons” with Mom this year and continuing her piano lessons with me as well. She excels in school and is frequently put by her teachers into leadership positions and onto committees because she’s so good to consider the needs of everyone and to befriend anyone who needs it. She also was beside herself with excitement that she FINALLY got the baby sister she’s been wanting for YEARS.

Mathias (5) started kindergarten in the fall, and he has absolutely ADORED it. We decided to just put him in half day kindergarten, and it’s the perfect amount of school blended with down time at home with his younger brother and sister. All of his teachers tell us regularly how smart he is, and how much he really “gets” everything they’re teaching. He clearly has an amazing natural aptitude for math and music, and he currently is pretty obsessed with all things Pokemon (I blame Matt for that one!). He’s already starting to read pretty well, and he keeps us all laughing with his easy humor and silly nature. He used to be quite shy when he was younger, but he’s now the one cracking the jokes and trying to make everyone smile. He’s definitely our kid who loves to snuggle with everyone, and he loves to constantly tell everyone to look at Naomi and admire how cute she is.

Hyrum (just turned 4) started preschool this year, and while he didn’t warm up to it as quickly as his older siblings, we think he likes it well enough now. He’s definitely our most shy kid by nature, but once he gets comfortable in a situation, he’s often the loudest of them all! We had a bit of a trick potty training him just before the baby came (which ended up being a bit of a nightmare), but we’re proud that he stuck with it and are mostly just relieved that we seem to be mostly there on that 🙂 Since he’d been the baby the longest, he had a big adjustment when we brought Naomi home, but now that he’s used to her, he absolutely DOTES on her, and it’s the cutest thing. He has the most assertive temperament of all of our kids, but he’s exceedingly gentle with the baby, and I think he’s stepped into his role of big brother beautifully. He loves to color and play with any kind of car or truck, and I have been astounded at how fast he’s picked up being able to write his name and recognize certain letters.

Naomi (almost 8 months) is our ray of sunshine. She is literally the world’s easiest baby (seriously, I didn’t know babies COULD be this easy), and she just brings endless joy to our days. She is quick to smile, almost never cries or fusses, has been sleeping through the night for as long as we would let her (so, since she was about 4 months old), is constantly amazing her physical and speech therapists with how much she can do already and with her strong spirit, and is basically the perfect bookend to complete our family. She is a huge reason why we wanted to take our flower farm full time, and we think she’s going to do some pretty amazing things in her lifetime. Because she was born with some congenital heart defects and some hearing loss, we’ve had to deal with a lot of medical teams and doctor appointments, but in general, she’s healthy and strong, and she’s actually gained full hearing in at least one of her ears (we still need to re-test the other one), and all of her heart issues have resolved but one, which is absolutely an answer to many, many prayers on her behalf.

As a family, we have been the recipient of more service and love and prayers this year than I’ve ever received in my behalf in my whole lifetime. It is deeply, deeply humbling, and it has made me weep in gratitude more times than I can say that we are blessed with so many good people around us. I know that all too often, we only hear of the negative things going on in the world today, but I can stand as a personal witness that there is so much GOODNESS still out there, too — goodness in people, goodness in community, and–most of all–goodness in God, who is the source of all that is good and beautiful and life-giving.

No matter what your Christmas might look like this year, I pray that you are able to find the goodness in YOUR life, and that in looking for it, you will find it in even more abundance.

I love you all, and I am so grateful that you keep showing up to share our life with us in this way. Merry Christmas!

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