The 2022 River

We are knee-deep into 2023 already! Before we get too far into it, I would like to pause and reflect on the past year and all that the Lord did in it...

The year 2022 was full of firsts-ever and firsts-in-a-long-time.

We had our first-ever 5k event, which took place right here in Fort Wayne. It was a beautiful day with a fantastic turnout of friends and family!

Another first for us was participating in a minor league baseball game with our local team the TinCaps. Ryan (our board president) carried me onto the field in the backpack to throw the first pitch together. We also had a booth with info ready and got to meet a ton of great people.

If you missed either event, don’t worry—we’re planning to do both again this year!

We were also thrilled to launch our Members of the Pack program, for those who wish to be more involved with what we’re doing.

And of course, our Causes Page went live at the end of the year, and is already proving to be a game-changer for us in A) giving voice to families, B) raising funds more effectively for backpacks to be given away, and C) building community.

Both of these new programs get right to the heart of what We Carry Kevan is all about, and I can’t wait to see what the Lord will do with them this year!

For the first time in a few years, we had a booth at a disability expo. This one was in Cincinnati, and our team had great conversations, so look for us at more of them this year!

We also returned to two of our favorite conferences in person, after two long years of being held online. CureSMA took place in L.A. and was a ball. It was fun to be back with so many friends from the SMA community, and to make new friends, too. I joined my friend Kevin Schaefer and a few other folks for a panel discussion on sharing your story.

Hutchmoot recommenced in Nashville, and it was (similar to CureSMA) like a family reunion of old friends. I shared a chapter from my upcoming book in a session with author Doug McKelvey, and had the joy of sitting in on a few other great talks about community, art, and the Christian walk.

In the case of both conferences, I’m looking forward to being back again this year, with some very exciting plans in store for each of them.

This practice of reflection has been good for me. I won’t go into details, but there were some really difficult things that happened this year. Katie and I lost a lot of sleep over some stressful situations. And at the end, it was too easy to say, “Well, I’m glad THAT year is over.” But then we slow down and remember the things listed above.

Winding around the puddles of frustration is a river of joy. Which will our memory drink from?

There are other elements to this river. Those consistencies in life that keep us... alive! Katie and I are thankful for each other, our marriage, and the gift of so much time we get to spend together. It’s truly a dream come true. We are also thankful for our friends and family, and the ways they don’t just hold us up, but make us laugh, too. And for Jesus, who carries us, comforts us, and inspires us by His word, truth, and presence in our lives.

Yes, when I look back on 2022, I think I’ll wade in the river.

PS — I was asked by The Rabbit Room to share my favorite book and movie from last year. The short version is...

BOOK: Jack Zulu and the Waylander’s Key (a new release by S.D. Smith)

MOVIE: Welcome to Collinwood (an older movie by the Russo Brothers that I saw for the first time last year).

You can read my full reviews here and here, along with recommendations and reviews from other awesome people.