What a year.

For many of us, starting this year felt like a young, fresh-faced Anakin Skywalker, ready for Jedi training. And by the end we feel like the charred remains of Darth Vader’s helmet.

There’s no easy way to avoid it:

This was a rough one.

I kicked off the year with some troubling heart issues that included a couple of scary emergency room trips that REALLY brought some perspective.

I also lost my grandmother in May, which was very tough.

But immediately after getting home from putting my Grandma to rest, we got the greatest news possible: Charlie Hope Allen was headed our way.

We took a brief vacation to Miami in the summer, and another very quick trip to Atlanta when Hurricane Hermine came near Gainesville. It was great to spend time with the Colleys, the Wades, the Haynes, and THE Alex Aghoian.

Rounding out the year were more terrorist attacks, many innocent people murdered, and to top it off, an ugly and divisive presidential election that peppered the year with sadness and despair.

And most recently we had to say goodbye to our little Rockey Allen, who will hopefully find a great home soon.

As I type this I’m clearing my scratchy throat and wiping my runny nose, and hoping and praying that whatever this is, is gone in a week, because I don’t want to be sick around my daughter as she enters the world.

So there has been a lot to be sad about this year.

But here in the heart of the Christmas season, our family has been blessed by God with a beautiful thing:

The thrill of Hope. And our weary corner of the world rejoices.

And so, to me, Charlie Hope has come to represent what her name means: A Warrior of Hope, charging into 2017 with a newness of life that inspires me to the same passion myself.

We wish you and your family all the best for the holidays and for the coming year.

Hoping and fighting for great things in 2017,

Drew & Kori Allen, and Charlie Hope

Photo: Rachel Hart

Photo: Rachel Hart

Leave a note for Charlie!