Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas Letter 2009

Greetings, Loved Ones ~
I cannot believe that once again it is time for a Christmas letter! I had one all typed out and printed last year, and then time got away from me and only a few of them got sent. It has been another busy year, and a year full of testing our faith and watching God’s faithfulness.

In January, Mike was laid off. This started a journey of faith for us that has been incredible. We have seen God provide month after month ~ sometimes through odd jobs, sometimes through short-term employment, and often through generous gifts from unknown folks. In July, there was no money for our house payment. I began to pray, “Lord, I know that you can provide the funds we need. I don’t know how You’re going to do it, but I know you can.” One morning at church, our pastor approached Mike and told him that he needed our mortgage payment information. Someone wanted to make our house payment for us! What an incredible answer to prayer! Although it has definitely been a stretch, and we are more than ready for Mike to have regular employment, this past year has been such a blessing as we have watched God meet our every need. We have always known that it is God who provides, but when all pretense of self-reliance is taken away, then you know that it is God who provides!

We graduated Will from our home school this year, and he moved out. He has been working at the local post office for a little over a year, and is now thinking about Bible school next fall. At this point, he believes that the Lord is leading him to become a pastor. We have stood in awe at what God is doing in his life. He is blessed with a unique ability to share ~ both in writing and speech ~ what God is teaching him. Last summer, the youth did a “local” mission trip, reaching out to 5 local communities. Will did the gospel presentation at least once in each community, and it was very powerful to listen to. I am so thankful for the call that God has put on his life.

Levi is a senior, and seriously considering going on to college next fall. He had another great football season, and one of the coaches is really encouraging him to go on and play college ball. He is a really good running back, and it’s exciting to see him prepare to go on to the next level. He is a really good big brother, taking lots of time to play with the little boys ~ often he can be found in the middle of a gun fight with them, or sitting on the couch reading (“Just this one. Okay, one more.”), or with two little boys attached to his legs as he drags them around the house. He is also quite the cook! Well, as long as it involves meat. ;-)

Garth is now 15, and chomping at the bit to drive! He is currently saving his money so that he can take driver’s ed. Garth had a really good football season, starting in almost all the games. He even got to play starting QB against Mullan! He did a really good job. We have seen a lot of growth ~ physical and spiritual in Garth this year. He also went on the mission trip, and then to Creation in July. He is now heading up the “games” section of the youth worship service, along with a friend. It’s exciting to see the enthusiasm for participating in worship.

Logan turned 13 this summer. He spent a week at Camp Elohim in July, and really enjoyed himself. He is starting to attend youth group, and is involved with the drama team. More and more I see glimpses of the young man he is becoming and less of the boy. Logan has a great capacity for being loving and considerate, but does need to exercise that “muscle” a bit more.

Kathleen and Laura are now 9 and 7. They are a constant source of chatter around here. This summer they got to go to Yellowstone with Grammie and Pak ~ and we had a weekend of QUIET! It was very exciting for all involved. ;-) They are very enthusiastic about learning to cook and bake, and are learning to be more and more helpful around the house.

Josiah and Ezra (3 and 19 mo) are a source of joy and laughter in our home. These two little boys keep us on our toes! I don’t remember the older boys being so busy when they were little. We can’t decide if these two are really that much more of a challenge, or if it’s just that we’re that much older! :-D They love to play football, and will spend inordinate amounts of time kicking, throwing and running the ball ~ especially if there is a big brother to play with them!

The Lord has chosen to bless us once again ~ this time with a Valentine! This pregnancy has been a challenge; I have been fighting high blood pressure, and that along with my “advanced maternal age” has made this a high risk pregnancy. I spent some time in the hospital in October, and at that time we found out that our son has a congenital heart defect. Known as Ebstein’s Abnormality, it only occurs in 1 in every 210,000 births. The pediatric cardiologist believes that he will be severely affected by it, as his heart is already enlarged. There is a possibility he won’t make it to birth, and if he does, he will likely be a very sick baby and immediately take up residence in the NICU. We would greatly appreciate prayers for baby Jethro’s heart. I want to share how thankful we are to have found out about his heart ahead of time. We can make preparations for an NICU stay after the birth, we were able to change what hospital we are delivering at, so I won’t be in a different hospital from the baby, and we can prepare the children ahead of time as well. God is FAITHFUL and we know that He will carry us through this, whatever His will is.

We pray that this finds you healthy and joyful, rejoicing in the ultimate gift of a Savior. Merry Christmas!

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