Thursday, December 2, 2010

Our Christmas/New Year's Letter

Ezra, Laura, Josiah, Mama, Kathleen and Logan (front)
Levi, Will, Garth, Daddy and Jethro (back)
 Warm Winter Greetings Beloved!

It’s been a long 2 (3?) years since we’ve sent out a letter, but you were all in our thoughts last couple of years. We have had a couple of years full of trials and blessings, and we stand before the end of another year with thankful hearts, knowing that God has truly blessed us.

We are thankful for a son born dead, yet who lives. Jethro Storms Dole was born February 26, 2010 at 3pm by emergency c-section. He weighed 9lb 1oz and was 22 inches long. He required extensive efforts to be resuscitated, but by God’s grace, he was. Jethro was born with a very severe and rare (1 in 210,000) heart defect known as Ebstein‘s Anomaly. His heart condition was incompatible with life, and he really was not expected to make it very long.

We are thankful for outstanding cardiologists and pediatric thoracic surgeon’s who were willing to operate on Jethro’s heart so that it could function and support life. Jethro underwent his first open heart surgery at 10 days.

We were so very thankful to finally hold our newest son when he was 2 ½ weeks old. You never realize how much you take for granted all those snuggles and time spent rocking, until you are not able to do it.

We are thankful for the timing of our house burning. March 17, I was in Jethro’s PICU room and received a phone call that our house was on fire ~ not the call you want to get at your critically ill child’s bedside. However, we didn’t have to worry about anyone being in danger because the rest of the family was at my Mom and Dad’s house, and, because we were dealing with life and death issues with Jethro, losing the house was not as traumatic as it might have been otherwise. Extremely difficult, yes, but because of the circumstances we were in, we were able to look on that loss with a better perspective than if it had been the only traumatic thing happening to us.

We are thankful to be part of a rural community. In times of need and trauma, you can really appreciate small communities. Folks came around us and supported us and prayed for us and did what they could to help. We were overwhelmed by the love and generosity shown to our family.

We are thankful for a new house going up where the old one stood. We were able to use our existing basement, and I have a dear friend who is very talented when it comes to drawing up floor plans. The Lord has truly blessed us with good builders, great deals…and although it’s not going up in my timing, I know that it is being built in God’s time. I am *very much* looking forward to moving back into my own home. We are also thankful that our little farm is now paid off, and the new house going up is debt free ~ what a tremendous blessing that is!…AND Will isn’t 42! :-)

We are thankful for health for the rest of our family. We are thankful that we have grown closer over the last year, and that everyone is doing well. The little boys have adjusted to a new baby well, and love their little brother very much. The girls are more and more help all the time, and decided that they enjoy cooking (although they still need to figure out cleaning up after themselves!). Logan and Garth both played football this fall and had good seasons. Middle school went undefeated, and the high school team only lost 3 games this year. Levi and Will have rented an apartment in Plummer and are busy with work. They have both been such a blessing over the last year, helping out with the younger children and just being good, steady young men. Levi is working at the hardware in town, and was recently promoted to Assistant Manager of the hardware. Will is still working part-time for the post office, and is now on staff part time with South Lake Youth Ministries. It is so exciting to see what God is doing in their lives and see them blossoming as adults.

There has been much to the last couple of years, and I would love to be able to share all of it, but that would be a novella at least. :-)
This past year has been full of hospitalizations, therapies, and doctor appointments, as well as our usual busy-ness. But through it all we have seen God’s hand and known Him to be faithful. I can’t even imagine how we would have survived this past year without the firm foundation of our faith in Jesus Christ. He has been my source of peace and calm in the stormiest of waters.

May you find yourself blessed as well as you look back over this past year, and forward to the new.

All our love,

The Dole clan, Mike, Tracy, Will, Levi, Garth, Logan, Kathleen, Laura, Josiah, Ezra, and Jethro

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