Sunday, December 21, 2008

Our Christmas Letter

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Praise to the Lord, who o'er all things so wondrously reigneth,
Shelters thee under His wings, yea, so gently sustaineth!
Hast thou not seen How thy desires e'er have been
Granted in what He ordaineth?

Greetings Family and Friends!

While 2008 was a busy and full year, it was also a blessed year. As the song states, our many desires were granted in His time, in what He ordained. And we praise Him for his provision.

The beginning of the year found Andrew and I taking a short vacation in celebration of our fifth year of marriage. We stayed a few nights at a local state park for some much needed rest and relaxation. Nadia had some extra special visiting with Andrew's mom and dad while we were away.
Soon after we discovered we were expecting another little one, much to our delight!
Sadly, also around that time my maternal grandmother's health was failing. My mom made a trip up to Pennsylvania and we both visited Grandma. Soon after our visit she passed away. We are grateful she didn't suffer long and is now at rest.
After 6 months we finally got an offer on our old house. That was an ordeal, but we did end up finalizing everything and selling the house by the end of April. It took a while, but it all worked out and we are out from underneath that mortgage.
In March I attended the Women's Ministry Retreat in Ohio with my best friend Sara and a wonderful friend from church. An enormous blizzard also decided to go to the retreat. It dumped at least a foot of snow on the ground while we were driving there and Saturday we ended up getting stranded at the convention center with 500 other women. Thank goodness they made the men's bathrooms into women's! But I didn't hear one complaint out of the whole bunch. Somehow they fed and kept us entertained until we were released that evening. We were told to go straight to our hotels, which we did and finished out the retreat the next morning before venturing home.
By May we discovered we were going to have a healthy boy and that the OB/GYN was going to let their midwives go in August. I was so disappointed. We prayed and searched and finally decided upon a homebirth with a midwife. It was the best decision for us. Home visits are so much better than dr's offices.
We also planted the largest garden I've ever planted (aside from the ones I helped with as a child). We had four plots tilled and planted with food! We had a pepper and tomato patch, a corn patch, a potato patch and then a general garden that had peas, beans, carrots, lettuce, squash and things like that. I planted sweet potatoes for the first time and they did wonderfully!! Everything else did really well too and I am looking forward to another garden next year.
June was another busy month. Nadia and I traveled to Ohio to attend my best friend Sara's Masters Graduation. Then we were all apart of our Church's VBS program, during which time we received a visit from my Aunt and Uncle from Michigan. The next weekend we went camping with our other family out in Ohio. Actually they camped, we cabin-ed. A 6 month pregnant body does not do air mattresses. No way.
We spent the next month organizing the basement, moving my sewing stuff down to the basement and setting up a new room for Nadia in the back room. Nadia's old room would be the baby's room. Nadia now has a huge room, complete with a small 'sitting' area. She loves it, and didn't miss her old room at all.
Nadia turned 3 in August and we had a party for her. I learned that parties for children under the age of 5 are overrated. Oh it was fun, don't get me wrong, but I was wore out! And we only had 4 little girls and just about double the adults. She had loads of fun and got loads of presents, but I think all other birthday parties will be after they turn 5.
We had a wonderful visit from my best friend and her hubby in August as well. We all visited a local state park for some swimming and hiking. It was great fun and so good to see friends.
The garden decided to 'bless' right around this time too. Oh boy oh boy! I was canning, baking, blanching and putting up to beat the band. I have so many shiny jars of colorful food in my basement shelves and bags upon bags of frozen goodies, it's wonderful.
Much of the time after that was spent in preparation for the baby. I prepped dozens of meals for the freezer, organized and caught up on odd jobs around the house, did some large scale shopping to stock up and got the things we would need for the birth together. We also finally got the baby's room put together. After all of those things were done I finally felt like I could actually have this baby. At that point we just waited.
And waited.
It seemed like the only thing we did in September was wait for the baby to come, but that's not true. We harvested our first try at Sweet Potatoes and boy did they ever do well! We planted 12 slips and dug up a 5 gallon bucket full. They are very tasty too. We dug up our Yukon Gold potatoes as well. I continued to can many things, in fact, I was canning right up until the day before I went into labor.
Then our waiting was finally over and our son, Rhys (pronounced Reece) Athanasius was born September 27 at 5:05 am at home after a 3 and half hour labor. He was 6 lbs 14 oz, 19 ½ inches long and very healthy. The delivery went smoothly. Andrew's mom and dad came up to help around the house for a couple of days. Nadia is enamored with her little brother and continues to be an excited little helper to me. Somewhere around that time Andrew had another birthday. I think I remember celebrating it.
It's been eight years since Andrew felt called to Seminary. In October we celebrated Andrew's approval for Lifetime Ordination. His ordination ceremony will be at the annual conference this coming April. Thank you for your many prayers.
The congregation is taking good care of us. They just put all new windows in the parsonage, it's a little cozier now.
I celebrated my birthday in November. I turned the infamous 29 that every woman seems to be these days. Only I'm really 29. I can't believe I'm this old. I suppose it only gets worse.
It seems the year is going to end on a sad note. As of the writing of this letter my paternal Grandmother, Evelyn (Nadia's namesake) is suffering with the effects of a massive stroke. The outlook is not good and everyone is waiting at this point. Please pray for Evelyn and our family.

Overall 2008 has been a year of tremendous blessings and deep sorrows. It has run the gamut. But we have learned the Lord provides and sustains. We praise Him.

Christmas blessings and much love,

Andrew, Kathryn, Nadia and Rhys

Praise to the Lord, O let all that is in me adore Him!
All that hath life and breath, come now with praises before Him!
Let the Amen sound from His people again
Gladly for aye we adore Him!

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