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This is our Christmas letter we sent out this year, along with the picture too. Enjoy!
Greetings Family and Friends!
It hardly seems that the time is upon us when we celebrate our Saviors birth. I am reminded yet again how easily it is to fall into a season of busy-ness, rather than a season of celebration, worship and gratitude. But the Lord is patient as he waits for us to return, as he has been for over 2000 years. All he asks is that we be still and know that He is God.
We have witnessed the hand of the Lord in so many ways this year. It's been a full, blessed year. Please allow me to share how the Lord has blessed.
We started off the year bittersweet. It's often said that when one soul leaves this earth, another comes to take it's place. We saw that with the passing of Andrew's grandmother and the birth of my first nephew. We traveled to visit with Andrew's Mother's family and to say goodbye to Mom-mom. I never got the chance to get to know her, but she was witnessed as a strong, active woman. Strong in the Lord and very loving with her family. Her legacy will continue on for many generations. What a witness we have in our children. Never take a moment for granted. The same week we got word that my brother and his wife welcomed their first son. He was born healthy and vibrant. It's exciting to finally be an aunt.
Then we stayed at Andrew's parents at the end of April for the annual church conference. We go every year, but this year was special. Andrew received his Lifetime Ordination. It was a very special occasion for us. Andrew has waited a long time for this and we were so excited as his family to celebrate this with him. Immediately following we had lots of family gather at our house for Rhys' dedication. My dad performed the ceremony and even preached! That was nice, I got to sit with my husband. My best friend and her husband were also able to make it out for the weekend, along with Andrew's and my parents. We had lots of fun having that much family out.
Summer consisted of the basics, gardening, VBS, and meeting new family. We traveled down to Andrew's parents and got together with my brother and sister in law. We got to meet my nephew, who is a cutie!! It was neat to see Rhys and him together. They were blissfully unaware of each other. Ivan definitely has some of the family genes in him, as he is built like his father. Rhys resembles his father, so we had two very cute, but so different babies. It always amazes me the difference in babies. We celebrated Nadia's fourth birthday in August, which is hard to believe. Then mid month we made a trip for meetings that Andrew was a part of. I got to spend some quality time with an old friend from our old home town, we had tons of fun I'm sure we'll never forget.
The beginning of September saw us flying to New Mexico for vacation at my parents house. It was a quiet trip, we took one day to sight see, which was nice, but over all it was spent just lazing around at their house. Andrew got to preach at Dad's church, with an interpreter! That was an experience. It was a wonderful time of visiting that ended all too soon. The kids did well on the flights and enjoyed the whole experience. We celebrated Rhys' first birthday at the end of September, followed by Andrew's birthday.
Then, just for the record, we had snow. Measurable snow in mid-October. I can't remember the last time it snowed in October. It was gone within a day or two, but still, we had snow.
The end of the year picked up in it's momentum as we began to look forward to Andrew's first baptismal service mid-November, along with my 30th birthday (feel old?). Thanksgiving was at our house with both sets of parents blessing us with a visit at that time. It was good. I think the food was pretty good too! And, of course, it continues to pick up till Christmas at which point we are anticipating flying out for Andrew's younger brothers wedding. We are excited to welcome a new member to the family and to spend time with family. As I get older, more than shiny packages, it is time spent with family that is a gift. We are looking forward to it.
Andrew continues to grow spiritually as the leader of our household and the church. I see the Lord speaking through him daily to our family and weekly behind the pulpit. He has had a pet project since coming here, the baptismal. It hasn't worked for years for various reasons. And finally, he was able to figure things out and get it fixed. Excited does not begin to describe his emotions about completing this. That made the baptismal service so much more of a celebration for him.
Nadia continues to grow and challenge us with her wit and thought processes. She goes twice a week to preschool, which she loves. She enjoys playing with scrap dough and flour, or scrap fabric tying it all over the house. She enjoys 'rinsing' the dishes, which will keep her busy for hours. She can already write her own name and identify many letters. She is so smart, which is a blessing and also a bane. We are eager to see just what she chooses as a life profession. At this point she says she wants to be a mama. She'll be an intelligent one.
Rhys continues to grow like a bad weed. He understands what we are saying to him very well. He can say “bye bye” and wave, “Papa”, and (if he's stressed) “mama”. He's walking most of the time now, which is so cute. And if we let him (or if he gets away with it), he can crawl up the entire stairs up from the basement. He's got 6 teeth now and we are waiting for more, it's been a while. I can't believe how fast they grow.
I've been doing all my usual ventures. I've taken up quilting and am currently working on a quilt for Andrew and I. I've made several for the kids and decided it was time for a larger, more intricate quilt for us. I am eager to see how it turns out. I am enjoying it and as a consequence have several more quilts on a list to work on. I can't wait. I'm still making bread and gardening. I tried my hand at dried beans this year and beets. Both were very easy and I think I'll be doing them again next year. I also had a yard sale this year, my first. Those are a lot of work! I don't think I'll be doing one again soon. We did well, but I think I'll wait till the kids are a bit older. Goodwill is a good cause.
We had a full but blessed year. We pray the same for you. We hope that this letter finds you well and in the center of God's will for your life. And this year at Christmastime we pray that the true meaning of Christmas finds its way to your hearts and that you would be blessed.
Blessings and Love!