Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Merry 2014 Christmas

Dear Family and Friends,

I cannot believe we are here already! To those of you who have Facebook.....this newsy letter will be old news! So bear with me while I recap 2014!

This year can only be marked with the word....CHANGE! There were so many changes in our family....happy, sad, s t r e s s f u l, and the list goes on!

Now....where should I begin?!

We were very excited and happy to welcome our 10th grandchild, little Miss Lydia Claire. She was a whopping 9.2 lbs 21 and 1/2" long born on July 31st.  Due to being a gestational diabetes baby, she had a bit of a rough start, but doing very well now - and just precious! Beautiful pools of glistening eyes and dark hair....with blonde highlights. She lost a lot of weight during her first month - but has since been on a growth spurt.  I cannot believe she is nearly 5 months old already!  She has lots of excited siblings to keep her entertained.

I had mixed emotions as our youngest son Chris moved out, quit his job at a country club here locally, and moved to where he is now attending school at a popular university. His several trips beforehand proved fruitful as he landed a good job working at an even nicer country club. He loves his new job and just finished his last paper for this semester.

On May 10th our son Josh married a lovely girl named Mary, (a long prayed-for union), and shortly after moved out of town.  Josh continues to work for a painting company, which is located close to where they moved, and Mary started a new job. Both their boys, Micah, now 5 and Matthew 7 are growing like little weeds!

Our son Matthew and daughter-in-law Jessie moved (for work purposes) to Georgia in July. Matthew entered into a Management program where he will finish out the remaining required four six-month internships. Their precious Jovi just turned 2 December 1st! Along with Felicity - as they were both born on the same day! I love God's humor! It is delightful watching them grow up!

Our daughter Michelle and family have recently left Nashville and moved several hours away.  Our son-in-law Jay landed a prayed-hard for job where he can now preach at leisure as a Corporate Chaplain. How perfectly suited for him.  He loves the job and they found a very nice 5 bedroom, 3 bathroom house which is perfect for their ever-so-growing family. Our oldest granddaughter Rebekah, (soon to be 14),  long awaited the day.... that after 2 long years - she had her braces removed this month. She could barely wait to have popcorn and chew a piece of gum! Ha! Most stories and happenings in their lives can be found on Facebook...so I don't want to fill the pages with funny stories you've already read. It's how I can keep up with them all....especially now that they've moved away.  In the summertime Chloe proved to be quite the soccer champ!  Best one on her team and the one with the most scores! Jay was the soccer coach for her team!  She is one good soccer player. Hannah, Rebekah and Benjamin have been busy with piano lessons this past year.  It was awesome to have a mobile piano instructor who came to their house to do the lessons!  This year Michelle enrolled the kids in Classical Conversations, which has been wonderful for everyone.  Homeschooling has taken on a new way of learning and the kids love it.  They're also learning sign language and Latin in the process....even Felicity, who came in the room to announce, "I sing Latin!" Yep....she sure does! Ha!Ha! 

For other things....Steve continues to work in various states.  It's pretty hard at times with him being gone so much. Our poor dog Libby is weary and in depression from all his travels.  But if Steve could tell you - he'd say he's pretty weary too.  Unfortunately, his plane sustained wind damage to the tune of $28,000.00+, (so very thankful for insurance), while down in Texas and it has been out of commission for months.  It's been difficult with all the necessary travels we have had this past year, but I do love to see the countryside by car!!!

We had a bit of a scare one day while I was driving Steve to the airport to catch a plane back to Texas one morning - and instead I landed in the hospital. Nothing like stirring up a ruckus!  Steve called 9-1-1 and an ambulance ride picked me up from a highway off-ramp! I had not been feeling well for a long while - and even went to the  doctor, and ran tests, but she did not figure out what was wrong. Once in the ER it didn't take long to learn that I had pancreatitis and gallstones blocking my bile duct.  So glad they found something and it wasn't just in my head! The next day I had surgery to remove my gallbladder, and very thankful that I feel soo much better now!

So many things were life-changing events this past year and very heart-wrenching sad ones too.  We lost my niece Candace from a brain aneurism this past spring, and then my sister-in-law Ann lost her long, hard-fought battle with cancer on October 7th.  The same day - my grandson Benjamin was taken to the hospital with pain in his side and abdomen, and later that evening had an emergency appendectomy. A month later Steve's niece, Kristin lost her long battle and she too passed away. A few weeks after that my sister-in-law Stephanie, who recently had 7 strokes, but it was the heart attack that took her life. At the same time it seemed that nearly everyone we knew had lost someone and were in the process of preparing funerals for their loved ones. There were countless, including a long-prayed for pastor at a church we used to attend, who lost his battle with a rare cancer.  Oh how I hate cancer! His funeral was the same day as my sister-in-law Stephanie's! My heart...oh my heart! God is close to the broken hearted! I believe and trust that.  It made me realize more than ever how very short life is, and how much we need to make the most of every opportunity. More than ever this year my mind has been focused and reflected on Heaven, our home to those of us in Christ Jesus. And how long eternity will be without Him - forever separated to those who reject Him!  Are we ready?!  I see so many people today without Him, and the evils of our day becoming more evil by the day, immorality on the rise as I have never seen in my lifetime.....Woe to those who call evil good and good evil....and we are witnesses to just that! Evil and immorality becoming law of the land, but goodness and morality being scrutinized and attacked as if for evil. But God said that there would be lawlessness in the last days. 2 Timothy 3:2 Men will be lovers of pleasure, rude, arrogant, disobedient, ...etc.  I pray that God will open eyes and hearts and draw all men to Himself... so they will come to know Jesus as Savior before it's too late! 

 Ann Graham Lotz, (Billy Graham's daughter) said it well.

 I do love her devotions!. (http://www.annegrahamlotz.org)
            Is there some brokenness in your life? Maybe it’s your heart that’s been broken. And because it’s been broken you are devastated and you think, “This year, I can’t have a meaningful Christmas.” But you can, because the meaning of Christmas is not necessarily in our relationships, in our family,

in the invitations or cards we get or give, in the people that we see or don't see.

 It's in the worship of Christ. 

Christmas means Christ Mass....worship of Christ.

is not necessarily in our relationships, in our family, in the invitations we get or give, in the people that we see or don’t see. It’s in the worship of Christ. Christmas means Christ Mass; worship of Christ.

I love Christmas! It is my favorite time of year.  I love the lights and decorations, the smells of cinnamon and clove, pine and hot apple cider, hot chocolate with marshmallows, family gatherings, the Christmas music playing, children laughing - thrilled with excitement, the singing and music, from churches to school plays and television specials. It would thrill me to no end to have Christmas every day of the year!

We hope for you and your family a joyous Merry Christmas!  God bless you always!

Merry Christmas