News flash…STOP the PRESSES!
I mailed my Christmas cards today… you know if it weren’t for stamps they’d have gone out on time… oh well… here’s a copy of the Christmas letter that is in our out-of-town loved ones….
December 28, 2008
Dear Friends and Family…
As you can see by the date, once again, our Christmas cards did not make it to your mailboxes by Christmas… they were addressed a week and a half before Christmas but they needed this letter and well, that didn’t happen until tonight.
On January 1, 2008 we sat down and made some resolutions. My was pretty simple:
“I am resolving to have a boring year…” After 2007, we all just needed a break.
Let me simply say that it did not happen. 2008 was a very full year however, God has been so good to us that even though it was a whirlwind, it was a very rich, and rewarding time in our family’s life.
Our biggest blessing came in March, when we welcomed Sophia Nicole into our home. She was born on St. Patrick’s Day and was delivered by our midwife who had shamrocks on her head, yes, shamrocks… Sophia is growing like crazy and is simply a pure joy to have. Since birth she has been trying to keep up with her siblings and can’t stand it when she can’t! She looks a lot like her brother and keeps us entertained for hours on end.
Our next blessing came this past September we embarked on a new chapter in our life. For the past nine years, if you’ve read any of our Christmas letters you’d know that we haven’t always known which end was up. We knew that we were heading somewhere, to do something that God called us to do, and each year it seemed like we would be heading somewhere, yet, we never did. However, this year is different. In September, Stephen accepted the position of Senior Pastor at a church about 30 minutes from ‘home’ in New Lebanon, Ohio. It’s a pretty small town, in fact it’s a village… So, we packed up and said good-bye to FBC Vandalia, after a lifetime of relationships and eights years of ministry and followed the path that God was leading us on. The entire experience has been an ‘ah-ha’ moment. We have been able to see God’s hand in our past: preparing us, through the good and the bad, for this next step. It was all purposed for His plans for our lives (Jeremiah 29:11) and for His glory through our lives.
We’ve all been adjusting and are loving our new lives. For the first time in our nine years of marriage (we celebrated our ninth anniversary in December) we have been able to experience what being settled feels like. FBC New Lebanon has been a wonderful church and has welcomed us with open arms and hearts. The people have been wonderful and we are looking forward to many years here… This is our seventh home in nine years of marriage… I’m not moving again. The church owns a parsonage that has wonderful space and we have been able to make it into our home.
Madeline is seven and a HALF, that half is very important, and is in the second grade at Dixie Elementary. She became a Greyhound this year during the transition and is doing really well at her new school. Madeline loves music and reading. She’s a pretty good basketball player through Upward Basketball, and she’s a great help around the house, a little too much, but helpful none the less.
Charlie… Charlie is really beyond description at times. He remains 100% boy, and 100% five-year-old. He attends Salem Christian Pre-School and loves Ms. Jan. He is thriving in the learning environment they have created and it’s been awesome seeing him ‘grow up’. Charlie tends to keep us guessing and laughing with his words… he’s intelligent, but can’t quite say everything right and it makes for some good times. He’s extremely athletic and continues to love to hit, throw, punch, run, and jump off of, onto, through, over, or under anything and everything, We’ve been at Children’s three times this year for Charlie if that tells you anything… okay, one was for his tonsils so I guess I can’t hold that to him.
Stephen has settled well into his new role. It has been really cool is be able to watch him step up and be the leader that God has planned him to be. He’s doing an amazing job, not only in his preaching, but also in his daily leadership. Our church is in the middle of transition and that’s a big part of why the church called Stephen, to finish the changes. And while changes are challenging, the church has got a heart that wants to reach out into the community and pull their friends, love ones, neighbors, etc. in. We are looking forward to a great year and we are expecting God to move…
One of the biggest blessings in my life with this move has been the ability to be a full-time wife and mother. God has allowed me this opportunity and other than helping Stephen here and there with church stuff, which I love doing, I’m home. I’m trying to find my niche’ at FBCnl and at the same time trying to be wise where I commit so that my family can remain the priority.
So, I guess other than our lives completely changing, 2008 could be classified as a boring year because really we’ve been able to experience ‘normal’ life, however normal a pastor’s life can be. We have been so humbled by the blessings that God has allowed us to experience. This coming year we are asking God to move big in our lives and use us to His glory. There is such an urgency to keep moving with the amazing message of Christ’s love that at times is can be overwhelming. We want to be a part of God’s plan and look forward to another year… I would resolve another boring year, but where’s the adventure or the faith in that?!?
Thank you for hanging in there through this long letter, maybe if next year’s boring, a letter won’t be necessary… Please know that you are special part of our lives and we love being able to share with you. We pray for you, and love each of you…
May God bless your family in this coming year…