Saturday, January 01, 2005

Christmas 1994

“Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel (which means, God with us).” Matthew 1:23

Dear Family and Friends,

This past year all of us here at Bentley Farm have been thankful for the many ways in which God has shown Himself always with us. We’ve never written a Christmas letter before but I thought this year I’d like to share some of the joys we’ve experienced in the last year.

I (Sarah), 11, had a great amount of sickness starting in the Spring and continuing through part of the summer. But, as rough as that time was, it was also a great turning point in the life of our family. We thought that my stress related to attending public school contributed to my sickness. Prayer was answered and now the three oldest children are being taught at home and the year has been going great. I also have a great love for music, and I recently started to play the guitar for which is a gift I am very thankful. One of my favorite hobbies is to cook meals for the family.

Isaac, 9, has a great love for the farm and this past year Isaac really has enjoyed going down to the farm every day to help his “best” friend, Henry, the farmer, bring in the hay, help with the chores, and work on many projects. This past year our family opened our home to three children (Ian, Shannon, and Lauren Inger) for about six months while their parents completed Christian drug rehabilitation programs. Isaac and Ian were real pals. As a result of having the Ingers here we got a 15 year old, 15 passenger van. Isaac really loves it and wants it to be the first car he’ll ever drive (even though the van is continually needing fixing).

Nathaniel, 7, has a real love for reading and you can always find him with his nose in a book. Nathaniel also lost his first tooth this year and learned to ride his bike. Nathaniel has a very tender hear, always willing to help and almost every day will take care of Jacob so my mom can have some quiet time to herself.

Luke, 5, has been going to the public school three mornings a week for speech, physical, and occupational therapy to help him with his mild cerebral palsy. He has nice therapists there who he loves a lot. Luke is very thankful for the life he’s been given and always is joyful and laughing. We call Luke and Hannah “Mr. and Mrs. Giggle.”

Hannah, 3, is always smiling and spends a lot of her time writing her own style of letters and pretending to read my books. Hannah and Jacob really love each other and show their love by hugging each other when ever they wake up and see each other.

Jacob, 1, has a strong will and is very lovable and cute. He spends his day exploring everything from toilet paper to the garbage can.

We all rejoice that we are expecting a seventh child in April.

My mom is a great example to me of faith and patience. She took care of nine kids (10 years old and younger – 3 in diapers) earlier this year. She now homeschools. And in the end she says to me, “I feel a great wholeness to the fullness of my days.”

My dad is still working as a public defender in the City of Poughkeepsie. He is President of the Board of two service organizations (one helps feed and clothe the poor and the other helps women and their unborn children in crisis pregnancies). At home he shows great wisdom as leader of the family.

Have a good year filled with love from above.