Saturday, January 01, 2005

Christmas 1996

Dear Family and Friends,

We rejoice in the precious gift of love that God sent to us in His son, Jesus Christ, and we continue to give thanks for His love that we share as a family.

Dad turned forty this year! To celebrate the family planned a surprise camping trip (our first ever). We went at a beautiful time of year and were wonderfully blessed with a peaceful time together. Dad has started taking Mom out on a breakfast date every Saturday morning; it’s been a great time for them to share as a couple.

Mom had an unusually exciting year as she went to Hawaii to visit her sister, and to Minnesota for her twentieth high school reunion. Both were very special and meaningful times for her to be with family and friends. In September Mom had a miscarriage, and although we were sad over not yet being able to meet our precious little brother/sister, we felt overwhelmed with God’s goodness. Mom says she couldn’t be a happier mom staying at home with seven great kids, and I say I couldn’t be a happier girl staying at home with one great mom.

My (Sarah, 13) highlight of the year was working with the Ralph Bell Crusade (part of the Billy Graham Association) in Poughkeepsie as a counselor and choir member. I also had a fun time at the Dutchess County Fair, staying with Isaac and his heifer for a week. I started taking Spanish this year, and although it is challenging, I am liking it. I enjoy babysitting, cooking, reading, and writing.

Isaac, 11, well, what’s new? He loves working the farm with Farmer Henry! He’s very interested in oxen, and is faithfully training Bob, the ox. Isaac’s big dream is to get a team of oxen for Christmas. Although Isaac hates to ever leave the farm, he did enjoy going on a couple of trips this year. He and Nathaniel had an excellent canoe trip with Dad and other men and boys from our fellowship. He also ~had an inspiring time with Dad at Promise Keepers. Isaac’s heifer, Autumn Jeanne, won third and sixth place in two different shows at the county fair. He hopes to be able to milk her next autumn. Isaac is a diligent worker.

Nathaniel, 9, had an exciting summer. He took the train with Mom to Minnesota and had being with all the folks out there. Mom and Dad bought Nathaniel a yellow lab mix named Amy. Although she is very loving, she is extremely strong and energetic. (I somehow got the thrilling job of training her.) Nathaniel still loves to read and has quite an amazing knowledge of history. He is very loving and is caring with the little ones.

Luke, 7, is an excellent helper. When asked to do a job he often replies, “I’d love to.” He encourages the rest of the family with his joy in life, even in working, and shows us that true happiness comes from being a servant. Luke continues to make great progress with his therapy programs. He is very thankful to God for the gift of his life.

Hannah, 5, is very quiet and sweet. She loves to giggle. She and Rebecca have fun times playing and laughing. Hannah thoroughly enjoys doing schoolwork and housework, often doing more than required. She and Luke, “our little scholars”, like being taught together and are learning how to read, do addition and subtraction, tell time, and write.

Jacob, 3, is a compassionate young fellow. He is a real charmer with a contagious smile that lights up his whole face. He adores Rebecca and often walks around the house holding her hand. He tries to help her (although he is not always too appreciated). Jacob has made great strides in learning how to be an obedient little boy. Jacob, also, is interested in farming - he loves to “drive” the tractor and “help” Henry.

Rebecca, 20 months, is very joyful. She gives out kisses and hugs by the dozens. Rebecca has been far more bold than any of the rest of us and has gone up to complete strangers to sit in their laps or be picked up. She deve1oped an especially close relationship with Grandad when he lived next door and now, months later, still eagerly awaits his visits.

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you.” (John 14:27) I pray that your heart will be filled more abundantly with His peace throughout this coming year.
Love, Sarah