Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Card 2011

Merry Christmas Friends and Family,

As the youngest of the eight, I still very much enjoy the gifts that are given and received at Christmas. I also am excited because this Christmas means that all my siblings will be back on Bentley Farm at the same time! Yet, in the midst of all this excitement, the words of the band, Downhere, speak of an even more awesome joy:

Follow the star to a place unexpected, would you believe after all we've projected, a child in a manger, lowly and small, the weakest of all, unlikeliest hero, wrapped in his mother’s shawl. Just a child - is this who we’ve waited for?

Sarah is happily married to her best friend, Adam, and now is almost five months pregnant with a little baby girl. She continues as a high school chemistry teacher in Kansas. She, Rebecca, and Hannah reunited for some sister-time in May and went on a camping trip together in the Adirondacks. In the spring, Sarah and Adam bought a house in Wichita which they spent four months fixing (with much help) into a home. The two of them really enjoy spending time with their new neighbors and are having fun doing lots of hosting in their new home. Sarah blogs at

When I was eight, Isaac left home full of hopes and dreams. Now six years later, Dr. Isaac Angell returned to Bentley Farm, married to his Allie, expecting a baby girl in January, and so grateful for this cascade of blessings. He and Allie live at the other end of Bentley Lane, about a five minute walk from our house. We visit back and forth a lot. He works with a man he really admires, Dr. Hart, and enjoys his veterinary practice. When he is not at the office or out on a farm call, Isaac loves to work with Allie around Bentley Farm getting it back into production. Their vegetable garden out- produced ours this summer! And thanks to their labors, our fields are once again populated with Ayrshire cows.

I really grew in respect for my brother Nate this year. Nate was so happy to be engaged to Anna, and his heart broke when the relationship ended this summer. Even through this difficult time, Nate has continued to look to God for strength. He still works as an engineering analyst for Black and Veatch focusing on renewable energy in New York City, and has an apartment on the Upper West Side. I am happy when he comes up on the weekends to visit the farm and work with me doing my farm chores. I recently had the opportunity to spend a weekend with Nate in the city and return the favor.

Luke took a break from his academic careet spending the summer and fall with us. He is so enthusiastic about life which means a lot to all of us. In January, he is leaving for the University of Rochester where he will be in a pediatric nurse practitioner program. Luke is so grateful to the medical personnel that helped him after he was born three months early; it is his hope to pass on the blessings of life to the next generation. Luke loves farming as well, and has worked since graduating as a herd manager at a nearby country estate farm. I don’t think anyone is happier in the driver’s seat of a John Deere, working on various projects around the farm, than my brother Luke.

Hannah just glows these days. Her boyfriend, Eric, my good friend as well, is a big part of her joy. Eric was Luke and Isaac’s roommate at Cornell. I find Hannah to be a real ball of energy. Upon graduation, she moved to Brooklyn with long-time friend, Katie Teubl. Hannah works for KPMG, an accounting firm, on her way to becoming a Certified Public Accountant. She never seems to tire as she travels the land with her company. She is home most every weekend with energy still to spare. Hannah loves spending quality time with her two wonderful sisters, Rebecca and Allie.

Jacob values his relationships with his friends, many of whom are older mentors. He made a new friend this year, George Allen. Our whole family was so grateful when George and his wife, Liz, bought Bentley Farm in February. George and Liz have a love for the farm just as we do. Jacob worked on the farm for the whole summer. Jacob applies the same determination and perseverance to his academic work as he does to his farm work. He is now attending Dutchess Community College laboring through his double dose of chemistry and biology. This summer, Jacob and Hannah flew out to Kansas to help Sarah and Adam work on the floors for their new house.

Rebecca really enjoys the sport team experience. She has played volleyball in the spring, soccer in the fall, and now basketball. Her beloved “sheepies” are still very much alive and baaing. Under Rebecca’s supervision her oldest ewe gave birth to two beautiful lambs, Ramekin and Raquel. Rebecca is anticipating studying nursing in college. Rebecca blesses me and the family with her constant kindness, patience and service.

As for me, I played baseball on a team in the spring and worked in the cool hours of the summer mornings weed-whacking on the farm. When Jacob became busy with college studies, I took over his role as landscaper. My greatest adventure of the summer came when I flew out to Kansas by myself and had a blast going to a summer camp with Adam and visiting Sarah and Adam’s home afterward. My hobby remains building with Lego, and I have entered two more competitions as I continue to enjoy this medium of art. I like learning more about the way things work.

Mom and Dad are excited to be welcoming their first grandchildren into the family. We all look to Dad for his wisdom, and revere Mom for her service and love as she continues to teach Rebecca and me at home and visit and encourage her kids spread across the country. Dad has remained serving on several local town committees, and Mom still devotedly cares for our beloved cousin, Maryella, who just turned 94. We very much continue to enjoy having our dear Grandma next door and she amazes us with all sorts of homemade treats from her kitchen.

Reflecting upon Christ entering the world as one of us, I am filled with joy and hope. This Jesus, the servant king, the unlikely hero, the peaceful deliverer, is indeed the One we have waited for!

Merry Christmas for the Angell family,

Caleb Angell