Monday, December 14, 2015

Greetings From Tom and Janet Angell

Dear family and friends,

Our extended family looks forward  to celebrating our 90th year on Bentley Farm--this place we call home.  What a blessing to be able to walk into the same barn as I did as a child with my granddaughter to feed the calves or to mow the meadows that I have tended for nearly a half century with my grandson in my lap  or to walk down the tree shaded lane on the way to the hen house with my grandson carrying a carton to gather that day's collection of eggs.  What a joy to be gathered around the dinner table --with new family members--spouses, grandchildren, and spouses to be-- overflowing with the fruit of the land, surrounded with laughter and energetic conversation. What a growing love that still blossoms after 36 years of marriage.  But most importantly, what a hope in our relationship to Jesus Christ, the light of our world, that continues to shine forth even through the darkness.

In His Hope,

Tom and Janet Angell
Photo: top: Emmaline, bottom: Levi
In our laps: Olivia, Asa, Isabella, Seth, and Eliana

Greetings From Sarah (Angell) Monaghan

Long lay the world,
In sin and error pining,
Till He appeared
And the soul felt its worth!

Dear Friends, Far and Near,

This season finds us once again grateful for all of your friendships that sustain us and give us deep laughter and love! Some of you we see often, and others occasionally or by media updates, but each of you is very precious to us as we know that we cannot do this life alone.

We also find ourselves so thankful for the gifts of this year. My sister, Rebecca, has lived with us and allowed Adam and I to have many dates which has been so life-giving to our marriage. Eliana is very tenderhearted and very sensitive to the condition and emotions of others. She is a treasure! Seth Michael is a ham and brings great laughter into our home with his chuckles and dimples. He is very fun to do life with!

Adam continues to work globally and locally with his jobs in ministry and missions through our regional Friends church. He loves his work. I have moved more fully into the role of mother and homemaker, which has slowed down my days tremendously, but allowed me to soak in the joy of these years with the little ones.

We are so excited to welcome a new baby boy, Elijah Patrick into our family in April of 2016. Both Eliana and Seth have started getting very excited about holding a new baby brother.

I know that this Christmas season can hold many emotions for us all, some of anticipation and joy and others of sorrow and loss as we remember those no longer with us. And perhaps some of us just are overwhelmed by the circumstances of life around us that can seem so heavy at times. Adam and I pray that no matter how your heart connects with Christmas this season, you would have moments to encounter the beauty that struggling and joy are not two chronological steps, one following the other, but two concurrent movements, one fluid with the other. May God comfort you with joy, knowing that instead of explaining our struggling, Jesus shares in it - because He knows that mere answers are cold and His arms are warm. (Italicized quotes from Ann Voskamp)

With deep love and thankfulness for the joy of love, Adam, Sarah, Eliana, and Seth in Wichita, Kansas!

Greetings From Isaac Angell

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth! Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion. Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem: for the Lord hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem. The Lord hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.” Isaiah 52: 7-10

In these days of desperation and these nights of gloom, where is our hope? In the busyness of life and the chaos that ensues, where is our peace found? In the midst of daily pressures, where is our joy?

One of my favorite times of day is returning home from a full day of making vet calls. As I ascend our back steps and peer into our kitchen windows, I typically see my beautiful wife already sitting down with Isabella and Olivia down at the dinner table to see what she can entice them to consume. With a twist of a door knob, I am through the back door.

All at once so many emotions are mixed with one. These days, this time of day can be a long time in coming. Inevitably, the circumstances of the day have led all of our family to some variant of physical or emotional fatigue. For each of us it is different.

Olivia, now one and a half years old, is a bundle of energy, with a quick wit and a mischievous smile. Her love of life can quickly become an overindulgence in life which can lead to those times of day that seem best cured by a nap.

Our three year old, Isabella, has a platitude of contentment, and her observations of life are intriguing. Her intensity can be overwhelming, and often times, a new found element of complication.

Allie is amazing, balancing so many facets of life with such organization and skill. Her love seems boundless, yet to her, there are days she feels it runs dry.

For me, Isaac, my life is full and blessed. And yet, in the pressures of my profession and in the pursuit to keep a discipline to aspects of personal life, I too become far too inundated and consumed by people and cases to which I feel an obligation.

As I burst through the kitchen door, the aforementioned state for each one of us is real, yet for a brief second it seems all behind us. Fortunately, while very tangible, these moments in our lives may add definition, but they do not define us.

What elation my heart feels when Bella lights up and says, “Hi Pops” and Olivia adds banter to the excitement saying, “Me, mee, meee” wanting her greeting with a kiss. How the worries of the day often seem to wash away with a sweet kiss from my dear wife. How precious this life is.

For us, this year, the precious moments of life were abundant. This past winter we welcomed in the New Year with a vacation down to Florida where I had a chance to catch up on continuing education. On the last day of trip we made time to marvel at the beauty of the ocean. In an awe that only a child can have, as we walked up over the sand dune, and the view of the ocean came into Isabella’s view for the first time she blurted out, “Are we walking up into the sky?” Since our return, Bella has been faithfully packing her bags with regularity in anticipation of a return trip this coming year. This spring our family favorite was helping my brother and sister-in-law fence in a fifteen acre pasture on their newly acquired portion of Bentley Farm. How fun it is to get excited about working together as a family. A summer favorite for Allie and I was reliving the way our love began: milking cows. For a three month stint this summer, Allie’s and my day would begin at five am milking our cows that we moved to a back field during a time of transition. The joy it was to begin everyday with my lifelong girlfriend was phenomenal. As summer turned to fall, we said good-bye to our 97 year old cousin, Maryella, who lived with my parents for the past seven years and who had become a pillar of our everyday lives as she lived in the other half of our house. It was in her bedroom, a couple days before she died, that we found Isabella, with such a caring heart for Maryella, sitting in her sofa-like “princess chair” reading to her books in a ministry of love and presence. As the weather turned colder, Olivia often came running to me at chore time with her front pack yelling, “Me, mee, meee” wanting me to strap her on my front and zip her inside my jacket so that just her head was popping out. It was there that she got to be close to “Papa” and her world expanded to the great outdoors.

Yes, it was to human lives like these, frayed yet precious, that Jesus came and dwelt amongst. He came and offered us a different way of looking at life: that regardless of the circumstances, He shows us there is hope. A hope that is not transient, but eternal. A hope that offers us peace. Living in this hope and peace, there is so much joy. It is this palpable joy that so permeates my favorite time of day. It is not that we have created it, it is a Hope, Peace, and Joy, that was given to us and found in a stable a long time ago.

Merry Christmas, Isaac, Allie, Isabella, and Olivia Angell

Greetings From Nathaniel Angell

“Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.” - 1 Peter 1:8

This has been a year full of joy. Early in the year, we were grateful to learn that Nate could telecommute from home about 3-4 days a week. This change allowed us to move back home to Bentley Farm! We are loving it – Nate enjoys working around the farm in his free time and Meghan enjoys gardening and hanging out with Janet, Allie, Isabella, and Olivia. We also enjoyed partnering with Isaac and Allie in milking three cows over the summer. A great joy for Meghan has been working with Janet and Allie to host the Morning Glory ladies fellowship on Friday mornings, focusing on seeing God’s goodness all around us.  Nate has enjoyed returning as a leader alongside Jacob to Christian Service Brigade (Battalion), a leadership development program for young men at our local church.
We were blessed to have friends and family help us this spring to complete the perimeter fence project on our 18 acres of land on Bentley Farm and the cows grazed there all summer long! Nate was also blessed with the opportunity to take his Professional Engineering Exam at the end of October. With these projects behind us, we are looking forward to diving into building a house on our land in the next couple years. We are also excited to be getting a Miniature Australian Shepherd puppy we’ve named Rosie just four days after Christmas!
Even though Jesus entered our world many years ago, we know he is still with us.  We have not seen the Child in the manger, the star leading to Bethlehem, the angels announcing his birth, the shepherds and flocks in worship, his mother singing him to sleep. But we are filled with hope and joy because the reality of Christmas has touched a chord in our hearts and despite not seeing these wonders we know the story is true. We experience his presence – rejoicing on the mountaintops we hear his voice, and walking through the valleys he holds our hand.  Most of all, we feel his love.  At Christmas we celebrate Jesus coming down from heaven to rescue humanity because of his overwhelming love for us. Jesus is our Savior, Redeemer and Friend and therefore we have great joy! Merry Christmas!

Greetings From Luke Angell

Greetings from Rochester,
As I was walking home from work in the wee hours of the morning, the snowflakes were glittering in the crisp air as the moon shined down around me. And as I was walking I found myself looking up at heaven and reflecting back to over 2000 years ago when Christ Jesus was born in a manger surrounded by cattle, donkey's, and camels. In the Bible in the book of Matthew it talks about the great joy the wise man experienced when they saw the star shining in the sky leading to Jesus’s birthplace in Bethlehem. When the Wiseman found Him with his mother in the lonely stable they presented their gifts and worshiped him. And just as the Wiseman worshiped him over 2 millenniums ago, I look forward to joyfully singing one of my favorite Christmas songs throughout this Christmas season to reflect upon the greatest gift that we have been given.

In the bleak mid-winter
  Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
  Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
  Snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter
  Long ago.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him
  Nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away
  When He comes to reign:
In the bleak mid-winter
  A stable-place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty,
  Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, whom cherubim
  Worship night and day,
A breastful of milk
  And a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels
  Fall down before,
The ox and ass and camel
  Which adore.

Angels and archangels
  May have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim
  Thronged the air,
But only His mother1
 In her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the Beloved
  With a kiss.

What can I give Him,
  Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
  I would bring a lamb,
If I were a wise man
  I would do my part,
Yet what I can I give Him,
  Give my heart.

Our lives were forever changed this past summer when we accepted Emmaline June in to this world. She is a true bundle of joy and a blessing from above. Abby is thankful for the ability to stay at home fulltime to care for Emmaline and continues to pursue her hobbies of drawing, sewing, and baking. Luke continues to work at the University of Rochester Medical Center. He graduated with his pediatric nurse practitioner degree this past May and continues to pursue his Doctorate in Nursing Practice. We are truly grateful for all of the blessings that this year has brought.

As you go about the hustle and bustle of this Christmas Season may you take a moment to reflect on the most precious gift that was given to us, born in a lonely stable over 2000 years ago. May you know His Joy this Christmas.
Merry Christmas,
Luke, Abby, and Emmaline

Greetings From Hannah (Angell) Hunt

Merry Christmas from Indiana!

 Eric and Hannah welcomed Levi Bentley to their family on June 28th. Together Asa (21 months) and Levi (5 months) bring many giggles, babbles, squeaks and squawks to the Hunt household. Asa is in a fun stage of learning to communicate. He has two main fascinations – moos (cows) and trash. Levi is a happy camper and loves being entertained by his big brother.
Eric continues in his engineering job and saw one of his projects release to production this fall. His creative endeavors for the year included remodeling a bathroom and numerous wood working projects. In between the above activities he enjoys wrestling with the boys or training for sprint triathlons.

Hannah has been grateful for raising the boys in a kid-friendly town and for the relationships that she has been able to form with other moms. When she is not at the playground or pushing her double stroller, she can be found doing bookwork for non-for-profit organizations and leading a tween girls’ group at their church.

The Hunts appreciated time with family including travels to the annual Amish Auction, the first ever Angell Family Gathering Extravaganza and Lake George. With a life goal of getting to as many national parks as possible, Eric and Hannah enjoyed bringing their little ones along to visit Shenandoah National Park in October.

Greetings From Jacob Angell

The Christmas season and the start of a new year is always a great time to reflect on all the many blessings God has provided throughout the year. In May, my  season of education was brought to a close at The Dyson School at Cornell University.  I was truly very fortunate to be able to attend such a great school and build close friendships. Coming out of Cornell, I was thankful to be offered many opportunities for employment, but the one I choose was from one of my mentors over the years, locally here in the Hudson Valley. He offered me the job as his CFO of his construction management company. I am very glad to have taken the opportunity, and I have enjoyed the challenges and rewards of the job. It is also nice to be back in the Hudson Valley. One of my favorite phrases is "Living the Dream" and it is so true. This phrase even became more true for me when I met, my girlfriend, Chelsea. She is finishing up her senior year of nursing at Roberts Wesleyan College. Chelsea is a dream girlfriend and I look forward to the road ahead with her! Blessings to all this Holiday Season! Merry Christmas!

Greetings From Rebecca Angell

Merry Christmas! I love this time of year when we all have the chance to reflect on the gift of God’s son, Jesus Christ. As I think about this beautiful gift wrapped in swaddling clothes, I am touched by the way God use the most humble of circumstances to give humankind the greatest offering imaginable.  Through this baby Jesus, hope, peace, freedom, and love was brought to this earth in a way that has touched lives ever since. I think personally to the ways God has allowed these blessings to touch my life this year.
                One of these many blessings has been living out here in Wichita, KS with Sarah’s family while attending college.  Coming home to the smiling, friendly faces of my niece and nephew, a steamy hot meal waiting for me to dive into, and a warm home with lots of love, is any college students dream! In addition, God has blessed me this year by fulfilling one of my life long dreams by opening the doorway for me towards becoming a nurse. This past year I was accepted into Wichita State University’s nursing program and I have loved participating in my classes, gaining new friendships, and being able to put all I am learning into practice through clinical rotations. It is crazy for me to think that next year at this time I will be graduating! Another huge way God has blessed me this year is through a sweet young man, John Gray. We started dating this past September, and together we have loved getting to know God better and thinking about how best our lives can be used for God’s work on this earth.
                I am overflowing with thankfulness for these gifts, and many more, that God has poured into my life. Yet, I am most thankful for Jesus, because through him these gifts have been made available to me. May God reveal his blessings upon your life this Christmas season.

Greetings From Caleb Angell

This past year has been an incredible one, and I am quite grateful for all the opportunities I have been given. I started off my year by joining Rebecca and Jacob for the Friends’ Summit Conference in San Diego, California, over winter break. It was a wonderful opportunity to become more involved with the Evangelical Friends church, and to make new friends. I then finished out my sophomore year at SUNY Dutchess, and graduated with an Associate’s degree in the liberal arts. The summer was well spent, working locally, managing and caretaking farm estates. I was blessed to be able to find the time to travel to Kansas to visit Adam, Sarah, and Rebecca, as well as to participate and counsel at a Friends’ camp. In addition, I was able to make the journey to Oxford, England, to attend the Zacharias Trust Oxford Summer School at Queen’s College. This was certainly a highlight of the year, and I was able to glean much from the lecturers and was greatly affirmed and encouraged by the attendees and speakers I conversed with. What free time I had during the summer season was spent quite enjoyably in the company of good friends hiking, swimming, visiting our favorite pizza and ice cream shops, and watching movies.
      As August and the summer came to a close, I packed up and flew out to Friends University in Wichita, Kansas, to continue the pursuit of my bachelor’s degree. I decided to do a dual major in History & Political Science and Christian Spiritual Formation, and a minor in economics. Friends University has offered a phenomenal educational experience, and I am greatly enjoying the rich community of students and faculty. In conclusion, I wish to remind us all of the promise that God gave to us through the prophet Micah; “’But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.’ He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth. And he will be our peace...” As I look forward to returning home shortly to join the family for my favorite time of the year, I am deeply thankful for the fulfillment of this promise, the embodiment of the logos, Jesus Christ, and I take heart in the abiding peace that His presence brings.