Saturday, December 19, 2009

Our Christmas Letter- a year in review

Dear friends and family

We started off with a huge house remodel project. Demolition started a couple of weeks into the New Year. We designed a new kitchen and replaced flooring throughout the entire house. Our church graciously provided this for us. Our home is always a revolving door anyway with my music students but it was even more so with constant workers in and out. The dust and constant disarray were rough, especially with a new walker on the loose. We managed and by the end of March we had our home in order again. It’s beautiful and I can now talk at length about hard wood floors, countertops, wood stain and appliances.

We left the mess behind for a week in Feb. and took the kids out of school to do a little ministry. We traveled to Vegas, San Diego and Phoenix meeting with church planters in 3 different new churches. The kids had a lot of homework to do but we saw most great sites from here to there (Hoover Dam, Grand Canyon, LegoLand, La Jolla beach and the seals)

In March Cody, Silas and I headed west again on a church ski trip. Silas is getting much more comfortable on the snowboard. My mom stayed with Cady and Charis.

In April Cody and a fellow pastor friend headed north to Chicago for a conference. I finished a 10 week session on a new project- a secondary homeschool choir. We ended the time with a concert featuring “spirituals”. I quite enjoyed the time and hope to do it again. The students I worked with were a lot of fun.

On April 9th just after Easter our town was evacuated due to a large uncontrolled grass fire. We’ve been through this before but never had it hit the town. Cody has served as a vol. Fireman. These were much worse than the 2006 fires, we had 20 families displaced and set up aid immediately. The closest home burned was about 3 blocks from us. We did relief work all summer long on Sunday afternoons. Three families from our own congregation lost homes. One couple in their 80s lost a lifetime of irreplaceable treasures. They moved in next door to us, we hope to be a blessing to them in the aftermath.

We did not travel for a full year after Charis was born but made up for it this year. We all went to Louisville, KY for the SBConvention in June. We also did Falls Creek youth camps. I had a popular blog this summer entitled “the 90 days of summer”. We found picture worthy things each day and posted for our facebook friends. It was a great project. Practice for the book I hope to write one day!

July was Bible School (I just helped) and a preteen leadership camp I put on (another new project). I continued to teach one day a week in the summer, gaining a few new students. At the end of July the kids and I joined a friend and her kids for a week in Branson at a lovely resort. We had a blast enjoying all Branson has to offer, (my third trip there and yet to see a show!) We started letterboxing again. Where you get clues off the Internet and find boxes with stamps in them hidden all over the world.

August Cody and I celebrated 13 years of marriage in Eureka Springs, Arkansas in a tree house. A wonderful 3 days while the kids hung out in Tulsa with my parents. I applied for an elementary teaching job in Duncan but God had other plans for this school year. I now have over 20 piano, voice and guitar students and teach 2 days a week in Duncan (20 min. away). I also started yet another new project- children’s theatre in the fall. Used our church as a starting place. We just finished the program this past weekend and it was a huge success. 9 scenes, 7 main actors, 10 or more minor speaking, 10 songs, 51 kids total ages 5 mo to 13! It was a privilege working with that group of kids, there is a lot of talent here that is undeveloped.

The traveling reached it’s zenith for myself when I went exactly half way around the world to Nepal with a team of 5 others and my dad. It was an experience beyond my wildest imagination. From the gorgeous backdrop of the Himalayan mts (including mt. Everest) to meeting the sweetest believers and traveling 50 hours by plane- it was something I will do again. The time with my father was priceless, brings me to tears even now. I reported my experiences in yet another “blog” on facebook. The response was overwhelming.

We’ve also endured chicken pox (Charis), a tanning bed burn (Lori) and a severe case of poison ivy (Cody). & traveled multiple times to Ft. Worth to my brother’ s new home, we’ll end the year traveling (seems appropriate) first to Tulsa then to a surprise destination with Cody’s family for 2 nights. I was also in a wedding in Oct. and led 2 Bible Studies this year- one on Esther, one on the book of Daniel.

The kids are growing fast, Silas and Cady both have been involved in Karate, 4H and mission clubs (GA’s/RA’s) this year and will start basketball in Jan. They are now both reading well and we enjoy learning about all kinds of things. They are in 2nd and 3rd grade. Charis keeps us entertained and has a special relationship to us all, esp. daddy since they spend a lot of time together when I teach. She is very smart and we are trying to potty train.

Our biggest and best news of all is that Silas has decided to receive salvation and is awaiting baptism. He did this on Aug 16th, the same night my life long friend Becky Graves had her precious baby Levi. They share a birthday! One spiritual, one physical. We know God is working in Cady’s life and hope she’ll join Silas one day soon.

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