Dear Friends and Family,
“My heart overflows with a pleasing theme; I address my verses to the king; my tongue is like the pen of a ready scribe.” Psalm 45:1
Although it is hard to believe that 2008 is (rapidly!) coming to a close, looking back, our hearts do overflow with praises to God for His goodness and His abundant blessings to us over the past twelve months.
Our little girl turned a grown up 3-years-old in April! Ever the girly-girl, Hannah loves sparkles, princesses, ballerinas, and fairies. We celebrated her birthday, appropriately, with a princess-themed, dress-up party! While most of her friends started pre-school this year, Hannah was not among them, as we have decided to homeschool her. She loves to learn, and is full of questions – about everything! Right now, she loves to practice writing her letters, and is enjoying learning how to sound out words – on her way to learning how to read! So far, she is a great little student, and has made homeschooling very easy on her teacher (Mommy). Hannah also started taking a Princess Ballet class this year, and loves “ballerina-ing!” She is always eager to show off her newly acquired dance skills! This year also brought the start of Awana Cubbies! She has done a great job memorizing her verses each week, and we are so thankful to see her hiding God’s Word in her heart! She is also quite the social butterfly, and loves having friends over to play, or having sleepovers at Grandma’s house. (I think Grandma likes them too!)
This year, I (Veronica) had the privilege of serving as a table leader at our church’s women’s Bible study. I also joined Hannah a Cubbies each week as her leader (yes, I am back in Awana!). And, of course, there were ballet classes, park days, and play-dates to referee…Our days are full, but I love it! I just can’t imagine anything better than being a “stay-at-home” wife and mommy…I am still humbled each day at the amazing opportunity and responsibility that the Lord has given me – to teach, train, care for, play with, comfort, pray for, and love our daughter. And, I am very thankful for a wonderful husband who works so hard to allow me this privilege!!
Jason has continued working 2 jobs (full-time for the local high school district, and part-time with the Care Ministry at church). He has also enjoyed teaching our Sunday School class each week. And, much of this year has also been spent in various phases of the candidating process, looking for a full-time pastoral position. Last year, we promised to keep you updated if, and when something happened. But, there hasn’t really been much to report…until now!
In July, while visiting, and interviewing with a church in Texas, the Lord blessed us with a (too short!) visit with Jason’s parents (the Tarbells). And, Jason was also able to catch up with an old friend, who happened to be on the search committee at the church where he was interviewing! Although we enjoyed our time there, the Lord ultimately had other plans for our little family…
In September Jason and I traveled to the Arizona desert, to visit another church. And, in October, Jason was offered, and accepted, the position of Associate Pastor at Way of Grace Church in Buckeye, Arizona (just outside of Phoenix)!
Needless to say, the year is not ending on the same quiet and uneventful note in which it began! The last several weeks have been busy with sorting, packing, house-hunting, wrapping up various activities and ministry commitments, and saying good-bye to friends and family.
Our home here in California has been on the market since October of 2007, and, although we have had several offers, it still has not sold. But, we have found a wonderful home to rent in Arizona, which, by the way, has plenty of room for guests! Our stuff will be moving in on December 13th, and, Lord-willing we will follow it on December 29th. We are looking forward to Christmas here in California with Veronica’s family, and continuing the celebration (and the unpacking!) with Jason’s parents once we arrive in Arizona!
Hannah is handling the moving chaos extremely well. Although I don’t think she completely comprehends all that it entails, she will tell you that she is excited about moving to Arizona. She is convinced that there are new friends to be made, and new adventures to be had. We will all miss our dear friends, and family here in California, but we are so excited about what the Lord has in store for us in Buckeye! Way of Grace is a wonderful little church, and we are looking forward to becoming part of this body of believers!
Amidst the busyness and uncertainty of this past year, as we all reflect on the birth of our Savior, may you too be awed and overwhelmed by our Lord’s blessing and grace in your lives. And, as we look forward to a new year, anticipating His return, may your hearts delight in His mercies that are new every morning!!
By His Grace,
Jason, Veronica, & Hannah Whitley