Dear Family and Friends,
Is it just me, or do the days, and months pass with increasing speed each year? I am amazed each time I realize that another year is coming to a closeâ€¦not only at how quickly time has passed, but also at all that the Lord has done!
At the end of last year, we realized that it was time to say goodbye to our faithful vehicle of 10 years. When I thought about how we had our Jeep longer than we had lived anywhere, I half-joked that I might be more sentimental about getting rid of it than about moving out of any of our previous homes. After all, that was the car that brought our first three babies safely home from the hospital, and carried us over thousands of miles, through two interstate moves! But, adding another, albeit tiny, passenger (and her not-so-tiny carseat!) was just not an option. Normally, I am not a fan of car shopping, but this was a fairly easy process. And, the Lord provided a good deal on a vehicle with enough room for our growing family. Yes. We became minivan people! And, to be honest, I actually like driving a minivan!
Â Â Rachel Susannah, was born at 2:17 p.m., on March 23rd. She weighed 8 pounds, 7 ounces, and was 20 Â½ inches long. Her joyful, content personality has been such a sweet addition to our family! She is now 8 months old, and is all smiles and giggles! While teething has disrupted her normally-good sleeping patterns a little bit, it hasnâ€™t changed her sweet disposition at all. She now has 2 teeth, and is currently working on a third! I love hearing her grunt and babble at her books, toys, and her big siblings! She loves to eat, and has enjoyed trying out all sorts of new foods. Right now, anything she can feed herself seems to be her favorite! And, as I type, she is probably only days away from crawlingâ€¦and keeping up with her big brother and sisters!
Rebekah turned 2 years old in October. And, she is very 2. She is full of energy, curiosity, and stubborn determination. This has led to more than a few bumps and bruises for her, and a few heart-stopping moments for her mom! But, she has also put that 2-year-old determination to good use by deciding to potty train herself! (Potty-training 2 children this year was definitely not part of my plan, but, why not? She is making it really easy!) She has also joined her big brother and sister at the school table this year! She is so excited to â€œdo schoolâ€ each day, and, even with a short attention span, she has an incredible memory, and is doing well! She loves to help me around the house whenever she can, and takes her new responsibility of feeding the cats very seriously! Although she seemed a little unsure about losing her status as the baby of the family earlier this year, she loves playing with Rachel, and has become a very caring big sister. Although, â€œbigâ€ sister might be a bit misleading. Even though she is statistically tall for her age, she is still pretty tiny. There is only a 3 pound weight difference between her and her 8 month old sister! I have a feeling it wonâ€™t be long until people start asking if they are twins!
Titus turned 3 in February! He has grown up so much this year! Starting with the fact that he is now fully potty-trained! He is in preschool again this year, and, has eagerly jumped into our school days with a surprising amount of focus and concentration! He could practice writing his letters for hours (and, on occasion, has done just that!). But, his favorite part of the day is reading time. He has been begging to learn how to read for months, so, we are working though the book Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons together. And, while Iâ€™m not sure he would agree with the â€œeasyâ€ part, he is a hard worker, and definitely up to the challenge. When I asked him why he wanted to learn to read, he told me, it was because he wants to read his Bibleâ€¦by himself. He is still all boy, and loves to run around outside. I think the back yard may be his favorite part of the house! He still loves his trains, cars, and tools. But, monster trucks are his newest obsession. He is in a unique position as the little-big brother. So, appropriately, he alternates between terrorizing his sisters, and protecting them from the anonymous â€œbad guysâ€. He cheerfully entertains his baby sister, and loves to make her smile and laugh with his goofy faces and silly noises.
Hannah turned 10 in April! Ten. Entirely too grown up for my liking. But, it is a joy to watch her grow in to a sweet, creative, beautiful young lady! We celebrated her birthday with a Frozen-themed party, which she planned, and executed, all on her own! She loves helping in the kitchen, so she even helped make most of the food for the party! With a 12 day old baby, it was definitely a bit more low-key than she was originally hoping for, but Iâ€™m not sure it would have happened at all without her meticulous planning (and help from Grandma!). She is in 5th grade in our homeschool this year! Creation-Science steadfastly remains her favorite subject, as we continue our study of Zoology for the second year. This yearâ€™s focus is on ocean animals, and she is rapidly becoming a walking encyclopedia of sea-animal trivia! (Seriously. Ask her anything!) Outside of school, her interests lie in anything crafty or artistic. Thanks to a monthly girlsâ€™ group at church, she learned how to sew and crochet, and made a cute little hat, and a fun apron! She is a great help around the house helping me in the kitchen, or with the daily cleaning. And, she is great at organizing! She changes diapers like a pro, entertains little people, reads stories, and is just a wonderful and creative big sister! She loves her brother and sisters. And, they adore her as well.
It is a joy to see how much my children love and enjoy each other. And, at times, it still overwhelms me to see them all running around, laughing, and playing together. They are each such unique, and amazing answers to our prayers of so many years.
Life at home keeps me busy. I spend my days playing cars, changing diapers, coloring pictures, washing dishes, picking up stray Legos, and potty-training (x2!), while attempting to conquer mountains of laundry! I teach numbers, letters, and colors, alongside long division and ancient Greek mythology. And I answer the question â€œwhy?â€ more times than I can count. It is an exhausting, and at times overwhelming responsibility to train and disciple our children. But, it is also my greatest joyâ€¦and a whole lot of fun!
Â Jason has been the Senior/Teaching pastor at Grace Community Bible Church for over a year now. He is greatly enjoying studying and teaching through the book of Acts, as well as special series on Sanctification, and Perseverance. And he had the privilege of baptizing 2 people from our church this year! As the only pastor/elder, it has been challenging at times, to keep up with all the needs of a growing church. But, he was able to bring on several deacons and an administrative assistant to help him with various ministries and responsibilities. It has been an incredible blessing to see the Lord growing our church â€“ both spiritually and numerically â€“ over the past year!!
When we moved to Texas, 5 years ago, the Lord provided a great little house for us about a mile from our church. And, at that time, it fit our family of 3 perfectly, with room to spare! But, our family has since doubled in size. And, it was becoming a complicated game of Tetris just to figure out how to fit everyone, and everything, in. We put that house on the market in July, and, thanks to a great friend and realtor, our house sold (very!) quickly! And, so began the exciting (and exhausting!) process of finding a new place to call home.
While we originally dismissed what would be our new house as a possibility, the Lord perfectly worked out the timing, the finances, and so many little details and desires, and gave us a new home that we absolutely love! (And, even though we are technically in a new town, we really only moved across the street. And, we are still only a mile from our church!) We moved in at the beginning of September, and are enjoying the process of getting settled, and working to turn our new house into more than just a place to eat, sleep, and store our belongings.
While our lives, and certain seasons especially, can seem impossibly busy, they really are very ordinary. But, it is in that everyday, ordinary, Christian life, that there is also great joy and anticipation as we see what God is doing, and what He will do, in us and through us to accomplish His purposes. It is an incredibly humbling privilege to serve Him as He chooses.
May this Christmas and the year to come be one of joy and anticipation for you, as you seek to serve our Savior each day!
Jason, Veronica, Hannah, Titus, Rebekah, & Rachel
â€œKnow that the Lord, He is God! It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise! Give thanks to Him; bless His name!â€
Psalm 100:3-4 (ESV)