â€œSo we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.â€ ~2 Corinthians 5:6-9
Dear Family and Friends,
This year has been one of great joys, and great sorrows. But, as always, we have seen Godâ€™s loving, faithful hand in each moment.
January: After experiencing their first snow in December, the kids were especially excited to start out the year with a second snow day! They built (tiny) snowmen, marveled at the icicles, and enjoyed coming inside to warm up with hot chocolate. We also got to enjoy a much too short visit with Jasonâ€™s long-time friend Tim and his son (who is also named Titus), while they were here in the U.S. to share about their Seminary and ministry in South Africa.
February: We celebrated Titusâ€™ 6th birthday with a Rescue Bots-themed birthday party with lots of family, and friends from church. Titus is in 2nd grade this year, and continues to be a serious little student! He loves to learn, and can usually be found with his nose in a book. He regularly maxes out his library card, checking out every book he can find on dinosaurs, wild animals, and bugs. He also loves Legosâ€¦especially if he gets to spend time building with Hannah. (They combine their collections to come up with some incredible creations!) He has kept the â€œtooth fairyâ€ quite busy this year! He lost his 4 of his front teeth in just a couple of weeksâ€¦3 of them within 24 hours!
March: It was a long-awaited answer to prayer to see our church affirm and appoint two faithful, godly men as elders this month! In the 8 years since we came to this church, and the 4 years since Jason became the Senior Pastor, it has been so exciting to see the Lord growing this church! (Spiritually and numerically!) And, as a result, Jason has kept (more than) busy with preaching, counseling, discipling, and overseeing ministries. While ministry is a blessing and a privilege, one person can only accomplish so much. And, it has been a great encouragement to Jason, and to our entire church family, to have these men come alongside him, and help carry some of the burden of teaching, leading, and shepherding our church family. We are so thankful for their sacrificial service and godly example!
As part of our Womenâ€™s Ministry Leadership Team, Veronica kept busy co-teaching 2 of our womenâ€™s Bible Studies and helping to plan our churchâ€™s Spring Ladiesâ€™ Retreat this year. It was a privilege to have Dr. Patricia Ennis come and share her gentle, biblical wisdom with our ladies. It was a great time of rest, fellowship, and renewed friendships.
We also celebrated our newest 3-year-old this month! Rachel is our little ray of sunshine. She has a contagious giggle, and is the family comedienne. She keeps us all laughing with her silly dances, a flair for imitation, and her hilarious observations on life! She is in Pre-School this year, and adds a lot of fun and enthusiasm to our school days. She works hard to keep up with her big siblings in everything. But, as the baby of the family, she is typically the last one to reach those big childhood milestones. So, she surprised us all when she was not the last child in the family to lose her first tooth! She plays hard, and one evening in November, she fell and knocked out one of her front teeth (root and all!). Thankfully, except for the fact that she will be missing that tooth until the permanent one grows in, it doesnâ€™t seem as though there was any lasting damage done. I always say those adorable toothless smiles donâ€™t last nearly long enoughâ€¦
April: Hannah turned 13 this year! (And, after doing the math, we realized that we will continue to have at least one teenager in our home for the next 17 years!) She has such a sweet, easy-going personality, and is a great blessing to our family, and all who know her. Â She is in 8th grade this year, and enjoying the addition of a video math class (and a teacher other than mom!) to her schedule. But, music, writing, and anything artistic are her favorite ways to spend her time. She is continuing to play the flute as part of a homeschool band. She loves to practice, and learn new pieces. And, her hard work paid off when she was moved up to the advanced band this year! She has also joined our church worship team, and it is a joy to see her using her musical abilities to serve our church family!
May: In addition to homeschooling our children, Veronica is continuing to work as a consultant with HomeWorks by Precept, representing BJU Press Homeschool curriculum. She has loved this opportunity to get to know and encourage other homeschooling families, at conventions and events in the Houston and Dallas areas, and is already looking forward to another busy â€œconvention seasonâ€ in 2019!
June: Jason officiated his first funeral earlier in the year. Sadly, it was closely followed by his secondÂ and third funerals, as we said our earthly goodbyes to some dear members of our church. So, it was a special joy for him to marry a couple from our church at the end of June! And, Titus took his role as the ring bearer very seriously!
July: Crazy Texas weather rained out our 4th of July Church Family Picnic! But, we were able to enjoy the day with both sets of grandparents! And, the weather dried out enough to allow us to enjoy an amazing fireworks displayâ€¦from the comfort of our front yard! The rest of the month was, predictably hot and humid. And, we enjoyed many trips to the splash pad, our friendsâ€™ pool, and even a few â€œIce Cream Emergenciesâ€ (publicity events put on by a local Christian radio station).
August: We started our 9th year of homeschooling this year! It definitely makes for some busy days, as each of the kids have very unique academic needs and abilities. But, it is a privilege to help them learn, and to be a part of those â€œlight bulbâ€ moments when a difficult concept finally clicks! But, the best part is being together, working side-by-side, and training not only their minds, but their hearts!
September: After showing evidence of genuine repentance and faith in Christ as her Savior, chose to publicly identify as a follower of Christ, in Believerâ€™s Baptism. She clearly and confidently shared her testimony with our church familyâ€¦and was baptized by her Dad. As her parents, we have had the privilege of watching her faith and love for her Savior grow, and we can truly say, â€œI have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.â€ (3 John 1:4)
October: Rebekah turned 5 this month! She loves to tell people that she is in Kindergarten. Math is her favorite subject, but she is most excited to finally be able to read! She reads anything and everything she can get her eyes on, and loves reading to her little sister. She has more energy than anyone Iâ€™ve ever met, and skips or dances everywhere she goes. She gives 110% to everything she doesâ€¦whether it is quietly playing with her dolls, bike races with her big brother, or working on a phonics lesson! She was so disappointed to miss the age cut-off for the childrenâ€™s ministry at church last year, so she spent the first half of this year excitedly looking forward to joining the big kids in Sunday School! When the time came, she actually got a little nervous about venturing in without, Rachel, her constant sidekick. But, having her big brother there helped!
November: In October, Veronicaâ€™s dad was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer. He passed away only 3 weeks later, on November 1st.Â This world lost an amazing husband, father, grandfather, teacher, and friend. We all miss him more than we can say. But, we are learning what it means that we do not grieve as those who have no hope. Because, there is hope mixed with the sadness as we realize that, this Christmas, he is face to face with the Savior he loved and served with his whole heartâ€¦He is home.
December: This month, as our calendar is filled with special services, concerts, and parties, we know that they are only a glimpse of the joy and celebration that will come when we also stand face to face with our Lord and Savior one day. And, this Christmas, we celebrate not only His birth, but also His sacrificial death and resurrection. And that gift is worth more than anything on earth!
Jason, Veronica, Hannah, Titus, Rebekah, & Rachel