December 25, 2008
To all our dear friends and family:
Wishing each one of you a Merry Christmas! May it be merry because of the joy we share in the beauty and greatness of the Lord. May it be joyful because of the redemption Christ has purchased for His people when He was born of Mary, crucified, and arose.
This hymn has been one of special meaning to our family this season. It beautifully unites Christ's birth and death.
Viewing Bethlehem's stable we rejoice and grieve
Joy to see You lying in Your manger bwed,
Weep to see You dying, in our sinful stead.
Prince of Glory, gracing Heav'n ere time began
Now for us embracing death as Son of Man
By Your birth so lowly, by Your love so true
By Your cross most holy, Lord, we worship You!
Beth-l'hem's Incarnation, Calvary's bitter cross
Wrought for us salvation by Your pain and loss.
Now we fall before You in this holy place;
Prostrate we adore You for Your gift of grace.
With profoundest wonder we Your body take-
Laid in manger yonder, broken for our sake.
Hushed in adoration we approach the cup
Bethlehem's pure oblation freely offered up.
Christmas Babe so tender, Lamb who bore our blame,
How shall sinners render praises due Your name?
Do Your own good pleasure in the lives we bring
In Your ransomed treasure reign forever King!
(Note: This is a professional photograph from Leed's Photography. I'm not sure what the legalities are as far as copying this photo. ;-)
Mom and Dad celebrated 26 years of marriage this year. Our family has undergone many changes and growing experiences this year, and they have helped, encouraged, and counseled each child in their needs, always leading us to the throne of grace. Their love for the Lord and for each other is the glue that keeps our family knit together.
Our newest princess, Emerson, finally arrived a few weeks ago. Kendra, being the sweet sister that she is, had invited me to be there for her birth. However, Emerson had different plans. I spent a week with Dan and Kendra, helping out, and waiting for her arrival, but to no avail. I drove home on Friday, and Emerson was born the following Sunday. Thankfully, I was able to be there a few minutes after her birth, with Mom and Dad following a few hours later. Emerson is a dainty little girl, and is so cuddly! What a precious bundle of joy.
Daniel and Kendra have blessed our family, and me personally in so many ways. Daniel has a gift for business, and we have enjoyed hearing about the wise way he has managed his finish carpentry business, Millworks By Design. Daniel continues to be an awesome big brother, and contributes, by his gifts, personality, and experience, so much to our family circle. Kendra, being the Mom of three under the age of three, is amazing. Watching my siblings parent is awesome, and they are blazing the trail for the rest of us. :-) Kendra is always inspiring me by her creativity, artistic personality, and love for life. She has been a wonderful big sister to me, and I have loved our times together this year.
Olivia has the prettiest little smile, and her peals of laughter bring joy to my heart. She loves pushing the doll stroller around, with her feminine little voice rising above the rest. Livy, Livy, we love you!
Jaelynn has grown into quite the young lady this year. She adores all things feminine, and can carry on a conversation that makes you forget just how old she is. :-) Jaelynn is a wonderful mommy to her dolls. When she flashes that smile, be careful, or your heart may melt.Precious, handsome little Graham continues to delight us all every day. His smiles and bright eyes never fail to bring forth camera flashes, and exlamations of delight from all. We were excited to welcome the first third generation Parish man into the family! I must say . . . his cheeks are so kissable!
Max and Jenny will celebrate their first wedding anniversary in a few days. Wow! Their love for each other is beautiful to behold, and is an encouragement to their younger siblings that true love is worth waiting for. They have lived right next door to us this year, and this has been an incredible blessing! Max has studied so diligently this year, as well as teaching his class through Sharper Quill. Mom and Dad gave me the opportunity to take this class, and I can testify to his fantastic teaching skills! :-) Jenny, my dear sister, has exhibited her homemaking skills in transforming their trailer into a beautiful home. She has served our family in many ways this year, as well as being a big support to Max.
This year in particular has been one of immense growth in my life. The older I become, the more I'm realizing how vital trusting the Lord is. I'm so thankful for the encouragement of my parent's, my brother's, and my precious sister's in Christ. Thankfully, God has given me many interests to pursue, and so many area's in which to serve. Writing, photography, natural medicine, art and literature are a few of my interests. God has blessed me richly, and my hands are always filled with things to accomplish.
I'm so thankful for Simon. His efficiency and work ethic has blessed our family incredibly. Simon bought a Hobie 16, fixed it up, and is becoming a seasoned sailor. :-) He took my cousin Travis and I on a ride this summer, and we zoomed so fast, the boat tipped, throwing us all into the lake. What an adventure! Simon continues to play his cello, and is the man of the house when Dad is away. He is quickly maturing, and becoming one of my best friends.
Jeremy, at thirteen, is growing quickly. His sense of fun lightens up our family atmosphere. Jeremy recently started playing bluegrass guitar which has added a new musical element to our family. It's been special to hear Simon and Jeremy twanging away, singing their hearts out to songs like, "My Home's Across the Blue Ridge Mountains." I'm so thankful for Jeremy, and for his heart of service in our home.
Our sweet Jayni is such a caring big sister to her younger siblings. She has such a heart to help in the kitchen and greatly wants to be a big girl. Jayni enjoys art, butterflies, animals, and reading. She has taken responsibility of the chicken chores now and faithfully washes all those dirty eggs with hardly a complaint. (Thank-you Jayni!!)
Jacob is full of life. He learned how to ride a bike this year, and enjoyed riding over the jumps with the big boys. Jacob loves to work outside with Simon, play with his cars, and sing, sing, SING! Rarely does Jacob not wear a happy smile. I love to watch the wonder that lights up in his eyes as he discovers his world.
Lilly delights us with her all her funny sayings. Temples are 'snuggles' that delicate 'unmentionable' is her 'skitter, or her 'squishy', and when we drove to the beach, we were frantically reminded not to forget her 'swimcase'. Lilly is the apple of her Daddy's eye, and I am constantly laughing at their antics, enjoying being on the other side of the spectrum. Lilly enjoys jumping on the trampoline, playing with her babies and in her kitchen. Just the other day, I heard her dramatically carrying on a full conversation with herself. Laughing, I peeked around the corner, and realized she was reading a book to herself.
December 18, 2008
It was a pleasantly warm afternoon, perfect for sitting outside on the swing to study. I was taking advantage of these delights while accomplishing my reading assignments from Sharper Quill when I happened to glance across the pasture. Surprisingly, I noticed two figures working busily away instead of the usual one. Simon has faithfully transformed our fencing situation here, and that day, Jacob was out with him. Just like a big boy, Jacob was wearing his big brother's hat and handling his tools. I could tell he felt like a giant inside. Great work guys!