Christmas Letter 2011

I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed, but I enjoy taking pictures! LOTS of pictures! In fact, my iphoto library currently holds 32,572 photos! Although I do greatly enjoy the artistic outlet of photography, I most enjoy having the ability to capture moments of life that my memory is unfortunately unable to recall in such crisp, colorful detail! As our family has grown, I’ve gotten even more passionate (or crazy, as Kraig may call it!) about capturing and then remembering the events of life.

In the Old Testament days, there did not exist a Nikon D90 SLR camera that I so happily possess today! Instead, Joshua was instructed by God to use a less technical object to memorialize events in Israel’s history; a rock! Joshua chapter 4 tells the story of the Israelites crossing the Jordan river with the ark of the covenant. When the priests carrying the ark stepped foot into the Jordan the waters were stopped and the people were able to cross as instructed by God. God then tells Joshua,

2 “Choose twelve men from among the people, one from each tribe, 3 and tell them to take up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, from right where the priests are standing, and carry them over with you and put them down at the place where you stay tonight.”

Why were they to do this?

6 to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 7 tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.”
I’ve always liked this passage. I like that the Lord instructs them to make a visible, tangible memorial… a pile of rocks… to help them remember and pass on to future generations what God had done in their midst.

Well, I guess we could still pile up rocks today as reminders of what God has done in our midst… but Kraig would be frustrated with me if he had to mow around them in our yard. Therefore, I find my picture taking hobby comes in handy! My photos are simply a huge collection of rocks that I can store on my hard-drive and not in my yard!

If you would humor me, allow me to share with you just a sampling of my rock collection from 2011. As you see these pictures and read the narratives below, may it be evident that the Lord has been faithful and ever-present working in our life… and I hope your life as well!

Rock #1 

Karson Andrew!
We don’t have to think hard or search for ways God has been present in Karson’s life. This little boy is a walking (actually often skipping!) answer to prayer! Karson’s leukemia remains in a solid remission and he is a healthy, strong, smart and sweet little guy. Karson is in 1st grade this year and is once again the tallest child in his class (even with his growth being ‘stunted’ by three years of chemotherapy!) Karson still has blood work done every 2-3 months to make sure he is cancer free. These appointments will be a part of his life (and ours) until he is through college (they will become less frequent each year.) We thank the Lord for Karson’s oncologist and nurses and are so grateful that at each exam he has gotten a good report… as well as a room service order full of carbohydrates from the hospital cafeteria!

Rock #2

Karly Sue!
There are girls, and then there are girlie girls…. Karly is a girlie girl and we love it! If it has to do with princesses, dress-up, lip gloss, nail polish or shoes then Karly is in! God has richly blessed our lives with this little lady. Karly turned three in August and
we have loved watching Karly grow this past year in her understanding of so many things. It’s fun (and sometimes looonnnggg) to listen to Karly pray at mealtimes. It’s also a joy to listen to her quote the Bible verses that she’s learning at WEEWonders and BSF (two church programs we are blessed to be a part of.) We often find ourselves laughing at Karly’s stories and raising our eyebrows at her questions and comments such as “Did God make himself?” and “Jesus loves me… and so does the muffin man!”

Rock #3

Kenzie Grace!
After struggling to have even two children due to some physical issues, the fact that God graciously gave us this third little “bonus baby” will never be taken for granted. Kenzie Grace turned 1 on April 30th and is an absolute joy to our family. Although she defines the word sweet, she has recently also discovered her stubborn mode and is developing quite a personality of her own. She adores her big brother (whom both girls call “Bubba”) and her big “Sis-Sis.” Kenzie already says many words and strongly believes that she can do anything her big siblings can do. She enjoys looking at books and playing with blocks and baby dolls. Thanks to her sister, she also often exclaims the word, “Princess!” when she sees any Disney princess or a girl in a dress for that matter!

Rock #4

Our marriage & our “jobs”
Kraig and I celebrate our ninth anniversary on December 7th. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about how blessed I am to be married to this guy! Kraig is a wonderful husband and Daddy. What he lacks in fashion sense he more than makes up for in his godly leadership of our home. ;) Kraig has now been working for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes for 13 years and has served as the Indiana State Director for 15 months. The job has been challenging and rewarding. We’ve had a front row seat to watch God move in the lives of middle school, high school and college students throughout the state through the influence of godly coaches, FCA staff and athletes. Kraig enjoys training and equipping other FCA staff in Indiana as well as speaking at school huddles and various chapels. We enjoyed hearing from former Cincinnati Bengal, Anthony Munoz, at this year’s FCA banquet and we look forward to hearing from Butler coach, Brad Stevens, this Spring. My job is not quite as focused on state-wide equipping and training… more like potty training… but I think it’s just as rewarding! Being a stay-at-home Mom has been a dream come true for me. I am so thankful I can spend my days with our girls while Karson is in school and then enjoy hearing about Karson’s day and helping with homework in the afternoons. I’m already blown away with how fast time is moving and so I want to revel in every day with these little ones before they are grown. I’m not saying that reveling is the only thing I do during the day… there is often also cleaning, teaching, feeding, disciplining, dressing, hair-doing, sighing and more cleaning as I do my best to learn how to be a good Mom and teach our children, along with Kraig, with our Heavenly Father’s patient help!

Rock #5

Our highs and lows
As with any year and any family-we had our highs and lows in 2011. Our lows are not always fun to remember, but I do think they should make the “rock pile.” In fact if the rock pile is a memorial to how God has worked in your life, then really the lows are often where it’s easiest to see God’s presence. Our lows this year included a difficult winter full of sickness. All 5 of us got sick easy and often. We were told it was due to being so careful and somewhat isolated while Karson was on treatment and then suddenly hitting society and reconnecting with all of our long-lost germ friends. We had a big scare in January when Karly ran a fever for several weeks and also had leg pain. Since these were the symptoms that Karson presented at his leukemia diagnosis, we eventually had to have Karly tested for leukemia. It was a very scary time but thank goodness her blood counts came back normal and her fever apparently was from a nasty virus. Whew! Then we had another scare in March when Kenzie had to have a CT scan of her head/brain to make sure he skull had not fused together prematurely. We feared an impending skull surgery but again were so thankful that her scan was fine and it turns out she just has a lumpy head… looking back, maybe I should be listing these things as highs and not lows because we’re so grateful for how they turned out.

Our highs were soaring! We spent a magical and amazing week at Disney and Give Kids the World Village for Karson’s Make-A-Wish Trip. I could write pages about that trip, but I won’t take the time to tell it here… just that it was a wonderful celebration of God’s hand of healing on Karson’s body. Karson was literally able to soar on the trip by doing indoor skydiving. So fun!

We also went on family vacations with both sides of our family. One was to a lake in Virginia with the Millers/Jones and the other was to a cabin in Tennessee with the Cabes. Both trips were great! We feel very blessed by our families.

Well, my rock pile is getting quite large! I’ve enjoyed looking back at the year and recalling all of these rocks as I’ve moved them from iphoto into wordpress. I hope that you too are able to recall how God has worked in your life this year. Whether you take a lot of pictures, scrapbook, journal, ponder or pile stones up in your yard, may you remember the most wonderful Rock of all… the Rock of Ages.

Jesus, the baby whose birth we celebrate this Christmas season, asked his disciples this;

15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.

Merry Christmas!

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3 thoughts on “Christmas Letter 2011

  1. Bob Lauter says:

    Thanks such a great blog and for sharing all God is doing. Sherry and I love your family, you’re one of our favorites. I think it’s time to bring them to NH again!!… Bob

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