We’re bringing in the New Year, with our feet dragging a bit in the mud of the FLU (all five of us!) but we’re so very grateful for life, family, for our church, and for our health (even with sickness lingering).
As this year ends and I’m finally feeling normal again, I’m ready to share our year end letter of sorts. Luke’s sketch is sweet, and will be mailed with our official card soon, so I’ll save that for your snail mail. For now a quick update on how everyone in our clan is doing:
Luke David turned 40 this year!! He continues into his fourth year as a Service Desk Specialist (SDS) with a local 401K record keeping company. While we are always grateful for work, especially work that allows me to stay at home with our children, Luke’s job has grown increasingly stressful, so he is applying internally for other positions that we hope to be a better fit. We are hopeful good things are coming. One of the sweet ends to these stressful days of work are thankfully spent together, around our late-dinner table. Luke faithfully reads the Scriptures to us (this year the Psalms) and then a passage from Pilgrim’s Progress. Christian’s journey brings us all reminders of God’s grace towards us, in that we are all so burdened until we find our rest in Him.
Luke has also had a rough year health-wise. Most of you already know, but for the last year+ he has battled a pretty bad case of psoriasis, particularly on his scalp. He had a kidney stone in 2016 and a case of pneumonia (with a round of antibiotics) that kicked things off downhill, it seems. Good news this year, though, is that he found a wonderful rheumatologist (a night owl who texts her patients at all hours, perfect!). She has worked very well to find him the right medicine and execute a plan to get after what is now an official diagnosis of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. The latter is the main thing right now, as Luke is in a lot of pain in his back, hands, and even sternum. Prayers are appreciated for this man of ours!
Greyson Theodore (8) is about halfway through our second grade at home, still using Ambleside Online. His mornings are full of multiplication facts, the habits of copywork and narration, old stories for great literature, and nature, composer, and artist studies each week. Thanks to Grey, the beloved piano sings daily to warm our hearts and home. He has surprised us with this sweet talent and we’re grateful to be able to encourage it, even in our apartment home. He says his favorite songs to play on the piano are “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” and the “Sleeping Beauty Waltz.” Greyson has played chess with Daddy for a couple of years now, but this year in particular the game has gotten real. Whenever possible, nightly chess games are becoming a routine and Luke is patient to gather everyone, even little Anna, to play and learn the game. But building toys still rule this roost, and Greyson’s creations are getting more technical with motorized “Technics” and K’Nex added to the mix this year. He is our little engineer!
Benjamin Michael (4) is the sweetest, cutest, thing ever!! I think I write that every year! But he seriously is a doll and I still see my baby Ben in his face and find him ever a “rainbow baby” blessing to our family. He is tenderhearted and stout. The boy could climb a mountain and he braves up for almost anything, yet is afraid of loud sounds (still!). This year, he isn’t officially schooling, but he has joined us for a bit of this or that around the table. He asked me to teach him to read, so we’ve made that our goal this spring. He has mastered writing his name, which he’s excited to share with you at the end of this letter. His days are full of play with Anna, which we appreciate in order to get big boy school done by noon. Ben says his New Year’s resolution is “to be more kind to my sister.” We grateful for all the ways Benjamin brings joy to our life.
Anna Rebekah (2), my “favorite girl” as I like to call her, is our passionate, strong-willed one! She keeps us on our toes. Anna is the first child of mine to steal candy out of the jar (on top of the frig) or take all the toilet paper off the roll, or paint her face with my lip gloss. She’s special, for sure! Ha! She also is our sweet little artist. She loves to color and even has surpassed her brothers in creating a “first real drawing” of sorts this early–two figures: one Greyson and one Benjamin, she says–which we memorialized on a bookmark for Daddy this Christmas. Miss Anna is proving to be quick witted, helpful, ornery yes, but oh, so sweet. She loves to be with Mommy wherever I go. And I love it.
I find these “younger years” very difficult if I’m honest. They are lonely sometimes and I mess up at mothering every single day. I don’t say that to have a pity party, but to admit a real weakness in this operation. If I’ve realized anything, though, it is that even though we’re wrought with stress and failures, there is so, so much goodness in it still. My children are ever-forgiving, we are all ever-repenting, and God is ever-present and He is good. His grace is the oil of gladness and the stuff that keeps the machine turning. Luke and I often lay in bed at night and wonder at it all. It’s all so messy, right? But it’s ours. God has not left us alone, we have many little victories in the midst of it all, and its’ only by His grace. The stress is not trying to obtain perfection, but keeping that carrot of fake happiness out of sight. Laying down that burden and resting in Christ Jesus.
I actually think I may have a few resolutions this year! 1) Speak kindly, always, no matter what. “A soft answer turns away wrath.” 2) If at all possible, be at peace with all men (especially family) 3) Actually do that yoga thing on my phone.
Happy New Year, friends, family. We send many, many kisses and hugs.