A New Year — Looking Back with Thanksgiving

Happy 2014!  Let us wake up each morning looking toward the blessings that day holds.

 Psalm 90:12 (ESV)  “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.”

Here’s the text from our 2013 Christmas letter.  I traditionally have each person write their own part for the newsletter, or at least coerce them into giving me lots of input.  This year, I confess, it was all me.

Bill and Kim - married 19 years
Bill and Kim – married 19 years

Bill – Probably the highlight of this year would be moving to a new house — yes, our fifth house!  We moved to a one-story home about 15 minutes south of Collierville, but across state lines.  Our new home is located in Barton, MS on a gorgeous 2-acre lot.  I’m enjoying the laid back lifestyle of the new neighborhood, complete with four-wheeler rides, bonfires and laser tag in our wooded back yard.  I’m still working at FedEx, leading a small group for our church and serving in the audio-video ministry there.

Kim – This year I have been blessed with many opportunities to share Biblical truths from my heart as I led a women’s Bible study over the summer and spoke at two women’s retreats a well as maintaining at blog — www.TeachWhatIsGood.com.  (Please check it out!)  My days are very full homeschooling and caring for my growing family, as well as serving our portable laser tag business, Pure Laser Tag.  In July, we took a trip out to Colorado to visit my parents and my sister and her family.  Upon arriving home, we began to hurriedly pack for our upcoming move, when Nick (our go-to moving man) contracted viral meningitis and ended up in the hospital for two days.  It was so faith-building to see the peace that God gave us as He brought Nick (and our whole family) through this scary, busy time.  We are especially thankful for our amazing church family who was there helping us every step of the way.  Incredibly, the week after moving in to our new home, I experienced a severe allergic reaction to poison ivy and ended up in the hospital ER.  I am thankful for once again experiencing that peace that surpasses understanding as we waited patiently upon the Lord and He heard my cry, bringing healing and help to come to my aid.  On top of everything, I’m scheduled to go in tomorrow for surgery on my right ulnar nerve in my elbow for something called Cubital Tunnel Syndrome (aka Ulnar Nerve Entrapment).  (Postscript – I’ve survived, but still waiting for the nerves to heal.  Ugh.)

Emily - 17
Emily – 17

Emily – It’s hard to believe that I’m in my final year of high school.  Time has certainly flown by!  This spring my mom and Noelle and I went on a cruise with my best friend (Dani) and some of her family.  We sailed out of New Orleans to Grand Cayman, Jamaica and Cozumel, Mexico.  It was amazing!  Over the summer, Nick and I went once again to Reynosa, Mexico to serve at the Rio Bravo Children’s Home.  I love it there and hope to be able to spend more time there next year.   I officially received my driver’s license this summer and am enjoying the freedom of being able to drive myself around.  Also this year, I’ve been having fun learning to shoot a recurve bow with the Memphis homeschool archery team.  On Thursdays I teach two classes (a science discovery class and a Bible study about the Biblical names of God) for homeschooled elementary students at Renewed Moms Ministry.

Nick - almost 15
Nick – almost 15

Nick – This year I officially started high school, though no one can believe that I’m only fourteen.  It’s fun seeing the shocked looked on people’s faces when they find out how old I am.  Last spring I played on a competitive 14-under team called “Batters’ Box” and this year I’m with the Memphis Homeschool high school team, “The Eagles.”  We started practicing and working out in August so we are looking forward to a great season.  On Tuesdays, I attend a learning center for homeschoolers called Veritas.  It is a college-prep program where I study rhetoric, apologetics, literature, geography and more.  The rest of the week I work on my schoolwork from home.   I enjoy making crazy videos with my best friend, Zane.  Emily does the recording and editing work, while Zane and I make up and perform the skits.  We have a YouTube channel at ForeignBrotherFilms (all one word).  We’d love some more subscribers!  (Hint, hint)

Noelle - 10
Noelle – 10

Noelle – I’m now in fourth grade and learning all the necessary fourth-grade skills, but my current passion is ice skating.  I ice skate almost every week at a skating rink near our new house and absolutely love it.  It’s exciting and fun and beautiful.  My other favorite activities include making crafts and made-up recipes in the kitchen.  I love going to AWANAs on Sunday nights with the rest of my siblings where I learn Bible verses, play games and hang out with my friends.

Daniel - 6
Daniel – 6

Daniel – This spring I finish kindergarten and this fall I officially became a first grader.  I love learning new things.  My favorite subjects are math and astronomy.  I am interested in all kinds of science things, like weather, outer space and how the body works.  At night, I love to work on memorizing new Bible verses and listen to my mom read books about real stuff, like hurricanes and tornados and trains and sharks.  Since moving to our new house, my siblings and I have been learning to shoot BB guns and archery.  I also like playing all kinds of sports, like soccer and baseball.