Friday, November 24, 2017

2017 ~ Christmas Letter

I know. I really haven't written anything since Della was born.
What can I say?
This year has been a hard one.
My time is not my own.

Here's our Christmas letter for the year... it will be a catch up of sorts...

Messy & Beautiful ~ 2017

This seems to be our theme for the year of 2017 … over and over again it’s been the place we’ve found ourselves.  Messy little faces. Life messy and overscheduled. Camp, messy and changing. Messy relationships. A house that’s endlessly messy. The futility of the messy could be maddening if it wasn’t for the juxtaposition of beautiful that glints through the grime.

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This old world is endlessly messy. But, through the mess we are better able to observe that God is in the business of making messy things beautiful! This time of year we are reminded of One who came into the messiest of conditions, but came to repair this mess-of-a-world, to wipe away every tear from every eye and make all things new and beautiful! He is the beauty in the mess!
Way back in January, 2017 started off in the most messy and beautiful way possible with labor, great struggles, discouragement and lots of griminess that produced the sweetest of gifts! We were blessed to welcome Della Jane Miller on January 3rd. She weighed in at 8 lbs. 10 oz. and was 19 inches long. Pretty beautiful, right? She has been our great delight this whole year! Her name means “The valley of God’s graciousness” and it’s an apt description of the valley we’ve been walking this year… full of God’s grace even when shadows appear. As we say farewell to 2017 we give our annual report on what happened with those 365 messy days God gave us.  

The Beautiful
Addie > 12 years old  > Events: A highlight for me was being baptized in the camp lake with friend and family around. I enjoyed going to camp and the COLS homeschool session and the relationships I made at both. > New Skills: Learning guitar and getting my own email account. > Thankful For: I’m thankful for getting a new little sister, she’s so little, sweet and loud!

Allan >  11 years old on Christmas Eve  > Events: It was really great this summer to be baptized and to share how I was raised out of death into life. I also really enjoyed going on our church’s men’s camping trip. > New Skills: I’ve learned a lot of skills building our house and I’ve been learning guitar too. > Thankful For: I’m thankful that we have gotten to build our house and how God’s provided that for us!

I know, we were missing one.
Elias > 10  years old > Events: Probably getting baptized was my favorite event. I also liked to meet our new camp staff this summer!  > New Skills: I’ve learned how to be calmer and more thoughtful and I’ve also liked learning to play the guitar. > Thankful For: I’m thankful for my life, getting to be here with everybody, and getting to learn God’s Word.

Cora > 9 years old > Events: I found out I have a type of Epilepsy called Absence Seizures, don’t worry, I’m ok and I’ve learned that God is a good God who’s in control. I was also baptized in the camp lake in June! > New Skill: I learned to perfect my lemon bar recipe, but I tried to make gluten-free ones and it was a disaster! > Thankful For: I am thankful for the friends I made at COLS this year!

2017.07.25.-Icecreaminpark-4184.jpgThea > 7 years old January 9th > Events: My favorite event of this year is getting to take music classes and getting to sing! I like to sing! I’ve also grown a lot this year!!! > New Skills: Learning to read and getting to do more school with Maga (Tim’s mom)! > Thankful For: I’m thankful for getting a baby sister to hold! (Notes from mom: Thea’s grown a ton this year and overcome many things. She’s proving to be a superior big sister, kind and loving!)

Whitley > 3 years old > Events: Whitley became a big sister this year! Every day she figures out a new way to get into something. Whit’s the angel-faced kid who’s done all the things no other had the gumption to do! > New Skill: Talking more with her speech therapist’s help! > Thankful For: Paint, sharpie markers, lotion… anything messy. (Whit’s mom is thankful for inescapable pjs that zip up the back, and all the childproofing gadgets that we’ve had to invest in for the first time.)

Della-9621.jpgDella Jane > 1 year old on January 3rd > Events: She was born! She was a week overdue… Mom’s still a little irked about that… but, when she did arrive it was to shouts of joy! It was a good coming! > New Skills: Doing all the wonderful and mundane things babies do! She has 8 people in the world under her chubby little thumb. Her smile is the best. > Thankful For: Milk, all the food and fun siblings to entertain her. We are all thankful for Della’s presence. Having a little one, one more time. She’s unique, new and such a smiley joy-giver!

2017.07.25.-Icecreaminpark-4173.jpgMarci > So many gray hairs > Events: Had a baby, for the last time … AGAIN (I know, I’m milking that to the end of this letter). Tim and I celebrated our 15th anniversary! The last few years have proven that it DOES only get better. I’ve seen Tim grow and become a grace-filled, imperfect, but self-giving man! Every day I am thankful for how he serves and love our family and those around us. We ended our 7th year of homeschool, I staggered across that finish line so ready to call it and then by August we started our 8th year of homeschool. I was fearful but had renewed perspective and it’s ended up being one of my favorite years thus far! > New Skills: Working on my watercolor and lettering skills… for my wellness! Learned many new skills working on our house. > Thankful For: I’m thankful for my “mother-in-love”, Barbara, who came to stay with us for a month, twice this year to help us, love on us and spoil us! I’m thankful that I am not my own, but belong to God. Endless comfort in that thought!

Tim > Aging finely...says his wife > Events: Cross Bar X, COLS. Many changes there, but looking forward to what lies ahead. Built a house with every other spare moment. It’s not done yet. > New Skills: Wiring, Heating and Air, Drywall, Plumbing… you get the idea. > Thankful For: Family. Growth and challenges. That God doesn't give up and makes all things new.

All our Love  
Marci (for the whole crew)

(Photo Cred > Svatka at Foteem Photography > Who captures the beautiful in the midst of our messy.)

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