Greetings to our friends and family near and far! My goal this year is to keep the Christmas season as simple as possible. I am focusing on Christ through personal and family Advent devotionals and enjoying family and the beauty of the season. One of the decisions I made to keep things simple is that I am not sending out a Christmas letter or picture this year but will update people here. All of you are precious to us and we love getting your updates!
We continue to love living in Northern Michigan. We feel more at home here every year. Our church family is a blessing and we enjoy serving alongside them. Dan is obviously quite involved at the church and the rest of us participate in many ways, also. Dan experienced a bout with pancreatitis and gall bladder trouble this month and was in the hospital for almost a week, but he is recuperating and looking forward to being healthy again soon. He enjoys his early morning workouts and prayer time and time with his wife and children.
Jadyn is in her senior year of high school and is currently trying to decide where to go on her senior trip. I think she should choose somewhere warm because I am the official chaperone. She is also praying about her future after high school but does not have any specific plans at this time. She continues to enjoy reading, participating in rodeo with friends in the summer, raising goats, working at a camp and also at a farm across the road helping with horses and sheep. She was able to assist a ewe deliver a lamb this year and we all enjoyed watching the sheep herd grow with the cute little lambs. As you may have witnessed if you follow us on social media, her goats also had kids this year and we had a litter of kittens, so summer was filled with baby animals.
Gabe has kept us busy this year. If we aren't traveling to soccer or basketball games, we are at doctor appointments or in emergency rooms. He broke his collarbone while skiing in January, broke his wrist while playing basketball in May, and sprained his knee while playing in a scrimmage in November, two days shy of his 16th birthday. We are all ready to leave year 15 behind. When his knee heals he will again be playing basketball and will also be able to take his driving test. He enjoys sports and we enjoy cheering on the Traverse City Bulldogs.
Malachi has begun to play the cahone for our church praise team, continues to enjoy baseball, and keeps us entertained with his stories, singing, and dancing. He and Isaiah both played for Kalkaska little league this year and Dan assisted the coach. The boys team won the Chain O' Lakes Region championship in a 1-0 thriller. It is a great way for the boys and Dan to be salt and light and share the gospel.
Isaiah is Mr. Boundless energy. He is loving, intense, passionate and driven. He played centerfield on the baseball team and is a brilliant fantasy sports team manager. His fantasy basketball team won the championship and he had the best record in our family fantasy football league. He is gifted at scripture memory and his mind never seems to shut down.
Zion Hope is a little farm girl, following in her sister's footsteps. She will ride Jadyn's horse whenever she has a chance and spends much of her time in the barn with the goats and the kittens. She loves to sneak the cats into the house. She is gifted at making us all laugh and loves life so much that she hates to go to bed at night. Dad and Zion are about to finish Little House in the Big Woods together! She was baptized this past Summer and loves the Lord deeply.
I think our family would agree that a highlight of our year was returning to Haiti for a visit. We took a team from our church to Children of the Promise and volunteered there for a week. At the end of the week the team left and we were able to enjoy a few more days connecting with friends and hanging out on the campus that was once home for us. What a blessing to see so many people that we love and to just laugh, pray, and talk with one another.
We continue to home educate and although each day brings challenges, it also provides opportunities for laughter and joy, repentance and forgiveness, and learning and growing together.
As this year comes to a close, we are once again grateful. Grateful for health and for family and for friends and for so many blessings. But most of all grateful for a Heavenly Father that would send his Son to come and die for sins that we committed, all so we could have eternal life. We want to live this truth out every day. Our prayer for you all is that you know Him and that you receive this gift of life everlasting. Celebrate with us this season!
Dan, Holly, Jadyn, Gabriel, Malachi, Isaiah, and Zion Hope