Each year as Christmas cards with letters attached come in from friends and family, updating us on what has happened in their lives in the past year, we think maybe we should send a letter out ourselves. And each year, we decide that no one would really be interested anyway. The people that care already know.
This year, I decided maybe people do care and are interested, but instead of mailing them, I would post it here and people will be free to read as they wish, but don’t need to feel obligated.
So, here it goes..
2011, sped by at record high pace. As the children get older, we get busier and life seems to whirl around us…but I wouldn’t want to miss a second of it.
Hunter started the beginning of the year as Farm Manager for an onion farm, Bland Farms, NY. The company is based out of Georgia, but has a farm here in Cato. It has been great to have his job so close to home. He has worked hard this year to continue providing for our family, so that I am able to stay home and tend to the kids and the house. His heart’s desire is to have his own farming operation. This year he was able to rent some land and plant soy beans. The crop wasn’t looking good to start with, but by harvest time we had a good yield. This coming year he is hoping to expand it some more and the goal is that in the next two years he will not need to have a traditional job at all. Last week, he was very unexpectedly laid off from work until April. Please pray that God will continue to guide us and give us wisdom and direction in the next several months and that Hunter will have a special kind of peace with these new circumstances.
I continue to stay busy at home. Whether it be laundry, dishes, or vacuuming, there is always something to do. I volunteer several days a week at school. I enjoy being able to help out in the classrooms. And of course, what mom doesn’t have her own taxi service. Carting the kids here and there is a full time job in itself. Most days I love my job, but you will find the occasional day when I feel overwhelmed with it all.
Justin will be turning 14 in February. He is in 8th grade, his last year in middle school. He is growing into an amazing young man. He loves sports and seems to have natural talent. In the spring he ran track, and he enjoyed his last year of modified football in the fall. He just ended a basketball season and wrestling starts soon, along with another basketball league. He is quite the athlete! He started taking guitar lessons in the spring. He is really enjoying it and is learning quickly. He is hoping to play in the worship band at church after the new year. I think his favorite thing by far though, is helping his dad with the farming. He is really enjoying the time that they have gotten to spend together on this new endeavor. Over the summer, he was lucky enough to be able to spend some time in Virginia at Grandpa and Grandma Cook’s home. He had a good time helping out on the farm and spending time with his grandparents, whom he doesn’t get to see often. Justin has a big heart for others, I am so proud of the young man he is becoming!
Darren is 12 and in 7th grade. He has awesome leadership skills and is very strong academically. He maintains high honor roll status every marking period, with little effort. He also enjoys sports, though for him it’s more a mind game than a physical strength. He does well at anything he sets his mind to. In the spring he played Little League, which he loves. He played football in the fall also. He was able to play as quarterback, which he was very excited about. He played on the 7th grade modified basketball team and played really well for his first year. He too, will be wrestling and playing in another basketball league. Art is one of his favorite past times. He is neat and tidy and a great organizer. I have no idea where he gets that from! Darren has been blessed the past two summers to spend some time in Baltimore with his great-uncle and aunt, Mark and Linda Cook. They were kind enough to host him and take him to camp. That has been a great experience for him!
Garrett is 9 and in 4th grade. This is his last year before moving up to middle school. Garrett continues to surprise me with his witty humor. He is very strong academically. He enjoys history and science and also enjoys reading. He is on an Odyssey of the Minds team for the second year now. He is great at abstract thinking, which I’m pretty sure he gets from his dad, because I’m definitely stuck in a box. He is a sweet and sensitive guy, who has a big heart for others. He tries hard to keep up with his brothers. Physically, he doesn’t stand a chance, but mentally he can give them a run for their money. Garrett isn’t as fond of sports, but he did play Little League in the spring and is improving each year. He was also able to spend some time in Virginia with Grandpa and Grandma over the summer. He was excited to help Grandpa milk.
Taylor is 8 and in 3rd grade. She loves anything girly, yet isn’t afraid to catch frogs and dig for worms with her brothers. She does her best to keep the boys in line. She played softball for Little League in the spring and did very well. She really enjoyed it! This year she is also part of an Odyssey of the Minds team. She is shy and quiet, but has some good ideas if we can get her to open up a little bit. She is very strong-willed at home, yet quite reserved everywhere else. She is my special girl!
Ryan is 7 and in 2nd grade. He is full of energy and life. He chose to play soccer in the spring, but was one of the oldest kids in the league and tended to run circles around the other kids. I can see that he will be quite the athlete when he gets older. He was able to go spend part of the summer in Baltimore with Darren this year also. He was a little homesick to start, but that soon wore off and he had a great time at camp. He enjoys playing games and building legos. He also collects baseball cards, which is one of his favorite things. He would love to play many more sports, but we will not allow him to until he is a little older. I’m trying to hard to slow down the growing process, but it hasn’t worked so far.
As we head forward to 2012, with the new circumstances with Hunter’s job, we are forced to have a new dependence on God. In areas of our lives that we try to control ourselves, we will undoubtedly have to lean on Him. I often say that Hunter is the sole provider for our family, but in reality God is the provider of all. Pray that we learn to depend on Him for all of our needs and that we find new strength in Him. Please, pray God’s peace and wisdom in our lives and for continuing growth and knowledge in His Word.
May the new year bring you a new-found peace and hope in Him.
The following video is our year in photos…