Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Merry Christmas 2012 & a very Happy New Year!!

We love the way each of you comes to mind, with the memories of times spent together and the expectancy of times to be shared in the future. Even in this busy time of seminary, work, and school there have been some wonderful opportunities! We spent some time in Washington DC with friends (Loretta's & the kids first visit), spent a summer with a wonderful sitter for the kids and lots of pool time, and took a quick trip to the beach in September. We had visits with cousins, hosted our niece Kayla's high school graduation party, and had a terrific trip to Williamsburg, VA area in the spring, with time for visiting with family. We have also had some visitors to our house, and especially love those times. We look forward to more visits with all of you!

Nate seems to literally grow daily, he is seven and in first grade. For him, life is about eating, sleeping and playing. He is enjoying being able to read, but not the process so much. He seems to be a whiz at Math, loves art, recess and...LUNCH. His easy going, caring spirit warms our hearts, makes us laugh, and brightens our lives. He is playing basketball now and is planning what sport will be next. His gross motor skills still amaze us, he says he is the best jump roper in first grade. We BELIEVE him. His “best day ever” is when he and Daddy get to cut wood, pound nails, shoot hoops, play catch, play light sabers or his Wii Lego Star Wars game- he likes boy time! But, he still LOVES his sister and works hard to try to beat her at Chess or his most recent favorite game, Battleship. He says his biggest memory from 2012 is our trip to Myrtle Beach and getting to play putt-putt and go bowling. He gave up his life long dream of being a scuba diver, and now wants to be an A-10 Warthog pilot. We tell him he needs to get more specific.

Emily is in 6th grade! We still have to pinch ourselves to actually believe this. She discovered she enjoys tennis, is in demand for sleepovers and time with well-loved friends, is reading voraciously (any suggestions of good books appreciated!), and is quickly becoming a good piano player. She is struggling through 6th grade Latin, wonders why studying History is important...and seems to excel at Math and Writing. She has become a part of our church youth group, enjoyed a summer Middle School Bible study and recently went to her first Beach Blast Retreat in November. When asked, she said her biggest memory of 2012 will be, “becoming a preacher's daughter”. She considers the grown up possibilities of a professional Momma, teacher, artist and writer. Unfortunately, she will probably have to give up anyone's idea of having a pediatric cardiologist in the family as she has come to realize that she literally gets pale and clammy at the site of blood. As we move through all the changes that 2013 will have for our family, Emily is learning what it means to truly trust and serve the God who loves her and is drawing her heart to be more like Christ.

Loretta is working at the Cardiology office and is blessed to be in such a great workplace. She is always looking for new recipes for the crock pot, shortcuts for housework and a strategy for using coupons. She got to be a chaperone at Emily's recent youth group trip. Giggly 6th & 7th graders = no sleep! She tries not to let her security rest in the number of pairs of clean underwear everyone has to spare or how together everyone may seem. God is bigger than all her fears, and as the Lord leads she is trying to follow joyfully. 

Joe has finished his fall class work. Graduation is ONLY FIVE months away! Mark your calendars, May 25th is the day. He has been helping with the Lego Robotics Club and a few chapel services at the kids' school. He looks forward to dusting off his running shoes in May (his words!) and reading what he would like to read. He has had the wonderful opportunity to occasionally fill the pulpit of Ellerbe Presbyterian Church whose pastor retired in February. This congregation along with our own Sandhills Presbyterian Church have blessed and encouraged us in astonishing ways. We are beginning to get a glimpse of the possibilities of a call to pastor a church, and what lies ahead is very humbling and exciting! 

We are ever so grateful for the prayers, support, love and encouragement that you have showered upon us. It continues to be humbling and overwhelming what God has done for us in 2012...and it onlymakes us even more thrilled to see what is next!
 In this coming year, our family will be praying for your family...

Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your
whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again.
God will make this happen, for he who calls you is faithful. 

May the Lord bless you richly,
Joe, Loretta, Emily, Nate


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