Monday, December 26, 2011

2011 Christmas Letter

For us, 2011 was a year of learning…

Thomas (9) learned to serve others by volunteering to gather and take out the garbage at a local pregnancy center.  He reports for duty every Monday and greatly enjoys the work! He also learned the value of a dollar as he worked for several neighbors and friends doing yard work and house/pet sitting this past spring and summer to earn money for art camp. Thomas is continuing to work and save his money as he plans to go with our church’s youth group to The Wilds Christian Camp in the mountains of North Carolina for one week this upcoming summer. We are excited about how the Lord will work in his life, especially while at camp.

Tanner (6 ½) is learning to read in school. It has been fun to witness him read words on his own as we drive around town. He has also begun to read more books to his younger sisters, which is a great help to me! This summer and fall, Tanner learned to operate the lawn mower and leaf blower. If you know Tanner well, you know how much he enjoys doing yard work and helping out around the house in that way! Above all, Tanner is learning about salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ, and we are excited that he is beginning to understand what true salvation is (and is not). We are praying the Lord will continue to open up Tanner’s heart so that he can truly understand and be saved; we ask that you would do the same.

Tristin-Grace (5) learned to play T-ball this year. She participated on a team through the local YMCA and enjoyed it very much! This was her first experience playing organized sports. Her coach fondly nicknamed her “Princess Pink” because she wore a pink shirt, pink pants, pink shoes, a pink hair bow, and used a pink baseball glove at each practice. Despite her petite frame, she hit the ball with all her might and even got a few doubles! Tristin-Grace is looking forward to playing T-ball again in a few months.

Teagan (3) really learned a lot this year, beginning with learning to talk. She is now talking fluently (and non-stop!) and was dismissed from speech therapy in August. The progress she has made over the years amazes me, and I am extremely thankful for all the wonderful therapists who worked with her to help her reach this point!  Teagan also learned to use the potty, pump her legs by herself on the swing, and to pedal her bike up and down the driveway. She has made some huge developmental strides this year, and we are so proud! 

Taylor Ann (Annie- 21 months) has learned to walk, run, jump, climb, hit, say “No!”, and is even beginning to sing songs, among other things. She is full of life and very busy! Annie’s favorite thing to do is brush her teeth, and she disappears into the bathroom to do so at any opportunity she gets. Annie started attending preschool 2 mornings per week to help occupy her time and expose her to life outside of the bathroom door. =)

Taryn Eileen is the newest member of the family, joining us 4 weeks before her due date on November 25th. Since birth, she has learned to eat really well, about every 2 hours. Taryn has also learned to ignore loud noises such as crying kids, barking dogs, and vacuum cleaners!  She is still working on learning to sleep as she does most of it during the day and not enough at night. I hope that she’ll master this skill soon! Please pray that I will draw on the Lord’s strength as I battle sleep deprivation and  face my daily tasks as a mother.

TJ learned to better use his singing talents by joining our church’s choir and singing before the church as part of a small group. This year TJ sang his first solo in front of the church! He also participated in a recital and performed for the residents of a local nursing home. Singing and music are a major part of TJ’s life, and as his family, we benefit from his beautiful voice. TJ also continues to work at Winthrop University. The Lord has opened up many doors (and hearts!) in terms of providing TJ with opportunities to witness to and encourage his coworkers. It has been a blessing to see the Lord use TJ in this way! Please pray the Lord will continue to open hearts to the truth of God’s word at Winthrop.

I, Terra, learned about couponing this year. I started in May, and I will admit, I am an addict! It takes effort but knowing that I am saving my family money (over $1,000 to date!) is very rewarding and worth the time. In all seriousness, this year I learned a lot about complete faith and trust in God. I found out mid-April I was pregnant again, and I immediately put my trust in the Lord to care for me throughout the pregnancy. The struggle came when we were faced with some unexpected financial pressures. I would find myself awake at night, worrying about how we were going to pay for the things we were facing (pregnancy-related and non-related). The Lord dealt with me over a period of about six weeks. During that time, I saw God answering prayers and using the people in my life to not only rebuke me, but also encourage me along the way. I am thankful that I was able to learn this lesson on trusting God in all areas of my life.

As we draw to the end of both this family update and 2011, we pray you have a joyous Christmas and blessed New Year!
   
With Love,
TJ, Terra, Thomas, Tanner, Tristin-Grace, Teagan, Annie, & Taryn

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