Saturday, January 7, 2012

Welcome to 2012!

Well, it’s Christmas Eve and we’re just now starting our update so perhaps we’ll call this a ‘New Year’s Letter’ rather than a Christmas one. The past year has been amazing - filled with some of the most awesome blessings God has given us in our 23 years together. So perhaps this year instead of sharing a little about each family member, we’ll count down our Top Ten Blessings of 2011! Drumroll, please.

10) In May, Daniel auditioned for and was accepted into the NRCA Marching Band. As a rising seventh grader, he helped the Marching Knights win numerous awards competing against marching bands comprised of only high school students. He also enjoyed marching in his first parade, the Raleigh Christmas Parade, in November. God has blessed all of our children with wonderful musical talent and we are so thankful for those who have worked with them to develop those talents.

9) In March, Kelsey traveled with her friend Christina and her parents to Disney World to celebrate Christina’s 18th birthday. Her family had never been to Disney World, so Kelsey was able to help them find their way around – this being her FOURTH trip! And it turns out she will be going again this spring with the concert band to perform at downtown Disney as they did in 2010. We are thankful for the many friends that God has brought into our lives and the lives of our children. We are blessed that our children have friends that lift them up and encourage them in so many ways.

8) In December, Kelsey was accepted to NCSU and Appalachian State University…but to date, she is still waiting to hear from UNC-Chapel Hill which is her first choice. Randy and Felicia are still asking themselves where they went wrong. She plans to get a Pre-Med undergraduate degree and then go to Medical School. Although we tease Kelsey about being a traitor in this Wolfpack-red family, we praise God for the calling she feels toward missions and medicine, even if it means she ends up a Tarheel!

7) In November, Felicia and Matthew successfully progressed to the rank of Yellow Belt in TaeKwonDo. Much to Felicia’s disappointment, Matt promptly decided that was as far as he wanted to go! We are so blessed to have the physical ability to exercise and grow stronger.

6) In May, Felicia successfully coordinated moving the North Carolina Turnpike Authority approximately 8 miles from a lovely, wooded office less than a mile from Crabtree Valley Mall…to the Transportation Building in downtown Raleigh. As she said more than once during the process, “I’ve moved 23 times in my 45 years – if there is one thing I know about, it’s moving!” While some of her suggestions were met with strange looks and doubts about their necessity, everyone agreed that the move went much more smoothly than anticipated thanks to her expertise. Even the smallest things, or things that don’t seem like blessings at the moment, God uses in our lives and we are so thankful for all the experiences that God has used to mold us over the years.

5) In June, Randy was recognized for his dedication and commitment in teaching Pre-Algebra with the Founder’s Award, as he also celebrated his fifth anniversary of serving at North Raleigh Christian Academy. What a blessing it has been to watch Randy answer God’s call to ministry both at NRCA and at Wakefield Baptist Church and to see how God has blessed his work in both places.

4) In July, Felicia and her mother enjoyed the trip of a lifetime visiting five European countries in sixteen days! If you’ve followed Felicia’s blog, you probably have already read all about their adventures. We are so blessed to have had this time together and especially to have a close relationship. We are so thankful that despite some health concerns and surgeries, Felicia’s parents remain well and active.

3) In June, Kelsey was able to return to Bolivia with a mission team from our church for the second year. Her Spanish classes really paid off and she was able to interact with the Bolivian people without a translator this year. She loved seeing friends she had made the year before and meeting new ones as well as working with close friends from Wakefield. She is excitedly planning to return again in 2012 – only this time, Randy will be leading the team on what will be his first international mission trip. Felicia and Megan are planning and preparing to go as well and trusting that the Lord will provide for all four of us to make the trip. We praise God for the opportunity to share the good news.

2) In May, Megan left on a nine week adventure to Europe. Her major in International Studies required at least six semester hours in Study Abroad credit, so there was little doubt in her mind where that should be spent. She was thrilled to find that NCSU has a Prague Institute and she was able to take Czech Literature and Screenwriting to fulfill her requirement. She connected with two other girls in the program and they spent several days in London before the program began and she also went on an excursion to Berlin. In addition, she was able to meet up with a missionary team and travel to some small villages where they helped a church with an outreach program and ministered to Burmese refugees. We thank God for keeping Megan safe during her travels and providing opportunities for her to show the love of Christ.

1) On April 16, a tremendous weather system left North Carolina looking as if a monster had raked its claws across the state as tornadoes cut several lines across the middle of the state destroying homes and businesses. Randy, Daniel and Matthew had front row seats as the tornado demolished the home across the street from us, hopped over our house, and wiped out a number of trees in our backyard. Although what appeared to be minor damage to our house turned out to be more significant, we are thankful for the homeowners insurance that left us better off than before the storm – with a new roof, new siding, and new porch posts. But more than anything else, we give thanks to the Lord for answering our prayers at that moment and protecting our family.

Of all our many blessings this year, we are most thankful for the health and safety that God has provided for all of us throughout this year. We have so enjoyed seeing all the pictures of friends and family, of children all grown up and new babies born. Thank you to each of you for sharing your family with us. May God bless you and your family in 2012!