Where to begin? This has certainly been a full year. In many ways I feel like I should wait until the end of a school year to do this… our lives seem to be (primarily because of ministry to students) inextricably linked to school years. But I’ll give it a go anywho.
Without a doubt one of the greatest events in our family’s year… and I do mean our family (not just mine) was the Chicago White Sox winning the World Series. Usually by October our house has already fully transitioned to football. Not this year. I was at the division-clinching game in Detroit – one of my leaders had bought us tickets months in advance (before we ever knew that they would be clinching that late in the season). Beating last year’s champs (Boston) would have been a pretty good feeling… we drew them for the first round. Game 1 we scored 14 runs and never looked back. We swept Boston, lost only 1 game in the ALCS series to the Angels (by 1 run) and swept the Houston Astros to win it all! Truly amazing. But enough about baseball. There have been many other significant happenings for us.
Christina took classes and worked to become a certified Group Fitness Instructor. She enjoys leading a class and also works at the front desk part time at the YMCA. She loves working out and is in the best shape of her life… at least one of us is.
Christina continues to enjoy her twin passions of decorating and landscaping. We watch more decorating and gardening shows than any man should ever be subjected to. Actually I have learned to enjoy watching those shows with her. There are even times when I am the one to turn them on first. She laughs at that pretty hard.
In addition to that busy schedule she is the Domestic Engineer of our household and the glue that keeps us from flying apart.
Natalie has joined the Middle School ranks and the church youth group as well (which threw her youth pastor dad into some major depression and early mid-life-type crisis). She made the Honor Roll in her very first attempt… an amazing feat made more incredible considering the lineage from which she is a descendant. She is a band member learning to play the clarinet. She loves Middle School.
At church she is using her gifts by serving on the Communications Team for Middle School Youth Group. Her team is responsible for design and communication for activities and service projects and outreach events. She has taken the lead on several projects (insert proud father stuff here _________ ).
She is also a Girl Scout. Recently she took a babysitting course and is looking forward to that aspect of her life. And practicing by serving in the Children’s Ministry at church a few times every month. She also still enjoys soccer and talking to/emailing friends… she thinks she needs a phone now. We are very excited to see God at work in Natalie.
Erica lines up on the third grade team this year. She just completed her part in the Nutcracker performance as a beautiful little flower. A type-casted role to be sure. Erica makes everyone around her better. She just has that way about her… a social magnet. Knows everyone. Known by everyone.
She is wonderfully innocent. For someone with such a firm grasp of reality, she has an amazing imagination. She can still play for hours on end with inanimate objects of all kinds. You would think, from the other side of a closed door, that she was at tea with innumerable live characters.
Erica was able to let the songbird in her take flight this year. She was in a Broadway-style production of Disney’s Aladdin. A friend of mine is an accomplished musician and has made it his life’s work to pass on his love for music to kids. Erica had a blast learning not only her own parts, but she easily could have stood in for some of the older students who had principal roles. She is a joy! She has the ferocity of her mother and is still her daddy’s little girl.
How can I possibly describe Tyler? He is a full-timer now at school as he is in the first grade. Unfortunately he seems to love his nickname “little Rob”. That really puts the pressure on a guy, you know? Tyler continues to love drawing and has an uncanny ability to make people laugh. We are trying to help him learn when that is a good thing and when to hold off and look for more good material.
He is an excellent student and somehow is able to wake up each day with a completely natural smile in only a few seconds… not fair. He has a zest for life. Without a doubt, he is the most disciplined person in the house. He is the only one with his own room. It is the darkest room in the house. And though, he is certain that going to sleep will mean he may miss something really good, he zones out within minutes of turning off the lights. In anticipation of the coming day he will often (in total darkness after lights out) completely make his bed and as we go to bed will find him fast asleep on top of his covers dressed and ready for school the next day.
Tyler is the conscience of all who are around him. He has a good sense for what is right… and usually finds himself on “the right side of the law”. Don’t mistake this for monasticism. Tyler is all boy! Almost all of his pants have no cloth around the knees… and this is not the result of hours of endless praying. We are thankful for our little leader. He will be a great man someday. He has a good start already.
Christina and I have been married almost 13 years and our time here in Michigan (5 years) is more than twice as long as we have lived in any one place. We are thankful to be part of a balanced, Bible-teaching church. We serve on a team that is growing and where all of us are trying to be continuing students as well as teachers.
Finally, let me just express how grateful we are to call each of you a friend. As time works its magic on us we see people pass who we thought would be with us forever. My grandma
Emily McQueary was one of those people. And though her long, full life was in many ways the exception to the rule, her passing in January of this year reminds me that all of our days are numbered. None of us is guaranteed tomorrow. As screwed up as I am sometimes, I know that I am still able to make my days here count for something now and hopefully for eternity as well. May each of us make that our business.