Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Merry Christmas 2008!

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Merry Christmas! From our home to yours!

I just love it when the time comes to write a Christmas letter. Not only does it catch everyone up on our happenings, but it’s a great journaling tool for me, to look back at the previous year with thanks and reflection on what the Lord is teaching us. If we rewind back to one year ago, we had just come through the emotional storm of losing two precious babies to miscarriage, back to back. One year later, precious Sawyer Michael has joined our family and is pushing four months old! It just goes to show you that when you are in the depths of heartache, you just don’t know what joy may be around the corner. And the bottom line? God is good ALL the time! His goodness and faithfulness never change, even when our circumstances do. He can be trusted no matter what. He is working all things together for good, even when the only good we can see is the fact that we are forced to rely completely on Him because we are at the end of ourselves. Believe it or not friends, this is a good place to be! After all, our character is much more important to the Lord than our comfort.

I know many of you read my blog regularly, so much of this may be redundant, but here is a bit of a summary of our 2008 to get you up to speed. We’ll start with Travis. He continues to enjoy the group he is working with at **. He feels that this year brought many opportunities to meet and conquer challenges that allowed him to prove himself a valuable asset to his colleagues. He works with some wonderful people, many of which have become dear friends. Beyond work, some of his other measurable accomplishments of the year include finishing our fence and laying the backyard sod. We have plans for more landscaping and a play structure this spring and summer. As for the immeasurable accomplishments, Travis continues to be an amazing father and husband! In these tired days of so much self sacrifice, it is the simple acts that speak so much love; like getting up with sick kiddos in the night and wrestling matches on the living room floor so I can finish cooking dinner, or taking the kids on a really long walk or drive so I can bask in the quietness. Some of our favorite couple activities right now include cuddling on the couch watching Rick Steves travel videos as we dream about future romantic vacations, or going out to eat just the two of us. I am so blessed by his love, companionship, and friendship every day.

As for me, I was pregnant and/or sleep deprived most of the year! That seems to overshadow everything else that was going on in my life as it really knocked me flat. But if I clear away the cobwebs, I see several things that marked the year. I think I learned more than ever this year that I can do nothing apart from Christ. He gives me strength every morning to face the day, he gives me peace when I feel the rising anxiety and he gives me purpose in a role that can often seem monotonous and thankless. Above all this, he gives me grace and forgiveness when I choose not to abide in Him as I should. He gently nudges me towards His word, whispers His presence into my ear when I am forgetting to lay my burdens at his feet. I’m taking a break from worship team while I’m in the throws of breastfeeding and adjusting to mothering three, but hope to pick back up some time next year. I’m enjoying several hobbies that give me snatches of pleasure now and then. I have a growing love for photography, especially now that I have my new camera. I donated a photo shoot for our church holiday auction to test my wings; we’ll see how it goes! I’ve also recently picked up the craft of knitting and fell in love instantly. I’m going to wait until the dreary months of January and February to really dive into it.

Moving on to Emma Grace, she is really blossoming into a beautiful little girl, inside and out! When I say she is my big helper, I really mean it. She gets me things that I need while I’m nursing, protects her baby brother from an unnamed two year old when my back is turned, and is already helping out with chores around the house. She’s mastered the art of sorting laundry, and can even move clothes from the washer to the dryer and get it started unassisted. As helpful as she is, she is very much a little girl and enjoying this last year before school starts. She completed preschool 1 swimming lessons and is currently taking a dance class every Friday morning. She enjoys cooking with me, coloring, painting, and writing her letters and numbers. She just recently learned to write her name! We are working on a strong will and some sassiness, but diligence is paying off and we are seeing fruit. We firstborns take a life time to learn things like laughing at ourselves when we make mistakes and letting others take the lead. We really don’t know what we’d do without our precious “Peanut” and we thank the Lord for giving her to us every day!

Not to be outdone by her sister, Chloe Paige is a star in her own right. 2008 has seen her grow from an exploring toddler to a vibrant little preschooler. She has a huge vocabulary and some of the cutest adult expressiveness you’ve ever seen! She can already count to ten and knows many of her colors and shapes. She too can be very helpful (when she’s in the mood that is). Her special chore is helping me unload the dishwasher. She sets the dishes on the counters under their appropriate cupboards and sorts the silverware into the silverware drawer. Chloe is certainly in the thick of training around here. Some would call it the terrible twos, but we’re trying to see it as a time when she is in need of much teaching. We are seeing fruit from our diligence but many times, it is but by the grace of God that we keep our patience in the process. It hardly seems possible that a girl of her age could have such a developed sense of humor, but this girl knows when and how to laugh, and how to make the rest of us do the same! Our lives are brighter because of our precious “Roo”. We count the blessing of her place in our family every day.

And oh that baby boy of ours, pure sugar is all I can say! These infant days are priceless and we are treasuring every smile and coo and giggle! At his two month doctor visit, Sawyer was in the 90th percentile for height and the 75th for weight. He’s tall to be sure, and bless his heart, already has mommy’s long skinny feet. He just recently started sleeping 7 hour stretches at night, which makes his mommy and daddy VERY happy and rested. On the verge of rolling over, our little punkin likes to move already. He’s not too fond of tummy time, but is getting stronger and stronger each day. He’s a mellow little man, our Sawyer “Monk”, but is already very talkative like his sisters. We look forward to what 2009 will bring in the way of growth and development for Sawyer. They change so much in this first year of life, so we’re trying to capture each moment and cherish it.

It’s been a wonderful year, full of stability and exciting change, full of opportunities to thank God for the ways He provides and blesses, even though we are far from deserving. It is our hope that no matter what 2008 brought into your lives, our dear family and friends, you have been drawn closer to Jesus in the journey. It is our prayer that as we step foot into each day of this new year, we would fall more in love with our Savior, the only one who can fill the emptiness we have without Him, the only one through which we can have eternal life in the presence of our Creator! We send all our love to each of you this holiday season and wish you and yours a new year of growth, even and especially when happiness, by the world’s definition, is not a part of the equation.

Isaiah 26:3- “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast,
because he trusts in you.”

All our love,

Travis, Sarah, Emma, Chloe, and Sawyer


Jenn @ Munchkin Land said...

Love the pictures! You have such a beautiful family...

Anonymous said...

Great pictures and wonderful update. I think mine will be about 1/4th that length. I don't know where you get so many words. It's very inspiring to read.
Love you!

Maryann said...

Great pictures, fabulous words as always. So many Blessings to you! I hope you still make it down this weekend, though I am coming down with a little something. Hopefully we can still hook up!

Sheri said...

Sarah, I just loved looking at your precious family pictures and reading your letter too. God has blessed you so richly! Merry Christmas!

Deanna said...

Hi Sarah,
My name is Deanna and I have come out of "lurkerland" if you will :P. I don't remember how I wound up at your blog, but I know it was through one of my blogger friends links....I click on a friends blog and then I just go click crazy from there.

I come across so many blogs and some just stand out from others. I have on my own blog list a group of talented crafters which is what I like to see and read because I am not a craft person at all. My sister Laurie is but not me. Anyway, I always read from page one of a person's blog until I am at the most present post and that day was today for your blog.

I can tell you that I have enjoyed reading all of your posts and all the pictures that you share of your beautiful family.

I would like to add your blog to my favorites list if that is all right with you. Please feel free to visit me at my blogs so you can look around and make sure that you are comfortable being on my blog list. Your blog would appear on my Timeless Things blog. I have three other blogs but one is for Christmas and the other two are just for prayer and jotting down my thoughts for the day.

You can email me at deannaglory@gmail.com

I look forward to hearing from you. Have a very blessed Christmas!

Deanna :)