Thursday, December 5, 2013

Christmas 2013

The Year of Our Lord 2013

Dear loved ones,
 I write this greeting as we are in the air after a first attempt at landing in Newark, NJ. The winds caused the pilot to abandon his first attempt at landing and we are now trying again. I was just thinking, as I felt the wheels of the plane dragging the air, that we would definitely make our connection easily. We were truly about to land! It reminds me of the uncertainty of life in general. If you are in a place in life where you are about to land in a way that is uncertain, or you are not prepared properly, I urge you to seek The Lord! For you will find Him in doing so.

Many things happened this year that were not our usual flight plan. It turned out to be a year of exotic travels. First, Andrew was able to join David for his usual trip to L.A. for the Shepherds conference. Then in May, David and Rebekah (15)were able to travel to Ethiopia with several others in our church. They spent two weeks there ministering to Ethiopian pastors. David preached and taught once, sometimes twice a day. One small thing that struck me was how, years ago, Rebekah desired to learn to play the flute. She was able to use her talent to bless the Ethiopians along with another gal from our church who also plays the flute. So easy to pack and carry around on bumpy jeep rides. So unlike a harp, for instance. God has such special plans for each of us. 

Right before that trip, Margaret (17)came down with shingles. It was on one side of her face, and many of you know that it is very painful. We were out of town when she was diagnosed and it was a real blessing how auntie Sarah and grandparents all pulled together to help her recover. Margaret showed some "true grit" by playing, as scheduled, in a piano competition and winning first place. Woe to any of her piano students who try an excuse to get out of a performance.

As summer approached, Andrew (19)was preparing for a trip to Indonesia to spend some time learning another culture and assisting my brother and his family in their mission work. As the plans were forming in our hearts and minds months earlier, we thought he would travel there with my sister. So comforting to my mommy heart that didn't want him to travel alone. Even while taking that solace, there was a sense in my spirit that, no, he would travel alone. As the weeks drew near for his departure, there was, sure enough, a change of itinerary. Rather than accompanying my sister there and staying for four months and then returning with my parents who were planning on visiting at Christmas time, he would travel there alone. His first flight anywhere alone and it had to be across the world? Was anyone bothered besides me? No. It was good for me to let go. It was hard, not that I doubted his ability or God's ability to care for him, but more that I knew that this was marking a clear difference in my role in Andrew's life. Something that I always new would come and even wanted to come, but it is hard to start switching my mind, words, and actions to having adult children. It is exciting, too.
He had his first day of seminary while flying home from Indonesia. That is a thrill for us for sure! 

Then it was time for our regular homeschool to start. After years of struggling and trying not to get too concerned, Tabitha (10)and Marta (8) have finally" Taken Off" in their reading. As I had hoped, this crucial step has also unlocked their minds in many ways. They are getting along better and tackling their chores more cheerfully. We have had a very delightful school year so far. God has truly blessed! I tried to not get stressed over their troubles the last few years, but I did get stressed. I tried not to worry about what the "delayed take off"  was about, but I did worry. I tried not to get angry and impatient, but I did. And God did it. He looked down on my feeble attempts at training them when it didn't seem to be getting through, and He blessed anyway. Though they are not at "autopilot" yet, we have reached a nice little cruising speed. David and I are very thankful for the privilege to home educate. God is so good and we view it as a miracle and give Him all he glory as each day passes.

During this time, my sister got married. David and I were able to have a little couples' getaway in order to attend the wedding. It was in the San Juan's and we had never been there before. You know you are from a small town when your dentist officiates your sisters wedding! He also happens to be her boss. 

In November, we had the privilege of traveling out to Tennessee again for the Bible Bee Nationals. Sarah (18)and Margaret both qualified. We had a wonderful time and met quite a few very dear people, including some of the Duggars. Though neither girl competed past the first day, David and I had a very special time with our two older girls site seeing and just hanging out. Sarah hopes to be able to volunteer next year as she is too old to compete. 

Max and David  are quickly changing into young men. We celebrated Maxwell's 13th Birthday in our usual way. It is a transitional occasion where he invited guys of all ages and they share many important insights about being a man and then it ended with a football game in our field. David is eleven and straining to be older! I just can't seem to convince him to just enjoy what is left of his childhood! Both of them are a special part of our family.

William is six and charging ahead in reading and math. He loves math. His gears are always turning, just don't ask him trivial things like remembering names of people or what day of the week it is. When asked why he wanted to be a Christian he replied,
 " Because I'm a sinful man!" 
 And Sam. The baby is four. He is such a fun guy to have around. So easy going. Recently a child, who will remain nameless, cut off some of his lovely, red, curly locks. The child purposely trimmed as closely to Sam's scalp as possible. I asked Sam why he didn't ask that child to stop. Sam answered, " I did ask for him to stop. I said, ' Please, stop.' and he just kept cutting."

 Back to our present plane ride: we did land smoothly on the second try and switched planes for our return to Sea-Tac but after our plane pulled out of the terminal, it went back again because the water indicator is saying that there is not sufficient supply. I can't help but think of the Living Water. If you don't know what I'm talking about, please, get a Bible and read the book of John. Jesus is the Living Water. Once you have it, you never need thirst again. It is a free gift. At Christmas time we celebrate Christ's birth. There is nothing more exciting than that and it is what we care about at Christmas time and anytime. 

I do not know what next year holds. Will it center around this earthly home? Or, oh blessed thought, will we travel to the heavens? I do know this, " I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I've committed unto him against that day!" 
Wherever you find yourself landing this next year, this is the gate number:
“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few." 

Merry Christmas! Blessings, Carol Eddy for all: David, Andrew, Sarah, Margaret, Rebekah, Maxwell, David Clayton, Tabitha, Marta, William, and Samuel