A new year is a time to think about new beginnings and a time to reflect on the past year. This has been a fantastic year for us as a family overall, but has involved some struggles.
Isaiah left for his second semester of college and we had to really learn how to function without him. He could no longer be a part of our everyday life and we really had to accept that this year with him being gone a lot. However, the younger children stepped up and Zachariah especially was soon filling Isaiah's place, perhaps a little better than Isaiah would like.
This was a year of further learning about toxins in the body and becoming more health conscientious than ever. Not only was high fructose corn syrup banned but as our knowledge grew on other toxic substances present in many everyday foods we turned to producing our meals more naturally than ever before. We had always been more or less conscious of eating healthily but this year saw an exponential increase in our health conscientiousness.
This was a year for traveling for our family as a collective group. Isaiah went to Uganda for a month right after school finished. Then Josiah and Isaiah took a 3 week road trip with their cousins in an RV touring the western part of the United States from California to the islands off the coast of Washington and many places between Georgia and there. Then in late November and early December Josiah took a ten day trip to Switzerland. So between the two oldest children, our family has been quite all over the world this year.
In Uganda Isaiah had some great encounters with God and brought some of that Christian African fire for God back to our family. Since his trip we have seen an increased interest and delight in the things of God, especially prayer.
This year has brought increased knowledge to what may be troubling Mama and although not everything was resolved this year we ended with great hope in God's using the removal of mercury fillings from her mouth to give her great respite from many of her health issues.
This year we have brought in a new member of the family. An old friend named Joshua who fell in among some bad friends for the past several years met up with us again and has now joined our church. He has begun working with Papa to take up the slack that Isaiah left. This way Zachariah can have a little time to do school and not be working all the time that Josiah is gone. When Joshua goes to work he stays at our house the night before since we leave between 3:30 and 5:30 to go to work each morning. He has also allowed us to leave as a family while he stays home and runs the route for us, which has been a great blessing to all of us.
As a result he has become very much a part of our family and we have greatly enjoyed seeing the younger children love and appreciate this new family member. We have been greatly blessed to see his steady progression in his walk with God as he devours every book he can find on the subject.
Besides Joshua we have seen the new addition of Londa to the bread-route-workforce. Though by no means a regular, she went on the route for the first time this year and caught on pretty fast. Though, not as strong as her 3 older brothers she is no shrimp herself and pull her own weight on the route.
This year has seen changes as we introduce a new driver into the family. Londa took driver's education this past fall and completed half of her driving experience this past December. She did well in the classroom aspect of driver's education finishing at the top of her class and her driving instructor almost gave her a compliment on her driving—despite his own aversion to giving out compliments.
This past year Jedidiah and Elijah joined the homeschool choir for the first time and have absolutely loved it. Zachariah, Londa, Jedidiah, and Elijah have all enjoyed their choir experience this past year despite misgivings they may have had going into it.
Drama has been another addition that our family has really enjoyed as Josiah gathered some friends together and found a director to help them put on Much Ado About Nothing. The show was an absolute success and although Isaiah was not able to be there the kids had a wonderful time reliving this Shakespeare classic.
This sparked interest in the director they found to start up drama classes in the area and the older children have really enjoyed being involved in his acting class. They are looking forward eagerly to a new play in the new year.
This has been a year with a lot of new experiences, but the best new experiences have been the sweet moments with the three persons that mean the most to us. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit who have been faithful to their promises despite our unfaithfulness and have loved us more than we could deserve or think. This year has taught us even more about the absolutely unconditional love of God for us. He has broken our hearts with his undying love for us despite the many times we forget him in our busyness.
Jesus Christ has become more real and human to us and Holy Spirit has become more personal to us this past year. We look forward to another year in learning how to love and appreciate better these three persons who have given so much to have a personal relationship with us!