I usually write a Christmas card letter…I just couldn’t get it done for some reason. I have lots to be thankful for and as I continue to move through life I only know in part when one day I will know fully, as I am fully known. We got to see some amazing things, we had great family adventures, we unplugged, we lead, we cried, we hurt, we healed. Here’s where everyone is because I don’t want to have a year when I can’t read our summary next Christmas…so here’s the Christmas letter that almost never was…
Karson (11) my conscientious perfectionist-he’d play video games or read books about sports or trade sports cards with any of his free time as long as we would let him. He is a leader who enjoys leading his siblings to construct amazing lego cities and star wars battles (sprinkled with his sister’s Lego princess castles in the battle for the universe). He entered 6th grade (middle school) and began learning to play the trumpet (which we’ve discovered is a very loud instrument). haha When he walked in the first day he was ready and confident. We’ve had conversations about words and I’ve defined more words that I really want him to know…he’s flirting with the balance of culture’s way of living life and God’s best way of living life. He is navigating friendships that are changing and little boys trying to understand the grown up world much too young in my opinion. If I ask him what he is thinking he often says nothing, but every now and then he will be chatty and want to teach me all about what he is thinking about. I love those moments. This year he loved the thrill rides at Disneyworld…the bigger the drop and the faster it went the better. He acted like meeting characters wasn’t that big a deal but he was pretty excited to meet anybody from Star Wars and Big Hero 6. He mastered the wake board this summer and continues to snow ski faster than I am comfortable watching him do through the trees.
Karis (9) my joyful song-A 4th grader this fall, she is my living doll. She hardly ever forgets to change her earrings and match her outfit. She can be alone with her imagination and creating colorful glittery projects while music is blaring and she is singing along. She enjoys volleyball and piano but really likes the time with her friends and her kind piano teacher…she is highly relational and loves people. She has lots of friends and recently told me about a conversation at school where the girls were discussing if God makes bad things happen or not, to which she told her friends all good things come from God he doesn’t make us sin that’s our choice. She hears from God. I’ve prayed this for her since she was named, her middle name is Hannah, a woman of prayer in the Bible. She is sensitive and caring and sees people, I mean really sees people. She has women in our church she calls friends, though they are in their 20s. She hasn’t learned her multiplication facts because she just doesn’t mind not knowing them, She doesn’t worry much at all. She liked white water rafting for the first time this year and would say that meeting Ariel, Mary Poppins, Belle, and Tinkerbell were her highlights of Disney…though she also enjoys the thrill rides and the fabulous shows with singing and dancing. She now wants to be a Disney princess and perform at Disney when she grows up. We delighted in the sights at Glacier National Park together talking about God’s creativity for us to enjoy, but also really loved that Aunt Jana was with us! During family dance parties she makes up her own routines and always has a costume change.
Karter (6) my rambunctious cuddler-He began all day school as a big Kindergartner this Fall. He tells me all the 3 digit numbers he can add and all the words he sees that he can read; he’s pretty proud of his academic accomplishments. His sister has taught him a lot in their many sessions of school in her room. He continues to strive to keep up with his big brother athletically and closely follows with unending effort. We went mountain biking this summer on a real mountain and he was brave through it all keeping up and leading us at times. He lives life to the full with unabashed risk as long as he feels safe and in control haha. His summer goal was to fish with real worms and he caught many fish doing so during our lake vacation. He says winter is his favorite because he gets to sled and snow ski. He jokes with sarcasm well beyond his years (where does that come from). He is a happy helper when chores are issued and quickly adheres to the cause/effect world around him…unload dishes then go play. He makes us laugh often and keeps us parents on our toes. He likes music, but not the slow ones and has a surprising ability to sing lyrics to songs. He does many fly by “pats” (hits) as he runs through the house (much to his sister’s chagrin). At the end of every dinner he climbs up on Keith’s shoulders until we all are done. Yes, not cool for much longer but we know this will inevitably end so for now we let it happen. He likes riding his bike and played basketball this winter. Karter’s goal at Glacier was to see animals and was not content with that being eagles or squirrels so when we saw big horn sheep and mountain goats that topped out his must see list rather fully. He did not tire of the thrill rides at Disney and was often the youngest in line for them. He was mesmerized by meeting the Star Wars characters and maybe a little worried when the storm trooper approached him.
Our church, Resonate Church, which Keith continues to be lead pastor, planted another Collegiate Church in Oregon and additional sites in two of our existing towns (in order to reach community outside of college students too) as well as one internationally. Across our sites we have seen 140 people come from Death to Life, choosing Jesus in 2017. That is what life is really about…being asked by God to do the seemingly impossible and then God actually doing the impossible…choosing to use us along the way. Resonate turned 10 in August and we’ve begun a look back over the first decade, filming documentaries we are calling “Only God”
part 1 https://vimeo.com/235370407
part 2 https://vimeo.com/240242345
part 3 https://vimeo.com/245768488
part 4 https://vimeo.com/251558027
…because we greatly recognize that we have lived through so many only God moments and it has been crazy to think and remember so many of them.
We are on an adventure to plant 21 collegiate churches by 2021 here’s a video for that https://vimeo.com/230215942
Resonate was invited to share our story of our 3rd generation church plant at a large gathering for our denomination…we have now sent a team to church plant that has sent out a team to church plant.
Possible only because of God, things we didn’t even know to dream about 10 years ago!!
Keith and Paige both turned 40 in 2017, so we ran our 2nd 1/2 marathon and lived to tell about it...we’d like to say we feel wiser and more mature but we continue to prefer late nights over early mornings…which we used to equate to being immature and wondered when we’d grow out of that…maybe we won’t. We read something that said “How am I about to be 40, I still feel 20…but then I hang out with 20 year olds and I’m like no never mind I’m 40.” In some ways our environment keeps us young. Keith mastered wakeboarding this summer, mostly motivated by the desire to not let our oldest kid outdo him. Just kidding, or am I? Keith continues to spend free time researching golf clubs or playing golf inside our garage swing clinic or outside as soon as its warm or close to it. In the summer, we had a car accident and this resulted in Paige having back surgery and has lived to tell about it and hopes to resume life as close to normal as before one day. As our third kid began full time school, Paige continued multiplication beyond her biological kids to her spiritual kids, those in our church. She continued to explore a great passion of hers, to invest into the lives of women in our church, namely those who are church planter wives. Being able to spend time and lead our ladies has been a joy this year as this continues to be a group of women that expands.
What a blessing we count our days…we have rough days raising a tween and teaching our daughter about friend drama and our youngest to use his words not his hands haha but for as long as God sees fit for us to breath on earth we rejoice in His goodness even when life isn’t always just as we expect.
We thank God with blessing us with these.