Thursday, December 31, 2009

Video: Happy New Year!

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Fun Year End Trivia

We did this two years ago, but unfortunately didn't get around to it last year. Far be it from us to drop the ball twice in a row!

Below are some random highlights and statistics from 2009, which was year three for our blog. We hope you find them interesting!

Average visits per day: 11.1

Blog posts with most comments: Full Van (14 comments), Samuel Joseph (10 comments)

E-mail subscribers: 8

Month with most posts: January 2009 and September 2009 (tie with 6 posts each month)

Month with least posts: June 2009 and July 2009 (tie with one post each month)

Most comments: Sharon and Joelle

Unique search keywords that found our blog: ebates scam (23 visits), rock zierman (17 visits), pattycake diapers (7 visits)

Technorati authority: 1

Top traffic sources: The Mitchells (578 visits), Shouts of Joy (328 visits) Facebook (244 visits)

We truly appreciate your continued readership. Please feel free to let us know what type of content you would appreciate most in 2010.

May God bless you with a very Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Friday, December 25, 2009

Our Family Christmas Letter

Dear friends and family:

This year has been an interesting one for us. By the grace of God, we walked through a very difficult situation with David's last job, and we joyfully watched God provide new work in a very bad economic climate for David and many others who stood for integrity. Though the specifics of what happened remain heart-breaking, we are truly grateful for how God has worked through the situation and in our lives. David is now back working in the Capitol building and is happy to be there.

At the same time, Christina's dad had some health issues that resulted in him having an emergency bypass surgery. He's been recovering well, but this has been a poignant reminder of how precious and fleeting life is, and how difficult it is to be so physically far away from loved ones.

On May 5, we welcomed Samuel Joseph, a whopping 8 lbs 10 ounces baby boy, into our family. He has been a delightful, sweet, joyful gift.

Eliana turned five in August and we entered the realm of parents with school-aged children (which makes us feel really old, by the way!) We're home-schooling Eliana with the assistance of a local charter school program, and we're loving the opportunity. Eliana LOVES doing her schoolwork and Mikey (4) and Danny (3) love "helping" her. It's so much fun to see them all learning in this way. Selah, who will be two in January, even exuberantly states that, "'A' says 'a, a, apple'!" Then again, she says that about "B," too.

We were able to make it out to Colorado in September to see much of Christina's family -- this was a delightful time for all, especially since the trip was a surprise for Christina's mom and we got to watch her squeal and jump up and down. One set of Christina's grandparents was there at the time, as well, and it was certainly wonderful to see them. David's sister, Danelle, came out for a visit in the beginning of November, and we really enjoyed our time with her, too.

We hope that 2009 has been a wonderful year for you, and that 2010 is an even better one!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

All our love,

David, Christina, Eliana, Michael, Daniel, Selah, Samuel, and the wee little one on the way

And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end." And Mary said to the angel, "How will this be, since I am a virgin?" And the angel answered her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy--the Son of God.

Luke 1:30-35

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Good News Amidst Some Rambling...

I've been thinking lately about how it is sometimes difficult to love the unknown. It's much more difficult to care about the countless hungry in the world when we don't know anyone who is hungry. It's hard to concern ourselves with all the abuses in the world when we don't see it with our own eyes. And we're often far more concerned about the relatively mundane problems we face in our own lives than we are with the far more life-damaging persecutions that people face in other countries and cultures... or even down the street in the less "safe" areas of town.

This must be why the news media is so good at giving us names and faces to pair with the horrific headlines we read. It's hard to ignore the heart-wrenching realities of child prostitution, abuse and murder when you see the adorable face of the latest victim staring at you while you read the article. This must also be why those who thrive in the abortion industry don't want their clients to see the images of life projected on an ultrasound monitor.

That's why I'm so thankful for the Bible. In it, God reveals Himself to us. He might not use pictures, but the Book creates the most amazing of tapestries for us. In it, we see His glorious, all-knowing, all-powerful nature, the masterpiece of His creation, His purity and holiness. We see human nature and its depravity, and how even those who desire to do what is right fall short of the glory of God.

We see His will for our lives, and because we cannot in ourselves come close to fulfilling it, we see the painstaking love that He showed for each of us when He sent His Son -- Jesus -- to fulfill our obligations, and to be sacrificed on our behalf, overcoming and rising from the dead so that those who are granted faith in Him might delight in His glory for all eternity.

Through the Bible, God reveals His awesome design, and through the Holy Spirit, He enables us to trust Him in this wisp of a lifetime.

David's and my lives don't necessarily look much like we thought they would seven and a half years ago when we made our vows to each other. Heck, our lives don't even look much like we thought they would a year ago. But His ways are not our ways, and I can, for one, tell you how very thankful we are for that! He, most accurately, knows better than we do. And, though we don't deserve it, He is sweet to give us abundant grace, wisdom, joy, and hope along this path He has created for us.

I am so thankful for the husband God gave me. When I made my vows to him, I didn't know the depth of the character and love this man would reveal over time. I don't deserve him, but God in His sweet kindness, love, and wisdom, gave David to me anyway. I can see a bit more of the picture now, and I can love more fully because of it.

And I am thankful for our children. We didn't plan on having "so many, so quickly," but, as we've seen more of the character of God over the years, we've been able to, more and more, trust Him in His plan for us.

As I look at each of our adorable, but far from perfect, children, I am so thankful that His ways are not our ways, and He knows better than we do. It is with this picture that He has created for us that I have full confidence that we will love and treasure this next little one, that He has planted in my womb, just as much as we love and treasure the rest. Though we don't yet have a picture or a name to attribute to this precious one, I have a picture of his or her value when I look at any of our children. We don't deserve these children, but God in His sweet kindness, love, and wisdom, gave them to us anyway. Children truly are a gift from God and we pray that we would, by the grace of God, be faithful with these gifts.

Sharing this news is always bittersweet for me, as I have dear friends who long for husbands or children, but God has not yet blessed them in this way. I ache for these beloved friends and cry out to God, that He would pour out His blessings on them. And I'm reminded that His ways are not our ways... that He knows better than I do. I don't yet see the whole picture or His plans for each of our lives, but He does.

Sharing this news, also, typically brings its share of voices of disapproval from those who love us and worry about us and want what's best for us, and who think we are having too many, too quickly. We treasure and appreciate the love expressed, even though we view this area in our lives differently than they do.

I am also quite thankful for the "cheer-leading squad" that God has placed around us. Since we don't have a common view shared by many, it is sometimes difficult to face so much disapproval. But God has been so sweet to place in our lives some strong supporters... It is a delight to share this good news with you. (One of you even beat us to this announcement with such kind words!) Your joy and excitement for us bolsters us in so many ways, and most importantly, in our gratitude and joy in the Lord.

Saturday, December 5, 2009