Christmas letters seem to be a thing of the past since now we have all the social media at our fingertips. We know everything about everyone, including what they had for dinner last night and where they traveled in June.
There’s just something about a letter, though. Something cozy and Christmasy and sweet. Something that makes me remember when things seemed a bit more simple. And I guess I kind of like that.
So here’s a Christmas letter. A letter to remember. A letter representing all the things I want to remember.
Christmas 2018 // Remember
January- Jeff and I celebrated fourteen beautiful years of marriage. We left our four kids for two nights and had a little baby-moon. It was lovely (and cold). We mostly ate food and watched movies, but we ventured out enough to get coffee and go to a used bookstore. Remember when we were just babies walking down that aisle? I can’t imagine it any other way. I love this married life.
February - We welcomed our sweet baby, Luca Nehemiah on the 13th. He came on his due date! Luca means “bringer of light” and Nehemiah means “comfort of God”. He is both those things! He is such a joy. We are all in love with him and a little sad to see him growing up so quickly. It’s been quite fun watching the bigs with a baby. He has them wrapped around his little finger. He follows them wherever they go and wants to do all the big kid things. He has been a very laid back baby. Remember when people asked us as we stared at him if he was our first? And remember when we answered no, he’s number six? He is just such a gift.
March - Isa Jenny turned seven-years-old! We cannot believe how quickly time goes. She is growing up so. She’s a wonderful big sister. She’s caring and gentle and very entertaining. She loves to build tents all over the house! And making up new songs is one of her favorite pastimes. Remember when she would light up at the sight of all the birthday balloons? And sing in Lingala? Sweet thing.
April - Crusoe Jeremy turned nine. And time won’t stand still as much as I will it to. I’m not even sure how any of this is possible. He’s almost as tall as me now. He’s always a willing helper, a hard worker and he’s a really fun brother. This kid loves to make people laugh. He enjoys being outside and with his friends. Remember when I could give him a piggy back ride and he would walk straight out the front door to explore? We’ve come so far, he’s grown so much.
May/June - We didn’t really have any big events these months. We finished up school for the year. We planted a garden for our first spring and summer in our new home. It’s such a blessing to be able to play in the woods and grow food right in our own backyard! We also enjoyed quite a bit of time at the river. The kids love to fish (although we haven’t really caught much!). I want to always remember watching all the kids play outside, climbing trees and riding bikes and getting into all the mischief.
July - Liam Asher is seven now! He made the transition from youngest to big brother so well. He loves hugs and is always quite concerned for the safety of his family. He is finally taking violin lessons, after asking for them for over a year. He is really enjoying taking lessons from his cousin. Remember when he would say “destruction” instead of instruction? Remember how we didn’t want to correct him because it’s so cute? Remember when he’d sneak into our bed in the night?
August - Ava Lilly turned ten. TEN. As she rejoiced in the double digits, I lamented the fact that my oldest daughter is now ten. Just kidding. I really am happy! I just cannot believe it. She’s a huge help around the house, an avid reader and she’s really enjoying the baby. It’s fun to watch all of them grow! Remember when ten seemed so far away? When she was three and pretending to be ten? Remember when all she wanted was a doll? Just kidding. She wanted a phone when she was three to put in her purse along with keys.
August was also Thao’s birthday month. He would have been twelve. Remember. Remember each birthday is a gift. Remember what was. Remember the hope we have. Remember his laugh. Remember to keep on living. Remember to always put chocolate chips in the banana bread and sprinkles make all things taste better.
September - School began for us with all the grades and all the newness. Homeschooling four kids and having a baby at home has proved to be quite challenging, but rewarding. And fun and beautiful and also very exhausting some days. I wouldn’t trade it for the world, though! It’s a great fit for our family. It has been a great way for our family to bond (adding three kids in less than three-years, we’ll take all the extra bonding time we can get!). And it really works with Jeff’s job. We are so happy with this greenhouse life. It’s a little unconventional, but we love it. Jeff’s really loving running his own business building greenhouses. We hate the times we are apart but we look forward to traveling more with him in 2019. This year has been crazy busy, but we know to be thankful. It’s such a blessing to have the opportunity to travel and work and spend more time with family. Remember each year passes quickly even when the days may feel long. Remember the legacy we are building. Remember our ministry.
October - Marked the one year anniversary of owning this home! We love it here. Remember this home is a gift, a blessing and to be shared.
November/December - Preparing our hearts for Christmas and the new year. We’ve enjoyed some wonderful visits with family and friends. We are learning how to balance this crazy life. And learning all the time how to love each other more. I have been (slowly) working on some new writing projects that I hope to complete in 2019. All in all, we are enjoying each day with our family, growing and serving each other. Since the theme of my letter is remembering, I hope that I can leave you with this one thing, remember baby Jesus. As we continue to live each day the best we know how, I hope that you don’t stay where you are but continue moving forward, pressing onward and growing. I hope that as you grow you always remember who you are and Whose you are.
Because you are who Jesus came for. You are the beloved. You are a child of the King. And I hope you remember that. I hope you believe that. I hope you cling to that.
This season as the busyness threatens to drag us each down, I pray that you remember the One who lifts you up. Out of the despair and guilt and regret, He brings hope and grace and freedom. Out of the exhaustion, He brings strength. All wrapped up in the small babe in a manger. He holds the hope for weary world. He brings love.