|Back row (L-R): Isaac, Corrie, Ryan, Amanda (holding Mila), Stephanie, Emily, Haley, MacKenzie.|
Front row: Aiden (kneeling), Destiny, me, Terry, Samuel, Jade, Michael Ray.
Photo taken in a field behind my childhood home; my "stomping grounds". ☺
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given…and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
This year our family is seeing Christmas in a renewed light; through the eyes of friends who recently experienced a spiritual re-birth! We are reminded that before coming to Christ 15 years ago, Christmas for us meant visits with Santa, presents, colored lights, seasonal music, family gatherings...chaos & stress. It was during that awful Christmas of 1996 as our marriage fell apart that God used the consequences of our sin to prepare our hearts to receive the greatest truth of all: The reason Jesus had come was to restore the broken relationship between God & man. Apart from Christ, we had no hope; not for ourselves, for our marriage, nor for our children. We praise God for sending His precious Son, that through Him, we can know God and have eternal life. And we thank the Lord for the awesome privilege of sharing this truth with you!
Highlights from our year include a marriage retreat for Dad & Mom, representing Doorposts at the Indiana homeschool convention, juice fasting, meeting the Barnard family, welcoming a new granddaughter, & hosting several parties: Our fall gathering (which included a performance of a play based on the book “The Princess & the Kiss"), a surprise party for Terry’s 5oth birthday & plans to celebrate Terry & Cheryl’s 25th anniversary (which is December 30) with a vow renewal ceremony on January 5.
Terry still works at Carter Lumber & built a beautiful swing and arbor (view this beautiful piece of work at the bottom of this post) this year for the herb garden.
Along with homeschooling, Cheryl blogs at Treasures from a Shoebox & published her first eBook about a 60 day juice fast titled "Tugboat: My Voyage Out of Obesity" (which has sold much better than anticipated!) .
Ryan & Amanda were approved for a Habitat house (coming in 2013) just before they welcomed baby Mila in June! Ryan drives a concrete truck & Amanda home-schools Aiden (5) & Jade (3).
Stephanie (24), along with Emily & Haley joined their friends the Porter girls to form the musical ensemble The 5th Degree. She also began sewing lessons along with Emily, bartering music lessons with another large family. Stephanie continues to work for a local weaver one day a week, as well as lead the Long Family Singers.
Emily (20) launched a Bright Lights discipleship group in February for girls ages 9-15 & then began teaching preschool to a set of twins, along with Michael 3 days a week. Individual & group singing lesson with her sisters from a wonderful teacher has greatly developed their ability to harmonize together. Emily started a blog at Bright Lights in a Dark World.
Haley (17) began a successful baking business this year, specializing in cookies & pies. Her days are filled with music & writing, as she prepares for the World Piano Competition in June, teaches piano to her siblings, works on her novel, & blogs at Stop and Smell the Roses. She plans to take the SAT at the end of the school year.
MacKenzie (15) enjoys writing stories and songs, drinking hot chocolate & playing her penny whistle. She is preparing for a 5K race along with her sisters. Last month an encounter with the log splitter resulted in 14 stitches & a fractured finger!
Corrie (13) also enjoys baking, writing numerous pen pals, playing piano and singing with her sisters. She assists Emily with preschool and is a member of Bright Lights. She is learning guitar along with Isaac, from Stephanie. All the little ones at church adore Corrie, as she has a heart for children.
Isaac (11) enjoys woodworking and uses his daddy's power tools to build "treasure boxes" for his sisters, & other projects. He enjoys working on his fort in the woods. Along with acoustic guitar, he is learning to play his new electric bass.
Samuel (9) enjoys drawing pictures & reading & writing about the Civil War. He enjoys time with his brothers, especially playing army & working on the fort.
Destiny (7) likes reading, singing, dress up, & tea parties with Mommy. She is learning to help with breakfast & recently began doing dishes, which she enjoys!
Michael Ray (3) keeps us all in stitches with his broad vocabulary & great sense of humor. He enjoys singing, building towers & doing anything Isaac does.
Our hope for you & your family is that you will experience the peace and joy of Jesus Christ during this Christmas season.
The Long Family 2012