Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas in a Changing World

In a nod to our changing world, this 1900's era bunkhouse at Arrow now displays a sign

from the Arrow Museum dating back to the early 1970's and modern LED decorations.

This holy season closes a year of many challenges and victories for our family. As many of you know, in August I completed a punishing year of nursing school. I passed my board exam in September to become licensed as a nurse in the state of Idaho.

Long hours at school meant the rest of the family had to take up the slack at home. The family rose to the challenge, quietly adding my burdens to theirs without complaint. Graduation in August was a celebration for everyone!

Aaron's mother fell in March and broke her hip, necessitating a total hip replacement. During this time, my step-mom had a total knee replacement. Continuing health problems for both moms have kept the family busy and praying.

The rest of the family is well. Eldest daughter Jen and her husband Scott juggle two jobs, studies, homeschooling duties, and community work. Granddaughters Rebekah and Vanessa are becoming accomplished in piano and Taekwondo. Our eldest son Erik and his wife Rachel work two jobs while transforming the Arrow "homestead" and serving on the worship team at their church. Our sons Kevin and Dan continue to build an online presence for Dragonfly Core, working this year on a popular series for Discovery's Military Channel. Kevin's Christian music website,, featured exclusive interviews, news, and reviews from the Christian music world throughout the year. Dan plays drum for the worship team at church. Youngest daughter Grace helps with Sunday school and enjoys being a member of the young adults' group. She is preparing for a much-anticipated trip to Japan in 2012.

Aaron has become the anchor person at home, keeping things running smoothly at Arrow. He continues to be the night "watchman" and sits up every night to keep guard over a sleeping household, ensuring Kevin (and the rest of us) are safe.

I have recently resumed work on a personal project: compiling the history and stories of the people of our beloved Arrow community. This is a project I began before nursing school intervened, and I am eager to complete this work as a tribute to the people and area I love.

On the eve of Christmas, our world sits at an uncertain moment in time. Nations and governments hang at the brink of disaster. The changing face of our world is a constant reminder that security in this life is an illusion. As one tired old year is put to rest, no one knows what the new year will bring.

But we have learned uncertainty only brings into sharper focus the hope and promises of the One whose coming we celebrate at this season. The appearance of the Deliverer split history into Before and After and brought with Him the gift of Forever to all who yearn for deliverance.

It is my prayer that you experience God's peace and complete provision every day of your new year in 2012. May His power and strength keep you and protect you. We appreciate every one of you more than you can ever know.

For I, the LORD, do not change.
Malachi 3:6

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Our youngest daughter has an old cat named Raptor. She's had her since she was a kitten. The first time we saw Raptor at the pet store, I picked her up and she growled at me, thus earning her name. In the twelve years Grace has had her, Raptor has kept up her reputation for being cranky. But with each passing year, the old girl has grown slower, pudgier, less sure on her feet.

Sorta like me.

But there's something about the annual Christmas tree that inspires our old kitty. I don't know if it's the scent, the organic connection to the outdoors she no longer roams. Maybe it makes her feel secure. Maybe she just likes being the center of attention along with the tree. Whatever it is, every year she claims it as hers as soon as the last ornament is hung. Or sometimes before.

A lot like me.

Yesterday we cut our tree from our fledgling forest. As soon as we got the Christmas tree skirt around the base of the tree - even before the tree was fully decorated, Raptor was hanging around us in anticipation. As soon as we had it lit, Raptor took up residence. Transformed into the picture of youth again, she batted around the one and only present under the tree. Then she circled around and plopped down on top of it to take her long afternoon nap. She tucked herself as close as she could get to the beauty and comfort of the season and reveled in the rest it offered.

Just like me.