Dear Friends,

I have not written in such a long time. There are a number of reasons…not the right time of day, no computer on hand, nothing good to say, writer’s block! How one gets writer’s block just to compose a letter is beyond me! At any rate, I did want to get something out for Christmas. Nathan and I are waiting to do Christmas cards/letters until after our little Hannah Joy arrives. (So it may be a New Year’s letter; Father help!) This one, though, is just a letter to extend some life and thoughts about life with sweet friends.

This year in a whirl: Well, from January to April all was a typical winter-time for us in Colorado. We did school in the mornings, took Timothy to preschool in the afternoons, and waited anxiously for Daddy to get home in the evenings! Then in April our hopes and prayers were answered and we were pregnant!!! Then in May our praises continued, albeit amidst MUCH sickness, sleepiness, and more sickness! From May through July I can’t really tell you much of what happened since I was in bed most of the time, but believe it or not I did still make it to our Ladies’ Bible Study. It was God-ordained for sure since I really needed that Esther study and I got to know some wonderful new ladies! Then came July through the beginning of September. For about 4 -6 weeks I felt great! I found out I was having a little girl and the spirits around our house just picked up! So did our schedule!

This year we sent both Timothy and Christopher to afternoon school at the local elementary school. (Just so you know, this decision was NOT decided on lightly! I spent the majority of the beginning of the year through my sick-summer praying, crying, praying…) Nathan and I both, in the end, had a peace about sending Timothy to Preschool one more year and about trying Christopher out in the school system. Well, God truly blessed our prayers (and still does!) as we have seen both boys thrive and make way for open doors for relationships for our family. Still we have also seen God answer some prayers about my hope to homeschool; we’ll just say He is making the way and we are waiting daily to take the next step.

Since both of the older boys are away for awhile in the afternoons I have my big-little Aaron all to myself! Now, some days that has just meant we both nap! But some days we meet Daddy for lunch, go shopping, read together, watch a movie, or cuddle up together on Mommy’s bed (that one might just be my favorite!) He truly is a bearer of light (the meaning of his name) and I love spending time with him! I really wanted to make this time with just him and I special since life will change with the blessing of Hannah entering our lives. Not all days have lived up to my expectations but special days won’t end with the coming of a little sister, no, they will increase – of that I am sure!

Let’s see, I made it to September. Ok, well I have to admit that after September my enjoyable pregnant days began to only come in spurts as the evening leg-swelling began. Well, not just leg but up and down and all-around as well. Some days I have thoroughly enjoyed this time of “glowing” and others have found me laying down at night, trading my glow for the shining of tears. Those were nights when the discomfort of my body was just too much to hold in and thanks be to my Father, Who holds every tear, I was able to lie there and give Him my cares. (Please understand that I am fully aware that in comparison to so many mom’s I have had an absolute easy pregnancy! In fact when the doctor asks me if I have any concerns I can truly say ‘no’ since I know there is no remedy for discomfort in the final trimester of pregnancy! Nevertheless, I am thankful that my wonderful husband and comforting Saviour are ever mindful of me and my state of being.)

Autumn is my favorite time of year, so when colder days and evenings descended upon us I found much comfort in the season! I love colorful leaves, hot coffee on chilly mornings and cold evenings, days that are shorter and require some candle-light after the sun goes down over that magnificent mountain in front of our house. I enjoy hot soups, homemade bread, and apple and pumpkin smells from my kitchen (or Panera, hehe). I also enjoy, to the delight of the men in my life, the beginning of football! I can still smell football in the air when I take my walks.

I enjoyed much spoiling from my family this year during Thanksgiving week since I also celebrated my 27th birthday on that Thursday. Nathan is always wonderful at celebrating and makes me feel very special! We put up our Christmas decorations a little early because he wanted me to be able to enjoy them for as long as I could this year. I enjoy coming downstairs in the early morning and plugging in all the lights and watching them twinkle as I listen to Christmas music playing softly in the background. It really is a treat I try to relish for as long as I can get away with! It’s also the perfect environment to sit with a cup of coffee and do devotions in. I love beautiful ambiance’!

So, as I close this letter awaiting Hannah, Christmas, our 7th anniversary, and the beginning of a New Year I have a few thoughts in my heart…

Abide in Christ! (John 14, 15) Can it really be emphasized enough? preached enough? encouraged enough? We must remain in Him; Who else on earth can love us the way He has and does and will? To abide in Him is to obey Him; to obey Him is to love Him; to love Him is to truly abide in Him! Don’t wait until the New Year for this; only dare to wait until the new second has arrived! I pray we all will abide; there will be no greater blessing than this at Christmas time or any other time of the year!
Nathan and I name our children after we have sought out the meanings and pray that they will each live up to them in the will of Christ. As I look forward to our Hannah Joy I can’t help but think of what her name means…Grace and (ofcourse) Joy! I did a brief word-study on these and found such a sweet confirmation on the name we chose for her. Grace, God’s grace is always to be followed by reJOIcing! In the Greek words chosen to express God’s grace and the joy of those who followed Him, the two were always tied. You cannot separate His grace from joy…atleast it was never intended to be that way. I wonder how much we give up of what His grace encompasses and can do in our lives by not reJOIcing over His forgiveness, His love, His mercy. As I continue to wait for this precious addition to our family, I am truly excited about what her life and purpose can be for Christ! What kind of grace and joy will she bring to others? What kind of grace and joy will she spur others to bring to others? If you are His, your name also has the stamp of GRACE and JOY printed on top. We are all in need of His grace and once we have been broken before Him and been healed by His forgiveness, joy is ours to enjoy and live and share in this world. (Our world needs us to NEVER hold back this great gift; “let your light so shine before men,that they may see…and praise your Father in heaven!”)
Finally, some words from Max Lucado… “Be hungry in your quest, relentless in your pilgrimage…Step away from the puny pursuits of possessions and positions and seek your King…Risk whatever it takes to see Christ…Many settle for lesser passions, but the reward goes to those who settle for nothing less than Jesus himself.”
-Just Like Jesus
Let us be diligent as we seek Him at the end of 2009 and the beginning of 2010. I want to be known as someone who has “risked” to see Christ! I don’t want to settle anymore. I want what my King-Father has waiting for me, His Princess-Daughter. I pray that you all, my friends and family, will seek the reward; that is His will, His reason for Passion, your reason for living.

Until,
Anastasia
Daughter of the King, Wife of Nathan, Mother of Christopher, Timothy, Aaron, and Hannah!