well, our Christmas letter is finally going out today! it's been a challenge to get it done, and due to some technical difficulties, it is much later than we would prefer... if you're on my snail mail list, you will have your own copy in the next few days, but if you're a regular reader, i wanted to share it with you. I'm blessed and honoured that you would take time out of your day to follow the adventures of our family.
(This started out as our annual Christmas letter, but we blinked for a moment and suddenly it's February 2009 . . . So I guess it's better late than never!! This actually was written in December, so bear with us.)
Once again it is the time of the year to reflect on our family's milestones and major events of the past year. I guess this year could be summed up in one sentence: "We worked on the house!" It was one year ago this month that we bought our house in the little town of Monroeton. We have all worked very hard to get it back in shape after many years of neglect. D, N and G removed all the lath and plaster from almost every room in the house. We filled two roll off dumpsters with debris and plaster. We put a new foundation under part of the house, installed a new septic tank, all new plumbing, new electrical service, new heating system, insulated the house, installed new entry doors, and started drywalling some of the rooms. We just took delivery of new kitchen cabinets, so hopefully the kitchen will soon look shiny and new.
We also managed to raise 100 chickens for the freezer this year, and are presently waiting for our Buff Orpington laying hens to start giving us some eggs. We did phase out of the rabbit breeding business, only Dudley the blue rabbit remains. Since that left us with so much extra time (!!) we decided to get some pigs instead. These pigs have given N and I our claim to fame: we are probably the only people you know that were ever late to church because we had to chase pigs back into their pen. The memory of that will keep us from being teary eyed while eating ham and sausage next spring.
M had a milestone year, graduating from high school last summer, then heading off to Bob Jones University in South Carolina in the fall. She is working on a degree in nursing, and is doing very well. We certainly miss her, but it is good to see her doing so well in college. She and I also managed to squeeze in another mission trip to Haiti last Easter.
D has enlisted in the Navy, and is set to leave for basic training next summer. Unfortunately he has decided that he does not wish to live at home anymore and has gone to live with a friend of his.
N just got his drivers license, having passed the test on his first attempt. He is finishing his senior year of high school, and is thinking about what he wants to do after graduation. He will be going down to Bob Jones University in a few weeks to see if it might be where he would like to attend college. He is working a lot of hours at Dunkin Donuts in Towanda and also takes martial arts lessons.
G is becoming a talented guitar player. He has played in church twice in the last few weeks and did very well. He is in tenth grade and is doing well in all his subjects, especially chemistry and history. He is also becoming a talented firewood splitter, as we have an outside wood boiler that uses a lot of wood.
A is now two and a half. She is a very busy little girl. She likes to read books and go to story time at the library. In the summer she likes to go down to the creek with me to throw stones in, wade in the water and look for tadpoles and crayfish. So, when she says to me, "Stones, Daddy?" I usually drop what I'm doing and off we go. Other times, I hear "Drive tractor, Daddy?” as she likes to help me drive the tractor and raise and lower the bucket. She also loves to play with her dolls, especially B's Cabbage Patch doll named Donna.
B just celebrated her first birthday on October 10, she is another busy little girl. Now that she is walking, she has to investigate everything. A while back we heard her crying but did not know where she was. Turns out, she climbed up the stairs, walked into an upstairs room and shut the door. When she couldn't get it open, she started crying till she was "rescued". This coming summer should be fun with her as she starts to explore her world.
As I write a summary of our year gone by, I am amazed at how quickly time passes, as our children grow up and get ready to begin a life of their own; as our babies in the blink of an eye grow into little girls.
We have family devotions fairly regularly, although it seems some days that due to everyone's schedule we just can't find time. That's when A keeps me accountable, as she looks at me while we eat supper and says, "Devos, Daddy?" It always reminds me that our time as a family at home, that my time with these little girls is just a moment that will be gone before I realize it. I need to make the most of it and show them what really matters in life. It is not money or television or the endless stream of things that take up our time. Rather, it is faith in God and family. In the end, that's all that really matters. Merry Christmas to you and your family.
Dave and Jennifer Caplinger and family
Dave and Jennifer Caplinger and family