Thursday, January 1, 2009

DECEMBER ISSUE

THE BEREAN TIMES December 31st 2008/January 1st 2009

DECEMBER 2008

"THE YEAR IN REVIEW 2008"



Have you ever heard the phrase "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times"? Well that has been 2008, at least in the Hall family. We have had our share of good times and bad, quiet and peaceful, loud and hectic, heartbreaking and fearful and joyful and grateful. We have had homecomings and tearful goodbyes. We have grown and changed and experienced new things, places and activities. We have found a wonderful new church of like-minded believers and a welcoming community of neighbors. All in all we have much to be grateful for. Things started off with a bang on New Years' Eve of 2007 ~ fireworks and pot banging to usher in the year 2008. We will be celebrating our one year anniversary of our new church the first Sunday in January. On January 6th we traveled to a home fellowship to find out they had outgrown their home meeting and as God would have it, directed us to their new location. Praise the Lord for His Providence! We were heartily welcomed and immediately felt at home, just what we had been searching for. Fast forward a year ~ so much has happened and we feel like family even more. The rest of the year sped by in a blur. William celebrated his 14th birthday mid January. In early February I took a trip down to visit my mom and hand deliver some precious heirlooms of my grandmothers'. Doug and I celebrated 16 years of wedded life in mid February, then we had heartbreaking news followed by God's blessing in disguise, a grown child's bittersweet homecoming, but by God's design a providential one and what a blessing it has turned into, only God could of known. Then came March with Sara and Chad both turning 20 and a wonderful Easter Sunday spent with our church family, the next day we had another emotional homecoming from our other prodigal! God is so good and even when we don't understand why we go through the things He allows us to, he means everything for our growth in Him. In April we waved goodbye to Doug and William as they left for an adventure in Alabama to dig into some old family roots, to get the goods as it were on the older generations. We had our nephew and nieces (cousins) come spend their Spring break with us at this time. Then came my birthday, we can quickly skip over that. We also went to the wonderful Christian Heritage Homeschool conference at Overlake this month and enjoyed following the E's home in the snow! Next came May with it's emotional up and downs. Was I destined to have a thankful and joyful Mother's Day? It was a nail-biter for sure. It was a good one as it turned out. Praise God! June was a welcome reprieve from a snowy and wet Winter and Spring. We went to the Oregon Christian Homeschool conference, stayed in a neat hotel and got to hear some of our favorite speakers. Then Doug, my wonderful hubby and best friend for life reached a milestone in his life and celebrated his 40th birthday! We had an enjoyable time as our family and friends all helped us to surprise Doug and give him a party he won't soon forget! At the end of June we had our annual Family Camp out at the 80, Doug's relatives all get together the last weekend in June and have a big reunion 75-110 people average it's a nice way to keep in touch with everyone. July came in stormy with heavy lighting and thunder showers, the men in our family assisted Mr. E in setting up the 4th of July fireworks show for the city of Maple Valley, they had a blast and appreciated the opportunity to help and learn some new things. William and Chad also started working for some local farmers doing haying. This is a sweaty, blistering, itchy and backbreaking job. I think they actually enjoyed it, got to have some of their friends work with them, earned some money and better yet; a good work ethic reputation. August and the dog days of summer arrived and we enjoyed our time spent together. We had some fun outings to Snoqualmie Falls, the Evergreen State Fair, saw the Jars of Clay/Leeland concert and went on our annual Cannon Beach vacation. September saw Doug and I escaping for a romantic interlude just the two of us. The children enjoyed a contra dance at a friends home and Sara and I helped K.E. and company celebrate her sweet 16th aboard a lovely Puget Sound cruise. I remember looking at the table full of dear young ladies and their mothers, thinking; I can see this same scene over and over again but for bridal showers and baby showers in the future. It was a precious sight. October arrived and Fall was finally here. We went on 2 different farm field trips and had alot of fun. We also got to witness the inner workings of our favorite radio station Spirit 105.3, took some pictures with the dj's and learned alot of new facts. We helped Ethan celebrate turning 8 years old and really settled into the school year. November started getting chilly and another family member celebrated a birthday, Brennen turned 19 and came and spent the weekend with us, it was sad to see him go, but we are hoping that he will come home to stay like his older siblings have. God gives and God takes away is another saying that I have had to learn intimately this year, there are some sorrows I believe that only a mother can really know. May God use everything in my life to show my need for more of Him. Thanksgiving was a bittersweet time this year, but Our thankfulness and gratitude showed all the more. December is here and now at an end, our family had a couple more outings and field trips. We went to Doug's Family Fun Night,

Doug and his 3 brothers with their dad.

Grandpa realizing William is almost as tall as him!


We went to the Pacific Northwest Ballet's performance of the Nutcracker at McCaw Hall in Seattle.


It was truly magical and a special holiday memory to last forever.Ethan especially fell in love with nutcrackers in particular. After we got home, the snows and wind began in full force and I don't think I left the house for what seemed at least 2 1/2 weeks. Our family computer crashed and trying to get everything to work on my laptop has been a struggle.

I wouldn't want this persons power bill!
The Advent season came upon us and was spent in special family times remembering what God has done for us and what God with us really means. A couple nights before Christmas about 8:00 or 9:00 in the evening, there was a knock on our door and when we went to open it, there was no one there but they had left a box and basket of gifts and goodies, to whoever you are thank you! Christmas morning arrived and we all enjoyed ourselves, opened presents and shared a wonderful Christmas brunch. One highlight was when William opened his calendar for 2009,(an annual Christmas gift for everyone)and looked at the back only, which had all of the pictures of horses on it. He was supposed to look inside because Doug and I had gotten him a special Christmas/birthday present of taking him to the San Antonio Christian Film Festival. Sara picked up his calendar and started flipping through it like he was supposed to do and she paused on the month of January and had the most incredulous look on her face,
she told William he had better look at his calendar again, the response was priceless!

Christmas dinner was a special but time consuming meal, Sara and I worked hard to make it wonderful and it was Delicious! I like this picture of Sara's reaction to Daddy lighting the last Advent candle on Christmas night and the thought that the burnt match would fall into the horseradish cream sauce! We picked up our nephew and nieces the last week of this month and worked and played and enjoyed their time with us.

How about a friendly little game of cards, cousins?
For you Aunt Shell

Hard at work.

We celebrated New Years Eve with our wonderful church family

and another of Mr. E's firework shows.
At home tonight we waited to see the old year out and the new one in, in the same way we had a year ago. Goodbye 2008 it's been bittersweet! Welcome 2009 and whatever trials and victories come our way.
MLH




DECEMBER HIGHLIGHTS

Hello, I am truly sorry for being an unfaithful news journalist. I’m trying to meet my deadline. But enough about me, I’m very choppy with my words. Go ahead laugh at me talking about myself when I said enough about me! In December my sister and I went caroling, (I have a fear of singing you might say, which is bad when you are going caroling. I don’t think you know how bad my fear of singing is. But recent encouragement by family and friends has changed that.) Then my family and I went to the "Nutcracker" Pacific Northwest Ballet and then Snowflake Lane. "It doesn’t matter what the weatherman says, it snows every night at Snowflake Lane fake or real." We had so much fun, now I’m not a ballet type guy… but it was really good even though people were dancing around in tights.


After the ballet we went to Snowflake Lane in Bellevue and walked around the mall window shopping and people watching, then we went outside and saw the percussionists. They were awesome!


WLBH




ODD AND ENDS

Why Jesus is better than Santa clause……..
Santa lives in the north pole…. Jesus is everywhere

Santa rides in a sleigh…
Jesus rides the wind and walks on water

Santa comes but once a year…..
Jesus is an ever present help

Santa fills your stockings with goodies….
Jesus supplies all your needs

Santa comes down your chimney uninvited…
Jesus stands at your door and knocks and then enters your heart when invited.

You have to wait in line to see Santa…
Jesus is as close as the mention of his name

Santa lets you sit in his lap…
Jesus lets you rest in his arms.

Santa doesn’t know your name all he can say is hi little boy (or girl) what’s your name.. Jesus knew our name before we did. Not only does he know our name, he knows our address too. He knows our history and future and he even knows how many hairs are on our heads.

Santa has a belly like a bowl full of jelly…
Jesus has a heart full of love..
All Santa can offer is HO HO HO…
Jesus offers health, help and hope.

Santa says you better not cry..
Jesus says “cast all your cares on me for I care for you.”

Santa’s little helpers make toys…
Jesus makes new life, mends wounded hearts, repairs broken homes and builds mansions.

Santa is a jolly old elf…
Jesus is the king of kings.

Santa makes you chuckle but…
Jesus gives you joy that is your strength.

{Santa is not real but……
Jesus is.} italics mine WLBH

Santa puts gifts under your tree…
Jesus became our gift and died on a tree.
(excerpted from Cleanjokes.com)




A Couple of Firsts…

This year was the 25th Anniversary of the Pacific Northwest Ballet's performance of the Nutcracker. It was my FIRST time attending and I was quite impressed with the whole thing. Before it started we were able to peer over a small balcony in the front and watch as the orchestra tuned their instruments and practiced their scales quietly. It was amazing how they played piece after piece during the show perfectly. Slightly more amazing perhaps was the talent of the performers synchronizing their every step, leap, and smile exactly to the music and each others queue. It was wonderful. All the background scenery made it come to life and transformed the play constantly. We had a pair of binoculars with us so we took turns looking closely at the many different costumes, makeup designs, and the dramatic expressions that told the story. I enjoyed it greatly. It was much different than I had always thought it would be when hearing it talked about or broadcast over the radio, but different because it was much better and well done in person! Hey did you know that Tchaikovsky`s FIRST name is Peter? Hmm. After the play we went to Bellevue to a road called Snowflake Lane. It was right outside the Macy`s store. They were putting on a holiday special drumming show. There were several young people dressed up in uniforms and hats and they each had snare drums or bass drums. They proceeded in a line and then one at a time on each block they would fall out into their own separate stations and began to play along with the Christmas songs that were playing out of giant speakers on the side. To our amusement they played Let it Snow, and instantly like magic it began snowing. I believed it to really be snowing at FIRST! Then I realized; ha ha ha this snow is bubbles falling from the top of the buildings.. I then laughed at myself for awhile…
When we arrived back in Maple Valley there was however the FIRST few inches of real snow this season. A few weeks later when the storm came our way I found out what exactly a snowdrift was. Wow was it cold! About twenty degrees plus extreme winds that blew all the snow that was on the ground towards every taller object and made a completely different terrain the next day. There were feet and feet of snow stacked up against our house and vehicles. It was like you see the sand blown around in the desert creating ripples and layers.. Except this was multiplied and pure snow! All in all it was gorgeous and I won't soon forget this winter season!
SLH




POETRY CORNER

For the poetry corner this time [since I am having trouble remembering which word rhymes with orange] I am going to type a few lyrics from the band MercyMe I hope you do not mind.. Besides they are very uplifting!

There`s a reason
Now`s the time- Let the redeemed celebrate-If you know what I know- you cant wipe the smile off your face- oh people stand up and praise- There`s a reason to dance- a reason to sing- of the sacred romance with our Savior and King- We lift up our hands- We fall on our knees- To the Son of Man- The reason we are free- There`s a reason-
All glory to- The King of Kings, Lord of Lords- Oh the value of your worth- No worldly treasures can afford- And we praise you forevermore- There`s a reason to shout, to shout your name on high- So we take up our cross, there`s a reason to die- Because Jesus is alive! [MercyMe]

Crazy
Why would I spend my life longing for the day that it would end?- Why would I spend my time pointing to another man?- Isn`t that crazy?- How can I find hope in dying with promises unseen?- How can I learn your way is better in everything I`m taught to be?-Isn`t that crazy?- I have not been called to the wisdom of this world- But to a God who`s calling out to me- And even though the world may think- I`m losing touch with reality- It would be crazy to choose this world- Over eternity-
So if I boast let me boast in filthy rags made clean- And if glory let me glory in my Savior`s suffering- Isn`t that crazy?- And as I live this daily life I trust you for everything- And I will only take a step when I feel you leading me- Isn`t that crazy?- Call me crazy- You can call me Crazy!-
[MercyMe]
SLH

2 comments:

Karen said...

Oh, those were precious memories, so many of which our family shares with yours. I laughed out loud at some, teared up at others. What a great post.

May the Lord bless the Hall clan abundantly in 2009 with all of His goodness and perfect will.

Much love,
For all of us,
Mrs. E

Libby said...

You guys are GREAT!