One of the things I like most about the end of the year is looking back and reflecting on all the experiences we had as a family and as individuals. This year has been extremely fun to look back upon because we can see God's handiwork in so many areas of our lives. July 1 marked 4 years in California. This is the longest time in one place in our 10 years of marriage.
Dustin continues to work for BST (Behavioral Science Technologies). They are a great company and he loves his job. It doesn't hurt that he is 4 miles from home either. In obedience to God, Dustin led us to leave the church we had attended for 6+ years which was difficult for us but we have found a new church home and are beginning to seek where we can serve.
We finished our first year of homeschooling and thoroughly enjoyed it. It isn't the easiest lifestyle but it sure grows your character a lot! I am learning a lot. My health remains well although the beginning of the year was rough so I am glad to be ending the year better than I was at the beginning. This year God has been growing me specifically in the area of submission. Talk about stretching your faith! It has been quite the adventure. I have also become a very frugal woman and have been grinding my own wheat and baking my own bread. Just started making our own laundry soap and household cleaners too. I am not becoming Amish as some have suggested. (Although last week, I made the most wicked batch of apple butter you ever had. ) I have actually enjoyed the challenge of spending less and being creative with what we have. (I wish I could say the same for our government but we won't go there right now.)
Josiah turned 7 this year and has lost 6 teeth so far. He currently has no front teeth which is kinda fun for the Christmas season. He is obsessed with Star Wars even though we have only let him watch the original movie and parts of the Return of the Jedi. He also enjoys the Encyclopedia Brown books as well as the Magic Tree House series. He continues to be very imaginative and loves to write his own stories. So far he has declared that when he grows up he will be a detective, author, and a surfer. We shall see what tomorrow holds.
Naomi is the little mamma of the house. She is girlie and yet tom boyish too; all in the right balance. On any given day you can see her color princess coloring pages, play "Star Wars" with brother in the backyard, paint her nails, and help mommy cook dinner. She is extremely smart and very inquisitive. (I am sure all parents say that but in this case it is true. ;) LOL!) She is also the reason why Dustin is getting more and more gray hairs. Something about the green eyes, dark brown hair, tan skin and pink lips; picture a Puerto Rican version of Snow White. In any case, she was having some neck pains that will require an MRI in January just to make sure that nothing is wrong. Frequent visits to the chiropractor has done wonders for her discomfort. We would appreciate if you would remember to pray for her.
We welcomed a new addition to our family in October which was the culmination of Josiah praying for a cat. Dexter is a vivacious 4 month old cat that on some days I like to refer to as "El Diablo." He is a gray and black striped cat, feisty and pretty clever. It has just been so neat to watch Josiah pray for this cat for months and when we went to pick him up sight unseen, it was exactly the type of cat he had been praying for. Isn't that just like God to answer a sweet little boy's prayers?
Speaking of answered prayer, we have seen our share of answers this year. One of the best things that has happened for me personally is that I have a prayer partner. We meet every week and the children play while we pray. It has been so neat to keep track of the requests and the way God has answered. If I listed everything you would probably get a 3 page Christmas letter. It has been such an inspiration to seek God together and then watch God move and bring about His plan. This has also had a great impact on our kids as they see their mommies loving Jesus and talking to Him consistently.
We are still living in the house I grew up in which is very ironic. All those years I dreamt of getting out of this crazy small town and now I am back in the same place I was trying to leave but I wouldn't want to be anywhere else in the world. We hope you have a fantastic Christmas and New Year. God bless you.
Dustin, Amanda, Josiah, and Naomi