and kids

and kids

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas Letter via the Blog

I literally have no idea where to start this letter.  All I am certain of is that I am very particular about getting my Christmas letter/card/picture out by December 1st.  Every.  Single.  Year!!!  It is past mid-December and I am still struggling.  We had pictures scheduled to be taken a week before Thanksgiving, but they got rained out and I have been behind ever since.

I will just jump right in and be honest and say that I have heard two prayers come out of my mouth this year that do not necessarily make me proud.  One, “Lord, I do not know what you are trying to teach me here, but please hurry up”.  And two “Lord, I know what you are trying to teach me, but I just am not accepting it very well”.  It has been quite a year! The Lord has taught me, personally, a lot  and US a lot as a family.  A lot of trusting lessons and a lot of thanksgiving lessons.  It has been hard, but it has been great to have older children that we can share these lessons with and help them grow in their faith.  

As Jason and I grow older each year together (we celebrated our 17th anniversary this past October), I come to reflect on the year each December and think, “Wow, the Lord is amazing”.  And then I look forward to a new year.  2013 has not been any different.  It has been crazy and hard, but also wonderful to be able to share struggles with each other, and more importantly, with the Lord.  

We are studying prayer in Sunday School right now and it has been an incredible for me.  I am so thankful for the ability to speak to my Heavenly Father and express everything - frustrations, happiness, thankfulness, anger, etc.

Here is a short synopsis of what we have been up to:

Jason is going on 13 years of self-employment (our major source of trusting the Lord).  Each year I think he shifts into a different type of carpentry (from remodeling, to trim, to decks, etc.) and 2013 has been the year of kitchens and bathrooms.  Lots of tile work this year!  Jason still enjoys Xbox each Tuesday night and has a high school small group of boys that he has a bible study with each Wednesday.  He is an incredible Dad and I appreciate that he has the patience to work with the kids each evening on homework - unfortunately, my patience doesn’t show up in this particular aspect of life.

I am in my third year working for a real estate team from my home office.  The Lea Team has been selling houses like crazy.  I am busy with however many files we have going at once (sometimes 6-7, sometimes up to 30), but I never get tired of thanking the Lord for giving me a job that is flexible and that I can work from home doing.  The only downfall of the job is that the busy season is during the Summer when the kids are home, but I am determined to do better at organizing my time this Summer and my goal is for us to actually take a vacation this Summer.  I often enjoy coffee dates with friends and couch time on Wednesdays.  Scrapbooking and Blogging are still my hobbies, but have suffered a lot more this year.  I love being a Mom and have struggled with the realization that my kids are growing up too fast - I really miss having “littles” running around.

Mollee became a teenager in October and is in the 7th grade.  She sadly missed out on school soccer this year because of a Mommy calendar mess up and we missed try-outs, but she has just starting playing on an indoor soccer team this Winter. She took the disappointment of missing soccer well and I was proud of her attitude.  She got braces this year and I think she is trying to grow her hair longer than I ever had mine.  She is a great girl with lots of life and spirit.  She puts up with four brothers the best she can and she is a beautiful example of a friend to all.  

Tavis is in 6th grade and has quickly learned that the growing up/schoolwork world is rough.  He has struggled immensely keeping up with school work, but here at the end of his first semester, I believe that the second semester is going to be much, much better.  Tavis is a  great kid, also with a lot of friends.  His major goal at our dinner table is to get everyone to laugh, which I believe has been a negative in the classroom.  He has shown great growth in his maturity and through the struggles of school (don’t get me wrong, he has a long way to go).  He has warmed my heart at his appreciation and thankfulness for all the time Jason and I have worked with him - expressing it with little notes left around the house and random hugs saying “Thanks”.  

Daegan is in 4th grade and is definitely our best student thus far.  He loves to learn and loves to be challenged.  It is my prayer that we can keep him challenged throughout school.  He is a little different than the other kids because his friendships are more concentrated on a handful of friends.  Jason also enjoys to have Daeg around when working on household projects, because is very willing to help and be a ‘gofer’ for whatever needs to be done.  He is such a determined kid that even though he struggled at first, he stuck with it and has mastered wearing contacts rather than glasses.

Capps is in 3rd grade.  The monkey loves school and loves anything social, which is a major change from when we sent him to school four years ago.  He is a sweet kid and he plays hard in all he does.  He is almost taller than his two older brothers and I can easily see him playing football one day.  He loves to draw and he loves all crafts.   He also does fairly well at school, with a little bit of forgetfulness, but he just tells us he forgot and gets done what needs to be done.  

Mac is in 1st grade and I am fairly certain he has most everyone at school wrapped around his finger.  He is a bundle of goofy energy.  One of the changes in my schedule for work is that I take Wednesdays afternoons off and I work in Mac’s classroom doing math lessons.  This is a treasured time for me and I am so thankful to be involved with my “baby” at school.  He is a charming young kid.  School work is not his passion, but he seems to do ok.   I made a joke on Facebook that the one time Mac had homework, we were doing it at breakfast the day it was due.  I assume that is what we are up against with him, but time will tell.  He will be 7 in a few weeks, which is absolutely crazy.

Thank you to all who visited my blog to read this letter.  It was emotionally stressful for me not to be able to send out a card this year, but it has been another lesson the Lord has put in front of me to learn to “Let Go” and realize that I am not in charge.

Love to you all.  We will have a crazy Christmas Eve of the morning being with the Caines Clan and the evening being with the Browns.  Then Christmas Day by ourselves!  Jason and I will both work Thursday and Friday and then onto 2014!!!  
Thanks again for stopping by!  Feel free to look around at the other posts!

Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year!


  1. Hi Gretchen,

    Don't feel bad. I am amazed at all you do. My only wish is that I could live near you to have close relationshipnwith you and your family. God will never stop teaching so just keep learning. You can always trust him no matter what. This is a lesson that I have to keep learning daily.

    It sounds like Mac got a little bit of Uncle Paul. Can you guess which part I am thinking of?

    Love you guys. Have a great Christmas. Wish you could skip over to Asheville between Christmas and New Years, we are going there to visit.

  2. Love you all and thankful to read and catch up....6 rows away is just to much distance


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