We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand. ~Isaiah 64:8

Thursday, December 13, 2007

2007 Family Review

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from our family to yours!

We pray that this past year has been a prosperous one for you in every way, and that the year ahead will be as well!

Instead of sending out a family "letter", we decided to use a blog format. We plan to update it often so that friends and family can keep up with our goings-on. We hope you'll enjoy visiting regularly. For now, we've compiled a brief review of our year - it has been an exciting one. I've also incorporated some external links - have fun and click away!

And don't forget to bookmark us!

New Family Members
We have adopted two new family members! Of course, I mean pets. :) November of 2006, we brought Sophia, a sweet Labradoodle, into our home. She was the puppy of a rescued doodle - and is a delight! Her favorite game is hide-and-seek. She does both - hiding and seeking. No kidding!!!

Our second new family member is a little Labrador-Beagle mix. She belonged to a friend who just not able to give her the home she needed. She's a VERY HIGH ENERGY dog. Luckily, she and Sophia are a perfect fit. They keep each other entertained and are lovely companions.

To Asia with Love
Beijing, Changsha, Guangzhou, Manila, and Capul—these are the some of the places where our family feet stood during the past year! In April, Kerry traveled with our neighbor (Dear Neighbor) to China to bring home the her family's newly adopted daughter, YuanYu (her chinese name). They were in China for two weeks enjoying the hospitality, food, culture and cheap shopping!

While in China, Kerry and Dear Neighbor saw many amazing sights and had lots of wonderful experiences. Some highlights are: The Great Wall, Forbidden City, Tianamen Square, an unscheduled “hutong” visit, the 2,000 year-old woman (Mawangdui tombs), shopping for pearls in Guangzhou’s “Pearl Market”, feeling oddly at home in Wal-Mart, drinking coffee at Starbucks cafes in Beijing and Guangzhou and attempting conversations with our few phrases of Mandarin. However, by far the best experience we had was getting to meet YuanYu!

YuanYu was 9 months old when she was adopted and has made the transition quite well. She is now a robust, happy, 17-month old with adoring parents and doting siblings (4 of them!).


July began with Erik and S on a mission trip to the Philippines. They joined long-time missionaries (and family friends) for a mission trip to their home on Capul, one of the many small islands making up the country.

They were part of a group of 8 participants on a short-term mission trip to assist the with bible translation training work. Part of the work they did involved conducting bible study workshops for native language translators.

S had the opportunity to do karate presentations to groups of local school children. As a result, he became quite a celebrity among the kids on the island!

Double Black Belts

After more than 3 years of work, two of the Potter's Shed (Erik and S) men received their black belts on April 21st. In order to earn their belts, they have had to pass regular exams in various techniques involving: kicks and punches, weapon work, pressure points, grappling, sparring, board-breaking, katas (long involved series of memorized moves), and basic physical fitness. The final examination included a timed distance run, timed situps and pushups, kata work, weapon work, back-to-back sparring rounds with other black belts, and finally a minimum of four different board breaks.

Family Escapes
With the international travel this year, our family vacation time (and budget) was very limited. But we managed a bit of time away.

Our first escape was our annual parish retreat to the Kanuga Episcopal Retreat Center in Henderson, NC. We enjoy a weekend of relaxed fellowship and unencumbered hours. Our entire family looks forward to this weekend every year. In fact, we leave Kanuga with the kids asking, "How long until we can go back?!?"

Over Labor Day weekend, we managed to make a last minute trip to the beach at Oak Island, NC.  Erik found us a quaint little cottage just across from the beach (no house in front, so it was like oceanfront!) for the long weekend. The dogs even got to join us - and they LOVED it. One of the highlights of the weekend was waiting anxiously beside a soon-to-hatch turtle nest. Unfortunately, we wore out before the baby loggerheads emerged, but we did return the next morning to see a flurry of turtle tracks leading from the nest to the ocean!

Back to the Books

Our fourth year of homeschooling began in mid-August with all three kids officially "in school". S is now in 6th grade, H is in 3rd grade (actually he's inbetween 2nd and 3rd because of his late birthday), and E is now in Kindergarten!

This year we've joined Classical Conversations and are thoroughly enjoying the once-a-week co-op style classes. The fellowship and interaction has been delightful and encouraging for both kids and mom!

A Leave-taking and a New Thing
The last big event of 2007 involves our church. Our family is very involved in our church, so when big things happen there, we notice! Our church family faced a crisis in the denomination and our own parish that ended with a leave-taking and a new thing. It all ended with a large group of the parish leaving the Episcopal Church to start a new Anglican Church, affiliated with the Province of West Africa. It is an exciting time, but sad, too. Many people in our old church chose to stay and the split was not entirely amicable. However, we are all trying to pick up and get on with doing the work of the church: sharing Jesus!

There were lots of other events this year, but these are the highlights. It's been a good year, all in all. We've been thrown a few curveballs and some that have left us very sad, but God is GOOD. All the time. And all the time, God is GOOD.

Thank you for sharing a bit of our lives! Please leave a note in the comments so we know who has come to visit!


Bob said...

looks like i'm the first post! how about that!

way too long a time with no speak!

sounds like things are going well, but using a blog for your annual update letter? are you crazy?! why, that would take away so much stress and hassle during the holiday season!! ;)

hope to talk more soon!!

-bob, that dangerous friend who remembers almost everything from the college years....;););)

The Nester said...

Hey neighbor!

You are doing classical conversations? I might have to ask you about that. This is my first year so I'm trying to figure everything out!