Christmas Letter 2013

Linus from "A Charlie Brown Christmas"

Linus from “A Charlie Brown Christmas”

December 2013

Dear Family and Friends:

This past year proved to be another wild ride at our home, filled with adventures both good and, well, the other one!

Steve discontinued his Winter Shooting League commitments to be home with his beloved wife early in the New Year.  Two Fort Wayne event planning committees benefitted from Steve’s expertise running canoe and kayak racing competitions, held this summer.  His kayak racing (K-1 Unlimited) went well again for his fifth year racing in the U. S. Canoe Association circuit here in northern Indiana.  Participation in the USCA national meeting as a delegate and a respectable finish in the USCA Nationals were additional highlights this past year.  And while threats of layoffs continued at Exelis (formerly ITT), the Lord preserved Steve’s work again; it appears that the engineering contracts will continue for the next three years.  Yes!

Steve’s leadership and dedication to the Lord played out in continued work on the Missions Board at Harvest Fellowship in addition to weekly Bible and worship services.  I appreciated the weekly gift of a CD of the pastor’s message as my worship became more homebound due to the older conditions of our church building.  While I dreadfully missed the fellowship of our church home, I am grateful for the uplifting Bible teaching and first-hand account of all-things-Harvest when Steve came home with his play-by-play Sunday updates!

The biggest adventure of the year was the remediation of our home for mold between January and March.  We had just returned from seeing family and friends in Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina in January when it became clear that there were mold spores throughout the house that were causing significant compromises of Julie’s health.  After extensive testing and prayer, we discovered that mold had developed in the air return area underneath a bathroom cabinet.  Julie stayed in a hotel for 76 days, most of them with our dog Elle while Steve ran back and forth between home/hotel/work.  Steve’s daughter, Christina, was finishing a furlough with us before returning to Thailand this Spring.  I thanked her for coordinating some of the clean-up efforts and navigating the flooring replacement project that included the entire house.  To say it was a major undertaking for all of us would be putting it lightly!  We are grateful for the Lord’s provision and guidance . . . and to be back home!  We are home except for Christina that is:  she is pursuing her work in linguistics and as an Intern Coordinator in Thailand.

Quick update:  Patrick and Kate celebrated Jackson Rees’ first birthday this past September at their home in North Carolina.  We unfortunately were unable to attend due to my illness but wait with great expectation for their return visit to Fort Wayne this Christmas.  Rebekah is now finishing her first semester at Vanderbilt University in Nashville; international education will be the focus of her Master’s degree.  And Daniel continues to thrive as a Corporal in the Marines, based down the coast from Patrick in North Carolina.  We are delighted to host him and his girlfriend, Elizabeth Posey, for some Christmas celebrations here real soon.

And for me, well check my blah, blah, blog for the hairy details!  (www.justjuliewrites.com)  I continue to battle the complications of a serious illness.  Recent new treatments are providing promising results and I must say that we see the hand of God guiding me and Steve through this often difficult journey – with some moments of sweet tenderness that probably could not have come any other way.  I am also grateful for two projects:  my online jewelry business (www.trinityjewelrybydesign.com) & eBook (https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/371334) that have kept me sane when tempted to feel discouraged.  There is hope and I see it every day in the face of my Jesus and heart of my beloved Steve.

So we hope that you will be encouraged this Christmas:  the Creator King is on the throne and is ready for us to celebrate His birth in just a few days.  The love and hope of Jesus Christ makes the difference to hearts and minds surrendered to His care.  He does it for us.  How about you?

Merry Christmas,

Steve & Julie

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