Saturday, December 15, 2007

Our Christmas Letter - Our Life

For those of you who don't get our annual Christmas letter (and thus miss out on Marcia's candor and wit) here is this year's edition:

Oh Baby, Baby!

Our family was blessed this year with the arrival of two grandbabies.

Raegan Emma Claire was born to Kristen and Brett on July 15, weighing in at 10 lbs., 2 oz. She has a head FULL of dark hair -- to the point that her mommy put her hair in pigtails at age 3 months and she had her first haircut at 4 ½ months old. Raegan has a beautiful smile and is a happy baby. We love to hear her laugh and coo when we are talking to Kristen on the phone. Kristen & Brett are very good about posting pictures on the web, so you can check them out at:
http://picasaweb.google.com/JonesFamilyNZ

Cole Michael was born to Kent and Jill on November 13. He weighed in at 8 pounds even and was 19" long. He is our 6th grandchild but the first one in which we have actually been at the hospital in time for his birth. We are happy that Cole only lives about 55-60 minutes away from us; it’s nice to have one in the neighborhood! Chris has a meeting in Grand Rapids on Monday so I’m going to Cole’s! Cole was 9 days old when he came to our house on Thanksgiving – it was lots of fun to have a newborn here. Watching him while he sleeps is just like watching a tiny miracle. I think you can find ‘Cole’ videos at:
http://www.viddler.com/mrmrshinterman/videos

And Others Who Bring Us Joy

#1 - Faith is 7 years old and in the 2nd grade but she acts as if she is 27. She has her own e-mail account so when Brett sent pictures of Rhys and Raegan to her, Faith wrote back to Auntie K: "Raegan is so-o-o-o cute it makes me want to cry and Rhys...oh my gosh what a cutie. ...well, the little cutie’s got a present under the tree." Faith enjoys writing; in fact, I bought a story that she wrote about a pooping dragonfly. Last summer she told me she was writing stories and selling them for 25 cents. I was her first (and as far as I know, her only) customer. As she read the story to me, we were both laughing so hysterically that I couldn’t help but make the purchase. Funny how that little story instantly became a treasured possession – and it only cost a quarter!

#2 - Lily turned 3 years old on October 27 and is a funny little character. She loves to play and does a good job entertaining herself. But sometimes when you think she’s off playing, she is really getting into mischief! On one of our trips to Florida, I was in the bathroom drying my hair. Lily came in, climbed up on the toilet seat, and when I turned around to talk to her, she had taken Q-tips and stuck them up her nostrils and in her ears!! Last spring, it was taking Kyle & Hope about an hour to get Lily in bed each night because Lily kept getting up, saying she wanted to pray. After a few nights of that, they decided to pray, "Please help the girls to stay in bed tonight" and then were surprised when Lily finished their prayer by saying, "so we don’t get in twouble."

#3 - There is never a dull moment with 2 ½ year old Rhys – he is a party just waiting to happen! We were in NZ in July and Rhys generally came downstairs each morning and climbed in bed with us. The first morning I put my head on his tummy and called him my lumpy pillow. A few mornings later, Rhys put his head on my tummy and said, "Hey, my lumpy piddow." I also would say, "I’m hungry for some...", then pretend like I was eating his ear, cheek, belly, or neck. Well, he’s extremely ticklish so when I ‘chewed’ on his neck, he really giggled. One morning Rhys climbed in bed and asked, "Granny, are you hungry for some neck?" He was also Chris’ little shadow – he loves his papa! Kristen asked Rhys last week who is his best friend and he answered ‘Um...granny and papa.’ We’re so glad he remembers us now in between visits.

#4 - Pixie certainly is a sweetie! In July as we were leaving after a visit, Pixie stood on the driveway calling out, "I lovesyou, granny. I lovesyou, papa." Immediately I felt a lump in my throat and wow, was it ever hard to drive away. On Pixie’s 2nd birthday (September 29), we had a small baby shower for Kent & Jill in the afternoon, then her birthday celebration in the evening. When I brought out the decorated shower cake, Pixie’s eyes lit up and she squealed, "Oh! Happy Birthday to me!" – so we sang ‘Happy Birthday’ even though the cake read ‘Welcome Baby’. That evening, she giggled and squealed her way through opening her gifts. Pixie loves Shrek so that was her party theme; she looked absolutely adorable wearing her ogre ears.

Each grandchild has her/his own unique qualities and brings so much joy to our family! There’s always lots of laughter when they’re around!!

And Away We Go

- I went to Florida for 10 days in April to babysit – and that was it for this year because our kids moved back to Michigan in the summer! Yippee!!
It only takes us 3 hours to get to their house now. Kyle’s & Hope’s new address is 11405 M-72 E, Williamsburg, MI 49690-9714. (Kent and Jill have a new address, too. It is: 3570 Redkey Dr., Grandville, MI 49418.)
- Chris & I went to New Zealand July 17 - August 15 so we could meet our new granddaughter! We had a wonderful 4 weeks with Brett, Kristen, Rhys, & Raegan. Strange that while we’re there we miss our family and friends at home – yet when we’re home, we miss our family and friends in NZ. Each place holds a part of our hearts. We are very excited that Kristen and her family will be coming home for Christmas this year. They arrive in Lansing at 11:25 p.m. on December 18. Can’t wait! Rhys wants to build a snowman (no, they don’t have snow on the north island, so he only knows about snowmen from watching dvds) and if we don’t have snow here, we’ll drive north ‘til we find it!!
- In March Chris went to New Orleans with 3 other men from our church to work on ‘Katrina’ Relief. They were surprised by the amount of rebuilding that still needs to be done, even though the hurricane hit in August, 2005. Our team was there for one week and they were able to help two families. They wished they could have done more.
- And then around Labor Day, Chris and 8 others from our church went on a 5 day bicycle trip from Lansing to Mackinaw (actually his ride ended in DeTour Village in the U.P.). The average daily ride was about 75 miles. A couple thousand people go on this annual ride – I was not included in that number! We do have a tandem but a ride like that is WAY out of my league. Plus, they camp out and I don’t like bugs or cold showers!! Chris loved it, though, and will go again next year. This winter, he and I both are trying to ride our stationary bike on a daily basis. (Of course, Chris is more serious about that than I am. He rides farther and faster.)

In Sickness and In Health...

Throughout our marriage we’ve been very blessed with good health. How-ever, Chris’ wedding vows were put to the test when I began experiencing physical problems in May. I ended up having surgery in October to biopsy my lungs and some lymph nodes; thankfully, I do NOT have cancer. The actual surgery was a bit more than I bargained for but Chris, my mom, and my dad were excellent care givers. I also experienced the Lord’s faithfulness in a wonderful way the day after surgery. As I laid there with tubes and lines connected to every imaginable part of my body and a damp wash cloth over my eyes, Chris put earphones into my ears so I could listen to praise music. When I heard words like "You are my strength when I am weak ...when I fall down You pick me up ...You are my all in all" and words like "Thank You for the cross, Lord. Thank You for the price You paid; bearing all my sin and shame, in love You came and gave amazing grace", I couldn’t help but raise my hand (even though I could only get it about 2" off the mattress!). Chris softly chuckled and said, "Honey, are you worshiping the Lord?" I nodded slightly in the affirmative and continued on with my own little praise session. It was so refreshing when the Holy Spirit swept over my heart with His sweet presence and it was such a relief to concentrate on Jesus rather than my physical need. It was amazing how God lifted my spirit way above the physical realm and ministered to my heart. I may have felt like the dickens physically but I was feeling great spiritually!

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You are dear to us, family and friends. We hope you have a terrific Christmas and a blessed new year!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Are You Smarter Than An American?

Two Videos That Give Clear Evidence of American Superiority

video




video


Sing with me...

"So I'm proud to be a U.S. American,
Where at least I know I'm free.
I don't know much of anything else,
But it's all that matters to me."
And I gladly stand up, next to you
and embarass us all today.
‘Cause there ain’t no doubt
America is - such as - a country
God bless the USA.