December 14, 2009

Christmas Letter 2009

Dear Family & Friends,

"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me - watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly." Matthew 11:28-30 (The Message).

Welcome to our Christmas blog. The above scripture came alive to me recently as I was considering the times we're in and my response to them. The economy and the dangerous environment it can create in our souls requires a prescription from heaven and that was just the dose I needed.

Well, you've reached a site that will now explode with full, dad-like bluster and pride for his clan, so hit the exit button now if you'd rather not be exposed. In these updates, I take the "half-full" approach to my team and while I could fill a page or two about our struggles and defeats, I won't do it here.

Will (19) - Is a freshmen at UNC Chapel Hill and is majoring in biochemistry. At present he's interested in pursuing a medical career and this past summer received his Emergency Medical Technician certification. His high school graduation was a blessing, his summer a challenge to his parents but he's now prospering in every way during his first semester in college. He plays bass at the weekly campus worship meeting, joined the Republican club (didn't know they had such a thing) and started his own blog. We miss him a lot, but know he's in the right place and growing in the Lord. Will has deep convictions, loves God and is enjoying other people more than ever.

Ben (17) - Decided to return to the Jacobsen Institute of Advanced Leadership (homeschool) this past year and Rebecca graciously accepted his application. It's interesting having this brawny man at home to say the least, but Rebecca says that he gets an A for effort. It is comforting for me that I never have to worry that someone will come and bother my home. He continues to be mostly focused on hitting things, crushing things and all-around "putting the hurt on people" with various forms of punches, kicks and submission holds. He's got a bit of a following now from other guys who also envision themselves becoming future MMA champs (Mixed Martial Arts for those of you uninitiated). Ben decided that he was a Conservative Libertarian this year, I'm not sure what it means but I like the words conservative and liberty. He and I are enjoying completing Men's Fraternity this year via weekly live internet feed. He ran his first half-marathon this year and beat his dad by 20 minutes. Ben is gritty, funny and discerning.

Anna (15) - enjoyed her second year at CCS participating in drama and debate. She went on a mission trip to New York City this year and quickly picked up the accent and had no fear engaging the teenage "ganstas" that I'm sure looked quizzically at this blond southerner with the bright blue eyes. She leads a weekly girls bible study in our home and continues on the youth worship team. She loves to sing, act and has a particularly-honed skill of mimicking any odd voice she hears. She is fluent in New Yawker, Suthern (including red-neck) Scottish and Teenage Boy. Anna is vibrant, soulful and pastoral.

Christian (11) – stepped away from his heavy soccer schedule and devoted himself to tennis this year. A perfect day for Christian includes; getting his homeschool work done early and taking to the courts with his other homeschooled buddy for hours of "hitting". He takes on a particular dull mood when rain is forecasted or his tennis schedule is thwarted. Christian is skilled at handling virtually everything having to do with running the home including diaper changes, cooking elaborate meals, feeding Mattie and at times, though unapproved, disciplining rebellious toddlers. Due to this sense of responsibility and strong work ethic, I seem to stay monetarily indebted to Christian and he has a mafia-style way of reminding me of my obligations. He's lots of fun but always in charge. Christian is focused, affectionate and trustworthy.

Luke (8) – is quite a fella and great fun to be around. He plays soccer, reads a lot, plays piano and absolutely loves listening to story tapes (Adventures in Odyssey and Jonathan Park). He has a great vocabulary and scientific bent. He's still usually the first one awake in the morning and now insists on eating a pre-breakfast snack with his morning coffee. Luke has now come to kindly demand that dad scratch his back while I "check" on him at bedtime. Luke is studious, adventurous and articulate.

Caroline (7) – started swim team this year and really did well. She enjoys ballet and starts soccer this spring. She's still Luke's shadow and can keep up with him and all his back-woods adventures. She has a keen fear of alligators though each night I tell her that none live in the house, town or county. I guess visiting the alligator farm this past summer was a bad idea. Caroline is kind, supportive and creative.

Elizabeth (5) – Ellie still LOVES to hug and kiss and hold Matthew (read smother)...all the time. She has quickly taken to reading, is a self motivated student and enjoys dressing nicely and keeping her hair. This year a clear competitive trait shown through as she always made sure mom and dad saw her matching the swimming or other feats of her older siblings. Ellie is quiet, gentle and generous.

Mary Katherine (3) – the softer side of Mary "Cake" came through this year, yet she remains opinionated and fiery. She got a lot of personality and loves to make us laugh and seems to always have a song to sing. Mary Kate is energetic, passionate and happy.

Matthew (1) - just turned one and has us all wrapped around his finger. Having this latest gift in our home this last year has been our highest privilege and we consider him heaven-sent. He's an easy baby who seldom cries or has a bad day. He's tracking well in his development and we've learned a lot about what to expect but we're also keeping our hopes high. Mattie is fun to be with and therapeutic to hold.

Rebecca continues to display her wonder-woman (wife, mom) characteristics, but of course I am keenly of aware of the kryptonite that can drain her. Even though she's got a job bigger than Obama's, she handles it with grace and quiet strength, always beginning her morning with the scriptures, coffee and worship. We celebrated 20 years of marriage this past June and while our plates are full and a lot of miles have stacked-up in those years, in many ways we're feel that we're just getting started. Tomorrow is the anniversary of our first date 24 years ago.

Thanks for sharing our lives and thanks for letting us be apart of yours. Please leave your greetings in the comments section below.
Merry Christmas!
Ron, Rebecca and family


  1. Ron, you truly have the most precious family. You and Rebecca have done (and do) such a wonderful job with your children. I know you are proud of them.

    We love you all,
    Beth (& David)

  2. Ron,

    I love your father's heart. I wish every child could have a Dad like you. Keep being who you are Ron... the world is watching, and learning. We're all the richer for your contributions to The Kingdom of God, and humanity itself.

    I was also so pleased to read of the perspective that you and Rebecca have gained during your first year with Matthew.

    I am very proud of you Ron.



  3. Babysitter and friend here...loved reading this update and love getting to see you guys twice a week.



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