Saturday, January 18, 2014

Annual Letter 2013

Dear Family and Friends,                                                                                                            

The annual history letter had to wait until after the first of the year.  As always, the past year was busy; I’ll run through the months and then the individuals.

January:  Our new baptistery was delivered to the church.  I went with Darin Kennelly to Missouri for an ordination council for Tom Balzamo. 

February:  We worked at installing the baptistery; I built a fa├žade for it as well as a staircase and platform behind it.  We also painted the entire auditorium. 

March:  We had a baptismal service during which 8 people were baptized, 4 of them were our older children.  We made our annual trip to Missouri to have our taxes prepared.  We picked up Grant’s trombone and John’s trumpet from the music store in Iowa on the way home from Missouri.

April:  Carol attended the AIBCI Ladies’ Retreat in Rockford, IL with her Mom.  I built an offering box to place in the rear of the church auditorium.

May:  Carol and I attended commencement at Ambassador Baptist College as we were awarded the Alumni Couple of the year award.  It was a nice 5 day trip together and we used it to celebrate our 14th Anniversary.  John had to get his eyebrow glued shut after a baseball incident.  I shuttled Dad and Michael to and from O’Hare as they left and returned from a missions survey trip to the Solomon Islands.  Joel and Grant both played baseball this year; two different leagues kept us busy – a few times Carol took one to his game while I took another to his game.  We marched in the Memorial Day parade dressed up in Civil War regalia. 

June: Baseball, baseball, baseball. . .  We attended the Camp Assurance Pastor’s Family Day.  The kids completed their first year in the local school system.

July: Baseball season finished.  We spent more than a week in Missouri for vacation: the kids attended VBS in Wayland, we spent time in St. Louis at the Zoo, in Hannibal, and in the country at my folk’s house.  Grace Baptist Church celebrated 17 years; I completed 8 years as pastor at GBC.  I purchased a guitar, now Carol and I are both learning.

August:  The kids started their second year in the local schools.  I spent a lot of time organizing and/or getting rid of “stuff” that we had kept when we moved from the old church building to the new one.  I began remodeling my church office in preparation for the final push on my dissertation.  Though I wasn’t able to attend, Dad celebrated 25 years as Pastor of First Baptist Church of  Wayland, MO.  We froze over 100 lbs of sweet corn.

September: I finished remodeling my office at church.  I gave blood; since I have O Negative blood type, they tried the double red cell donation – it didn’t work and I ended up with a hematoma in my elbow for a week.  Someone broke into our church building and stole my computer monitor and the church laptop with 5 years of financial data on it.

October:  We picked and put up over 4 bushels of apples.  We had our annual church cook-out at the Mest’s home.  Grant and I went on a field trip with his 4th grade class to Springfield, IL.   Our sump-pump failed in our basement; the water got into the furnace and I ended up re-placing most of the electrical parts.

November: Our church computer was recovered from a drainage ditch; we sent the hard-drive to a place in California that was able to recover our files, even after almost 6 weeks underwater.  We had a security system installed at church.  We went to North Carolina for Thanksgiving; Carol’s mom came with us.  We visited my brother and his family in Columbus, most of my mom’s side of the family in Winston-Salem, and Carol’s brother and family in Wake Forest.  We were very grateful to get to see my Grandma Tate on Thanksgiving Day.  We also attended Handel’s Messiah at Ambassador Baptist College while in NC.

December: Carol hosted a ladies Christmas meeting at church.  I pushed to finish my dissertation by the end of the year.  We suffered a family accident when my brother-in-law was electrocuted and nearly died.  The LORD graciously spared him and has blessed him with a miraculous recovery.  Carol’s parents spent Christmas Eve day with us.  Our Christmas time was a little different this year since I was writing almost incessantly.

So far, in 2014:  We spent the first couple of days in Missouri with my parents.  I turned in my dissertation – a week late, but I’m still hoping to graduate this May.  My Grandma Tate passed away on the 6th of January; the Lord allowed her a merciful and peaceful home-going.  She was an incredible Grandma and her influence will be remembered for years!  My family was blessed to have Grandma’s Rat Terrier, Oscar, become a part of our family. 

Now for the individuals:

Joel: is almost 14 and in the 8th grade.  He is in the gifted class at school.  He enjoys his studies and teachers and is learning much that is of great interest to him.  He was able to play baseball this year in a different league than the previous year.  He continues to progress with his piano; he now plays the second piano in about half of our services.  It is good for him to play the second piano because his natural tendency is to take control when music is involved.  He also operates my PowerPoint presentations at church.  He has outgrown his mother, he’s about 5’9”.  He spent a week with his Grandparents in August. 

Laura: is 12 and in the 7th grade.  She is also in the gifted class.  Laura is very artistic; her design for the JH yearbook was selected in a tie for 1st Place – her design will be on the front cover of the yearbook.  Laura has also gotten taller, but she’s not as tall as her mother yet.  Laura’s help with the other children is invaluable.  Joel is totally at ease playing the piano in public, but Laura prefers to sing, she has a sweet voice and it is fun to sing with her.  She sang in our mixed Christmas ensemble.  She also is progressing with piano, but is not playing in church yet.  She has quickly become a young lady.  Laura also spent several days at Grandpa and Grandma Bumgardner’s in August.  We gave Laura a starter camera this year since she has a pretty natural aptitude for photos. 

Grant:  is 10 and in the 4th grade.  Carol has started giving him piano lessons this year.  He has assumed the responsibility of keeping attendance at church.  He loves to read and often goes to my office after church to pick out another book from the history section of my library.  He greatly enjoyed his first year of baseball and is eagerly anticipating the upcoming season.   Grant loves people and so public school and baseball have been very satisfying for him.  He spent several days by himself at Grandpa and Grandma’s house at the end of May.  Grant just got new glasses and his eyes had gotten quite a bit worse, but he is once again able to see.

John: turned 8 this year so he was able to spend several days with Grandpa and Grandma in Belvidere too.  John is in the 3rd grade and has the same teacher that Grant did last year.  John’s demeanor has not changed; he is still full of energy and enjoys life.  John has turned into quite a singer.  His barrel-chested physique contributes to plenty of volume and his natural disposition underwrites good interpretation.  John has a good appetite and usually is ready to be excused by the time Carol has had a chance to even sit down (he has to be constantly reminded of our rule that one is not excused until Mom and Dad have finished their meal).  This year will be his first year to play on a baseball league and he is ready – to put it mildly.

Josiah: is 7 and in the 1st Grade.  He learned to ride a bike this spring, pretty much on his own.  He is a very conscientious student – and person.  He is thoughtful in serious matters.  He has learned to read pretty well, and like the rest of the family is frequently found with a book in his hands.  Often, at the dinner table, Josiah will ask a question which I have to answer very carefully.  He furrows his brows seriously and says, “Dad . . .” and everyone is immediately quiet.  Josiah made a profession of faith not too long ago.  We had a very good conversation regarding sin, faith, and the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.  I’m confident of his understanding and he now wants to be baptized.

Kara: just turned 6; she started kindergarten this year.  She is very sociable and seems to know everything about everyone in town.  Even before she started attending school, she knew last names of many families in the community and could tell us the siblings of the children in the various schools.  She has the kind of demeanor that makes a gathering fun – lots of smiles!  She has learned to read VERY quickly and seemingly reads every road sign that she sees to me as we drive (sometimes that is good, sometimes it isn’t).  She is also quite fond of shopping.  Kara loves to give hugs to us and write notes to us; she is a frequent source of joy.

Gardner: is my little 3 year old sidekick.  He goes to church with me several times a week either in the mornings, or in the afternoons to take his nap.  He is very conversant with adults and is actually at the stage in life where he likes to help Carol do things in the house.  He has learned to sit quietly in church, but still doesn’t sit very still.  He thinks of himself as quite special since he spends the day with us, but he is also looking forward to starting school, even though he will not begin until August of 2015.  Gardner got to spend a little time with Grandpa and Grandma Deatrick in May when Carol and I went to NC.  By the way, he LOVES the Mississippi River.  Some of the photos on facebook from when we were in Hannibal show him staring out over his beloved “Zippi River.”

Oscar: is the little dog from my Grandma that is almost 8 years old.  He is adjusting very well to life in the mid-west with 7 kids in the house and snow on the ground.  We think that he will be a valuable addition to our home.  He likes to play, but he also likes to sit and snuggle.  He started sharing Joel’s bed, but seems to be willing to sleep on any of the lower bunks. 

Carol: celebrated her birthday was last week, she is getting better all of the time.  After several years, Carol’s dental implant is finally completed.  She has read a lot this year and loves to find either books that are devotionals, on healthy eating, family, ladies’ ministry, or history.  She has become more familiar with the usage of her laptop and the internet.  She loves her regular turn playing the piano at church; she also takes seriously her responsibility of teaching the 4th-7th grade Sunday School class.  We got her an iphone this year which has provided information at her fingertips.  She has worked off and on at her guitar, and we are both hoping that this year will provide more practice time.

Levi:  I am no longer working part-time for the bus company.  I turned in my dissertation just last week; I won’t know if I’ll graduate this coming May until my work has been approved by the doctoral committee.  I’m hoping . . . !  I still have one more class to complete, but that will only take me a few more weeks.  Pastoring is my joy, I love to study, preach, teach and interact with people.  This past year, my primary preaching studies have been Romans, Luke, the subject of Prayer, and the churches of Revelation.   I love my family and am moved by the responsibility of shepherding each of my children.  The discipleship of my children has become far more intentional since we put them in the local schools, but it has been very rewarding.   Carol is my constant companion . . . I could not begin to tell you all that she means to me.

If you want to see pictures of most of these things, you can surf our facebook page; Levi-Carol Deatrick.  The pictures are from our vacation in Hannibal and apple picking.

Love the Deatricks

Levi, Carol, Joel, Laura, Grant, John, Josiah, Kara, Gardner, and Oscar             305 E. Franklin St., Paxton, IL 60957 (217)379-4081

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Rejuvenated and Reunited

Carol and I traveled to NC last week while my mom and some of the folks in our church kept our kids.  We love our kids, but it is always nice to have some together time.  We spent 1 night at a Hotel in Edinburgh, IN on the way to NC.  Then we took a leisurely day to NC arriving after midnight.  We had a nice guest room at Ambassador Baptist College for 3 nights while attending all of the commencement week activities (we received the 2013 Alumni of the Year award).  We had a very enjoyable week together - our 14th anniversary is tomorrow, so the trip came at a very good time.  But, it was sure nice to get back together.  This was our reunion last night.

Gardner was the last one reunited with us - he and mommy sure missed each other and were glad to see each other again.

Laura turned 12 yesterday.  She was sick and stayed home from school, but we still celebrated her birthday.  She requested "chicken soup" since she didn't feel well.  Carol made a chicken soup with black beans, chili's, and tomatoes - very, very good!

Carol and Laura just returned from grocery shopping to restock after our trip to NC.

Our children are doing exceptionally well in school - all of them are "A" students.  It is hard to believe that they have less than 3 weeks remaining.  It will be interesting having them all home again all day long for the summer - although Joel and Grant are going in baseball again and will busy a couple of times a week with practice or games through the first week of July.

Kara will start school in the fall; she has already been evaluated there by the teachers and seems to be pretty well prepared (thanks to Carol's diligence) - she is "reading" Dick and Jane and other little books that have words where she can sound out the letters.

Gardner will become our solitary side-kick.  He can talk a mile a minute, so the house will not necessarily be quiet. 

Well, just a quick update - it is easy to skip the blog when doing more frequent posts on facebook.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A bird in town . . .

I had a pastor's fellowship about a half an hour away this morning.  Carol and I were talking on the phone while I was driving home and she told me that she had taken a picture of a very large bird out in the back yard that had been tugging at something on the ground for around 45 minutes.  She told me that she had seen it fly off and that it had a very large wingspan.

When I got home, I looked at the picture from her cell phone and assumed the bird to be a hawk.  While driving on the highway, I think that we see them often as they sit on fence posts and power line poles, but seldom if ever in town. 

I walked out to where the bird had been and saw the remains of an unfortunate squirrel.  As I was walking back to the house, it dawned on me that I was hearing a lot of birds chirping in the front yard; as I walked to the front yard, I noticed a bunch of activity in the top of one of our trees.  A crow and a dozen or so smaller birds were chattering and flying around the top of the tree.  As I walked closer, the smaller birds flew away and I could see what seemed to be the hawk in the top of the tree.  I took quite a few pictures of the bird with my cell phone (not the greatest of quality).  My assumption is that it is a hawk, though I acknowledge that ornithology has never been my greatest study and though I don't like admitting to ignorance, I would appreciate a clarification on whether this is a hawk.

We are sure it is the same bird that Carol saw earlier in the day; as the kids were playing outside this afternoon, they found the remainder of the squirrel under the tree (I was only looking up in the tree at the bird and so missed the squirrel on the ground).

Below are the best shots that I could get with my cell phone.

I must admit, that as the bird looked at me in this photo, I was ready to run.  I've seen enough youtube videos of birds chasing humans that I know that it is a potential danger.  Should that terrible hypothetical situation have become a reality, my wife would have been concerned, Gardner and Kara would have been too mentally stimulated to have begun their naps, and it is likely that my neighbors and passers by would have laughed for days!  (I know that motorists driving by were watching me take pictures.)  I'm still pretty fast for my age, but I don't think I could outrun a hawk.

Here are a couple of better pictures from the front side of the tree.

In case you think I'm scared of birds, or don't like birds, here is a video from my parent's back deck last summer.  I took several videos from only about 6 feet from their humming bird feeder.  If you watch the whole video for a minute or so, you'll see at least 5 birds at one time.  I actually counted 7, but never could get them all on camera at the same time.


 I had better sign off - tweet dreams!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

The parent of a teenager . . . ?

Joel turned 13 today.  I remember so much about that day (and the night before). 


It has been a busy day, but as I've sat down for a few minutes this evening I have just now started think about all that it means to have a teenaged son - hmm.

Today was also a work day at church.  We moved the new baptistery into the building; we had to take out a big window to move it in and ended up breaking the window (we half expected to break it).  Hopefully, we'll have a baptismal service in just a few weeks.  Joel would be one of those baptized and Carol and I reminded him that it was not just a coincidence that the baptistery was brought into the building on the day he turned 13.

Here are a few photos and a video.


We thank the Lord for the growth in Joel's life and the progress at the church!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Catching up a bit. . .

I normally put individual pictures of each of the kids on the blog after we have our family pictures taken at Christmas; I've probably had time to get them up in the last 6 weeks, but just haven't done it.  I have an hour before I need to pick the kids up from school, so I thought I would get them up here.  (I feel like snoozing a little, but this gives me a chance to check something else off of my "to-do list!" :-).

Here is the family photo.  Any of you who received our Christmas card have already seen this one.  It is also the photo on our church website.  The address is if you haven't looked at it yet.  It is still under construction: I have a little more work to do on uploading sermons and completing the visitors page. 

Levi and Carol . . .

Joel (will be 13 on 2/9) . . . a teenager!

Laura will be 12 in May.

Grant will be 10 this year.

John will be 8 in July.  (That is how long we have been in Paxton; it is kind of interesting that our 4 younger children have only lived in Paxton - this is the only location they have known.  Joel and Laura remember Belvidere/Cherry Valley and Grant joins them with minimal memories of Shelby/Lattimore, but the younger ones only know central Illinois!)

Josiah is 6.

Kara just turned 5 (she shares her mother's birthday of January 10th).

And . . . Gardner - 2!  (Yep, the picture is an accurate representation of his personality!)

We paid a pretty good amount of money for all of these pictures.  I can take some pretty good ones myself that don't cost anything . . .

Believe it or not - the kids wanted to do this (take the pictures, they don't know that I put them on the blog yet!).
Other things:

For the Holidays
We spent Christmas Day in Belvidere with Grandpa and Grandma Bumgardner.  We went to Missouri for New Years; our crew joined Dad and Mom and three of my brothers and their families as well as my Grandma, my Aunt and her family for chili, oyster stew, some other soups, and crab dip (a New Years family tradition!).  A friend gave us 2 pigs to butcher while there, so we spent a couple of days working up meat - 180 lbs of pork total from our two.  The third one is for Dad and Mom.

 For the church

We purchased a baptistery for our new building.  It arrived in the middle of January; it was too big to fit through any of our doorways, and so we are going to have to remove on of the big windows this Saturday to get it in the building.  Consequently, it is now stored in the church garage,which we just had to jack up and put back on the foundation after a strong mid-western wind blew it partially off a while back.   We did fix the garage before using it to store the new baptistery (either spelling baptistery or baptistry is acceptable - for those of you who are curious).

Putting the south wall back on the concrete pad.

 It will certainly be a joy to have the baptistery available.  We have several people who are waiting to be baptized (a couple of them are my own older children; I'm very curious to know what it will feel like to baptize them . . . ?).

For the house/home

I finally got a chance to rebuild the back steps on the deck.  Sometimes, I'm overwhelmed by the work that I have to do around the house.  Slowly I attack little jobs, but it seems like others add themselves to the list faster than I can keep up with them . . . are you familiar with the carnival game "whack-a-mole" . . . ?  It seems like the story of my life!  :-)

12 Tons of gravel here - intended to make the driveway stretch all of the way to the garage as well as make it large enough for both vehicles - but mostly just to fight the mud in the wintertime!

Another little problem that had to be dealt with was that our washing machine sprung a leak.  I couldn't put that one on a waiting list, we do too much laundry in our family for that!  The washing machine is 7 and 1/2 years old and does an estimated 20 + loads a week which equals at least 7,800 loads of laundry - it is probably about time for some parts to start failing.  The pump had a little hole in it that probably was the result of some little piece of metal or rock coming out of Tom Sawyer's pocket (er, I mean, Joel's or Grant's, or John's or Josiah's pocket :-).  I can't complain about the longevity of the washer . . . it was pretty simple part to replace, thanks to the help of my brother being on his computer looking at diagrams and telling me what to look for and how to do over the phone . . . I have yet to stump him with a problem (you don't need to tell Stephen I said that . . . he already knows it!).

The hole is right next to the base of the tube on the right.  It's amazing that so much water could come out of that little hole.


Grant had a skate night at school in their gymnasium.  There used to be a roller skating rink in town, but it's now our church!

Carol made this cheese ball "candle" for Christmas dinner at her folks - she loves to be artistic in the kitchen.  She had a picture and recipe, but it's still pretty good I think.

Finally, I was talking to my brother, Michael, on skype a few months ago.  As he sat down to talk (I think he was in the college student center), he innocently centered his head in front of the Christmas wreath - I couldn't help but laugh and quickly take a picture of his head . . . he knows about the picture and is pretty good natured about my humor, maybe even docile.

Well, I didn't quite finish the post before picking up the kids from school, but came pretty close.

 Enjoy! (I/we sure do . . . )

Sunday, December 9, 2012

My heart is open to you . . .

My reasons for utilizing the public schools are now on my other blog 

We appreciate your prayers, not only for our children as they grow in the Lord and in their education, but as I mentioned last post here - we have all been quite sick.



Saturday, December 8, 2012

We're all sick . . .

Well, the whole family seems to have strep throat!  Grant bruised his foot quite badly in a fall last Saturday; it was bad enough that I decided to take him to the emergency room on Monday for an x-ray.  Because of his cough in the emergency room, the doctor asked if it was okay to do a throat culture?  His foot was not broken, but he did have strep.  The next day, 3 more of the boys had a fever and cough.  I took them to the doctor and they were each prescribed an antibiotic - while at the doctor with those three, the school called to say that Laura had a fever and needed to be picked up from school (she also is now on an antibiotic).  Within 2 more days, Carol, Gardner and Kara, also had it and were on antibiotics.  Yesterday, while finishing my drive home from Chicago, I started feeling very achy; by the time I got home, my temperature was almost a 101.  I decided to do what I haven't done before and that is to find another preacher to fill in for me tomorrow.  Josiah has missed 7 days of school; I don't want to give something this difficult to get over to anyone at church, so we are all just going to stay home. 

My job driving the van/bus will be ending next week.  Upon review my logbook by the DOT, I was told I would have to begin recording all of my church work as compensated labor and therefore could not drive more than 20 hours in a week if I worked for the church for 40 hours in a week.  Furthermore, I would have had to make sure that I didn't work more than 40 hours for the church in order to save enough time on my logbook to be able to drive one day a week and do some other odds and ends for the company.  Obviously, a pastor can't say, "I will only work 40 hours for the church."  So, the two jobs came to the point of incompatibility.  It was nice while it lasted, I enjoyed the work, but can see that this is where the Lord directed.  I am re-invigorated for my pastoring.

School is going very well for the kids (other than missing this week due to strep).  I'm in the midst of starting up my other blog  On that blog, my first post will be an explanation of our decision to put our kids in the public school.  I've talked to quite a few people about the decision, but always only partially.  The blog post will be the most detailed explanation - like most people, I can express things best by writing.

I'm sorry there are no pictures this time, but will get some up here soon!