Monday, December 22, 2014

2014 Christmas Letter

Dear Family and Friends,                                                                                                                                        12/13/14
 I always try to think of a creative way to start the letter, but creativity doesn’t seem to be flowing yet so I’ll just jump right in to the letter.  I’ve told my kids, “make sure that the letter is worth the stamp,” and you and I will both be getting my money’s worth out of each stamp!  As always, the past year was busy; I’ll run through the months and then the individuals.  If you only want to skim it, or even scan down to the person that interests you, you are welcome. 

January:  The year started with the death of my Grandma Tate; I’m so thankful that we had just been able to see her.  Dad and I made the trip to NC for her funeral (mom was already there) and also brought back her dog Oscar as a new addition to our family.  Carol turned 38 and Kara turned 6 on the 10th.
February:  Joel turned 14 on the 9th.  The month had an excessive amount of snow, it was mostly a month of survival!
March: During the kid’s Spring Break, we went to Chicago, then Belvidere to see Grandpa and Grandma Bumgardner, then to MO to have our taxes prepared; also attended the AIBCI Men’s retreat in Colchester, IL with Rand Hummel (I was privileged to be the pianist – very little is more musically satisfying than accompanying 100+ men singing together). 
April: My sister and her family spent a week with us; it was a special blessing to see them following Matt’s accident just before Christmas last year.  Carol, Laura, and my sister – Naomi, attended the AIBCI Ladies’ retreat in Danville, IL.
May:  We began the month in Arkansas/Louisiana; my graduation from Louisiana Baptist University was coupled with a week of family vacation at a cabin in Arkansas – my thanks to them for their patience while I studied.  I was a chaperone for Grant’s class trip to the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago.  Laura turned 13 on the 6th.  Carol and I celebrated 15 years of marriage on the 8th.  My parents celebrated 40 years of marriage; my siblings and I spent an evening at a restaurant with our spouses and my parents just reminiscing and thanking the Lord – a very precious time.  My youngest brother, Michael got married – the next marriage in the Deatrick Family will likely be one of my kids!  Baseball season started and somewhere we found time to march in the Memorial Day parade again.
June: Gardner turned 4 on the 15th. Carol’s brother and family stopped through for a visit from NC.  We had two nights of baseball every week (I coached the boy’s team).  Joel and Laura spent a week at Grandpa and Grandma Bumgardner’s house, then went to Camp Joy in WI.  Joel went to MO to spend the summer working for my brother, Stephen.  Laura completed a “safe-sitters” course through the Gibson Area Hospital.  We had a Special Sunday at church with 10 first-time visitors.
 July: John turned 9 on the 7th; he spent several days with Grandpa and Grandma Bumgardner at the end of the month.  We spent a week in MO where the kids attend VBS at the church that my dad pastors; I worked a couple of days with my brother, Stephen building a garage.  I turned 38 on the 23rd.  Grant and John both made the league All Star team and I coached several of those games.  We hosted a cookout for our entire baseball team – we met a bunch of great kids and families in the community!  We ended the month at Camp Joy; it was an anonymous gift to our family!
August:  After Family Camp, Grant stayed with Grandpa and Grandma Bumgardner for a few days.  School started again for the kids.  We froze 187 lbs. of sweet corn.
 September: We had a Labor Day cookout with our church people.  Grant turned 11 on the 10th.  We found out that baby #8 will be another boy!
 October:  Josiah turned 8 on the 30th.  My brother, Stephen, and his family visited with us and gave us 250 lbs of apples from their little orchard (we made 66 quarts of apple sauce).  I went to Springfield as a chaperone with John’s class.  The ladies of the church gave Carol a baby shower.  My brother, Nathan and his wife stopped through to visit.  My former professor, Dr. Childs, spent 4 days preaching and encouraging our church.  Carol began a 3 month series of ladies’ meetings at the church. 
November: We got a couple of deer from my family in MO, all of which we turned into sausage.  We spent Thanksgiving with my Aunt, Uncle, and Grandma in MO.
 December: My brother, Michael and his wife were just here for a day and night (Daniel’s family is the only one who hasn’t been here this year).  We are in the midst of a major family move; anticipating the arrival of the next baby we are putting the boys in the largest room in the house and then putting another bathroom in upstairs.  Carol’s parents will be here on the 22nd and my parent’s will be here on the 25th.  The end of the year seems to be quickly upon us!
Joel – is a freshmen in high school; he will be taking driver’s education during the spring semester.  He is 6’ tall (when I checked two weeks ago).  He has a stable demeanor and is not easily flustered (believe it or not, I’m not too nervous about him driving).  He knows his way around the garage and my tools quite well and I can usually delegate many of the maintenance issues of the house to him.  He is on the scholastic bowl team at school and has practice 3-4 days a week; he loves the academic challenge.  He is the “go-to” math expert for all of the other kids, and far surpasses my mathematical understanding.  He is also planning to participate in the high school math club as well as baseball this coming spring.  His literature selections have broadened this year into some of the different sciences.  He continues to progress musically and is one of our regular church pianists.  We are daily reminded that his time in our home in limited.  A few months ago he told me, “Dad, you could be a great-grandpa in less than 30 years!”  I replied, “that means that you could be a grandpa in less than 30 years!”  Time hastens on . . .

 Laura – is in her final year of junior high.  I characterize her as a diligent student; sometimes I tell her that she has studied enough and that she needs to do some other things (like dishes).  She also has a very stable demeanor; she is a quick, logical thinker and is competent at about anything that she does.  She and Joel are very close as siblings and she really missed him when he was gone this summer.  She has aspirations of being a teacher and seems to be well gifted for such a life.  Her musical abilities have increased too; she plays the second piano every Wednesday evening and on an occasional Sunday service.  She and I have sang a few duets in church, I learned that she has a pretty nice alto voice.  We know that she will be an indispensable help to us once the baby is born in January.   
Grant – is in his final year of elementary school.  He plays the trumpet in band – exceptionally, in my semi-educated opinion; I anticipate that he will be playing the trumpet for our church services by the end of the school year.  He is a very good student and a better socialite.  I don’t think there is anyone at the school that he doesn’t know – and probably like.  As such a social creature, we ran into a problem this summer at baseball games.  When Grant was pitching, nearly every kid to whom he pitched was his friend from school.  He loved seeing all of his old friends, even if they were on the other team; it got to the point one day that I went out to the mound (as the coach) and told him, “If you wave and smile at one more batter that you are supposed to be trying to get out, I’m going to take you out of the game!”  However, it is a character trait for which I’m very thankful, except on the ball field. 
John – is the same high energy person that he has been since he was a baby.  Sometimes we encourage him to be a bit more sedate, but we also recognize that is his personality.  He does well in school, but we have to prime him for information from class other than P.E. or recess (although he does love math and numbers).  2014 was his first year playing baseball on a team; his demeanor was often on dramatic display – his intensity level made losing very bitter and winning very sweet.  He played catcher quite often, though it was a bit strange because he is left handed.  John seldom walks or eats or talks slowly, thankfully, he loves books and will often sit on the couch to read for a while.  He loves music and singing and I can usually pick out his voice during the congregational singing at church.
Josiah – has come out of his shell a bit more, yet he is still quite serious.  He thinks deeply about serious subjects, yet he still participates in lighter things with the other kids.  He is organized and prompt, yet he shares a room with several brothers who don’t have those characteristics to the same degree – sometimes it causes conflict.  He will move to a new school next year, but he is rather independent and so is up for the challenge.  His reading has progressed markedly this year; for a while he didn’t seem to have the same desire as the other kids, but he is right along with the rest of them now.  He will start baseball next summer and will likely do very well (the kids have played so much in the yard that it is almost second nature to catch and throw); I think I will probably be coaching his team this coming year.

Kara – is my little sweet heart.  She loves to give us hugs and we are very thankful for her constant affirmations of love.  She is also a good student and loves school.  The beginning of the year was a bit hard for her; she had to get glasses and since she had a lazy eye she had to wear a patch for a couple of months.  Though she is only 6, she is very stately in her deportment – it makes me wonder what she will be like as a lady.  Kara has been asking me a lot of questions regarding faith – every day, I pray for her understanding and that God would give us wisdom to be able to answer her simply.

Gardner – the opportunity came for us to start Gardner in pre-school and we decided to go ahead and do it.  He attends the same school as Josiah and Kara, but he gets out at 11, so we still have his individual company for part of the day.  He loves school and has been learning many things in preparation for kindergarten next year.  Gardner loves Oscar, and often falls asleep on the couch or loveseat using him as a pillow; Oscar doesn’t seem to mind and I’m presuming even likes it.  Gardner is sorting out his feelings about having another baby in the house – he has been the youngest for more than 4 years and realizes that things are going to change.  Life is sometimes confusing to him, he found a picture from several years ago in which Carol was expecting Kara and holding little Josiah in her arms; Gardner asked “where was I in this picture?”  I told him, “you weren’t.”  He couldn’t imagine not being.  It is amazing to me how understanding grows – in a couple of years, this concept will be “old hat” for him, but right now it troubles him. 
We are so thankful for our children.  Our parental theme this year has been: “parent with grace.”

 Oscar - has been with us for almost a year now.  I wonder sometimes how much dogs remember and if he is wistful for my Grandparents.  He has adapted well – especially considering that he is now in a house with much activity.  He loves the kids – when we leave to take them to school, he is almost always laying on the loveseat with his head on his paws watching a bit dejectedly – he sleeps on the love seat all morning, then gets up excitedly to meet Gardner when he comes home at 11.  After lunch, he takes a nap with Gardner or on the loveseat, and then is super hyper when the other kids come home at 3.  He almost always meets me at the door because he gets a milk bone every time I come in the house.  We were concerned with the frequency and severity of his seizures; but the doctor said that it is likely congenital and to just try to make him comfortable.  He has medicine twice a day (if we can find some way to disguise it) and though the seizures haven’t stopped, they are less severe and less frequent.  He has been a beneficial addition to our home.

Carol – is regularly focused on the rest of us – very selflessly.  I believe it is true that “the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.”  I look forward to seeing the results of her faithfulness, her prayers, and her instruction in the years to come as our children become adults.  As a wife, she is more than I ever imagined as a 22 year old; God’s grace to me is very evident through her.  She undertook to memorize the epistle to Titus this year – as a pastor’s wife, she believed it would help her grow as a part of the pastor’s home.  This pregnancy has been a bit more trying as she is almost 5 years older than she was with the last one, yet there is always glad anticipation of that new life.  We’ve decided to name him, Gilead – the place of healing balm.

 Levi, I finished my doctorate, but quite candidly – it is about the same as passing a birthday – one day seems just like the next.  Now, I’m trying to catch up on all of the things on my “to-do-list” that I’ve avoided for the last 7 years.  I’ve learned much this year, especially regarding faith; George Mueller has been my biographical theme (from several authors).  I’ve determined to memorize as much Scripture as possible – ingesting the Scripture is giving the Holy Spirit the tools to guide me.  The value of having large portions of Scripture in my mind and heart has been incalculable.  Psalm 1:2, the blessed man . . . (is the one) . . . whose “delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law doth he meditate day and night.”

Love the Deatricks,

Levi, Carol, Joel, Laura, Grant, John, Josiah, Kara, Gardner, and Oscar             305 E. Franklin St., Paxton, IL 60957 (217)781-4081            Facebook: Levi-Carol Deatrick

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