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 façade 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