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

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