Monday, January 04, 2010

2009 Christmas Letter

This year has been a really busy one for us, but while many things have remained the same -- we are both still working at Highland Church of Christ, Josh is in graduate school, we live in our same house, and we are still marveling at the joys of raising our daughter, Sophie -- other things have changed.

Sophie still lights up our days with her smiles and hugs. She is so much fun to be around. Of course, her toddlerness shows up sometimes, with a little bit of attitude and her insta-cry abilities about the most unimportant things. This parenting thing is definitely a challenge sometimes! But most days the joy far outweighs the challenges and we delight in watching Sophie learn and grow. This year, Sophie started acting a lot more like a girl in some ways. She loves to play with her baby dolls, dress them, ride them around in the baby stroller. She loves to dress up. She also loves playing outside, though, and hitting her t-ball or swinging or kicking the soccer ball. She got over Elmo somewhat this year and started a new obsession with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse... just in time for us to go on a Disney Cruise around her birthday. She loves spending time at her grandparents' houses and is there as much as she at home, some weeks.

Brooke is thankful to be in her tenth year at Highland Church of Christ as part of the youth ministry staff. We enjoyed getting to go to Camp as a family again this year, and Brooke helped take a group to Houston Impact for a mission trip in July. While she is also sad about the likelihood of this being her last year in this job, she also feels so grateful for her time spent in ministry to an amazing group of teens and with amazing coworkers. This year, Brooke also spent lots of time talking to other adoptive families in our area, as well as friends who are considering adoption. Several of our friends have adopted and several more are in the adoption process now. We love talking about our experience and we look forward to beginning another adoption when our lives settle down a bit.

Josh is more than 2/3 of the way done with his masters of divinity degree at Harding Graduate School of Religion. He is still working as the Preaching Apprentice at Highland Church of Christ. This year, we began to feel called to go ahead and test the waters in seeking a full time position for Josh. As we seek God's direction, we would love for you to be praying for us. We hate the thought of not living close to our families and leaving our life in Memphis, but we are committed to going where we feel God is calling us wherever that may be.

Our hearts are with those who have had an especially difficult 2009, those we know and those we don't. Although our jobs remained secure this year, several of those very close to us are currently seeking employment in this difficult economy. We especially always have Ethiopia on our hearts, as we pray continually and financially support organizations such as AHOPE, World Vision, and ChildFund who work with some of the world's most vulnerable people. Our hope is to be more involved this year in the lives of some of these and that we can be God's hands and feet anywhere He presents the opportunity. May God bless all of you in 2010 and may we all be involved in blessing the lives of others.

Playing at the house

Playing in her kitchen wearing her first real ponytail

Sleeping with her favorite stuffed animal Panda

Playing at the playground

Easter Family picture

Hunting for Easter eggs

Painting at Memphis Workcamp

Sophie Day - 2nd anniversary of her adoption

At the lake visiting Alabama family

Flying to Chicago holding her best girl Baby

At Wrigley Field at Sophie's first Cubs game

Tubing at the lake

Our niece Sadie Belle was born

Sophie holding Tonto, her cat that lives on her Aunt and Uncle's farm

Playing in the leaves in the yard

Trunk or Treat - "Tinkerbell"

Just looking cute with pigtails

Turning 3 on December 13

Sophie and her new pal Mickey on our Disney Cruise

In front of her new tent that Santa brought

Christmas Family Picture Rays and Bennetts

The three of us, Christmas Day


Holly Aytes said...

Looks like y'all have been busy! Sophie is absolutely that smile! Glad you guys had a wonderful year.

Blessed said...

I loved catching up on your life and seeing sweet Sophie's pictures!

Anna said...

Brooke, she is just edible!!!!!

H Vest said...

So fun to get updated on your beautiful family!