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My mom & dad, Christopher, Michelle, Michelles mom.

Seasons Greetings to our friends and family!

Dear friends and family, Merry Christmas!

We are pleased to greet you all from Middle Georgia, home to the 2007 Little League World Champions, Oprah's favorite city (Macon) and Sonny Perdue, the governor who prays on the steps of our State Capital!

The girls and I started our year in California to attend my brother Christopher's wedding to Michelle on December 31st. It was also neat to be able to meet Joni Eareckson Tada when we went to Universal Studios with Jody and Darren (our niece & nephew/cousin). Joni, a quadriplegic, has been an inspiration to me for over 20 years now. She writes, sings, paints and has a radio and TV program now! This was better than meeting a movie star to me!

Sarahs 20th birthday

Claire, Lydia & Sarah

Lydia turned 6 on January 28th and I was finally able to have a party here at home for her birthday. No ice storms, as has happened in the past. We rented an inflatable moon jump and everyone had a good time! Lydia is in 1st grade at Byron Elementary and she's a very good student like all her siblings.

Sarah turned 20 in March, unbelievable to me! She will always be my baby though. This fall, she was accepted into the nursing program at Georgia College and State University. Also in March, Edna, a young mother from our old church, came to stay with us. She was here for 12 weeks. Her two little girls live with her parents. I rediscovered my old weight loss seminar (The Weigh Down Workshop) this past spring and lost 20 lbs. I was dismayed to find out, however, that the founder has turned this weight loss seminar into a cult! Gwen Shamblin has strayed from her initial focus of loving God (instead of food) with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, to legalistic rules and coming out from all other churches (where her classes used to be taught!) to her church because she thinks it is right and all other denominations are wrong. I met a family who attended the church via satellite and was relocating to Tennessee just to be able to attend the church in person. Claire likes to joke now that "Mommy was in a cult." I didn't join the seminar this time, though. I just used Shamblin's techniques to lose weight. Unfortunately, I have gained back 10 of the 20lbs but am still pressing on and encouraged because in the past I would just lose 10lbs and gain it all back, over and over again!

Sarah and Teddy both got jobs at a local Christian Day camp for the summer. It's run by Byron United Methodist Church. In June Teddy turned 17. He is a senior at Peach County High and just started working at the new Circuit City. He's also looking into where he's going to college next year and is very interested in Emory University in Atlanta.

We had Claire's birthday party in May at the end of the school year because by July 31st we can't seem to round up all her friends for her party. They had a sleep over. It was fun and we celebrated again in July. In July we were also excited about the 7th Harry Potter book to be released on the 21st. I am so glad all my children love to read. They also love Harry Potter, who was previously banned from our house until I decided to check the books out for myself. Recently, I read an excellent book by Connie Neal called What's A Christian to do with Harry Potter?. We weren't disappointed in JK Rowlings ending either; she continued her theme of sacrificial love and good triumphing over evil and even had a couple Bible verses in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. C.S Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia, which we read together in 2006, has the same themes. This year we read Madeleine L' Engle's A Wrinkle in Time series, which is also similar to HP in that it takes love, which the evil force doesn't have, to conquer evil. Interesting note: Claire was born on Harry's and JK Rowling's birthdays! Reading to Lydia and Claire has inspired me and in October I enrolled in a children's literature writing correspondence course.

Ian turned 14 in September and is in 8th grade at Byron Middle School. He is a good student also. He always has his light on (too) late at night because he's up reading. When he's not reading, he loves to play video games. In October, Bob and I went to Tres Dias. What is Tres Dias? Well, the definition from their web site says: Tres Dias is an adult weekend which aims to concentrate closely on the person and the teachings of Jesus Christ. Bob and I had heard about it for many years and finally went to see for ourselves. The men go first and then the women. I was so discouraged when I went, just weary in well doing, trying to help individuals who seemed unappreciative. It really revived me and made me realize even more how much God loves me- which, in turn helps me to continue to love others, even if they don,t return that love. The letters I received while there, especially from my family, I will always treasure. A new friend from Tres Dias also wrote me a note I will treasure. In it, she said, "Love is God's greatest command, If you want to have the power of God released in your life, put His love into practice by loving those around you and serving in your Christian community as you have seen this team demonstrate this weekend."

This November we had a lot of illness. First, Ian, Claire and Lydia were feeling ill. We found out from the doctors that it was mono and Lydia also had strep throat,at the same time! Meanwhile, Sarah wasn't feeling well and her blood pressure(BP) was high. I took her to two different doctors and she still wasn't feeling right and her BP was still high even though they put her on medicine for it. So on a Sunday night (the 11th), I took her to the emergency room. She stayed in the hospital for two days and they did lots of tests and finally found a small tumor on her pituitary gland. So, she has more doctor's appointments to figure out what to do next. Needless to say, all this has been a little stressful! It sure has got us praying more frequently! Sarah came home from the hospital Tues. and on Thurs. my daily devotional reading was from Jeremiah 17 and was about trusting God. The very same day we went to the new Kroger and I had another reminder to trust God. This one was a bit usual: the lady who rung up our groceries had calligraphy tattooed on her left arm and I noticed it and asked her what it said, so she recited it for me, she said: "In my anguish I cried to the LORD, and he answered by setting me free. The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? The LORD is with me; he is my helper. I will look in triumph on my enemies. It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes."

I asked her where those verses were from and she said, "Psalm 118".

Family photo

Merry Christmas with Love!
Bob, Susan, Sarah, Teddy, Ian, Claire and Lydia

Henry Drummond (1851-1897) made the connection between trusting God and loving Him in his book THE GREATEST THING IN THE WORLD which was written in 1879. I first heard about this book on one of Gwen Shamblin's tapes! What Drummond says is that to love God is to trust Him. This is what John meant when he said "There is no fear in love." (1 John 4:18) Drummond's book about love was widely read and quoted during his lifetime, and went on to sell over 12 million copies. It continues today to influence people to follow God's two great commandments: to love God and to love each other.

And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13