Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Our Thanksgiving Letter

We make it our practice to send out a Thanksgiving letter and family photo to various family members. I realize most of you will have received this in the mail, but I thought I'd share it anyway.

Happy Thanksgiving!

There’s a real nip in the air these days so apparently fall has finally arrived! There were times during those unseasonably warm months when we weren’t sure if fall would ever come or if it had simply decided to leave us with an endless summer instead. But it’s fall now and that means it’s time for our annual Thanksgiving letter. It doesn’t seem possible to sum up this last year and write it down in letter form. The ups and downs of the year were many and while we had many “up” moments, we also had many “down” times, too. But, true to His promises, God never fails to pull us through the bad times and bring us out again rejoicing at His goodness.
The biggest change for our family this year was the arrival of kid #3- Evangeline Felicity (or Lil’ Vay-Vay as we like to call her.) What a fun little critter she is! Lily and Malachi adore their baby sister and sometimes tend to love her a bit too much for her own good. Many a time we’ve had to rescue her from being over- snuggled! Having three kids has been quite an adventure so far and if what other parents tell us is true, then it will only get more exciting as time goes on.

Lily, our beautiful four-year-old, is constantly growing in helpfulness, thoughtfulness, creativity, and tenderness. She is getting to the age when she can actually help with chores and projects instead of hindering them. Her favorite chore to do is setting the table for dinner and she likes to fold the napkins in different and unique ways. She is always asking questions and, amazingly, she remembers the answers we give her. We are so privileged as her parents to see the world through her eyes. We just need to remember to take the time to stoop down to her level and listen as she unfolds to us the mysteries of flowers, and clouds and piggy toes.

While Lily asks questions about the world around her, Malachi wants to learn everything through experience. If there’s a button to push, a rock to throw, a bucket of dirt to spill, a puddle to jump in- Malachi will be there doing whatever mischief he can accomplish with his little hands. We’ve lost count of the times when we’ve found him in the middle of some mess with a charming smile and his best attempt at looking innocent on his face. What else is to be expected from a three-year-old boy? And yet, in the midst of the chaos he produces, a love of music is growing in him. He walks around the house humming “La donna e mobile” as sung by Pavarotti. More often than not, he is singing, humming or playing some sort of “instrument” that he’s made from some of his toys. It will be interesting to see how God uses Malachi’s gifts and talents as he gets older.

Speaking of talents, Evangeline has a real knack for mobility. She took her first step at only 7 1/2 months of age and now she’s almost nine months old and walking around like crazy! When she’s ready to do something she just decides to do it and does it all the way. Instead of attempting to climb up one step, she flew right up the whole flight of stairs at breakneck speed (with mommy right behind her insuring that she didn’t actually break her neck!) Our little Evangeline has truly been “good news” to us as her name means and we look forward to seeing her share the good news of Jesus with the whole world as she grows.

So what can we say about us, Joshua and Adiel, the parents and backbone of our little family? Our days are spent doing the same mundane things that husbands and wives and daddies and mommies have done for ages. Sometimes it’s disheartening to be stuck in the same everyday things, but sometimes God graciously grants us a glimpse of what it is that we are really doing. We are building the Kingdom of Heaven. With each day that Joshua goes to work and every dirty diaper that Adiel changes, we are bringing glory to our Creator. Sometimes we feel that what we do isn’t very important or that we’re not really having an impact on the world around us, but then we step back and look at God’s bigger plan and we know that we are exactly where He wants us and doing exactly what we are supposed to be doing. And for that knowledge we are truly thankful.

God’s blessings to us this year are really too numerous to list in this short letter, but one thing that we can say is how grateful we are for people like you, our family and our friends. Some of you we don’t see nearly often enough and some of you we get to see regularly, but we love each of you very much and thank our God that you are a part of our lives.

With our love and thanks,
the Gardners

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