Christmas Letter

Here is our Christmas Letter and picture for the year…I’ll be mailing some out this week too. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!

MerryChristmas and Happy New Year!

It alwaysseems so hard to try to compress our whole year into a single page letter. ButI’ll try to hit the high points.

This pastspring (in April) Kerry started a new job with Manweiler Transports. Theytransport fuel of all kinds, gas, diesel, aviation gas and jet fuel (soundsexciting!). Kerry washes their trucks a few days a week. It’s not the mostglamorous, but it’s flexible, pays well and they really appreciate him. Thereis this “thing” among truckers called styling…they want the best looking truckson the road. Kerry helps them “style” I guess. Kerry is also still working asassistant pastor at our church. He gets to preach once every 5 or 6 weeks andwe are thankful for that opportunity. We are leading our high school AWANAgroup on Wednesday nights.

The boyshave kept busy with school and “boy stuff”. We took a spring field trip to Caveof the Winds and the Manitou Cliff dwellings. We had a great time learning andenjoying God’s creation. Gabe enjoys all things Lego and building things withhis hands. He is also an avid reader and enjoys “The Hardy Boys”, “Hank theCowdog” and anything that has to do with History. We make regular trips to thelibrary and always check out armfuls of books. Otto enjoys reading as well andis getting better every day. He tends to enjoy reading his Bible more thananything, but has also started reading “Hank”. Having boys who love to readmakes mom and dad happy because we enjoy it too! It’s heartwarming to hear thebig boys reading to their 2 younger brothers and it’s wonderful to hear themread our Proverb of the day some mornings during our Bible time.

Zeke isdoing well. We went to speech therapy this summer to help him put wordstogether a little more often and completely. He had a little bit of a delay,but the speech therapist attributed part of that to having 2 older brothers whotalk for him. We were able to wrap that up in July and he’s talking non-stopthese days. He is really excited to be old enough to be in Cubbies (in AWANA)this year on Wednesday nights and looks forward to saying his verses andplaying with friends each week.  Titus iswalking and making himself more vocal as well. He tries so hard to keep up withhis big brothers and watches them closely.

Erin isstill busy teaching. She teaches on-ground classes for Pueblo Community Collegeand online for several other schools. She enjoys it and is thankful for aschedule that allows her to be home several days a week. She has helped preceptseveral new faculty and Master’s degree students this past year and developed 2online courses for PCC as well. It’s kept her busy but she has learned manyvaluable lessons along the way.

In Augustour family was fortunate enough to go to camp! Gabe was a camper and Erin wasthe camp nurse. Kerry and the 3 younger boys came along for the ride. We wereat Covenant Heights Camp in Northern Colorado the first week of August. Gabeattended the last camp of the summer called “Adventure Camp”. The kids slept inoutdoor shelters and learned skills like shelterbuilding, fire building (this was a big hit), archery, and basic survivalskills. They also learned the art of not showering…apparently at Adventure Campyou don’t shower except for the day your parents come to pick you up, whichmade for some really dirty kids at the end of the week.  On the last night of camp the counselors andthe campers got to try out their skills in the wilderness. It was hard for thismama not to worry watching her little guy haul his stuff up on his back andtake off. But they survived and so did we. Erin enjoyed being a camp nurse, itwas a little different than teaching a group of student nurses, but in a lot ofways it was strangely similar. Kerry and the younger boys enjoyed being able tokayak, fish (we learned it’s better to feed the fish first…you’ll get morebites), and hike. Perhaps the best part of the whole experience was that wewere totally unplugged for a week. No cell phone, no TV and virtually nointernet (we had limited access which was enough for Erin to do her onlinework). It was DELIGHTFUL!

We wereexcited in September to find out we were expecting our 5th child. Wetold the big boys after a fall field trip to Garden of the Gods and a familypicnic and we greatly anticipated the little one’s arrival. Unfortunately,after a trip back to Kansas at Thanksgiving we found out our baby had died at15 weeks. Erin was induced on December 3rd and Knox Cornelius wasborn at 8:58pm that day. Erin had some complications after the birth, manyprayers for her recovery were answered and after surgery she was able to gohome the next evening. We are still grieving the loss of Knox, but trust thatGod has a plan and purpose for taking him early. We don’t have definitiveanswers for why Knox died as he was perfectly formed when he was born. There issome indication that Erin caught an infection (called CMV) that is relatively harmlessto everyone who gets it (and most people do) unless they are pregnant the firsttime they’re exposed. It shouldn’t affect future pregnancies if we are blessedwith them. We were incredibly blessed through this experience though by ourfamily, church family and friends who have supported us both with their actionsand with their prayers.

Weanticipate this next year Kerry will be looking for a full time ministry job,wherever that may be. We don’t always know what the future holds, but we arethankful we know the ONE who holds our future. We wish you and your family aMerry Christmas and Happy New Year.

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