Christmas Newsletter 2020

December 30th, 2020

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

It’s Christmas time, and now more than ever we feel the light of Christ’s incarnation shining into the darkness of our sin-filled world.

The first century BC was a dark hour in the history of the Jewish nation. The Jewish people were conquered, scattered, subjugated, and oppressed. The line of kings was broken. God’s promises seemed empty and distant, with little possibility of fulfillment. Hope had faded so far that only the most devout still clung to it.

But Christ came. He conquered sin, and death, and Satan. He rose victorious from the grave, and now He lives and reigns on high forever. His will shall never be thwarted. His purposes will never be turned aside. The advancement of His Kingdom will never be stopped.

We live in the glorious light of this truth, even when all around us we witness fear and anger and uncertainty, suffering and oppression and bondage. When we see what is happening now in our communities and the world, we gain a renewed perspective: The Gospel becomes so much more precious; God’s promises become so much more vital to our souls.

(Left to Right): Melinda (6), Ryan, John-Michael (1), Patrick (10), Justin (11), Kristin, Serena (4), Oliver (7)

God has upheld and blessed us again this year. His faithfulness never ends.

With the arrival of John-Michael last December, this year saw us settling into a “new normal”: caring for a new baby while continuing with homeschooling and daily household logistics. Thankfully, like his siblings before him, John-Michael was a happy, content baby, which made my job so much easier.

We had a huge dump of snow in February (about 16″), which was amazingly fun for the kids. They had a blast playing in it. They also enjoyed some skating, sledding, snowboarding, and snow building (snowmen, snow forts, igloos, etc.) over the winter months.

The kids in their igloo

Spring gave us wonderful glimpses of local wildlife. The kids befriended a chipmunk, and fed it corn right from their hands. We had a few close encounters with does and fawns, which were pretty breathtaking. The kids also convinced Ryan to buy and set-up a game camera in our woods. It’s amazing to be so close to wild creatures in your own backyard.

Our pet chipmunk “Freddy”

The warmer months saw us gardening, felling and milling trees, splitting and stacking firewood, canoeing, camping, swimming, biking, and hiking. Ryan also got a rough start on a bush road through our woods. We’re looking forward to using that trail in the coming months and years.

The kids on top of a round bale

We tripled the size of our garden this year (it was pretty tiny last year, so that wasn’t too hard), and God gave us a wonderful bounty. We enjoyed many fresh vegetables over the course of the summer, and harvested a fair number of root vegetables in the fall, plus 150 squash!

All of the kiddos, each with a homegrown pumpkin!

We took a field trip to Queenston Heights in the late summer. We saw the Isaac Brock monument, the Niagara River gorge, and the Falls. Most of the kids were seeing these for the first time, and it was quite an exciting day for all of us.

The kids are learning and thriving. We love the opportunity we have to be with them every day and all-day, teaching and training, working and playing. Each one is so precious to us, and watching them grow — in knowledge and skill, character and faith, love for each other and for God — is such a priceless gift.

Ryan and the kids overlooking the Niagara River

Ryan and I are thriving too. We are so thankful for the health, strength, love, and grace that God has bestowed on us this year. Ryan is slowly growing his business, providing property services to the local community. He has also served our church and other ministries in various ways and capacities this year.

As always, I’ve been managing the household, homeschool, garden…and the craft department. ūüėČ The kids and I dabble in arts and crafts whenever we have the opportunity. We learned water painting this year, and the kids have been impressing me with their beautiful designs and landscapes. We also enjoyed crafting some Christmas cards for the residents of a local nursing home.

The kids with a few of the Christmas cards they made for residents of a local nursing home

God is good. All the time.

To all our friends and neighbours and family, we wish you a New Year filled with God’s peace, joy, and love.

Kristin for the Kidds

Christmas Newsletter 2019 & A Special Announcement!

December 7th, 2019

What a year! So busy and so blessed.

Ryan, Kristin, Justin (10), Patrick (9), Oliver (6), Melinda (4), Serena (3), and Baby.

We’ve now been living in our new house for just over a year. Since moving in, we have installed the kitchen (Yay!), exterior siding, flooring, doors, garage workshop, and more (house build pics). We are enjoying each milestone as we achieve it. ūüôā

At the end of October we moved from our temporary bedrooms on the main floor into our permanent bedrooms on the 2nd floor. And just in time for the arrival of….

John-Michael

Our new Baby Kidd! Introducing John-Michael Knox Kidd, our newest little member. He arrived at 9:00pm on December 14, 2019, weighing 5lbs 5oz and measuring 19 inches long. His first name is taken from his two grandfathers’ names, and his middle name is taken from the great Scottish Reformer, John Knox. We are so thankful for this little Christmas treasure God has given us.

The children are growing and learning as always. Homeschooling is progressing well, and the children are (mostly) enjoying their studies. ūüėČ Melinda started Kindergarten this year, so that bumps my classroom size up to four students. I’ll admit, teaching four different grades at once plus entertaining a preschooler and growing a baby has been a learning experience for me too! But God is gracious and somehow we manage to push through the chaos and come out alive and thriving.

Time is short as always. The past couple months have been so busy homeschooling, preparing for the baby, and juggling numerous projects. Hopefully we’ll get a little breather soon.

But in the meantime we are so thankful for health and strength, for supportive family, neighbours, and friends, for all our sweet children, and for the upholding hand of God in our lives.

We wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. God bless us, every one!

Kristin for the Kidds

Paid in Full

April 21st, 2019

At the joint Good Friday service we attended this week, one message that stood out to me loud and clear was our complete and utter dependence on Jesus as our substitute.

All of our good works are nothing but garbage. I repeat: Nothing. But. Garbage.

Isaiah says that our righteous deeds are like “filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). Paul says that his impressive resume, his positions and titles, his good works — all the reasons for which he could have confidence in himself — were nothing. He counted it all loss, all rubbish. (Philippians 3:1-11).

Just imagine yourself, standing in the throne room of God, waiting your turn. Then suddenly, there you are, before the judgment seat, and all the sin and evil you committed in your life — a complete volume ten times thicker than a phone book — is presented by the accuser to the Eternal Judge. When asked to give your defense, you reach behind you and pull out some garbage bags. Yes, garbage bags. Full of all your “good works.” What a picture that would be!

Is this what we are putting our trust in? Too often I find myself biting my nails and agonizing over my sin and failure. But instead of recognizing my complete and utter inability, I start making resolutions for myself: to do better, to be better, to do more good works. I’m missing the point. No matter what I do, no matter how good I am, it’s still garbage. Rotten, stinking garbage. Everything “good” I do and say and think is so soiled by my sinful nature that it could never account for anything.

He paid it all. 100%.

JESUS PAID IT ALL.

1 I hear the Savior say,
“Thy strength indeed is small,
Child of weakness, watch and pray,
Find in Me thine all in all.”

Refrain:
Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

2 Lord, now indeed I find
Thy pow’r and Thine alone,
Can change the leper’s spots
And melt the heart of stone. [Refrain]

3 For nothing good have I
Where-by Thy grace to claim;
I’ll wash my garments white
In the blood of Calv’ry’s Lamb. [Refrain]

4 And when, before the throne,
I stand in Him complete,
“Jesus died my soul to save,”
My lips shall still repeat. [Refrain]

Baptist Hymnal, 1991 (Found on Hymnary.org)

In the Cross of Christ I Glory

April 21st, 2019

At the joint Good Friday service we attended this week, the Baptist pastor delivering the message spoke of the story of Sao Paulo Church in Macau, China. This Catholic church was built by Jesuits in the 1600s with the help of Chinese and Japanese craftsmen. The Sao Paulo Church, resting atop a small hill with 68 stone steps leading up to it, was an impressive structure, and was reportedly the largest church in Asia of its time.

Sadly, in January 1835, the Sao Paulo Church caught fire during a storm and the wooden structure burned to the ground. However, the granite facade of the church, with its large bronze cross at the peak, survived.

Around that same time there was a British politician named John Bowring. He was a man with a gift for language, a poet and a hymn writer. He was given political appointments in southern China, namely, Consul of Canton and later, Governor of Hong Kong.

John Bowring wrote a beautiful and profound hymn called, “In the Cross of Christ I Glory.” Some say it is based on Galatians 6:14: ‚ÄúFar be it for me to glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ‚ÄĚ (KJV).¬† Others claim that John Bowring saw the Sao Paulo Church and was inspired by the bronze cross atop its facade.

The Baptist pastor told a captivating story of how John Bowring was caught in a storm and shipwrecked in the sea before Macau. As he clung for dear life to a piece of the ship, Bowring was guided safely back to shore by a miraculous light shining from the bronze cross atop the ruins of the Sao Paulo Church. As wonderful as the story sounds, I’m afraid I could find no other reference to it online. Furthermore, since the hymn was written in 1825 and the Church burned down in 1835, this story is most likely fictional.

However, regardless of what may have been the real inspiration behind Bowring’s composition, both the hymn and the cross upon the peak of the Sao Paulo Church have withstood the storms of time to inspire us today.

1 In the cross of Christ I glory, 
towering o’er the wrecks of time; 
all the light of sacred story 
gathers round its head sublime. 

2 When the woes of life o’ertake me, 
hopes deceive, and fears annoy, 
never shall the cross forsake me. 
Lo! it glows with peace and joy. 

3 When the sun of bliss is beaming 
light and love upon my way, 
from the cross the radiance streaming 
adds more luster to the day. 

4 Bane and blessing, pain and pleasure, 
by the cross are sanctified; 
peace is there that knows no measure, 
joys that through all time abide. 

5 In the cross of Christ I glory, 
towering o’er the wrecks of time; 
all the light of sacred story 
gathers round its head sublime. 

United Methodist Hymnal, 1989 (Found on Hymnary.org)

Christmas Newsletter 2018

December 28th, 2018

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

What a year! Milestones to celebrate, challenges to face, ups and downs, lots of laughter and tears.

January found us finishing renovations on our Toronto home, February saw us hiring a realtor and staging the house, and in March we accepted an offer which closed the end of June. So grateful to have that long and difficult process behind us!

On May 19th we celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary! God has been so good to us.

And much more happened this year: two family baptisms, a family wedding (in which I was a bridesmaid and Melinda and Serena were flower girls), a camping trip, family get-togethers, picnics, tea parties, crafts with the kids, skating, skiing, boating, hiking, swimming, and more. Life was very full this year.

Then, to top it all off, in mid-November we moved into our new house! Currently we are living on the main floor, using two side rooms as temporary bedrooms, and operating with one half-finished bathroom, a laundry room sink, and a stove, fridge, and a couple tables for a kitchen. It’s a little cluttered and chaotic, but it’s home, and we’re happy to be in it at last. We have an 8′ tall¬†real Christmas tree gracing our living room, Christmas lights framing our large window, and Christmas music playing almost every day. We have a magnificent view of the snowy landscape too. We are soaking it all in and counting our blessings every day.

Speaking of blessings, we have a boat full…

Justin is 9 years old, and he continues to grow in maturity. He’s been a huge help at home, cheerfully doing chores such as hanging laundry, stacking wood, washing dishes, mopping, etc. He remains a sweet-tempered, easy-going boy, much to our joy. His passion continues to be Lego, although he has a growing interest¬†in cross-country skiing, and he’s becoming a real bookworm too. Justin has a keen memory, and makes insightful comments during catechism and Bible reading times.

Patrick is 8, and has also been a huge help around the house. Like Justin, he’s been tackling chores such as hanging laundry, stacking wood, sweeping, washing dishes, folding laundry, etc. He has an eye for detail, and is fairly observant. The other week he was telling our dinner guests what roads he would take to Grandma’s house, demonstrating a good sense of direction as he did so. Patrick loves to build with Lego, but he also has a growing interest in drawing, reading encyclopedias and nature field guides (birds, reptiles, etc.), and spotting wildlife (turkey vultures, garder snakes, and deer being the most popular thus far).

Oliver is 5, and remains an energetic and exuberant little boy. He officially started homeschooling this year, and proved to be a quick and clever student. Like his brothers, he’s been learning¬†some new chores, and has been growing in responsibility. He’s also been learning some new skills this year, such as swimming and cross-country skiing. Oliver can usually be found in the “Lego room” with his brothers, or playing house with his sisters, or out working with Daddy. He’s also great for a snuggle on Mommy’s lap in a cozy chair with a book.

Melinda is soon-to-be 4, and she is a sweet and snuggly little person, too. Melinda has been tagging along with Oliver’s schooling, and has already learned her alphabet sounds, counting, colors, etc.¬†She is a little girly-girl, changing her outfit multiple times a day, and also picking out cute clothes for her little sister to wear. She loves to play house, and you can often find¬†her and Serena setting up all their things in a cozy spot. Melinda likes to pitch in with others’ chores, and is particularly quick to help with sweeping and mopping. Her favourite colour is definitely pink, and she loves her toy cat “Kitty” and her doll, “Lucy.”

Serena is 2 1/2. She has big blue eyes, golden curls, and is full of sweet smiles. She loves to sing, or more accurately, to be part of the family’s singing after meals. She will run for the hymnals as soon as the meal starts to draw to a close. Serena loves to tag along and be a part of whatever we are doing, whether it’s playing house, building with Lego, washing dishes, doing school, or simply laughing at a joke. She is quite a talker now, and the results can be both cute and hilarious. She¬†is our little sunshine.

Ryan has been working like a champ all year, first finishing the renovations of our old house, then tackling our construction project again with his dad faithfully helping him at almost every stage. It’s been quite a Herculian task — mudding the drywall alone took 6-8 weeks! Ryan put in 10+ hour days, 6 days a week, to get the house ready for us. This past month, since we’ve¬†moved in, he’s been taking a well-deserved break, and the kids and I have been enjoying all the extra time with him.

As for myself, this year presented some struggles and health challenges related to chronic fatigue. But I have much to be grateful for, not least of which is my supportive family and our new home. God has shown great mercy to me this year, for which I praise and thank Him. Amazing Grace! How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.

May the Lord bless and keep you all this Christmas season and in the New Year.

Kristin for the Kidds

Do Good Anyway

June 18th, 2018

People are often unreasonable and self-centered.

Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives.

Be kind anyway.

If you are honest, people may cheat you.

Be honest anyway.

If you find happiness, people may be jealous.

Be happy anyway. 

The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow.

Do good anyway. 

Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough.

Give your best anyway, for you see, in the end it is between you and God, it was never between you and them anyway. 

– Mother Teresa

Celebrating God’s Grace

May 19th, 2018

 

 

Not My Will

January 1st, 2018

Sometimes God hands us some difficult circumstances, and if you are anything like me, you find yourself asking, “Why this? Why me? Why now?”

Three and a half years ago, I was four months pregnant with my fourth and just a couple weeks from starting the new homeschool year with my two oldest children. I was (and still am) a busy mom.

Then it happened. One morning I went to strip the sheets off the boys’ bunk bed, and as I was moving the pillow a bug crawled out onto the top of it.

A bed bug.

I was pretty sure I knew what it was, the moment I saw it. But I was in a bit of shock. A bed bug? In my house?! In my son’s bed?!?! Further investigation over the next few weeks revealed a small infestation in the boys’ room and some in our bed as well. As near as we could determine, the problem had originated from a contaminated piece of furniture we’d picked up two months before. We had detected the contamination before bringing that furniture into the house, but it was too late. They’d got us.

Over the next three months after the discovery, it was war. Ryan didn’t want to call in an exterminator, so it was us two against the bugs. Armed with large recycling bags, a clothes dryer, a silicone gun, and a spray bottle of Dawn dishsoap + water (kills them on contact instantly, by the way), we slowly but surely routed out the enemy and annihilated them.

But it wasn’t so easy emotionally. I struggled with the despair and discouragement. Just when you thought you’d seen the last of them, you would find another, and you knew you would have to keep up the weary routine of changing bedding, inspecting bedframes, spraying cracks, bagging clothing, etc., etc., for another indefinite number of weeks.

The social isolation was also difficult. We couldn’t have anyone over to our home, and our family and friends were reluctant to let us into their houses. I couldn’t blame them — I would do the same if I was in their shoes — but at the same time it was hard for me to accept.

As the weeks ticked by, I began to grow more and more worried. I was approaching my due date. How could I deal with this problem when I was in bed recovering from labour? How could I keep up this extermination routine when I had a newborn to care for?

I began to cry out to God: telling my sob story, making bargains, issuing ultimatums, you name it. “Here’s the deadline, God. Solve my problem for me by this date or…”

Or what? Slowly it began to dawn on me that I wasn’t in any position to be making demands. I wasn’t in control, and no amount of threatening or begging God was going to change my circumstances. The only thing I could change was my attitude.

And so I surrendered. If God intended for this bed bug infestation to continue, then I would simply leave the problem in His hands and continue to do what I could with the resources that I had. That could mean setting aside the extermination routine for a few weeks and picking it up again when I was strong enough, or something else. But whatever it took, I would simply do my part, and leave the rest to God.

As it was, God was gracious, and we finished off the last of our unwanted guests about 4 to 6 weeks before the baby was born. But I gleaned a valuable lesson from the experience, one that has stuck with me since then.Difficult circumstances will come and go, and they are beyond my control. But what I can control is my attitude. I can rage against the perceived injustice of God allowing this difficult circumstance in my life. Or I can accept His providence, and do my best to work through the difficult circumstance with the time, energy, and resources that I have, leaning on Him for strength in my moments of weakness. It’s a choice that confronts me daily, and one that confronts all of us at some point or another in our lives.

But I know, as Romans 8:28 says, “that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to¬†His¬†purpose.” And so I can rest in this knowledge, that even though I may not understand why God has allowed a difficult circumstance in my life, yet I am assured that He will see it through and use it for my good. There is meaning and hope even in the dark and difficult moments of our life, because the Sovereign Lord of the universe sustains and directs every minute and every minute detail of our existence.

Christmas Newsletter 2017

December 20th, 2017

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

We hope this Christmas newsletter finds all our friends and family well.

This year, after many months of prayer, planning, and preparation, we made a life changing move, the upshot of which is: We are building a house! You can find a shortened version of the construction photo album here.

We are in the process of trying to sell our Toronto home, and are halfway through the construction of the new house, which is located in Markdale, ON, about a two hours’ drive northwest of Toronto, and a 20 min. drive from Ryan’s parents. Ryan has been overseeing the project and building the house largely by himself, with the generous help of his dad, a few hired hands, and the occasional volunteer hours of friends and family.

We are so grateful for all the support and encouragement from family and friends, but are especially indebted to Ryan’s parents, Michael and Marilee, who made a room in their basement for our family to live in during the construction phase, gave us free run of their house, and have contributed so many resources towards helping us. All the help from family and friends has made the transition so much easier.

The kids have been pretty resilient through the process, though they miss their home and friends in the city.

Justin is now 8, and growing in maturity and responsibility. He is sweet-tempered, easy-going, and eager to please. He’s even had a hand in the building of the new house: moving materials, fetching tools, spreading gravel, etc. Justin loves to spend time with friends and family, especially his cousins. His biggest interest continues to be Lego, and he has demonstrated a remarkable ability¬† in recreating objects that he has only seen in pictures (e.g. a Lego model of the submersible that discovered the sunken Titanic). His reading ability advanced by leaps and bounds this year and he is now reading books on his own.

Patrick turned 7 this year, and is also growing in maturity and responsibility. He too had a hand in building the new house. Patrick is analytical, witty, and a hard worker when he sets his mind to a task. He is quite a monkey at climbing. Patrick also has a great interest in tools and machinery, more than you would expect from a young boy. For example, when Ryan gave him a broken weed wacker for his birthday and told him they would fix it together, you wouldn’t believe the amount of excitement it generated! A chip off the old block, that one.

Oliver is at the grand age of four years and is ever the rowdy one, yet once in a while you can catch a sweet little glimpse of him playing house quietly with his sister Melinda. He is a clever little boy, he loves to tease and joke, and his smiles and giggles are contagious. Oliver is also excited about Lego and playing with his older brothers and cousins. He has a big imagination and is full of ideas of things to do and games to play.

Melinda will be turning 3 just after Christmas. She is a “kleine moeder,” that is, a “little mother.” Melinda is very observant, and can help me find things when I’ve forgotten where I placed them. She likes to help with the housework, although sometimes she will re-organize things to suit her own tastes. She has quite a vocabulary, and will tell you in no uncertain terms that she won’t eat salsa because it has “halapeenyos” in it, and is, as such, too “picy” for her. She keeps me on my toes. She loves to play with PlayDoh and her toy kitty, and loves to read books with Mommy.

Serena is 1 1/2 years old. She is our sweet little cherub with big blue eyes and wispy blonde curls. Almost everyone who sees her comments on how bright her blue eyes are and what a big beautiful smile she has. And she is fairly easy to coax a smile out of, much to our delight. You can often find Serena tagging along with her older siblings, especially Melinda and Oliver. She loves dolls, and will wrap her babies in just about any bit of clothing she can find, so after a few embarrassing incidents, we try to keep our dresser drawers tight shut and our laundry out of her sight.

Ryan and I are still happily in love–which is good because our 10th anniversary is fast approaching (in May 2018). This year has had its ups and downs for us, with the stresses of trying to sell, trying to build, trying to homeschool, and trying to find time for the kids, each other, and all our many other responsibilities. It’s been little chaotic, to say the least, but God has been good to us, and we have been growing closer together through it all.

A Blessed Christmas, from our family to yours.

The Kidds

Christmas Newsletter 2016

December 8th, 2016

Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year!

Well, the first half of this year was rather a wild ride for us, but we have a lot to praise and thank God for, as many of our friends and family already know.

Last Christmas (December 2015) we had the delightful surprise of discovering that another precious child was on the way. Then in late January we were told that an ultrasound had found a subchorionic hemorrhage, which threatened the pregnancy and the baby.¬†Over the next three and a half months, I was in bedrest most of the time and Ryan worked from home in order to help manage the children and household chores. We had the support of family and friends during those months, through prayer, meals, childcare, etc., which meant a lot to us and helped to ease the burden. I was eventually induced and Serena Hope Kidd was born on May 17th — my 30th birthday.

Yet that was not the end of our difficulties, as shortly after her birth little Serena was laboring to breathe, and an x-ray revealed a hole in her lung. Over the next few hours her condition rapidly deteriorated, and Ryan and I began to fear for her life. Serena was transferred to Sick Kids, where she bounced back quickly, praise God, and after a week in the NICU we were able to take her home.

It was a wonderful, busy summer and fall, with Ryan at home on extended paternity leave and five little kiddos filling our home with fun and laughter.

Some of the highlights of the year include: birthdays; Serena’s baptism party; summer vacations, long weekends, and holidays spent with both sides of the family; my brother’s wedding; family time at our property up north; having a sweet new baby in the house; etc.

Justin is seven years old now. He continues to be an outgoing, active young boy with a big imagination and a heart of gold. After school is over for the day, you will often find him playing in the backyard with his cousins. If not there, he’ll be building something with Legos or filling reams of paper with action-packed drawings and pictures. I am pretty proud of him for the way he will help and care for his little siblings, even without being asked, and how reliable he is with running little errands for me.

Patrick is just over six years old. He’s a pretty strong and agile boy, and he can climb a wall or tree like a monkey.¬†Patrick shares his father’s interest in machinery and man projects, and it’s not unusual to see him working alongside Ryan or discussing how to fix things with him. The two of them like to scheme together behind my back (or right in front of me) to buy machines like snowmobiles, tractors, and excavators. Patrick is attentive to detail and can be fairly thorough in his work.

Oliver is three, and still our little sunshine. His big blue eyes sparkle with mischief and fun, and his smile and giggle are incredibly contagious. You can’t ever miss him if he’s in a room with you, as he will always make his presence known.¬†He loves being around people and being involved in what they are doing, and will often be found playing with his older brothers or his cousins.¬†He adores his baby sister, as do his older brothers, and like them he attempts to smother little Serena daily with kisses.

Melinda is almost two, and she’s a busy, intelligent little girl. She already had a growing vocabulary by 16 months, and now she’s saying whole sentences, asking questions, making requests, etc. She’s got her own ideas about how to run the house, and it’s a race every day to stay ahead of her! That said, she can be very sweet, and she likes to help Mommy and her brothers with their chores. Her favourite toy is her pink kitty, which she hugs at night as she falls asleep.

Well, you’ve already seen Serena about 4 times (all of the kids wanted their picture taken with Serena, including Patrick, although in each of his photos with her he was looking at Serena and not at the camera…). However, I still wanted to include a photo of her all by herself…

Serena is our sweet little doll of a baby, with big blue eyes, long dark lashes, and plenty of chub. Now over six months old, she delights all of us with her big sweet smiles, her coos, and her laughter. She’s an irresistible little bundle of joy, and we are so privileged to have her as one of our family.

Ryan and I have our hands full — full of blessings from God. Sometimes having so many blessings proves to be quite a challenge, but overall we are thankful and happy for the wonderful life God has given us.

And we are eternally thankful for the gift of His precious Son, whom we celebrate at this time of the year. We could not have such a spirit of joy were it not for the hope that we have received through Him.

To God be the glory, great things He has done!