Saturday, December 14, 2013
For to us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon his shoulder.
And his name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of peace. (Isaiah 9:6)
Dear Family and Friends,
Before I begin my annual Christmas letter, I first want to dedicate this Christmas letter to my beloved aunt, Anne Marie Delacono, who recently passed away on December 6, 2013. She truly was a special lady who lived her life solely for the joy of others and dedication to her family. She left a lasting legacy to those who knew her. She will always be a treasured part of my heart. I’m left richer having known her. Aunt Anne Marie, this one’s for you!
The year 2013 will be taking its final bow soon, and 2014 will take center stage. What a year it has been for our family! I was debating if I was going to write a Christmas letter this year but then realized that my letters each year have turned into memoirs for our family. I think there is something significant about sharing memories with our children, family and friends. It’s not until we take the time to reflect on the events, trials and victories of the past season that we can begin to see God faithfully at work in our lives and give Him the praise He deserves!
For me, Christmas is the time of year that should stir our hearts in memories, thanksgiving and love as we contemplate the true gift given to us 2000 years ago in the form of a baby swaddled in a manger. As I began to meditate on this scene and its true meaning in my own life, the Lord kept having me go back to the following words from the verse above: Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. In this scripture we find the message of Christmas. Isaiah the prophet gave five awe inspiring names of God that were meant to awaken us, encourage us and challenge us with hope each year. How has the gift of Jesus changed your life this past year? I’m hoping as I share just a few highlights of how God revealed Himself to us this year, that it prompts you, too, to stir the memory of His gift of life to you!
How WONDERFUL our God is that He graced us with the safe return of our Soldier, Craig, from a yearlong deployment in Afghanistan. He gave our family the grace to make it a year without our hero. We are so grateful for God’s faithfulness and protection. Craig and I also just celebrated 11 years of marriage together and continue to grow strong in our marriage.
As our EVERLASTING FATHER who created all things, God allowed our first grandson, Hayden, to turn one. He is walking and running around, healthy and strong. Kayla is working full time as a bank teller in Illinois and continues to pursue her nursing degree. I’m proud of the obstacles she has been able to overcome and how God is molding her into a beautiful mother and woman.
As COUNSELOR, God has continued to lead us to homeschool Ana and Nate, who are now 5 and 6 years old. Nate played soccer for the first time this year and ruled the field with his happy go lucky self. His motivation to show up was for the ice cream after each game. Ana bikes the open roads with her dad weekly and continues to be creative in her own ways. She is a beauty and I marvel at how sweet spirited she is! She is very much a giver at heart. Justin is attending a small private Christian school and is doing well academically. He also played soccer this year and scored a number of goals. He will be headed to Africa this coming summer on a mission trip for the Watoto Orphans. We continue to enjoy his silly antics and sense of humor.
Our PRINCE OF PEACE, Jesus, was just that, as He gave us the peace and grace needed to be together with other family members throughout the year. We celebrated St. Patrick’s Day and Christmas in July in Savannah. Also, we headed to Ohio, Orlando and Tybee Island. There is nothing like having more than a dozen people together in one small space at any given time—that challenges the Jesus in you-lol! More so, He was our peace as we lost our sweet Aunt Anne Marie earlier this month. Our peace came from knowing that she was in the presence of her heavenly Father where there is no more pain and suffering—only perfect love! We look forward to seeing her again one day!
Since returning home, Craig, has been given the opportunity to be Executive Officer of the 2-3 General Support Aviation Battalion on Hunter Army Airfield, GA. He has also recently taken up a new hobby in biking. He likes to rock his BRIGHT yellow cycling jersey for the whole world to see (even the blind!) and wear his crazy helmet. I secretly think that he thinks he is training for the Olympics!-lol
I’m still serving at PWOC and was recently given the position of President due to our former President needing to step down. I’m trying to find balance with all of my duties in ministry and family, but God has been gracious. As far as writing goes, I was given another opportunity to have one of my stories published this year in a book called, God Meets Needs. I haven’t finished writing the bible study I’ve been desiring to write yet, but in due season! Lastly, Craig and I continue to teach bible study classes out of our home together. We just finished up a six-week study called the Art of Marriage. There is nothing more fulfilling then to see people’s lives changed through God’s Word!
As you can see, God has been MIGHTY GOD to us! He continues to lavish us with blessings, health, and favor. We gladly say goodbye to 2013 and all the old things that have passed away! We readily welcome in 2014 because we know God will be with us, faithfully revealing the depths of His love and meticulous plan for each of us.
In closing, we pray each of you will have a beautiful season ahead, filled with many reasons to rejoice and give thanks. We encourage you to forget what lies behind you and press onward towards the prize, which God has called you heavenward in Christ Jesus!
With all our love,
The Blow Family (Craig, Kimchi, Justin, Nate, Ana and gizmo)