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"How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news,
who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings,
who proclaim salvation,
who say to Zion,
'Your God reigns!' "
Isaiah 52:7

Happy 2009!

January
I guess I would have to give you an update on December before I tell you how January went...  We did the 30 hour trip (going) to Utah for Christmas.  We first saw snow in Cortez, NM.  You would have thought the kids had never seen snow in their lives!  But the roads were great and it was interesting to see snow in the desert.  It snowed the 4 1/2 days we spent there and the kids couldn't get enough snow (except for Andrew who realized you could get cold and miserable from the stuff after awhile, not to mention all the stuff you have to put on).  The other two seemed oblivious to those facts.  Sei la vi!  And then we made the 30 hour trip back.  We heard LOTS of books on CD and did a bunch of other fun stuff.  A great time was had by all.  Check out the pics.

OK, now for January.

At the last minute (and 2 weeks after the Utah trip) we decided to drive to Houston, TX for Bill's cousin's wedding.  Hey, family is family.  So, it was a 10 hour trip there, stayed at a wonderful hotel, went to the wedding, got to see family, goof off a little, and then back in the car for the 10 hour trip back.  After our 30 hour trip, that was nothing!
Then it was back to school for the kiddos and back to work for the rest of us.  Robert got braces put on and that has been interesting.  He seems a little skinnier...until he figures out how to bite things.  Bill and I participated in Career Day at Robert's school (public) where we were able to put up info on Impact International and talk to the students about what a missionary does.  We had quite a crowd at times.  It was great!  We ordered our fruit trees and have been anxiously anticipating them.  And of course, thoughts of gardening have been rolling around in my head as I look forward to the new season.  I am eager to see the 60+ tulips I planted in Fall come up this year.  We'll keep you posted.

February

What a busy month!!!  TONS of scouting things (Blue and Gold Banquet - where the oldest scouts cross over to Boy Scouts; and also campouts and Pine Wood Derby), school fundraiser (thanks to all who donated!!), Robert turned 13 (and had an airsoft war), our friend Joe N came to visit (currently a missionary in Brazil), Bill's yearly company party, and last, but definitely NOT least, we decided to put together a community outreach.  You can check it out at www.impactgarden.org.  March looks to be just as promising!  (And it snowed 3 inches here March 1...)

March

March was definetely gardening/orchard/outdoorsy-type month.  With the care and maintenance of the Impact Garden kits (and packaging and handing out over 50 kits for others to help grow), I feel like I have my own nursery!  You can see pics here (scroll to the end). 
We also received 25 + new chickens by mail order.  Whew!  Good thing we made room for them by selling the other roosters that occupied one side of the coop.  When they are old enough, we will transfer some/most to the other side where they can roam more.
We also took a "vacation" during the kids' spring break by camping out at a nearby State Park.  Besides the constant pollen and smoke smell, it was pretty good.

April-June

OK, life got busy.  I learned all about couponing again, and got sucked into the Couponers black hole.   Well, at least that's my theory.  And the kids have been out of school, which takes up a WHOLE lot more time than I remember.  Not to mention they are growing like weeds.  (Which is why I coupon now, so we can keep them fed!!!) 
We also upgraded from our 1970 pull-behind trailer to a 1997 RV.  A WHOLE lot more room!  Our first major trip will be at the beginning of August to the Sr. Rowley's new home (2 day trip there and 2 back).  But we will not be taking it to UT in a few weeks.  Now that will be a trip!  After 3 days of driving, and dropping Bill off in NM for a Scout leadership camp, the kids and I will stay with my brother Dan and visit my family for about a week and a half.  Then we head off to MT to see a long-time friend.  Next, Mt. Rushmore.   Then off to MN to visit more family, both Shore and Rowley side.  Next, we may try to visit a high-school friend and then back to AL.  Phew!  I'm tired already!  But I think it will be a good-tired.  I'll keep you posted.

 July-August

OK, time flew by!  We did our road trip and it was awesome!  The only gliche:  I forgot to take our camera!!! and !  So..., I thought I was being smart by buying a cheap digital camera and took a bunch of pictures (including Mt. Rushmoore).  By the time we got home, somehow everything got deleted!!!!  and !!!!  UGH.  So, all we have are pictures that other people took of us and our memories.  Oh well...  And then kids started school in August.

Sept-Oct

September was the turning point for us.  We made a commitment to go into ministry full-time.  This is where our hearts have always been.  Our skills and talents lend themselves toward this kind of life-style.  We are excited to see how all the strings get woven over the next few years.  October was scouting month it seemed.  There was a scout activity every weekend except for one. 

Nov-Dec

Bill's parents came down from MD and his brother and son from CA for Thanksgiving.  The boys all had a great time shooting guns, fishing (I think), and getting their hands on whatever they could (and I do mean ALL boys..., even the ones over 5 feet...).  :)

Christmas will find us in MD.  As always, I think we are looking forward to the roadtrip.  I have done it all my life and Bill's family were in the Navy, so they moved around too.   We enjoy seeing the sites, listening to books on tape and whatever else seems to pop up.

Hope everyone has a WONDERFUL Christmas and we look forward to the New Year!