Wednesday, January 2, 2008

2007 Dykstra Christmas Letter

December 2007

Greetings from the Dykstra Family,

Here we are at the end of another year. For us, the year has been a pleasant one. We enjoyed health, holidays, and happiness and for all those things we are grateful.

To recap the year, I’ll start with the most noteworthy. I became a grandma; a “Beppie” to be more accurate. Stephanie gave birth to Roman Carter Laney on July 11. Oh, is he ever a dandy!! Stephanie and John Mark are such good parents and I’m very proud of them and their priorities. Stephanie continued working as a nurse pretty much till little Roman debuted. John Mark continues to work in Wal-Mart Corporate Offices (where he got a significant promotion this year) and he is still working toward his business degree. They have a lovely home in Northwest Arkansas. I spent the month of October with them getting to know my grandson and watching the dynamics of the Laney home. It was such a joy. I enjoyed many hours on their porch swing holding little Romie Boy. From that pristine vantage point, I could hear nothing but sounds of nature and Roman’s coos and fist-sucking-sounds. It was truly delightful.

Christopher is 18, soon to be 19. He is in his first year at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. He got a very significant four-year football scholarship. In a couple years I hope to be a goofy, crazed football mom cheering deliriously in the stands. He too is studying business. He is still gentle, easy going, and kind. He gives me lots of reasons to be proud. I was thrilled with the bit of time I spent with him in October.

Rachael is 12 and in grade 7. Junior High has given us lots of new challenges, but we are still going forward and improving (or trying to) with the newly presented challenges. Until recently Rachael had two jobs; a paper route and a Saturday babysitting job. Shortly after school began, we discovered that with Junior High homework the paper route was too much for her. She kept it for nine months and we were so proud of her for her hard work. When we went on holidays this summer, our neighbor did Rachael’s paper route for her. He was amazed at the hard work she did on a regular basis. She is indeed a hard worker. She got braces this year and looks so cute. She has an iron will that we pray will be used to the glory of God.

Hannah is 11 and in grade 6. She too has a job; her very own dog-walking service. She walks two dogs and gets paid very well for it. We joke that our kids have more expendable money than their parents. She is remarkably responsible with her job and we are proud of her tenacity. In October she broke her arm and endured that hardship like a real trooper. Thankfully that was the sum of our family injuries this year. Hannah is in piano lessons and doing well. She is our stubborn child and we pray that that stubbornness will be used to God’s glory too. Surely He can do something with it; we don’t seem to be able to. She is the family clown always finding zany spins to put on things.

Deborah, the social butterfly of the family, is 8 and in grade 3. She is a good student and known for her kindness and politeness. She is headed toward being an accomplished musician. She is in piano and doing extremely well. We’ve told the kids for several years that when they become teenagers they will lose their minds and that will be a good time for us to do their thinking for them. Rachael has lost a bit of her mind and Deborah has thoughtfully observed this. More than a couple times she’s watched Rachael and remarked, “I sure hope I don’t lose my mind when I’m 12.” All the kids give us lots of opportunities to smile, laugh, and thank God for our blessings.

Gordon is still working for Edmonton Transit. Since April he’s been on a special assignment in the Planning and Development Department. He gets lots of accolades in his work. He enjoys teaching an adult Sunday school class. When Rachael gave up her paper route, Gordon took it. The paper route forces him to exercise and he likes the extra spending money. The same would be true if I took the route but I prefer being broke and chubby to lugging papers all over the neighborhood in minus 20 degrees. He still enjoys his close friendships and is a bit of a techno-geek. (I mean that with utmost respect).

This summer our family holidays took us to Capernwray Harbour on Thetis Island off Vancouver Island BC. It was a remarkable holiday that we’ll never forget and one that we’d like to do every year. We shall see if it becomes an annual pilgrimage. We’re all hoping so.

Our big projects this year were some much needed house renovations. We got our hardwood floors refinished, painted the interior, re-did our bathroom and numerous small jobs along the way. We are pleased with the results. But as always, there’s more work to be done.

The girls started new schools this year. They’re in St Albert public schools in a Logos program. Our church is in St Albert and so are the girls’ piano lessons. This means I spend a lot of time in the van driving to and from St Albert. It’s actually a pretty short drive, but it’s a drive still.

I quit my retail job to spend October with Stephanie. I worked there for a year. My next challenge is foster parenting. We’re just a couple steps away from being approved to do this again. I’m excited about it. We are going to foster 0-3 years old. I look forward to doing the “baby-thing” again. As you may recall we did this from 1998 -2002 when we had a deplorable experience. We said we’d never do it again, but here we are looking forward to the challenge again.

2008 looks to be an eventful year for us. We have several changes in the works and look forward to seeing what the new year brings our way. However it would be presumptuous to tell you about those changes as I’ve been told not to count my chickens before they hatch. But maybe next year’s Christmas letter will be full and juicy.

As usual, we delight in hearing from our family and friends in this festive season. We hope you’re doing well and enjoying the plentiful good things this time of year offers. God bless you this Christmas and in the coming year.

Love,
Valerie
(For the Gordon Dykstra Family)

2 Comments:

Blogger Jones said...

What a great letter. You have a blessed life and a wonderful sense of humour, (yes that is the Canajen spelling). I enjoy reading your blog.

January 4, 2008 at 9:30 AM  
Anonymous *mindi* said...

i am one of the US relatives that DID receive my letter. i was SO excited when i opened my mailbox. i know i've told you before, but your Christmas letters were always such a highlight for me as a kid. :)

January 5, 2008 at 9:57 PM  

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