Mark has been very busy this year! He was promoted to Programmer at A+ Federal Credit Union. He traveled to San Diego for training this spring, then went to Charlotte this summer for another training. In May, his good friend Cameron, got a job at Austin Regional Clinic. He passed job opportunities along to Mark, and in September, Mark interviewed and was offered a job at ARC. It was a great opportunity, so he started working there in October. For his new job, he attended two trainings in November. He is reading and studying a lot to learn the programming languages that ARC uses.
Mark also has been busy around the house this year. He built a backyard playscape this summer for the boys. This fall, he installed laminate wood floors in our house. It was a lot of hard work but well worth it.
This has been quite a year for me! In an effort to eliminate our debt, I took a night job at the IRS in January (along with doing full time and afterschool childcare). I hung in there until I got furloughed in June, although I did end up working part time. I got to work with 2 good friends and my youngest brother. It was a fun experience, got us out of debt and helped us pay cash for a newer vehicle. After that job ended, I got to go with Mark to Charlotte. It was like a mini vacation for us. We had a lot of fun visiting Nascar’s team racing shops and seeing the sights. This fall, I started a part time job at First Baptist Church in Kyle teaching 4 year olds on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I also keep 3 kids afterschool. I am still selling Stampin’ Up and am also the Craft Coordinator for our local Mothers of Preschoolers group. I stay busy but really enjoy all I am doing.
Riley has had a big year this year! I put him in preschool when I went to work at the IRS. He had fun, and it helped prepare him for kindergarten. Riley turned 5 this summer and started kindergarten this fall. He is at Kyle Elementary. He loves school and is learning a lot very quickly. We have been very impressed with the progress he’s made. He’s learned a lot from singing songs in class. Riley and I repainted his room this year too. He’s into racing and cars, so it is a racing themed room, with Petty blue walls and lots of racing toys and memorabilia.
Tyler has grown a lot this year, too. He is very outgoing and talkative. He has something to say about everything. You also have to watch what you say around him, because he WILL repeat it! He turned 2 in May. He is in preschool Tuesdays and Thursdays when I am working. He is a teacher’s sidekick and likes to tell everyone else what to do. At home, he is definitely in the throws of the “terrible twos”, with lots of fit throwing, arguing and indecisiveness. He loves all lawn equipment and is obsessed with mowers, edgers and blowers. We hope this passion will develop into a future money making business for him.
This has been a big year for our family. Early this year, we started searching for a new church home. We visited several wonderful churches and met some great people. In November, we finally picked a permanent place—Hays Hills Baptist Church. This is where my MOPS group meets, and we have some friends who attend there. We are very happy to have a church home, but we are also thankful for the journey.
This summer, we took some time for a family vacation. We didn’t travel far—we went to Sea World in San Antonio for 2 days and went and visited my grandma. Then, we traveled north of Austin to ride the Bertram Flyer train. It was a day trip, but it was a lot of fun. Both boys really enjoyed it!
One of our favorite things to do as a family this year was to go watch the races at Thunder Hill Raceway, a local racetrack here in Kyle. This year, we decided Tyler was old enough to go with us, so we were all there. Mark’s good friend Cameron races a truck in the Texas Truck Series. We got to see many of his races this season, including 2 races that he won! That was very exciting.
I want to pose a challenge to all of you who read this letter. In 2008, I want you to give. Not just to give, but to give cheerfully and in excess! This is a lesson that Mark and I have been learning over the last few years. Three years ago, we were challenged to tithe monthly. When we started, even though we were hesitant, we were blessed immediately. But times were still tight. Two years ago, we were challenged to make a budget and live on it. We were also challenged to make a plan to pay off all of our debt as quickly as possible. As we began that process, God poured out more blessing in the way of a great job for Mark and enough income to live on.
This year, we resolved to get out of debt and worked hard to get it done. As we were searching for a permanent church home, we could have stopped giving faithfully, but we didn’t. Again, God provided with great part time work for me and a new job for Mark. As we end 2007, we are debt free with a plan to build a large savings account. We are also able to give more than we ever have before!
I think Matthew 6:33 sums it all up so well: But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
When you put God first in your life, He will give you what you need. He will give you more than you need! I challenge you this year to try it!
May God richly bless you in 2008!