Friday, January 6, 2012

Happy Epiphany!

What do you do when you're late sending out your annual Christmas letter? Answer: You turn it into a New Year's letter. What if you're late for New Year's? Answer: You make it an Epiphany newsletter (or for our friends and relatives who are Razorback fans, it's a "Happy Cotton Bowl" letter)!

Epiphany is not something I celebrated when I was growing up. Now, in addition to being a good reason to keep the tree up a bit longer, it's really quite meaningful to me since it celebrates the arrival of the wise men who followed the star to Jesus. It shows how Jesus was sent not just to Jews but to be a light to the Gentiles. It's also neat to note how the wise men didn't seek on their own - God provided the star to both prompt them and show them the way. In addition to the holiday of Epiphany, the word epiphany is a good word to describe 2011 for us - God showing up in big and little ways throughout the year.

One special event for us this year was the high school graduation of our daughter, Rebecca. It has been such a privilege to teach her at home all these years and see her grow up into a beautiful young lady.

From Graduation

We saw God show up in a big way when she got a full ride to Milligan College - her first choice - in a year in which we had very little income. She is liking it there and doing well - double majoring in Fine Arts/English while getting her prerequisites for physical therapy school. We are glad to have her close to home (just about 20 minutes away).

Nathan is 15 and is turning into quite a young man. He is a student driver now and still loves to play soccer:

From Nathan's 15th birthday

Caleb is now our tallest son. He is also the noisiest - having learned to play the electric bass and electric guitar this year. I'm so happy that in addition to playing rock music, he's also in Civil Air Patrol - so he has to keep his hair short and neat! I think Caleb has been somewhat influenced by the idea that girls are impressed by musicians - this thought also prompted him to try out for High School Musical this past spring (he's #12):

From High School Musical

In addition to playing a basketball player on stage, he's one in real-life, too. In fact, unfortunately he's playing in a game tonight while Arkansas is playing in the Cotton Bowl. So please nobody call me to say "How 'bout them Hogs?" until I have a chance to watch it Saturday morning.

Noah is growing up fast. His favorite school subject is recess and he loves to jump on his pogo, so we got him a Flybar for Christmas. Pray that he survives until next year:

From Christmas 2011

Terry and I have had an interesting year career-wise. I have three small part-time jobs: freelance writing, closing loans as a traveling notary, and working in corporate pricing at Eastman as a fill-in. Terry has had several doors open and close (so many stories that it would take more than a single blog post to tell), but is now working part-time doing engineering at Eastman and alternately working on flipping a house we purchased in Knoxville (read more about this venture here and here).

From Coker

The project has involved the whole family - doing demolition and renovation work, painting, cleaning, etc. It's not over yet, so stay tuned.

We also have our house on the market - just to be open to selling and moving if that's what God wants, and a very interested party is looking at it this weekend for the second time (which has sorta spoiled my plans to keep the tree up through Epiphany). It would be a bummer to move now, though, because one of our big praises for this year is that a family of teen boys just moved into the neighborhood, and they are homeschoolers just like us.

We took one big trip in 2011 - a two week camping trip to Michigan. It was one of the best trips ever - so beautiful and relaxing. We did lots of hiking, biking and canoeing.

From Michigan Favorites

From Michigan Favorites

From Michigan Favorites

2011 has also brought some sad news into our lives. My mother was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer - which has metasticized to her liver. She is also dealing with pretty severe dementia. I am trying to spend as much time in Fayetteville as I can. Dad is doing a great job taking care of her and has become quite a cook.

Terry and I feel very blessed right now and are eagerly anticipating what is next. It seems strange to not know where you're going to be living and working and just watch it all unfold in front of you. Right now, we are rejoicing in God's provision.

We hope 2012 will be a year of epiphany for you as you seek after God.


The Seamans
(Terry, Susan, Rebecca, Nathan, Caleb and Noah)

From Fourth of July - 2011

"Christmas" in Knoxville

We had our third Christmas celebration of the season on New Year's weekend in Knoxville. The whole Seaman clan was together for almost three days. Here we are dressed up for church on New Year's Day:

From Stuff for Mom

We also spent time opening gifts,

From Stuff for Mom

From Stuff for Mom

cooking, eating, watching football (and playing football outside), playing with new toys,

From Stuff for Mom

From Stuff for Mom

watching movies,

From Stuff for Mom

and making/decorating cookies (an annual tradition):

From Christmas 2011

From Christmas 2011

From Christmas 2011