Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Letter 2011

We extend Christmas greetings to you, now as a family of five! Our third daughter,
Zoe Beth, was born on her due date: May 19. Zoe means ‘life’ in Greek – and Beth, in addition to being my mom and my sister’s middle name, means ‘house’ in Hebrew. And so, Zoe Beth is a house of life. At 6 months, Zoe is the most laid back of our girls. She sleeps well, squeals happily and often, rolls over, and spits loudly while eating cereal.

Certainly, our house is full of life! Samara turned five in September, just a week after beginning kindergarten at Holland Christian’s Southside Elementary. When asked what her favorite thing about school is, she says ‘lunch and recess’, but I know she loves everything about school – from patterns to ‘sound spelling’ to Spanish class to computer lab to her teacher to her principal to the 4 Abbies in her class (and the rest of her young friends as well). She continues to be an eager, confident and yes, completely cancer-free child.

Naomi crossed many milestones this year. Along with Samara, she took her first swimming lessons. She moved into a big girl bed (the bunk below Samara’s), she potty-trained, and she learned to reserve her thumb-sucking for bedtime and naptime. There was a month in which we were working on all of those things at once. I think she got a little frustrated with us.  She loved becoming a big sister in the month before she turned three. She and Samara both adore Zoe. Tim and I love bringing Zoe into the big girls’ room in the morning. They are so much more willing to wake up when they see a happy Zoe perched there on the edges of their beds.

Tim and I have both entered our fourth years in our present ministries. Tim continues to flourish in his work as a hospice chaplain. He is loved by the patients and their families and respected and appreciated by his colleagues and superiors. Most importantly, he is experiencing the satisfaction being in tune with the way God has gifted him to serve the kingdom. He works steadily for Hospice of Holland, an average of 20 hours per week, and the rest of the days and many evenings he cares for our daughters with patience and creativity. Tim has also joined two boards within the last year. He is on the board of Calvin Theological Seminary, serving on the student affairs committee. He also joined the board of Jubilee Centers International – a ministry of our friends, David and Emily (Steenwyk) Romero. The Romeros are the founders and directors of a Christian school for poor children in a neighborhood of Tegucigalpa. We are very excited to partner with these two institutions – so different and yet linked by a commitment to God’s kingdom.

I am more excited about my work with the Celebration congregation at Harderwyk CRC than ever before. They are a people of depth and faith and integrity and I count it pure joy to be their pastor. I also continue to delight in the ministries of Neighbors Plus, the community development agency connected to Harderwyk CRC. I am on their board and get many opportunities to encourage others to reach out to our community through the relational programs of Neighbors Plus. I was also able to run my third half-marathon in September: the Park 2 Park is a fundraising race for Neighbors Plus.

Before Zoe’s birth, we took a trip out east to visit my friend Keri, and her family, and also to visit Tim’s brother, Than, who is in his second year at Yale Law School. Harderwyk extended me a generous nine week maternity leave after Zoe’s birth. Our family enjoyed many precious times – taking in the local farmer’s market, fully relishing prep-free Saturdays, and sharing a vacation house with my family at the end of June. Zoe recently traveled out-of-state for the first time when we went to West Des Moines to celebrate Thanksgiving with Grandma Winnie and Papa and the rest of the Petersen clan. We’re not sure when we’ll get to meet them, but we are looking forward to the December and March births of two new nieces! Tim’s sister, Stephanie, and sister-in-law, Noël, are both expecting girls. Their husbands, Shawn and Mike, are also in on the expectation. ;-)

The challenges of our jobs and of parenting are significant, but as my former spiritual director always said, the grace is in the struggle. And so, we wake up each morning in our house of life, and we leave to work in houses of life, and we send our children to houses of life to learn… and in those homes, we face the struggles and find the grace inside.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Happy Birthday, Judah!

Enjoy Samara's birthday song for her new baby cousin! Happy birthday, dear Judah Robert Keizer!

And a few minutes of N and S dancing to Mary Poppins. :)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Growing Girls

It's been a while since I've posted... again. All of my creative writing-energy goes into sermon-writing. I don't imagine anyone is a regular checker here anymore, but for the sake of my family here are some cute videos strung together. In the first, Samara and Naomi are fighting over a book. In the second, Naomi is waking Samara up from a nap - really the only time that Naomi ever has the upper hand... In the third, Naomi and I are peeking at each other through the crib rails.

View this montage created at One True Media
Sweet Sisters

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Tiny Michigan State fan.

Our Spartans had a great season. Naomi is wearing the little cheerleader outfit that Samara wore a couple of years ago...

Here's a little video of N cheering.