2012: Another Year of Proving Your Presence All Our Days

MARRIAGE

Enjoying a gorgeous sunset along the gulf coast

This year we celebrated our 10-year anniversary with a trip to Florida after participating in the wedding of some joy-driven friends in Atlanta. The R&R together was just what we needed to refuel us for the mission to which we’ve been called. I love that after 10-years we’re really into the swing of life together, playing our positions to the glory of God. Life is full of the mundane, but as you wrote just a week ago in your annual Christmas letter to me, “The simple ease of shared tasks in the mundane translates into an ease of shared responsibility in mission.” And that’s what it’s all about.

You still surprise me with love notes – this one written with pumpkin seeds!

FAMILY
Stella turned seven and {finally} lost her first tooth in September. Ruby turned four, but in the spring started riding her bike without training wheels at the tender age of three. Later in the year, she received her first corneal abrasion from shoving a ragged and sharp stick in her eye. Not to be out done by his older sister, Schaeffer added “first stitches” and “first black eye” to his resume. The “Parents of the Year Award” eluded us again in 2012. We went down fighting though, finally “caving” and purchasing two much desired pets – a cricket in November for an observational science experiment, and Zaccheaus, the hamster, as an over-the-top Christmas surprise.

Showing off the “gap” from the 1st of 5 teeth she lost this fall

Christian the Cricket – which environment did he consistently prefer?
Stitched up boy tightly grasping his rewards for bravery – a balloon and a sucker
“Daughters of Anarchy” as Daddy affectionately calls them

Ruby singing the Books of the New Testament while waiting to be seen by the Urgent Care Dr.

We made a few trips to the great state of Ohio 🙂 to see our family, went to Family Camp with our church, and took a mini-vacation to Chicago. We also enjoyed several day trips to the Henry Ford/Greenfield Village throughout the year, thanks to Mom and Perry’s generosity.

The old air guitar ain’t what it used to be
Thankful for my tough-as-nails and meek-as-Moses Mom
Our American girls at the American Girl Restaurant in Chicago
After enjoying lunch at an old train station turned restaurant in Battle Creek

In the spring, we enrolled the girls in gymnastics for the first time, and in the fall thought we’d let them give soccer the old college try. Both loved both. Stella’s team went undefeated in the regular season but lost in the championship game. She showed some improvement and potential that she can become a smart player. It’s good for our girly-girl to learn more assertiveness and the other lessons playing a team sport can teach. Ruby, as unpredictable as Michigan weather, started out the season crying her way through the first game. But the determination of our sporty-girl (and her sporty-dad :)) won out and she ended the season having scored over 20 goals. The girl was a machine.

Stella chose her team’s name and came up with “Yellow Jackets”
Our lightening fast girl representing “Blue Lightening”
Homeschooling has continued to stretch me and show me that each day really does have enough trouble of its own :). I’m thankful for our classical education based co-op. Ruby is enrolled in a class this year. Both girls benefit from the friendships, structured format, and excellent classes offered. And I benefit from the needed encouragement and fellowship of the other moms. 
“Symphony Symphony No. 40 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart”
Studying the artwork of Joan Miro’
Ornery pre-schoolers
Seeking the Lord together for help as we started another year
This has been the season of Narnia-love. We’ve read it, watched it, and listened to it. Here the kids are watching the BBC production.

MISSION

God continues to use the ministry of CBC in our lives and we enjoy the blessing of serving among such an encouraging body of believers. As I’ve mentioned over and over on this blog, we need these dear people in our lives. Like the early church in Acts 2, together we continue to devote ourselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. This was our fourth year of having the privilege to use our home for weekly Community Groups, sometimes hosting as many as 24 people in our small bungalow! Matt says that’s like fitting 8 people into a Prius! 🙂 We’ve gained precious friends this year and seen some saved, baptized, and added to the church. Watching God at work encourages us to expand our vision of all He can do through us in 2013. 

God allowed us to get involved in the pro-life movement this year, for the sake of moms and dads, and babies, and the image of God in them all. It has been an eye-opening experience. Stay tuned for more information in the year ahead as we seek to become more active in the peaceful prayer vigil known as  “40 Days for Life” outside this Abortion Clinic in Dearborn.
“Jesus took our nature in Bethlehem, to die our death in Jerusalem, that we might be fearless in our city.” 

Releasing balloons in memory of the precious babies who lost their lives here.

You are not forgotten!

A few years ago, we saw the irony of being unable to really love our neighbors as the Bible commands if we didn’t really know them well. So we became more intentional about showing love to our neighbors and in 2011, initiated Keppen Ave’s first Block Party. It was a success, and in 2012, decided it was now an annual event!

“An army bold whose battle-cry is “Love!” reaching out to those in darkness.”

 

 Thank you for sharing in our pilgrim journey this past year by reading our blog. We know the experiences of our lives really are no different than what you experience. However, it continues to be our desire that God will use us and even the commonness of our joys and sorrows to the praise of His glory and grace. 
Happy New Year from the Owen Family!

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