This year has been full of joy for us! Ronnie stayed busy with several different projects, one of which included his dad’s old Bayliner. Last spring Ronnie started to remodel his dad’s old boat that hadn’t seen the water in over 5 years. He put in new floors, fixed the motor, added new seats, worked over 150 man hours, spent a lot of money, and voila…we had a boat we enjoyed all summer. Ronnie has enjoyed fishing in it this fall as well. Ronnie continues in his position as Farm Loan Manager with the Farm Service Agency. He traveled to Virginia this year for training and is expecting a busy loan season this spring. He worked a Walk to Emmaus in Stanton this September and a Kairos, a prison ministry, last July in Brownfield. I had the privilege to work it with Ronnie and spent my time at the church preparing meals for the inmates while Ronnie and the other men ministered on the inside through testimonies, good food, and over 1200 dozen cookies. Sunday we were all allowed to go in and listen to the closing ceremony. I was BLOWN AWAY by the presence of God in that place. The inmates had their own praise band that rocked the house; in a way I was envious of the freedom they had to worship so unashamedly. The inmates all took turns sharing about how God had touched their lives during the four day experience. In listening to each young man I realized I was standing in that room with 36 men who were once someone’s innocent baby boy…just like my baby boys.
I am still a stay-at-home mom with my two boys. I am teaching 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th grade girls on Wednesday nights at church and LOVING IT!!! God has led the girls in several mission projects this year. The girls raised enough money to send over 117 care packages to the troops in Iraq. Each box included a DVD of the girls singing to the troops, 30 letters, sunflower seeds, beef jerky, candy and magazines. But the most amazing part was that the girls received over 80 letters from the troops this summer in response to their project. I am looking forward to what God has in store for this year's "G.A.s Love The Troops" project and the commuity-wide Lock-In in January. Wednesdays are awesome because I also attend the Young Ladies Bible Study at 9:00 p.m. The girls in my class are a means of grace to me...who would have imagined I would have found so many true friends in such a small town. At the Walk to Emmaus in November, I had the privilege to give my testimony and be part of the prayer team. I was amazed the entire four days as I breathed in God’s presence and marveled at how faithful HE is. I wish I had the ability to put the experience into words, but every time I try it does not do God justice. This year I had the opportunity to share my testimony three times, and it is my heart’s desire to have more opportunities to share what God has done in my life with others. God is so good because I have been asked to speak with the young ladies at the FBC in Seminole this coming February. I covet your prayers for God’s wisdom and guidance in this venture.
Drew and Kade are growing like weeds and eating us out of house and home. Drew just turned four and is 44 inches tall and weighs 43 pounds. He loves tractors, trains, and sports. He has enjoyed the basketball “shoot” (a.k.a. goal) he was given for his birthday. He is a picky eater (except when it comes to sweets), but is now eating meat to grow his “mooscles”, so he can tackle and play Childress Bobcat football (his Uncle Sich and Aunt LaLa took him to a game in Childress this fall-HE LOVED IT!!!). I am hoping John Deere will start sending a paycheck to Drew because unknown to them he has become their new official spokesman. Drew is obsessed with John Deere. He only colors with green, eats the green gum balls first, and has asked Santa a million times for a John Deere tractor. I love so many of Drew’s characteristics one being his ability to make the most mundane task exciting. He is full of laughter and loves to sing. He loves to be outside playing with dirt or riding his new bike. His new favorite game is hide-and-seek…he tells me, “Mom, I hide; you count, okay?” It is not uncommon to hear Drew talking/praying out loud to God. Drew prays for us all to be strong and for all of the John Deere tractors and front-end loaders. If you ask him, he will tell you that God helped him find his beloved Sissy and Baby Bear at Wal-Mart when they were lost.
Kade Devoy will turn 2 on January 2nd. He weighs 32 pounds and 35 inches tall. Kade was sick most of last spring with RSV and upper respiratory viruses, but made a quick recovery due to his hefty appetite. I have never seen a kid who eats meat, vegetables, and “grown-up” food like Kade. He is my little sweetheart…he can charm anyone with those bright blue eyes and smile. When Kade smiles his little nose wrinkles up, and I melt. Kade is very tender-hearted...he is always kissing “boo boos” and holding my face in his hands. He loves to sing, laugh, and push his cars and tractors around. Organization and cleaning are two of Kade's favorite things to do. You can't take your shoes off because Kade will put them back on your feet before you have a chance to sit down . Kade has taken to always wearing Drew's shoes and a hat…this summer he was wearing Drew’s red Lightening McQueen Crocs and an orange hard hat. He can say Mama, Daddy, Bubba, one more, more juice, please, thank you, ball, where are you, etc. His favorite song is the “Name Song” and loves to be outside with his Bubba.
The boys and I are blessed to be able to spend our days at home. Kade and Drew love to ride their Gator behind our house in the cotton fields, make roads in their sand box, rake leaves, shoot hoops, visit their Nana/Pops and Nonni/PaPa, go to church, and help me shop at Wal-Mart. Lately they have become best of friends, but on occasion this past year I have felt the need to rent a referee jersey and a whistle.
This summer we didn’t get to go on any exciting vacations, but we did get to go to the lake a handful of times and Joyland in Lubbock. Ronnie and I did sneak off for our annual “weekend away” in College Station to attend the first Texas Aggie football game (and we have been in mourning over our team ever since). The highlight of our fall was our ride on the Polar Express Train that took us to the “North Pole” to see Santa. It was just like the book/movie. When we pulled up to the North Pole and I looked at the boys' faces I could not help but get misty-eyed. We enjoyed Thanksgiving in Paige with my parents and will be with Ronnie’s parents in Childress on Christmas Day!
We pray this Christmas you enjoy the true gift of knowing that God sent His Only son to die just for you and me. And everyone that believes in Him, will never die but have everlasting life.
Ronnie and I pray that God will do "exceedingly abundantly above all you ask or think" in 2009!
Because God loved us first,
Ronnie, Dawn, Drew and Kade Jenkins