This picture of the kids was taken in 2004, but it's my favorite. We pray all our family and friends are doing well. Please come and visit us if you're anywhere in East Tennessee!
Here's our letter to you:
Dearest Friends and Family, December 16, 2006
We are so happy and blessed to be reunited after Jack’s year and a half absence. He returned home on November 22, 2005. Through God’s grace we’ve been strengthened in unity and purpose through our time of separation. In our case, clearly, “absence does make the heart grow fonder.” 2006 has been a year of “just being together--and living life.” We’ve no exciting trips or lofty accomplishments to tell about, but we do have lots of good news to share.
As most already know, on December 3, 2005, our beautiful, oldest child, Jessica, started her new life as the wife of Jason Gaston. We praise God for this fine young man who has joined our family. We have enjoyed getting to know him and cheering him on at a few of his Highland Games (Celtic games of strength and endurance). Jack and I are both of Scotch-Irish descent, so the games have brought a bit of our heritage to the forefront. Lots of redheads are there, so Danny, Cassie and I feel right at home!
Jessica, who is twenty, loves being a wife and homemaker. She and Jason live in Alpharetta, Georgia. They host many gatherings and Bible studies in their home; we are encouraged by their priorities and goals. Jessica and a sister in Christ have a home-based business designing and sewing customized purses. Their business is called, “The Simple Sack.”
Danny, eighteen, has begun his “Senior Countdown.” As of this writing he’s at ninety days. He has done well at Alcoa High School and has made his mark as a writer. He writes poetry, lyrics, and articles for his school newspaper and has also written a children’s story. He’s been writing since fifth grade and he just gets better as the years go by. He’s been working for the past two years and has kept up his grades, while faithfully attending worship and Bible studies, and continuing to help his dad with “the farm.” He plans to attend a local college next fall.
Zachery, thirteen, has grown so much and has recently gotten his braces off – Yay! Through the first three children, we’ve been going to the orthodontist for seven years straight “pardon the pun.” Zack played football and Jack assisted in coaching. They enjoyed all the time spent together; both on the field and in the car (we live 36 miles from Zack’s school and even further from some of the schools we played). Zack is making excellent grades and always helps out when asked. He is up each day at 5:30AM on his own accord. He and Jack leave at 6:30AM and during football they didn’t get home until 9:00PM. Zack and Danny will be preaching soon and we look forward to hearing them.
Cassie, our ten year old, obeyed the Lord’s invitation on May 2, 2006. She was baptized in our above-ground pool when the water was still quite chilly. Her daddy baptized her as he did Jessica, Danny and Zack in years past. We praise God for this blessing. Cassie is a very sweet child and tries very hard in everything she does. She is loving, conscientious and has a great sense of humor. She loves playing the piano, singing, drawing, and is our “number-one” animal care-taker. Before a sudden storm she single-handedly rounded up all 27 chickens to assure their safety during the gusty winds and rains. It was humbling to see her undaunted determination and sincere concern for their well-being.
Christina, eight, is our “project person.” Her hands are always busy making something. She’s very talented in art (wonder where she gets it-Ha). She is very fun-loving and somewhat shy. Most people think she’s younger than she really is because she is small, but she doesn’t let that bother her. She has lots of energy and ingenuity. She likes to help people find things and fix things. She loves to learn about history, geography and science. Seashells, snowflakes and rocks are some of her interests. She also loves our dog and cat tremendously.
As for Thomas, our cat, and JB, our dog, they both do their best to un-do all of my cleaning efforts. But, we love them anyway!
Jack and I are doing great and keeping busy. We will be celebrating twenty-three years of marriage this year and are so glad that God has blessed us with good health, wonderful children and each other.
May you all have a blessed holiday season and know that you are always welcome at…
I couldn't locate any pictures of Thomas our cat; he's the oldest of the Coleman Critters. JB is a puppy who when we're not looking likes to "play" w/ the chickens. We believe he's the one who injured the Buff Orpington Rooster pictured above; his name was Thor--he had to be laid to rest due to the "playing" w/ JB. We currently have 33 chickens; 6 of which were recently hatched by one of our Black Australorps. Sugar and Honey are our goats who "enjoy" playing w/ JB.
Below is a sampling of photographs from a friend of mine who was able to be part of many trips into the countryside of Iraq. These photos are of the Kurdish and Iraqi children he came across during his travels. They are all so beautiful, all gifts from God and we pray that our time here has brought them all a little closer to knowing Him.