Saturday, December 24, 2016

Brown Family Christmas Letter 2016

(Most recent family picture, taken in Hermiston at the 1A State Championship game)

My sister, Jackie, is always so good about sending out a Christmas letter, so I guess I got inspired after reading hers. The truth is, I have no idea how to wrap up our year without writing out a page for each kid. I guess I also don't want people to think I am bragging about my children. I am proud of them, but they struggle and so do we as parents. So yes, you are getting the "abridged" version.

Steve is on the left.

Usually, I start with the kids, but I thought I would switch it up. Steve has worked for Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue for 24 years I believe. He is still the Captain of A Shift. He loves this position. He is a natural commander and it works well with his personality ;) Marcus was able to do ride alongs with Steve this year and saw a different side of his father. I think he has a whole new level of respect for Steve as he realized what his father actually did on a typical 24 hour shift. Steve is highly involved in Tae Kwon Do and is slowly getting closer to his black belt. He has a couple more belts to go. He has found friendship in his little community (class). Steve has also made it a goal to get to more games for the kids. There are a lot of them, but he realized how much he enjoys watching the kids and asks for a lot of time off so he can be there to encourage them. He made every one of the older boys football play-off games this year! Steve serves as a deacon in our church and mows the lawn during the spring and summer.

A tiny part of my garden! Love how it is filling out.

Jackie and I in Surrey, B.C.

My Miss Amanda!

Swinging in a hammock in Mexico!

I guess I'll go next. I am still a SAHM. I love being able to have this freedom. I watch a sweet disabled girl while the kids are at school. Her name is Amanda and she is an honorary Brown kid now (even though she is 26). She laughs as I make messes in the kitchen and drop things because I am in a hurry! I have recently become a world traveler! I was able to go with two dear friends to Barra De Potosi, Mexico in February. We had a wonderful time enjoying the sunshine and the relaxed pace of a tiny fishing village nestled on the Pacific by Ixtapa. Then in August, my sister and I took a trip up to B.C. and visited two blog friends. I can't believe I used my passport twice in one year! This year, I have been asked by my in-laws to go to Greece in May! My sister and I are both going, so my Christmas present to myself is a carry-on bag with swivel wheels. I never dreamed I would be able to stick my feet in the Mediterranean Sea and see the ancient city of Athens and Corinth. I am grateful to my husband who supports my dreams of travel even though he doesn't have an interest in traveling himself. I am still very involved in my church. I teach Junior High Sunday School, lead worship occasionally, am a deaconess. My friend, Kathi, and my Great Aunt and I have formed a "band". Kathi plays the drums, Aunt Esther plays the piano and sings back-up and I sing. It has been so much fun to discover new songs together and lead others in worship! My voice is stronger than ever and seems to be healed. It is exciting to be able to sing for longer periods of time without pain! It all started when we were asked to lead worship for a women's retreat at Camp Morrow in the fall. I could never have done that two years ago! My life is full. I love watching my children's games and helping out at the school when I can. Cooking, laundry and picking up after my family is a full time job, but somehow I am able to squeeze so much more in. Being an avid gardener I get so much satisfaction watching flower beds take shape!

Joshua and Marcus after a home game


Joshua turned 18 in September. He is a senior. Joshua continues to live with his grandparents about 7 minutes away from us. He is doing good there and they take wonderful care of him.  He had a ranch hand job this summer and was able to upgrade from his little truck to a small car that actually goes the speed limit! We are proud of how hard he worked this summer and saved his money so he can pay for insurance, gas, and repairs. He is learning responsibility and he isn't afraid to work. Joshua played football this year (on the team who won the 1A State Football Championship) and is now currently playing basketball. He says he is going to play baseball in the spring. He has never played baseball, so that should prove interesting. He is on track to graduate in June. School has always been a struggle for Josh, and yet he has stuck with it and he never quit. He is looking into a career as a welder.  We are proud of how hard he has worked to overcome his challenges.

Marcus watching the game (note knee brace)


Marcus turned 16 in September and is currently a Sophomore. Marcus worked for Papa last summer bucking hay and then went and worked in a vineyard for the second summer in a row. He earned enough money to buy our old car from us and to buy insurance and his own gas and repairs. He hurt his knee pretty badly in June right when school was ending and tore his ACL and his MCL. This caused huge problems in his knee and created too much play in it. He got through football season by some miracle (hurt it several different times but was able to push through) and now has had a major surgery on it a few days ago. While the doc was in there to give him a total ACL reconstruction, he found out Marcus had a significant tear to his meniscus. The doc went ahead and repaired it. Marcus has a long road to recovery but he is hoping to be back in action by August for football practice. He also looks forward to playing basketball and baseball next year since he missed out on it this year due to his surgery. Marcus loves video games and friends. He also likes the freedom of driving his car around now that he has his license. Marcus says his goal right now is to become a paramedic and firefighter like his father.

Jessica playing summer ball


Jessica is a typical 13 year-old girl. She loves make up, clothes, shoes, friends, social media, but most of all sports. Basketball seems to be her thing, but in addition, she plays volleyball, and does track. She was able to play summer basketball with the highschoolers this summer and had a lot of fun playing against girls that were much bigger than her. She is fearless! She loves camping and going on trips. She was able to go with Grandma Kricket and Larry Pop to Alvord Desert, and went with me to camp in the rain at Heppner. She is pretty adventurous and likes to ride four-wheelers. Right now she says she wants to become a forensic scientist. She is pretty quiet until you get her around her friends.

Andrew enjoying a bit of target practice at the ranch


Andrew is now 11 and is the atypical Brown kid. He is our builder and likes working with his hands. He isn't into sports but we have discovered what he really enjoys is going out to the ranch and working with Papa. We make sure he gets plenty of time out there. He has become Papa's little right-hand man and I think Papa really enjoys the company. I like knowing someone is out there with my dad in case something goes wrong and he falls. My dad broke his leg bad last year and is not as stable as he once was. Andrew is now in Junior High and has grown so much in the past year! He is a Junior Deacon and loves to help out at the church whenever he can. He is a servant and many people are blessed by how quickly he comes to their aid. Andrew has always been quieter than the rest of our kids and can fall through the cracks. So we have to be extra intentional to not let that happen. Andrew is really into guns, so I got my .22 out and we have been doing some grey-digger hunting and target practicing. He loves to be on his IPad, so it is always good when we can get him out of the house.

Jacob enjoyed helping me in concessions during baseball season.


Jacob is 9 and is in fourth grade. He is full of energy and loves music, dancing, friends, basketball, baseball, video games, and riding four-wheelers. He is a talker and likes having good conversations. He questions everything!  Jacob loves the Lord and is not afraid to talk about Him at school. He knows the importance of prayer and asks to pray for people who are hurting. Sports have been good for him as he has had to learn to get along with others and take direction from coaches. He is very independent.

Lily caught her first fish up at Camp Baldwin. Here is Pastor Tim seeing if she wanted to hold it. The look on her face is priceless!

Lily got to ride Lancer this year. Hoping next year we will find more time to ride horses out at the ranch.


Lily is now seven and is in second grade! She is a bright little thing but struggles like her mom and dad in math. She loves to please her teacher and the only thing she really gets in trouble for is talking out of turn (she got that from me too). She is beyond excited that she gets to play sports now like her siblings. She played T-Ball last spring and gets to play basketball for the first time this winter! Lily is a mama's girl and hates when mom goes on trips and leaves her behind. She would be permanently attached to my hip if I allowed it. She has so many friends at school and is learning to stand up for herself instead of always trying to keep the peace. She has such a tender little heart for hurting people and prays a lot for them. She loves, music, movies, books, and sports. She is my most enthusiastic, bubbly child who expresses herself continually! She has lots of personality.

Whew! That's why I don't do Christmas letters much anymore. That is a lot to recall. But it is good for me to see the blessings and the struggles. Makes me grateful for my wild, crazy, imperfect life!  I could have chosen something so different if we would have just had the two children we had planned but God had something different in mind. Now I pray for the energy to keep up with it all. I love having things to look forward to, like my Greece trip in May. God knows how and when to bless me with rest and rejuvenation. He is amazing!

May you remember Him and His coming to this earth this season. He came, He died on a cross and He rose again so we would have eternal life and we could be with Him forever in paradise. I cling to that promise!

 Many blessings to you and yours,

Stacie, Steve, Joshua, Marcus, Jessica, Andrew, Jacob and Lily


Becky L. said...

What a sweet Christmas letter with photos of you and your family. It's a lovely update and so glad you're children are doing well. God bless you all and Merry Christmas!

Cheesemakin' Mamma said...

Love it and love you guys!

Naomi Douglas said...

What a beautiful family you have. They are growing up so fast.

Camille said...

What a lovely *catch up* post on all your precious family my friend. Thank you for sharing your heart and your faith and trust in the Lord. How wonderful our Saviour is! I am praying that all goes well for your Marcus in this recovery period. What a blessing that he could have that surgery...but, how patient he will have to be in the coming months as it heals. How exciting for you that you and Jackie get to go to Greece!!! What FUN! I don't know if I mentioned that I am bowing out of the blog-world. It's been on my heart for the last year or so, and, in recent months the feeling of being done has grown stronger as I laid it before the Lord. We can keep in touch via our phones and email....and, of course, you are always welcome to come for another visit in person. :) Big Hugs and Much Love, Camille xoxo

Stacie, A Firefighter's Wife said...

Will miss you, Camille! Thanks for being so encouraging on my blog all these years!

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