Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas 2011 Letter...

Dear Family and Friends,

It is so very difficult to try and sum up a year of life into one letter, so I will take a different approach this year. :) I do need to introduce the newest member of the Hester Family. Judah Sean Hester was born at home with the help of a midwife on March 18th, 2011. He was 9 lbs.!!! His name means “praise God who is gracious”. He is a joy and treasure to all of us, and gets LOTS of love around here!!

This year has gone very quickly for us... but I think it would be safe to say of all of us in our not-so-little family that we love Jesus and His Word, we love people, we love good food, and we love to read. :)

So, I have asked everyone in our family to share their favorite books-either that they read themselves, or that we read as a family.

Ben-Jesus+Nothing=Everything by Tullian Tchividjian, Entrusted With the Gospel Edited by D.A. Carson, and Ministry in the Image of God by Stephen Seamands

Lisa-Jesus+Nothing=Everything, Give Them Grace by Elyse Fitzpatrick, Humility by CJ Mahaney, and One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp

Emma-Corrie Ten Boom by Janet and Geoff Benge, A Question of Yams, Wisdom With the Millers and Missionary Stories With the Millers, and George Mueller by Janet and Geoff Benge

Caleb-Mossflower by Brian Jacques, The Bronze Bow, and Out of Darkness

Noah-The LEGO Star Wars Character Encyclopedia, The Jesus Storybook Bible, and Out of Darkness

Ezra-The Jesus Storybook Bible and The Bronze Bow

We had the amazing opportunity to do a family road trip to Colorado!! It was a memorable trip in so many ways...and I had the incredible privilege of attending a Leadership Intensive with Sally Clarkson. Ben took the kids to the Focus on the Family Center as well as Garden of the Gods.

Both Emma and Caleb chose to be baptized this year! It was such a joyous time to celebrate God’s work of making them new. Noah is reading well, and enjoying it! Ezra is always into something, usually including mischief, but has at least heard me and can repeat back to me, “I am a treasure.”

It has been a fun year, and we are enjoying lots of extra fruits and vegetables as we move toward a plant-based, whole foods diet. We were pretty close before, but we are cutting more dairy from our diet and enjoying the creativity that comes with the process. =)

We wish you all a Merry Christmas, as you meditate upon Christ and His amazing love. The gospel of Jesus Christ changes everything-this has been the theme of our year, and we pray it is the theme of every year to come as well.

With love and joy,

The Hester Family

Ben and Lisa, Emma, Caleb, Noah, Ezra, and Judah

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

On being an elf....

Man, for some reason this year, Christmas shopping was so difficult!! My poor husband, found most of his ideas met with responses like, "They aren't being responsible with what they have now! I'm not buying them more!!" Or, "They have some of those (Legos!)....They don't need more!!" Or, "That is just way too expensive!!!"
And, he bore with me patiently... We found a few small things to wrap and put under the tree. And then, this morning, four days before Christmas, I found my weakness. I realized I was just shopping at all the wrong places. not only had all the items I was apparently looking for (and more), but will upgrade you to 2nd day air shipping for free. =) {Now they can all open a BOOK too!!} Haha!

But this morning I was reminded that every time I have been pregnant, the enemy tells me the same lie: "You're not doing a good job with what you have, and now you're having another one?"

It reminded me that although my children need to learn to treat their things well and be responsible.... It doesn't mean that I withhold things from them until they are doing things perfectly. Because four (really, five!) times, I have been unsure of whether or not I am REALLY doing a good job, and God has chosen to bless me anyway with these amazing, wonderful treasures.

So, this morning I am rejoicing in the fact that I am just a helper. God knows what they need. And oh! He loves them. And He has reflected His own giving heart in my husband who rejoices in blessing them and seeing their faces light up. This morning, finding some really amazing, exciting, God-honoring literature was what it took for me to see it: the picture of their excited faces, me coming out in the morning for coffee to find them sprawled across various pieces of furniture reading.... and smiling because I know they are reading amazing books. :)

It's fun being an elf.

(PS- I have called myself an "elf" in this post just for fun-I do not in any way compare God to santa, santa does not "come to our house" at Christmas time, etc. But I thought it was fun for this post. You get it, right?)