Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Merry Christmas....and a 2012 update from the Whitfords

It sure has been a blessed year for us, and we sure do not take any of the blessings for granted! We started out the year really believing 2012 would be a year of restoration for us (See my beginning of January post to confirm that!). God is so faithful and good, so much more than I could ever imagine. That is why our Christmas card verse this year is

Habakkuk 1:5:
 ...For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe...

We saw God in the beginning of our year really helping us to get things together on the financial front. With all of our moves, Ty's job loss 2 years ago, my years staying at home then finally working and earning/paying for two masters, and then starting another adoption we just were not where we wanted to be to buy a house.  But then, after finding many China adoption blogs God really began to lay a life long message of adoption on both Ty's heart and mine. We committed to do whatever the Lord wants us to do, now, and down the road. How exciting that He has our futures in His hands. That allows me to live with so much more peace. We are trying to daily surrender it all to Him.

Fast forward through winter, spring, and most of summer....I was beginning to get discouraged about not having our referral for Lulu, but our adoption agency encouraged me after I asked her if I was crazy for continuing to hold out for Lulu. Her confirmation that I was not crazy (she doesn't live with me though!LOL!) helped to boost my faith again. I know that I just need to look to God to confirm what he has told me, but being very human, I give into my doubts and want human confirmation. Oh how He is teaching me with that.

End of July Ty and I started talking about the house plans and how we are just tired of sinking so much of our income into making a really small home just wasn't happening fast enough while our kids are getting so much older! After 3 years in a small house that was in not the best of shape despite all that we had done to it, we decided we just needed something to accommodate our family in the here and now....NOT the future! And, through a morning devotion God reminded me (through Joyce Meyer!) that I needed to take care of my own before I could continue to see what I could do to meet the needs of others. Bottom line, our family has really needed to get rid of the small, undone house stress and enjoy being a family, although we did not expect to buy anything super soon, a house we had our eye on for about a year began to drastically drop in price. Needless to say we took a humongous leap of faith, decided to just eat a lot of Ramon noodles for the next couple of months, and put in an offer. After some quick negotiation, our offer was accepted. Through the next few weeks we witnessed God working on our behalf and made our move possible. We feel completely blessed, and know that God has moved us not for our own comfort, but to continue to say yes, step out of our comfort zone and do what He has called us to do. It is a daily commitment to get my mind off of myself, and I often fail miserably, but Ty and I both remain committed to all that is planned for us. We moved over Labor Day weekend, and come October 11th , we finally got the call for Lulu. I am sure you have already read that post....:)

So, you see, 2012 has been so good. God has grown our faith, our hope, and our love. Those things mean so much to us as they are all of our daughters' middle names. We look forward to so many adventures in 2013. Our trip to China, helping others begin their adoption journey, life with Lulu, her heart surgery....we know that God will continue to grow our faith through these situations. We have seen many miracles this year, and we share all of this with you in hopes that through our lives you too will remember that God WILL move mountains, and He does care for us and love us more than we can possibly comprehend.

I pray that this year you put all of your hope in our marvelous, magnificent, sovereign God. If you ever want to talk or need some prayer please know that Ty and I are always available. And, if you are looking to get involved in an orphan's life, please feel free to contact us for prayer, loving support, and resources. We wish so much Joy for you in this new year!

Below we have listed some other hightlights of 2012.

Blessings and Merry Christmas!

~The Whitford Family~

Ty, Marci,
Cameron, Coleton, Kerianna Faith, Keliyah Hope,
Kaden, and soon to be Kynleigh Lulu Love

Cameron will turn 14 on Christmas! He is staying busy with football and drums. He played his last year of JFL this fall, earning the biggest trophy we have ever seen for keeping straight A's every year. He looks forward to playing for the Pekin Dragons next year and has even gotten a taste of high school for math this year. Cameron is looking forward to joining the youth group worship band after the New Year.

Coleton is having fun and enjoying Jr. High this year. He absolutely loved being on the speech team and is very talented in drama. He looks forward to trying this kind of team in high school in the future. Coleton continued competing on the swim team last summer and began taking guitar lessons. He really enjoys playing the guitar and is talented with this instrument too, along with piano.
He is definitely our creative soul around the house!

Keri will also turn 14 soon, and is turning into a lovely young lady with a spunky personality. She makes friends with just about everyone that she meets, and is loved by so many friends and teachers! Keri has progressed in gymnastics this year and looks forward to every lesson. She continues to dance on the Edison pom team, and is definitely looking forward to high school, but is a little nervous about it too. She has a heart for people and wishes she could take everyone that she meets to youth group with her! I'm sure that if Ty would drive a bus to youth group she'd be able to fill it up quickly! Keri continues to play piano, wants to learn how to play the guitar, and sings her way around the house all day long.

Kaden started Kindergarten this year and is loving it! We feel completely blessed that God matched him to a teacher that cares so much about him. God uses our son to teach us so much in life.  Life surely would not be the same without this spunky kid. He keeps our household lively and on our toes, especially as he practices his gymnastics too. He is a BIG competitor and looks forward to playing football in his future. Kaden loves people and knows everyone as well as all of their relatives! He is enjoying learning how to read, and if he was president he said he would make sure everyone has the right license to drive a bus and keep kids safe. (He listens to a lot of Ty's conversations on the phone for work!)

Keliyah is 11 and in 6th grade. She too is enjoying gymnastics this year and is progressing nicely. She continues to love cooking and baking, and would spend all day in the kitchen if allowed. For her birthday this year she got a Cake Pops maker and continues to work on her decorating skills. She tried softball this last summer and really enjoyed learning how to play. She continues to play the flute and enjoys watching the cheerleaders cheer at the basketball games.

Ty and I have had a great year and continue to learn as we age and raise children.  If around us you would probably often hear us talking about our bodies becoming more achy as we get older, and talk about how we want to start working out again....someday....but then time just keeps flying. We are trying to savor every minute of our family as the days keep moving faster and faster. It will be nice to have a toddler around the house again, as we realize our oldest kids will be off to college in just 4 years. We continue to enjoy helping out at youth group as our schedule allows. 

Marci will finish up her reading specialist/ literacy coach master's program December 6th. It has been a rigorous and challenging program, as well as time consuming. She feels so lucky to have such a helpful husband and resourceful kids.

Ty continues to enjoy his work. He has implemented many new technology elements within the transportation department and we continue to feel very blessed that God brought this opportunity into his life 2 years ago. Ty still plays a little bit of softball, but staying active with the kids' activities is definitely where he spends most of his time these days, and we may see college classes in his future too!

(Moving day... Navy was enjoying anything soft he could find to relax on.)

Oh Navy boy....he keeps us on our toes! Such a nice dog, but surely has an appetite for things that his system cannot handle. Luckily he has not had any surgeries this last year! He is definitely enjoying a much larger yard to fetch the softballs that Ty hits for him. Poor dog hasn't had this much exercise in his whole life!

Cheddar...the cat we took in off the streets about 3 years ago. He is a great cat. Loves to wake me up throughout the night as he thinks my body is his bed. He also keeps us on our toes, trying to escape to go out and play. Life wouldn't be the same without Cheddar. We just hope Lulu likes him too!

Kids enjoying a day at the zoo. We needed to get out and do things this summer before Kaden's surgery, knowing we wouldn't get to leave the house for about 2 weeks!

Coleton sporting his favorite shirt he got for his birthday.

Turning 12! It was a turtle kind of day!

Keri and Cameron tried track this last spring. As much as we love that they are involved and trying new things.....I gotta say those meets are excrutiatingly long!

Kaden, before surgery. (Normal, IL 6am)  Don't let his smile deceive you....I couldn't get him past the waiting room doors! It was a long morning!

After surgery....No more smiles!!! He had his tonsils and adenoids removed. This was not an experience we want to remember much, but it sure has helped him in so many ways. He no longer has sleep apnea and controls his emotions much better. 
We are so thankful to God for allowing us to get this all behind us
before Lulu arrives.

Celebrated 15 years of marriage this year! Time sure is moving quickly!

Kaden played baseball for the first time. He did a really great job
and is a strong hitter!

Kaden going to Kindergarten and Cameron heading off to the high school for math. These were the only two ready for the back to school picture! I basically failed at that group picture this year. Oh well! Sometimes things are just too crazy! Life with a big family and both parents involved with the school district! Not much time in the morning for pictures!!!

Enjoying Keliyah's birthday dinner while celebrating Keri's successful pom pom tryouts!   ....and trying to think about packing for the move! 
(Missing Cameron, he was at football practice.)
This dining room table served as our nightly family dinner time as well as my office! All my papers and adoption paper work was completed here! Good times! Now that I have an office I hardly use it! HAHA I use the kitchen counter! LOL!

One of my favorite things to do, making the kids their special birthday dinner. And yes, those are "pigs in a blanket"! Sorry folks, my kids love them, and I guess I'll admit that I do too! I make them with turkey dogs so don't be too harsh on me!

Happy birthday Keliyah...and, if I can't get the back to school picture, they at least are home from school and stopped long enough to pose together for a pic. Notice the unfinished wall and no trim, we don't miss that at all!

Our first morning after the first night of moving. Donuts anyone? I love that our kids have never complained about where they live and that they have been given opportunities that I know God will use in their future to minister and relate to others.

Yeah, well the move took way too long and sometimes we'd just have to stop and laugh at all the cra* we have! Let's just say most of this stuff has and will be given away!!! I think I had more scrapbooking stuff than all the kids' belongings put together! Totally embarrassing! If you want any please ask!
I'm giving a lot of it away!

Keri ready for the Marigold Parade! And no, she does not have a nose's a sticker. Can't wait to be done with that stage!

Ty looks so enthusiastic about turnning 45! You can tell the kids are just excited to eat some icecream cake!

He waited ALL DAY to open his presents!!!

 Please don't judge us for the blue carpet! It'll be the first thing to go...someday!

Really though, we feel so completely blessed and truly believe God will use our home to bless others. I am sure that someday there will be many more children in our family picture.

Blessings! Enjoy your holidays!

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