Merry Christmas. I let the kids help me write the letter this year. Any “quotes” you see are their interjections.
Grant is 9 ½ years old and he’d “have to say I really like 4th grade so far.” A self-professed “football and guitar guy,” he made his foray into tackle football this fall and really loved it. Grant “really likes skateboarding, building Legos and forts with the pillows on my couch, and learning to type home row on the computer. I also really love to write.” Grant stepped up to the challenge of reading the Bible cover to cover in one year and his character is being developed as a result of his diligent determination to finish this task.
Kaitlin has this to say about her year: “Katie is a very bright young student, is 8 years old, and she loves third grade because there are challenges and easy parts. She loves the Lord with all her heart, loves attending house church, and she has a lot of friends. Katie wants to be a dog breeder when she grows up and she likes to draw, write and dance. A big accomplishment for Katie is the fact that she has read seven chapter books cover to cover since school started. In the coming year, Katie would like to learn to ice skate and ride a horse.”
Alli is 6 ½ years old and continues to take the world by storm. Her penchant for rearranging words kept us laughing. This year’s favorites include “re-overact” (over-react), “work outfit” (Curt’s new suit), “glove catch” (softball) and “Club Crappers” (Club Crackers). She wants you to know: “When I grow up I want to be a hair stylist, be a mom and have three kids. I’m a Christian and I love God with all my heart, with all my mind, with all my soul and with all my strength. I’m in fust grade, have a great teacher and great friends. Funny words make me laugh.”
Paige’s hair and personality grew in rapid leaps and bounds as she embraced independence and being a big girl. Now 4 ½ years old, she thinks she’s too “gwown up” to hold hands and wears her hot pink cowgirl boots everywhere she goes, especially when we hike. After watching the Olympics, she stated, “When I grow up, I still want to be a cowgirl, but then I want to grow up again and be a skater and do lots of tricks and skate on the ice cause then you get a teddy bear.” A little piece of my heart died when she started pre-school this fall and officially closed the book of babyhood for the Stilp family.
Curt’s job, according to Paige’s pre-school survey, is “mows the lawn, fixes clocks, do meetings, go golfing with people and does swimming.” She neglected to mention that most of his time is devoted to his work at OHSU and Hope Orthopedics and that he only golfed once this entire year. We are still hosting and leading a house church (Solid Rock’s version of small groups) twice a month and Curt does such a great job shepherding this church family. Curt spent the first ten months of this year consistently training for his yearly dose of two Olympic-distance triathlons, but is taking November and December off so he can “work his core.” On August 1st, he helped me drown my fear of being underwater by talking me through a panic attack in the water of my first triathlon. We crossed the finish line alive and holding hands, and rate it in the top ten dates that we’ve had.
My job, according to Paige’s survey, is “fold clothes, do laundry, vacuum and mops.” I thought I’d be twiddling my thumbs with the extra nine hours a week I have now that Paige is in school, but I’ve managed to fill it hanging out with some great college girls from our house church and some awesome young moms from MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers). I spent a good portion of the year rehabbing my knee, but all the hours in the gym were worth the restored health God chose to give me. All glory to God, I ran a personal-best half marathon in June and a Boston-qualifying marathon in October. Who would have thought?
So many of you have fought health, relational and financial battles this year. Grant recently wrote this poem: “I’m a war poet writing poems of peace as they slither away to tell the enemy.” Our prayer for you this holiday season is that God’s peace, the kind that surpasses all understanding, would slither its way to the foxholes in your life and tell the enemy you’re battling that the war is over.
Many Blessings to you from our crazy family to yours,
Curt, Jodi, Grant, Kaitlin, Alli and Paige Stilp