The Deatrick year, 2015 in review!

2015 Family Photo - Color

Dear Family and Friends,                                                          12/17/15

Here is another chapter in our family history. Eventually, these annual Christmas letters will form an anthology that I hope our children will treasure as they bring up their own families. I’m sure that after our children have left home, Carol and I will pull these up and ponder with grateful hearts the gifts that God entrusted to us. Even now, this exercise stimulates thanksgiving.

January: We made the bedroom swap: the boys got the biggest downstairs room, the girls took the boy’s old room, and Carol and I remodeled and moved into the girl’s former room (where we will eventually finish a master suite with a bathroom upstairs). Carol turned 39 and Kara turned 7, both on the 10th. Gilead Job was born on the 19th.

February: Joel turned 15 on the 9th. Dad and Mom visited us on their way back from Camp Joy/Chicago (to see Gilead).

March: Most of the boys got quite sick with some kind of a virus, missing several days of school: John’s turned into pneumonia and he missed 2 full weeks of school. Joel’s turned into an ear infection that ruptured his ear drum on a Sunday morning. We had a surprise visit from Tom and Mary Thacker: relatives of Carol’s family and friends from my childhood (we didn’t find out the connection until several years after our marriage). I attended the AIBCI Men’s Retreat in Chicago.

April: Joel got his permit and started driving. JV high school baseball started. We went to Missouri for the kids spring break, hitting a deer on the way over there. Carol’s Mom and I put a verse mural in the entrance of the church foyer (Ephesians 3:21). My brother and sister-in-law (Michael and Nora) visited us and our church; Carol and Nora attended the AIBCI Ladies’ Retreat in Champaign.

May: We received a “new to us” piano from a friend of Carol’s Mom in Rockford (my digital Yamaha was my graduation present 21 years ago). Laura turned 14 on the 6th. Carol and I celebrated 16 years of marriage on the 8th. John and Josiah both got glasses for the first time. School baseball finished and Park District baseball began (I coached 8-10 year olds again). Laura finished 8th grade and was one of the students selected to give an address at their graduation exercises. We had 100’ of new sidewalk and a new concrete entrance laid at the church.

June: School finished for the summer. We put in two gardens, one on each side of the house: lots of tomatoes, zucchini, green beans, butternut squash, and – my favorite – Brussels Sprouts! Carol and Laura planted flowers around the house and the front sidewalk for the first time. Laura replaced her glasses with contacts. John and Josiah spent a week with Grandpa and Grandma Bumgardner in Belvidere. Gardner turned 5 on the 15th. Our friend from college, John Glenn and his family, came for a visit (we hadn’t seen them for at least 10 years – so glad to reconnect with them). We started putting down nearly 100 tons of gravel on the church parking lot. Not only did we cover the existing lot, but expanded it by 100’ – the need for expanded parking is a good problem to have at a church! John and Josiah were part of the Paxton All Star baseball team and had a tournament in a neighboring town.

July: Baseball finished. We went to Missouri for a family vacation and for the kids to attend VBS where Grandpa Deatrick pastors. Our church had a Patriotic service with both instrumental and vocal music. John turned 10 on the 7th. We celebrated 10 years as pastor and family at Grace Baptist Church. We attended the 40th anniversary of Lifegate Baptist Church in St. Louis; my Dad started this church and St. Louis is the place I was born and lived as a child. We finished remodeling the girls room while Joel and Laura were at Grandpa and Grandma Bumgardner’s house. I turned 39 on the 23rd.

August: The kids started back to school. Our friends and former church family, Dave and Denise Cook, visited from Florida. We made one of our quarterly trips to Chicago and also visited Carol’s parents; Grant stayed with them for several days. Someone shot the front of our van during a morning church service (we hope it was just random vandalism); our van was in the shop for two weeks while the radiator, transmission cooler, a/c compressor, and grill were replaced.

September: We picked 332 pounds of apples from the Deatrick Orchard and put up 84 quarts of apples sauce. We had new 6” gutters installed at church. Grant turned 12 on the 10th. Laura started taking piano lessons from a new teacher (all previous lessons have been from Carol).

October: We finished Gilead’s little room which will become a walk-in closet when he moves to the downstairs bunk room in a few months. We had Todd Sivnksty and his family at Grace Baptist Church for a week of special meetings. I started cataloguing my library online at LibraryThing.com, still a long way to go, but I hope to have it all organized in the next few months. Josiah turned 9 on the 30th. Carol, her Mom and aunt, and a few ladies from our church attended a Taste of Home cooking school in Champaign.

November: For Thanksgiving, I helped load several thousand U of I students on several dozen charter buses for the company for which I used to drive. We went to Missouri for Thanksgiving and while there we cut wood with Grandpa and went small game hunting (first time for the kids), we also visited my aunt’s family and grandma. Kara won the Paxton Park District Princess contest and rode in the Christmas parade.

December: I participated in the doctrinal ordination council of my youngest brother, Michael. We had an encouraging reunion with our missionaries to Cambodia, Ron and Tina Fruin. We will be spending Christmas with our entire family: 7 households with 26 grandkids will make for lots of food and fun!

Joel: Joel had some “firsts” this year: he began driving, he started pitching for the school JV baseball team, and he started playing the organ at church. He is right at 6’4” now and with weight lifting in P.E., he will likely outweigh me soon. We are enjoying him as a young man and are blessed with a very good relationship with him. He is trustworthy and competent at about anything that he attempts. He is a natural learner, reads almost incessantly, and has an amazing memory for facts, which helps on the scholastic bowl team. He is a good “big brother” and is relatively patient with his younger siblings. His emotional release is found pounding out something on the piano, currently, Rondo Alla Turca.

Laura: Laura has adjusted well to high school. She can’t stand being unprepared for anything and is often up at 4:30 a.m. studying for a quiz or test (or late at night – when I went to bed last night, she and Joel were quizzing each other over Spanish vocab for finals today). She has begun playing one of the pianos for church services and diligently practices 8-10 hours a week – she loves her lessons and new teacher. Laura daily helps Kara with her hair and, like Joel, is quite patient with her younger siblings. Her skills with Gilead gives me and Carol confidence to leave him with her for a while if we have errands to run (or a date). She has a natural ability in décor and color and has helped in both the house and the church building.

Grant: Grant is now in Junior High and loves it! He, like Laura, takes his assignments very seriously. When he learns of a project, he wants to begin it as soon as he gets home, often as though it is an emergency or due the next day. He enjoys telling us the happenings of the day and frequently jumps into the middle of a story without any context – I have to remind him that I haven’t been with him all day and can’t follow the story without some background. Grant is in his second year with the trumpet; he is trying to help Josiah learn on his old trumpet even before Josiah starts band in school. Of Joel, Laura, and Grant – there is currently only one B in their grades at school, the rest are A’s – I won’t say who owns the B, it doesn’t matter much – they all take school seriously. Grant has been my constant helper on the weekly trip to the nursing home.

John: John is in his last year of middle school. He also is doing very well academically, though he doesn’t seem to give school too much attention. John started playing the trombone in band this year; his energy and gusto was evident from the first time he blew into it. John is still our most active child, nearly every day when he gets home from school he wants to go play some kind of ball outside. He is in Carol’s Sunday School class and she has said that he listens intently and participates freely with her. He has expressed a desire to play the piano and so we may be adding more noise to what sometimes seems like a cacophony with two pianos, a trumpet and a trombone – but gladly!

Josiah: Josiah moved to a new school and is maturing silently. He is an early riser; he gets frustrated with himself when he doesn’t do something to his own standard. He has become quite competent in many things, but especially in his reading. I love to hear his phonics in the Kings English – sometimes his older siblings will correct him as he reads, but I just enjoy listening as he fearlessly tackles words from 1st Chronicles (or another place) in our daily Bible readings. I thoroughly enjoyed coaching him in baseball this year. He was one of the smaller and younger kids on the team, but he plays with his brain, not just his body. I think he’s learned to do that as he competes with three older brothers.

Kara: Kara is our little sweetheart. Her smile warms any and every heart, and it glows the more now that it is missing a few teeth. Her eyes seem to be better this year, or at least they haven’t seemed to inhibit her life. She is “Miss Observant.” I think she has memorized all of the year books from all three schools for the last three years. She seems to know everyone in town by name or face – and their relatives. Often as we are driving through town, she’ll say something like, “there is . . . her brother goes to . . . and her mom teaches . . . her dad works at . . .” She keeps us up to date! She will be able to quit using her booster seat in the van in just a couple of weeks!

Gardner: Gardner is now a full time student (not just the 3 hour a day preschooler), Carol and I miss having him as our companion for half of the day. He is an athlete like the others, just young. He got a two-wheeler with training wheels for his birthday; it took a few weeks, but he was soon riding around the yard without the training wheels. He has a mischievous streak in him, but I wouldn’t consider it malicious, most of the time anyways. He loves to play Uno with Kara and A Ticket to Ride with the other boys. He will soon join the ranks of readers and will discover a whole new world(s).

Gilead: The name Gilead comes from the ancient location which was “the place of the healing balm” in the Bible. His middle name, Job, comes from the Biblical character who maintained integrity despite intense suffering. We have not gone through severe trials, but he has certainly been a balm to our souls. Though not quite a year old, there is a determination in his spirit which kindles our curiosity, “who and what will he be?”

Oscar: Oscar continues to provide an object of love for the kids. They love him unconditionally, and the feeling is reciprocal. He lives primarily on Milk Bones and then whatever else he can get someone to give him. He had a little too much beef brisket the other night and snatched a hot dog right out of Josiah’s hand this evening as he was getting another one from the kitchen. He does get a little irritated when the boys play with toy guns in the house and he always barks at the mailman, just to let him know that he is inside, and that he knows the mailman is outside. He is a special reminder of my grandparents and the role that he played in bringing comfort to them in their later years.

Carol: We have known each other nearly half of our lives; we met in college when we were 20 and we’ll both be 40 this coming year. I’m listening to her laugh in the kitchen now as she bakes cookies and talks to Laura. Though our home is far from perfect, Carol provides a demeanor which I’m convinced our children will want to emulate in their own homes. She decided to challenge herself to grow more this past year, so she has learned some new piano pieces from different musicians, she has learned some new techniques in cooking, and she has read more. I’m often surprised when she tells me the books that she has read recently . . . but I shouldn’t be.

Levi: I’ve written more this year and have studied various topics which I haven’t had the time to explore previously (not that I actually have more time now). My weaknesses have been manifested to me this year in very unpleasant ways, but the result has been a stark realization of my need for God’s grace given through His Word.

All in all, we rejoice in His goodness to us!

Love the Deatricks