God has made so many promises to us and has proven himself faithful time after time. In a year defined by upheaval, uncertainty, adjustments and grief, those promises are bedrock. The world changes, but he never does!
We moved to Maine in April where Russell is now pastor at the Goodwins Mills Advent Christian Church. Incidentally, Noelle’s grandfather pastored here in the 40s. Our first Sunday here, Noelle’s beloved brother Neal, passed away from esophageal cancer. Thankfully we were able to see him two days before, and we know he is with Jesus now. But this loss has been difficult. Other family illnesses and struggles have occurred that made us thankful to be close to Noelle’s parents and siblings.
Our church family has been kind and gracious as we’ve settled in. Our new home is in a lovely spot and we’re delighting in an abundance of water, woods and (sort of) winter! (Our blood got so thin in Oklahoma…we’re really feeling the cold!)
Russell is enjoying ministry in southern Maine, and apart from his work at the church, he serves on the Ministerial Board for the state conference. He still lifts weights, enjoys video games, and plays Scrabble and Words with Friends and chess with his favorite gamers! We were thankful to be able to visit his mom in Florida recently for her 90th birthday! We adopted two middle-aged cats in November – 7-year-old siblings named Gooseberry and Moose. After their own adjustment, they have enhanced our lives by sleeping and eating!
Noelle finished book number four this year and is actively working towards finding an agent for this one. She cares for Owen and the whole family, and enjoys reading, writing and other crafts in her spare time. It’s a blessing to be so close to family and to see many of her siblings quite routinely. We had twenty-five here for Thanksgiving!
Emily was in the middle of classes for radiography when we moved, and she wasn’t able to get into a similar course until next fall, or later. So now she is pursuing a slightly different course beginning in January. She is going to be certified in massage therapy and be finished by the end of July. For now, she’s working part time at Target and is caring for Owen.
Speaking of Owen, he started preschool in October and has transitioned to a new routine fairly smoothly. He keeps us all busy and laughing and frustrated and enamored every day! At four, he is articulate, loving, funny and has a great imagination. We are also reaping the benefits of helping with Owen: according to several studies, caring for grandchildren staves off Alzheimer’s and dementia!
Peter has one semester until he finishes his next degree in Cyber Security. He is looking at working while doing his masters and is pursuing several options. He has integrated into our new church at Goodwins Mills and is beloved by many!
Our Texas kids are busy and growing: this year they got a new dog, several chickens, a lizard and a hedgehog, in addition to their two dogs and two cats, and three kids. Gracen is fifteen and has her driver’s permit now. Zoe, at fourteen, is active in cross fit training and dead lifted 185 pounds! Naomi will be twelve in March and she loves all the animals and cares for them and her family. Ryan and Crystal minister at Open Door Church apart from full time work and homeschooling.
We’re grateful for our home, our family and friends, and we pray that you can see the blessings around you, and know the depth of God’s love, especially now in this Christmas season. Love from all of us Carles and Storeys