Thursday, December 24, 2009
Our Family Christmas Letter
The Barretts wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and a Blessed and Happy New Year! May the grace of God be yours this year and always!
2009 has been a difficult year financially for us. Keith's drafting business of 25 years has trickled to practically nothing, and he's been taking on all available handyman jobs. This marks our final year of home schooling all four kids as Elizabeth graduates from Heritage Christian High School (our home school program) this spring. We're in our 9th year of living in the small town of Pine Valley, our 17th year of attending Lake Murray Community Church in La Mesa, and our 6th year of worshiping on Fridays and Holy Days with Alpine Anglican Church of the Blessed Trinity.
Benjamin turned 10 this month, and he remains the family clown. In fourth grade, Benjamin is developing his artwork wonderfully. He enjoys playing in our local park with his brothers, riding his scooter and his bike, beating us at board games, and playing Legos and Bakugan. Benjamin is taking Boys' Adventure, PE, and Cooking at our Class Day co-op and is enjoying learning German at home; math and handwriting are his favorite subjects by far. His humorous antics help to keep us in a cheerful mood.
In seventh grade and 12 years old, Jonathan is enjoying junior high – well, except for the extra school work. He started learning Japanese with Keith, but they haven't had the time to work on it together. Guitar is by far his favorite subject, and he is taking lessons through the Free Teen Guitar Class outreach of Alpine Anglican where he rocks a cool red electric guitar. At Class Day he is taking double PE and Chess with Timothy. Jonathan also enjoys working on art, playing X-Box, and designing with Legos. With his strong opinions and persistent nature, Jonathan is the mastermind behind most of the kids' squabbles, but he is also affectionate and generous.
Timothy started high school this fall and continues to excel in math and science. Almost 15, he's now the tallest person in our home (yes, even taller than Keith!), and he's only in ninth grade! Computers are one of his passions, and he's considering a future in graphic design or video game design. Timothy is constantly experimenting with a new kind of artistic expression, whether drawing, cartooning, constructing new worlds with popsicle sticks and hot melt glue, forming creatures from clay, etc. Timothy joins Jonathan in taking double PE and Chess at our Class Day co-op and studies literature with his friend Jack whom the boys also meet to play football at the local park. He is learning German as his foreign language.
Elizabeth is 17 and a senior in high school. Since this summer she has been working in housekeeping at the Pine Valley Bible Conference Center 15-20 hours each week. At Class Day she is taking Oral Interpretation & Drama and American Government & Economics, and her favorite school subject is British Literature. (She gets to read Austen! Yay!) Elizabeth is selling her original jewelry at Class Day and in the Bible camp's gift shop. Elizabeth is deciding between two colleges for next year: San Diego Christian College (formerly Christian Heritage) and Point Loma Nazarene University; she plans to major in English or Journalism.
Keith has been doing handyman work this year. He has painted interiors and exteriors, repaired and refinished doors and windows, tiled bathrooms in marble, designed and landscaped yards, designed and built a brick deck, repaired kitchen counters, and is working on designing and installing an elevator in my parents' home. His favorite project by far was creating a complementary stained glass door for our doctor and his wife for whom he made the gorgeous window last year; he also presented his stained glass work to our local Arts Council. Keith is happy to do whatever he can to help provide for us, and we so appreciate his hard work and persistence.
Despite struggling with my chronic health issues, I have been busy this year as well: homeschooling our four kids, tutoring, plus teaching a 4th-6th grade poetry class and a 10th-12th grade writing course at our co-op Class Day. In addition, I've been writing language arts subscriptions and teaching classes in grammar, poetry, Shakespeare, and MLA research papers for BraveWriter.com. I also facilitate our local Writers' Workshop and lead Lake Murray's monthly literary discussion group, and earlier this month I was the Mistress of Ceremonies at Lake Murray's annual Christmas Tea. Blogging at MeditativeMeanderings.blogspot.com remains a passion of mine.
We pray that the peace of Christ's birth will fill your hearts and homes this Advent Season and always. We wish you and yours a joyous Christmas and a blessed 2009! Please keep in touch with us!
With love in Christ Jesus our Lord,
Keith, Susanne Elizabeth, Timothy, Jonathan, and Benjamin (& Dash, too)