Friday, December 19, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Ok...well I was going to send out Christmas pictures this year, but since it is already 6 days away from Christmas, I thought I'd cheat a little and do a Christmas letter online this year.

This year has been a year of change and growth for all of us. It's been by far one of the most memorable years we have had. Like others, we've experienced a lot of hardship, but with that came some major victories and we've felt and seen God's faithfulness and love throughout the year. God is good and our hearts are thankful.

I thought I could start out with Elliot. He turned 6 in February! I can't believe our "baby" is already 6!! He started 1st grade in September and is attending a local Charter school here in St.Helens. He is doing so well and at his parent teacher conferences his teacher called him a "teachers dream". Oh my, how nice it was to hear that! Elliot loves playing with his neighborhood friends and his brothers. He looks up to Brady and Riley and wants so badly to do what they get to do. Ever since he's been a baby, he's always been more interested in playing with the big boys! I'm not ready for him to be a big boy yet. I cannot believe how fast time has gone by! In my eyes Elliot should only be about 3 years old. This year, Elliot is going to play baseball and he is counting down the days till he can play football. He has to be going into 3rd grade to play, but it's so hard for him to wait!

Now on to Riley. He is such a joy and melts my heart. Riley is 10 years old and in the 5th grade at the same Charter school Elliot attends. He is our "social butterfly" and is very outgoing. He says that he is the class clown....which scared us both at first but after talking with his teacher, it's ok and he know when to stop the goofiness. Riley loves anything to do with history and knows all about all the past wars. He is like a sponge when it comes to learning about most things. Riley also likes Science and loves doing his own experiments. He has such a kind and compassionate heart and loves Jesus. Riley wanted so badly to play football this year, but because of him only having one kidney, his doctor wouldn't sign the medical release form for him to play. That broke his heart, but he was still able to have a position on Brady's team this year. He was the water boy, which fits perfectly for him because he likes to help people. He even got a jersey and was able to be in the team picture! Right now, with the snow, Riley spends most of his days outside with his friends. We have a hill behind our house that he and his friends go sledding on.

Brady is growing up and becoming a young man. He will turn 12 this month. It's hard to believe that in one year, we will have a TEENAGER!! He has changed so much in every way. Last spring he got braces put on and it's amazing how much even his facial features have changed. When he got his school pictures it was so fun to compare all his school pictures to see the change. Wow! Brady is 12 going on 16 I think. He is maturing so much and is fun to talk to-like a little adult. He is in the 6th grade and goes to Columbia City School-which is a public school here that only 6th graders go to. It's a great program that they have here! This spring he will be able to go to "Outdoor School". Brady is very much into sports. We started off the year with baseball and Brady made the All Star team and had a lot of fun. Then, in August football started. Football is by far, our most favorite sport! Brady was able to play in a lot more positions this year and learned so much! Unfortunately, his team did not win one game, but the boys still had a ton of fun and it seemed like they all learned a lot and made some new friends. Brady can't wait till next August when training starts again.

Since we are talking football, that leads us to Bill. Bill was one of the assistant coaches this year again. I think one of the reasons we love football so much is because it brings us together as a family. Especially Bill and Brady. It's something that bonds them together-the love they both share for the game! Bill is a great coach and loves getting the kids excited to play. Bill is still working for Blumenthal Uniforms and loves it. He isnt traveling as much as he was because he is now serving more local departments. He is such a hard worker and even though the boys and I don't say it enough, we appreciate his hard work and sacrifice for our family so much. He is also leading the 4th-6th grade class at our church. The kids seem to really like his class-he makes it so fun for them to learn about Jesus. Bill and I have been seeing a financial counselor that has been certified through Dave Ramsey. If you've known us long enough, you've known that finances are our biggest area of stress. Last fall, after years of trying to do things in our own strength and wisdom (or lack there of) prayerfully, we found this counselor. He's more of a mediator and an accountability partner for us. He's there to "hold our hand" and guide us through the process of getting out of debt. We try to meet with him a couple of times a month to go over our finances and what our next step of action is. On the weeks we dont see him, Bill and I are meeting to discuss how our finances are going. It forces us to go out together too. Even if it's just at our local Starbucks and only 1 hour or so long, we are getting out on a "date"! Besides meeting with our counselor, we are also reading Dave Ramsey's books together and watching his DVDs. Even the kids are getting into it! Since we are on the Dave Ramsey plan this year, we aren't doing Christmas gifts for anyone, including the kids. We've talked to the kids about it and they understand.....well, as much as kids can understand such things. Plus they've got a few sets of grandparents that will be able to provide some presents for them, so it won't be that bad....anyway, Brady was watching one of the Dave Ramsey videos that we hadnt watched yet, and found the idea of giving away certificates to each other. For example, we did our family Christmas this last Tuesday with my parents since my dad wouldn't be home for Christmas this year. So, instead of us buying gifts for them, we gave them gifts of service. Brady offered to help them with their yard this year and help my mom by cleaning out her fridge when she needed it. Sometimes I think gifts of service or time mean just as much if not more than something bought at a store. The kids had fun making up the certificates and figuring out what they wanted to do....they are going to do them for each other as well. It will be interesting to see what they come up with!!

As I write this, I am sitting at my desk for the last time. Until today, I worked for the Oregon Department of Human Services. I start a new job tomorrow for Columbia County 911 as a dispatcher! I have mixed emotions because I am very sad to leave the friends I have made here but oh so excited to be a 911 dispatcher!! It's going to be an intense, stressfull job but I feel like I'm up to the challenge and also feel like this is what God is leading me to do. I will have a completely different schedule too-it will be Saturday through Tuesday from 2:00pm to midnight. After some thought, I think this just might be the perfect schedule and Im very excited about it. It brings me home more during the week with the boys, which is what I have been feeling needs to happen. I still get to go to church on Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights with my family. I'm very nervous to start this job because of the intensity of the job, and I am praying that I can catch on quickly. I am so thankful for the friends that I work with now and am planning on keeping in touch with them on a regular basis. Also this year, I finally became an Aunt!! My brother Derek and his wife Lisa had a beautiful baby girl named Lilli! We were able to go to Las Vegas to visit them in April. She is such a sweetheart and I wish I could see her more. But I do get to have my "baby fixes" at church. A couple of times a month I get to be in the nursery holding the babies! I love that so much and I'm thankful that I will be able to continue this even with my new schedule. Speaking of church, we are still at the same church we started at when we first moved here. We all love it and God has blessed us with a wonderful core group of friends.

We hope this "letter" finds you and your family well. Merry Christmas!

Bill, Stephanie, Brady, Riley and Elliot Beckham


Colleen said...

Thanks for the Christmas letter and the nice picture. The boys are getting so tall. Elliot is still such a cutie, even thought he is growing up so fast. Dave Ramsey is awesome. I'm so glad things are looking up in the financial department for you and Bill. Have a Merry Christmas and God bless you guys!! Love, Sam, Colleen, Autumn and Isaac Grove

mholgate said...

Merry Christmas Stephanie! Don't feel bad about "cheating." I do it too. It sounds like you guys have had a great year, despite a few bumps here and there.

I will be praying for your new job. God is so awesome to provide wisdom and direction when we seek Him!

Blessings as you celebrate this CHRISTmas, and as God leads you into the New Year, and new beginnings.

Love, Melissa

Party of 5 said...

Blessings to you and your beautiful family Stephanie. I can't beleive how big those boys are getting.....
Good luck as you begin your new job.
love, colleen