Merry Christmas 2002!!
Merry Christmas to all our family and friends!! We feel truly blessed to have you all in our lives. Some of you have seen a year full of challenges, some full of wonder and joy and most a mixture of the two. We fall into the mixture category - with mostly wonder and joy. We really had two major challenges - our fourth pregnancy ended in a miscarriage at the beginning of 2002 and we changed churches - more on that later. The rewards of the year, though, include Jill being pregnant again, Philip going back to school and the kids growing greatly. We also took a couple family vacations this year and Philip got a promotion!
Our church situation: This is a pretty big one for us. We've felt led for some time away from our church home of 10+ years, Overlake Christian Church. In August, we finally felt it was truly time and we resigned from the leadership of our Sunday School class and our Administrative post in the Marriage Ministry and tearfully said our good-byes - most of our friends were at that church. But it was time. We weren't certain where we were being led, but figured at least a year to find a new church home. Imagine our surprise when we found it the second Sunday of visiting!! Hillside Chapel has truly been a blessing to us. We've actually known Pastor John Bangs and his wife Treesa for a while, but never thought we'd end up in their church! What we imagined as truly difficult has instead blossomed into a mighty blessing.
In May, our whole family got to travel to Colorado. We got to see some old friends as well as spend some quality time with both Jill's parents and Jill's sister and her family. In July, we secretly traveled to Sacramento, meeting up with Philip's siblings to surprise his dad for his 60th birthday! It was a lot of fun and wonderful to get the Reasoner kids all together. In September, we found out that Philip's sister Laura and her boyfriend Karl are moving to Seattle - so finally we'll have family in the area! Sad for their mom, though, since she won't have any more kids in Kansas City.
Philip has gone back to school at Bellevue Community College. He started with courses in TCP/IP and Visual Basic.NET and is now actively taking courses to become a Microsoft Certified Database Administrator (MCDBA) around June/July and Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) by the end of 2003. Afterwards he hopes to go for MOUS, MCAD and CCNA (Office, Programming and Cisco). He's very excited!
Philip also got a promotion to Technical Support Specialist for Time & Labor Management in the Northwest region in July. He's been with ADP almost 4 years now and is still thoroughly enjoying it!
Jill is continuing to homeschool the children. They had a couple of extra unit studies on the skeleton and digestion that turned out really well! This pregnancy has dominated the last couple of months through challenging hormone and nausea battles. But, we look very forward to baby #4 in July! We've decided this time (for the first time) to find out the sex of the baby in advance. It very well may determine whether to stay in this house or move on to something with a couple more bedrooms!
Maranda continues to progress wonderfully. Her reading and comprehension are much higher than the second grade she's in (tested last year in the 6th grade) and she really does enjoy reading anything she can get her hands on. She and her Dad share a Star Wars hobby together that is quite fun. She also enjoys ballerina dancing, painting and other artwork.
Lydia has just picked up reading in the last few months. She's now reading quite nicely and we think 2003 will see just an explosion of growth in her learning! Lydia just adores school and would do her schoolwork all day if Jill would let her. She is such a joy to teach. She really enjoys playing dress-up and accessorizing. On a typical day, we'll find her wearing multiple necklaces, headbands, several barrettes, rings and bracelets and exclaiming "Oh, I'm so pretty!".
Alexander is a true boy. He likes balls and trucks and the noises they make. He likes Basketball. He likes finding out the boundaries of what he can do. But he's got a wonderful heart that can melt you. He's got a pretty good vocabulary for a 2-1/2 year old and can spout off pretty long, mostly understandable sentences.
Over the past few weeks, we've been reminded about the preciousness of life. In early December, we found that at the same spot on Highway 203 that Jill and the kids very nearly lost their lives in June 2000, there was now a cross and fresh flowers. Someone else had a similar accident with very different results. Less than a week later, we found out that one of our friends, Kraig, is dying from a rapidly spreading cancer. Kraig is a young man who found out about the cancer around the same time as the birth of his third child. He only has until the end of January 2003 to live.
This reminds us that despite the gifts we give each other, the fact of the people alive in our lives is one of the most precious gift of all. We all need to remind ourselves just how wonderful it is to still have our loved ones near. We could all lose our loved ones at the snap of a finger - Philip's sister's death back in 1991 is a good witness to that. Hug your family. Patch the hurts. And remember to love.
May you have a blessed and growth-filled 2003!
Phil, Jill, Maranda, Lydia, Alexander and ?
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