Friday, December 14, 2007

Merry Christmas!

The Christmas pictures and letters are all out in the mail, so now I can share it with you without a family member reading it here first!

Merry Christmas from the Zempel’s!

Another year has flown by, probably the quietest in recent history for our family! That’s not a bad thing, though, and we have had a wonderful year.

We’ll start the updates with the youngest of our bunch, Allison. What a delight she is to our family! By the beginning of the year she had really started to reveal her personality. She is quite social and loves being around other kids. She is a little more “rough and tumble” than her brother was at this age, partly due to his influence, I am sure. They both wrestle with Dan and giggle constantly. She is more independent, also, and will venture upstairs to her room to play without any encouragement. She began walking about a month after her first birthday in June and made up for lost time by taking to it immediately. She babbles constantly (not unlike her mother!) and never fails to make us all smile. We can’t imagine life without her and are universally smitten with her.

Elijah gets bigger and bigger every day. I can’t believe he is almost 4! We started “homeschool” this year, which basically means we make structured time for reading. We occasionally add some worksheets to the mix, which Elijah loves and repeatedly asks to do more. Elijah is getting braver as the year progresses, culminating in his achievement of “surfing” with an instructor at an indoor water park this fall. Dan will have him behind the boat before you know it! He is energetic and talkative, and enjoyed spending a week with each set of his grandparents this summer. He is doing great in Awana Cubbies and looks forward to spring when he can attempt to learn to ride a “tippy” bike. We’ll see how that goes! He is at such a fun age; I think I would keep him here if I could.

Dan immensely enjoyed having another team member at his State Farm office this year, allowing us to enjoy some family time without worrying about the office imploding without him around. Business has been active enough for him to add another employee this past fall and that has been working out well. Dan took over the leadership of a small group at our church this spring and we have immensely enjoyed getting to know some of the newer couples at our church. Believe it or not, we are the oldest in the group! This is a new experience since we have been comfortable being the youngest for sometime now! Even so, we are so grateful for this group and the growth we have seen and experienced ourselves.

As for me, Donette, life isn’t much different since our last letter. I reached a milestone birthday this year, but don’t question me when I say I am 29! Dan graciously watched the kids over Memorial Day weekend so that my friend Laura and I could go to a conference in Louisville, KY. We spent the weekend being blessed by the ministry of Josh Harris, Mark Dever, Al Mohler, CJ Mahaney and John Piper. It was a much-needed retreat and Dan and I hope to go together this coming year.

As quiet as this year has been, there are still ample opportunities to trust in God’s sovereignty and rely on His grace. Sometimes the quiet makes it easier to forget to do this. I pray that will never be your temptation. As I heard in a Christmas carol:
May the warmth of Heaven reach the coldest heart
with the gospel of His grace
For His heel will bruise the serpent’s head,
Rejoice, all the world, Rejoice!

I pray that you have the reason to do just that!

Dan and Donette, Elijah and Alli


Anonymous said...

What a nice photo and letter! We got all our Christmas photo cards done this week too.

KR said...

Luckily I have already opened my mail or this would have been a spoiler! See you next weekend!

Sarah: said...

Thanks for the card and picture.....did you lose more weight? You look really good!!
I am still working on mine--you may get one someday. :-)

Gretchen said...


I thought of you today because Dr. Mohler is having a T4G meeting on campus and I saw Dever and CJ in the store. Wish I could catch a little of the encouraging air floating around CJ and send it to you! :)


KJ said...

miss you Donette! Glad to read things are going well. :) Next time we're in town, let's plan another lunch/dinner date.