The Hammond Family Newsletter, Christmas, 2011
Another year draws to a close, which means it’s time to dig through the memory archives of the past year and pull out meaningful or witty or exciting news about each family member…OK then…I’m trying…well, maybe we’ll just have to stick with a simple, boring update! So here goes—-
The most exciting thing that happened with Scott and I (yes, this year’s newsletter is authored by Joni, aka “Mom”, “Mom-Joni”, or “Mrs. Gabe”) is that we went to HAWAII!!!!!!!!!!!!!! for the first time, to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. We went with Jacob and Kelly, and had the most glorious vacation ever. I’m ready to go to Hawaii every year now.
Other than basking in the sun and snorkeling in the warm waters off Maui…
Scott has spent the past year continuing to develop his public speaking skills and to lead the Team at Suddenlink Media (local cable network provider). He’s one diligent guy, and since I’m authoring this year’s newsletter, I can take a moment to say that I’m really blessed to be married to him.
I (Joni) continue to run (completed my first half marathon this year and loved it!), to garden, and to indulge my maternal energies by caring for a batch of chickens. They are not too bright, they are not too clever, and they have kind of creepy feet, but there is something mildly gratifying when a flock of 10 birds race (as best a chicken can) towards you any time you step out the door. So what if they’re looking for scratch…
Jacob and Kelly put their roots down a little deeper in Medford, OR, by buying a house this year. It’s really a nice place; with a great view of Roxy Anne peak and a fine backyard for their growing menagerie (they added a Pembroke corgi puppy and a wee kitten, survivor of a junkyard). Jacob continues to work his internet magic for pay, and restores old bikes and a VW bug for fun. Kelly produces amazing photography, and has been deeply bitten by the running bug; she’s got a couple of races planned for this winter and spring already.
Jesse continues to plug away at UC Davis, creating various computer models of Stuff and Information, dominating the underclassmen, and working steadily towards his goal of MA/PhD. He has a lovely young lady in his life who is also studying at UCD and who provides some balance to his life.
Kalea graduated from Humboldt State this spring, and the whole family gathered to enjoy the beautiful music recital she performed, and then cheered her on as she received her diploma. She is exploring her options for the next phase of her life; looks like she may head down south to see what life in the big city is like (we wish her well and are glad that it is her and not us, he! he! he!!).
Briana and Matt are still here in Humboldt County while Matt works on his contractor’s license and Bri takes college classes. She has what many of us would consider a dream job: she gets paid to exercise and care for horses. Paid! They recently moved into a really cute little house out by Blue Lake, and are looking forward to their latest addition….a little Doberman puppy.
Abby is oh-so-close to completing high school, and is deciding What to Do Next. She’s considering moving up to Medford to attend college. Or staying here and attending college. Or going on a short missions trip. Or taking a year off from school and working. Or who knows! We reassure her that the sky’s the limit (well, almost), and that with God leading, she really can’t go wrong, no matter what she decides.
Michaela is sitting much taller these days, as she finally had the long-dreaded spinal fusion surgery this past fall. While she really, really didn’t want surgery, the end result exceeds her expectations. She sits taller than her sisters now, and having a straight spine has made her much more comfortable overall. She’s still writing stories, reading about vampires, French history, and old Russia (she’s so eclectic in her interests), and basically growing up.
Gabe is NOT almost 13. NO. Well, heck, I guess he is, but I don’t see how that’s possible! He remains the most grounded, easy-going, mellow and happy person I’ve ever met. A woman in Arcata, upon watching Gabe for a few minutes, summed it up: “I think he must be farther evolved than we are. I spend so much time, so much energy, trying to be happy. And he just IS!”. Lots of lessons to be learned by hanging with Gabe.
Aaron and Micah, bringing up the tail end of the family in age but leading the way in energy, continue to homeschool, learn, explore, fight, play-play-play, experiment, study, bicker, help each other, and remind us all that life is not so serious—enjoy it!
God continues to lead us, to comfort us and encourage us, to correct us and to change us. He is good, all the time, and we are so thankful for His presence and the peace that he gives. May you experience the same this holiday season and into the New Year!
~~~~~~~~~~~ The Hammonds~~~~~~~~~~~~
“These were the best of times….and the worst of times.”
The challenges of this year force us to really identify what is key in our lives.
I have learned that the key for me is Relationships.
”The best things in life …aren’t things at all.”
This is just a quick note to express appreciation for our relationship and your role in my life/success.
I would be remiss to not acknowledge your kindness and to let you know I value our relationship.
I honor you and wish to say thanks for all you’ve done/been for me.
I invite you to ask me for help… anytime you have need, as I’m here for you.
Please do not hesitate to ask, as I’ll endeavor to be at your service.
With genuine sincerity,
Family First Checklist
courtesy of Walk in the Word.com
“For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?” Luke 14:28
Do you want to give your family first place? Then consider these four aspects to lasting, godly commitment that you need to make:
1: Love your family first by having a total commitment to Christ.
It all begins with your vertical commitment to Christ. Anything less than a 100 percent radical devotion to Jesus is no commitment at all. Follow Christ first, above everything–above your spouse; above your children; above your family. Show them that you can actually love them better when you love Christ first than you could if you were ignoring Jesus and trying to love them in your own strength.
In their honest moments, most people know the struggle not to love other people, especially their families, more than they love God. But Jesus said in Matthew 10:37, “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” Jesus must be first.
2: Love your family first by calculating the cost.
Jesus said in Luke 14:28, “For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?” If you want to build a tower, have a great lawn, lower your golf handicap, or have a marvelous, joy-filled family, it’s going to cost you.
To be Christ’s disciple demands careful analysis. It means you have to count the cost of that commitment ahead of time. Can I finish the course? Can I give what success in this priority demands? Can I be a faithful husband for my whole life? Can I be the wife God has called me to be? Can I be the parent? Because if I can’t keep my promises, I have no business making the commitment. But to be standing beside your spouse ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty years later and to be able to say, “I still do” is powerful! And that power will flow down to your children and to your grandchildren.
3: Love your family first by finishing the course.
In a world of quitters, Jesus Christ is looking for finishers. It’s not how your family started that matters most; it’s where you all end up as a family and in eternity that really counts. Make no mistake, there are many eyes on you. People know what you profess and they are watching to see if you can keep the commitment you’ve made to your family. The world is filled with starters-up like a rocket and down like a rock-but God’s love in the heart of His children is what enables you to finish the course.
4: Love your family first by paying the price.
You need to know now that there is a price you will have to pay to have a God-honoring, successful family. Families that only stay together until hardship comes or conflict arises never experience the joy of all a family can be.
It’s one thing to talk about commitment in a vague, generalizing way. But truly living the Christian life is hardest at home. Some of you are going to face something this year as a family that will call for a massive price to be paid! Get ready. When you want to pull back–that’s the time to press in, push forward, and draw hard upon the Lord’s strength to live a life of absolute total commitment to your family.
So what do you think? Each week you are invited to visit 10Choices.org to engage in one of the ten choices with book excerpt and questions, and most importantly, comments from you
The fifth and most important “tool” is a genuine relationship with God, both as an individual and as a family.
Writing about our relationship with God is extremely difficult. So let’s start with what it is not.
It is not:
- About attending church
- About giving money
- About being” good “
- About being religious
- About being condemning, condescending, or arrogant about one’s faith
- About religious activity, service, or lifestyle
What it is about could take up several pages of a blog.
But we’ll start with the following:
- Knowing and understanding God’s Word–the Bible–reading and meditating on it regularly
- Understanding and having a genuine salvation/saving relationship with God by faith in Christ
- Being a person who prays on a regular basis, who has two-way conversations with God
- Being a person who’s quick to repent, be humble, and truly make things right, admitting it when wrong
- Being a person who’s willing to serve others, even at their own expense
- Living an obedient life, not out of obligation, but out of thankfulness and deep gratitude for all God has done
- Allowing God’s full expression in me, in my thoughts, my deeds, my words, my motivation, my attitude, my resources, and so much more
- Being a person who puts my walk with God as my number one priority in life, through prayer, Bible study, praise, worship, sharing my faith, serving my church and community and fellow humans.
- Obeying God in the small stuff… being sensitive to details and doing the right thing even when no one is looking.
- Relaxing, taking deep breaths, simply appreciating the life and the love God has given me, realizing I can not add to this love. I can only respond to it by living in the moment, and being the obedient son He’s asked that I be
- Utilizing the gifts and the resources He’s given me in the way that He leads me to do so
- Having a heart attitude and disposition that seeks to glorify God in every aspect of my life
Much of this has to do with what I call a “heart attitude”, the core belief system that governs all behaviors, words, deeds, and attitudes.
It stems from the realization of all that God has done for me, is doing, and will do in the future. It comes from a heart of deep gratitude, which seeks to please, not repay, or pay penance, to the God who loves me and has given his all for my life and eternity.
It’s just this… fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and faithfulness, and self-control… against such there is no law.” These are the heart attitudes which demonstrate Christ’s likeness. They only come with a genuine long-term walk with him.
Be careful to understand that not speaking about perfection… we are all human,, fallible, frail, weak, and prone to making all manner of mistakes. The giant difference is having a heart of repentance. It’s quick to humble, turn, pray, and make course corrections when we discover we have sinned against God or people. We need to be good repenters.
This doesn’t mean that everything is a bed of roses, in fact Christians suffer as much or more than others. The difference here is:” God works all things together for good for those who love him and for those who are called according to his purpose.” This means that even the worst challenges, problems, and disasters are actually blessings in disguise for trust God to work it all together for good. When a person can live this way, and a faith walk with God, all of life takes on a brand-new adventure and excitement, knowing that no matter what happens, I’m going to become closer and more like my Father in each and every situation.
This is the foundation for a great life,, marriage and family. it makes for a stability, a joy, and the love that permeates a family and a marriage with the sweetness and a sanity that is rare and precious.
To call this Walk with God a “tool” is to misrepresent and underestimate what’s being written here.
This Walk with God is the life-giving, dominant feature of the dedicated Christian family and individual. With God at the vanguard of our lives, life really becomes worth living.