The holiday season is a wonderful time to reflect on the past year, and to see God's gracious hand of blessing on our lives. We hope you enjoy reading our brief recap of the past year!
Nathan has been busy this year teaching students at SEBTS, helping with the ministry of our church as an unpaid elder, and working on multiple writing projects. He loves his job and sees it as a ministry as much as an employment opportunity. We are so blessed to be a part of this great seminary community, and we love having friends among the faculty and students here. In addition to teaching, Nathan led a group of students on a mission trip back to South Asia this spring. As with his first trip, it was an amazing time of ministry and taking the gospel to a place that has very little hope or Christian witness.
Leah spent this year chasing the three Finnlings--a more than full-time job, of course! She returned to SEBTS as a student in the fall of 2011, and took her first on-campus class in over six years during the Spring 2012 semester. It was a great experience, though at times a lot to juggle. A tradition in the Finn household is to have students over to share a meal regularly, and Leah has enjoyed blessing the students with 'homecooked vittles' this spring and fall semesters. Shortly after the fall semester began (Nathan's a professor, so everything is marked by semesters!), the Finn household learned that a new baby was on the way in the spring. This exciting and surprising news has brought great joy to the family, though Leah battled more sickness during the early stages of this pregnancy than with her other children. Even more crazy, fun, busy times are expected in 2013 with FOUR children!
Georgia has become quite the big girl this year. Though homeschooling has been more erratic than consistent (thanks to Mommy's lack of organization AND morning sickness), she is learning to read, writing very well, and grasping basic math concepts. Her imagination continues to soar as her stories and 'playacting' become more intricate and detailed, and her maturity and desire for responsibility are growing as well. She loves her younger siblings, playing very well with Baxter (for the most part), and looking out for Eleanor in every way she can. The fall has brought big changes for G, as she has grown more in her schooling, lost two baby teeth, turned six, and mastered riding her first two wheeled scooter. Georgia is very excited about helping out with the baby, and does not appear to be too disappointed that he's not a girl:-)
Baxter continues to be our sweet, affectionate, hot-tempered child. His 'boyishness' has really developed this year, as he has grown to love Star Wars (he can sing Darth Vader's theme), the 'tiny' Legos, and sports of all kinds. We knew we had reached a new phase of boyhood and parenthood when he giggled at a bodily function noise. Baxter's ability to assemble and disassemble toys continually amazes us. He loves to wrestle and tickle and tackle, but he also likes to snuggle and rest with you. His sleep patterns continue to be a struggle, and we moved him out of the room he shared with Georgia into a room of his own in hopes of breaking bad habits (the girls now share a room). At this point we cannot say that sleeping problems have been cured, but they are symptoms of a 4 year old 'uprising' that we are seeing in his behavior and attitude. Though it's been a big struggle, we are so grateful for this sweet loving child and we pray he will one day be a rebel for Jesus.
Eleanor has gone through the most changes this year, as she went from baby to big girl toddler by the end of the year. She has started walking, talking, eating all kinds of things, and just generally becoming her own little person this year! She adores her big siblings and just wants to be with them, doing what they are doing, at all times. Eleanor has loved sharing a room with Georgia, though E's chattiness at night causes her big sister (who LOVES sleep) occasional irritation. Eleanor sprained her ankle in the early fall and is currently in physical therapy to improve her lingering limp and inflexibility from the injury. It is hard work for her, but she is a little trooper. She loves attention, has the best 'cheese' face in the world, and is currently asking "what dat? Who dat?" all the time. The world is opening before her eyes, and that is an exciting place to be as an almost two year old.
Finnling #4, another boy, is expected in the spring! We are very excited for our family to grow in this manner, and for Baxter to have a little boy to teach and train. His first lesson, according to Baxter? How to play with the BIG Legos, because babies don't play with little Legos. It is a crucial lesson, of course. Andrew Fuller Finn, to be called Fuller, is greatly anticipated by his big siblings, his parents, and his extended family. We feel blessed to be entrusted with another child, and we pray that we might raise Fuller to love and follow Christ from a young age.
Most importantly, this Christmas, we pray that you experience the joy of knowing Jesus Christ, the reason we celebrate this season! Jesus is God, yet came as a baby born in a manger, a man like us who knew our struggles and burdens, who took our place by dying on a cross, and who conquered death by raising from the dead. We celebrate his incarnation this Christmas, and the entire year. May you join in the celebration with us! For more information about this amazing story, read this.
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. Galatians 4:4-5