S: Hall Family 2010
FC: A YEAR IN REVIEW | The Hall Family 2010
1: It’s a new year. And with new year, comes new beginnings. How thankful I am for new beginnings ... New Beginnings; New Change; New Hopes; New Dreams; New Goals; New Starts; New Chances; New Opportunities; New Growth I almost get giddy with anticipation each new year as I await to see what new things the Lord has in store for me. To teach me, mold me, convict me, change me, grow me, humble me to be more like His son. One of the things I began doing with the children is a time of goal setting. This past week, the older three and I sat down and talked about why goals were important and the role that setting them played in our life. I then asked them to take some time to think and pray about 5 different areas that we were going to set goals for. Each of the children, and myself,, came up with five different goals : A Spiritual Goal Something that will help further your walk with Christ and nurture your spiritual health A Family Goal Something that will further your relationship with your Family and help you be the hands of feet of Christ to them. A Behavioral Goal Something that will further and strengthen your character development and who you are in Christ. A Physical Goal Something that will further your physical health so that your body can be a temple for the Holy Spirit. A Personal Goal Something that will bring you joy in your daily life and further the unique person that Christ created you to be. It is neat to see the children go off and think and pray about what their goals for the year should be. Once they come up with them, we get poster board and the children (and myself) write down all of our goals. If they want, they can illustrate them and draw pictures that represent their goals (the children LOVE to draw – so this is always their favorite part!). We then, hang\ them up in a central location so that they are visible throughout the year.
2: February 2010 was a record snow fall for Dallas - 12.4" in a 24 hour period. | February
3: We lost several branches off our trees due to the weight of the snow!
4: Ryan, Tucker, Nathan, Sammy-Jo and Noah ALL had the best time playing in the snow!
5: Winter Memories
6: The children all worked together to build a snow man. Bit by bit the rolled the snow into balls. Unfortunately, under all the snow was a bunch of wet dirt, leaves and sticks, so the snowman ended up having a very interesting complexion.!
7: Leah watched all the fun from inside - where is was warm and cozy... Noah soon followed!
8: When the snow cleared up, it was time to clean up the yard. The boys took all the branches, gathered them up, and then cut them down to make firewood. They worked hard and did a great job getting it all done! | Even Noah got into the act! | March
10: Tucker worked hard to build this table out of scrap wood from our old fence. He built this all by himself!
11: The children enjoyed many days of eating outside on Tuckers wonderful table.
12: Side view of our cabin | Lake of the Woods | Front view of our cabin | April | 16th Anniver | Tyler, TX
13: Bedroom | Kitchen | Awesome Bathroom | sary Getaway | Lake of the Woods
14: This past year we had someone from the church loan us out a cabin in Tyler from their timeshare. We were able to spend a whole extended weekend together, alone, no kids, just Chels and I. It was awesome. We took advantage of the full kitchen and cooked most of our own meals. Aside from lots and lots of “quality time”, we were able to check out some of the local attractions. We went to the Tyler Zoo one day, which was pretty nice, and the next day we went out to a renaissance festival, which was kinda cool as well. All in all it was a very pleasant and enjoyable time with my beautiful bride of 16 years. | He Said
15: This anniversary vacation was exactly what I needed this year! We were very blessed to have our sweet friends, the Rollin’s, offer us their time share cabin out in Tyler, TX. The place was beautiful. A lot of our time we just enjoyed quiet time together, hanging out in the cabin and watching a few movies. We got in Thursday evening, settled in, and then hit the store to get a few things for meals and snacks. Friday, we went out to the Tyler Zoo, which was really beautiful. It is a smaller zoo but the layout is lovely. It was the first time we’d been to the zoo without children since we were in college. The whole time we kept talking about how much the kids would enjoy being with us! Saturday, we went to the local Renaissance Fair. The jousting tournament was hands down my favorite event. The turkey legs weren’t too bad either! Each night we got to enjoy, what was probably my favorite thing about the whole weekend, taking baths in the big Jacuzzi tub! Overall, it was a fantastic time away and it was so nice getting some alone time with my sweet man. | She Said
16: To know how to play is a happy talent | May | Outing to the park
18: Dan's 40th Birthday Celebration | Daddy showing off his new scooter - an early birthday present courtesy of our income tax return!
19: The children decorated the house before Dan came home from school. Mr rick, daddy's long time friend came over to join in the celebration. Steaks fro dinner and cake and ice cream for desert. Yum! | For his birthday, Chelsey put a memory book together for Dan. All of our family and friends wrote a note to include in it.
20: Outing to Connemara Wildlife Refuge Park
21: We met up with a few other families for a morning of outdoor enjoyment
22: Zoo Fun
24: We went to Houston to help celebrate Henry's 3rd birthday and Sara's 30th birthday. It was a wonderful time to see Jared, Sara, Henry and Jo Jo who flew down from California. All of Sara's family was there, a very pregnant Paige and Kevin and Austyn, and of course Pawpaw and KK. | June
26: Dad, Ryan and Tucker took a camping trip to Possum Kingdom State Park. Along with them were two other Dads and their boys - The Lodi's and Trudeau's. | Camping Fun
27: When we first got there is was really nice, nice breeze and campgrounds were nice and it was a pleasant day. When night came it was a TOTALLY different story. It was HOT and we were sleeping in our sweat - if you can call what we did sleeping. While I lay in a pool of my own sweat, Tucker was snoring away INSIDE his sleeping bag. The next day after a very enjoyable afternoon of swimming in the lake and enjoying some good food and fellowship, we decided to count our losses and head on home. | Dad's Thoughts
28: Ryan says... "While we were at Possum Kingdom, we got to swim in a lake and jump off big rocks into the water. The cool part was the motorboats that would go by and make big waves. We got to go exploring in the woods with a pair of walkie talkies. We climbed on rocks, went through branches, and found some camping gear."
29: Tucker says... "It was fun! We went swimming, hiking and had ice cream. When it was pitch black we turned on our flashlights and played!"
30: The outing was a fun learning experience for all of us. We learned all about ferrets (the children ALL want ed one), guinea pigs, hamsters, more than we EVER wanted to know about RATS, mice, fish, snakes, turtles and frogs. | Petco Field Trip
31: Our guide was Norman, the store manager. He was so kind and patient with all the children’s questions. | The children enjoyed the “hands on” experience of handling the animals. Each one of them got to touch at least one of the sweet creatures.
33: The heat began early this summer! Most of June we stayed in the upper 90's - 100's. It was HOT! The kids enjoyed staying cool in the pool and splashing around!
35: We had a wonderful celebration for Leah Marie's first birthday party! Unfortunately, the hard drive that had all the pictures on it crashed! Grammy made a really cute little mushroom house. We celebrated with some of our friends from church and had yummy hot dogs, cake and ice cream!
36: Tackling the Garage | Before | July | Mom's self-imposed project for the summer was cleaning out the garage. And oh what a project that turned out to be. It got to a ridiculous point where you really couldn’t even walk through it. We had a “path” out to the garage door, but that’s about it. It took Mom about 3 weeks to get it to where it is now and she still doesn't think it is perfect, but it is what it is. When you have a house that is just under 1300sq feet for 8 people, the garage kind of becomes a “catch all” place.
37: AFTER | Mom decided to make “sections” of the garage. We've got a craft area, a few storage areas, office supplies, lounge area, exercise area, play area, and dad’s tools area (which still need some work, but that is being left in his capable hands!). It feels like we added a whole new room to the house.
38: Happy Birthday to Sammy Jo (4) and Tucker (10)
39: Grammy made the cakes and joined us in a simple family celebration | August
40: Smiles Are Contagious! | Summer
41: "Good times are even better when they are shared" | days
42: One of the things the Lord has impressed upon my heart more and more, is the way I go about training up my children for Him. Discipline is very much a part of our lives and we have times when we really have to buckle down for some hard core training. I have a fairly decent handle on this most of the times. Recently, however, the Lord has impressed upon my heart the need to just play with my children more. It will look different with each child as they are all at different stages in their play. For the younger ones it might be getting on the floor and playing blocks or just letting them crawl and jump all over me. For the middle ones it might be coloring at the table with them or helping them with their newest Lego stop-action movie. For my 14 year old it might be perusing the latest Christian Artists on the Internet or talking to him about his latest book or comic book he is working on. All of the children enjoy playing board games, card games and made up games with mommy. Playing. Enjoying these beautiful and precious gifts that the Lord has given me. Sometimes the house can wait. Sometimes the laundry wait. Sometimes, even school can wait. Training my children involved discipline. That is a given and a must. But, training also involves loving on them and joying in them. And when they are older, they won’t depart from it and they will remember. | Thoughts from Mom | September
44: Time for Tea We began having an afternoon "tea time" each day around 3:30pm. This was actually Tucker's idea. During this time we brew some English Tea and serve it with milk and sugar. Along with tea, we have a treat of some sort. Our favorite is a lemon poppy seed scone. Yum! Mom reads a book of the children's choosing and we enjoy sweet fellowship time together. Dad even joins in on the fun when he's home on a day off.
46: October | Playing Dress Up | The viking | Ok, so no costume for Leah but she was too cute not to include!
47: Mom scored these costumes for a buck each! | The Monk | The race car driver and the cowgirl | The army man
48: The boys went away for a few days to spend time with Grammy, so the littles and mommy decided to make cookies. We had a wonderful time making all the different shapes and using sprinkles to decorate the cookies.
50: Nathaniel | Celebrating | We enjoyed a nice family celebration for Nate's 7th birthday. Grammy came over for the fun and made the awesome M&M cake.
52: We had a wonderful Thanksgiving just enjoying being together as a family. At first, we had talked about not doing anything big, but. as the day drew closer we decided it just wouldn’t be Thanksgiving Day without some of the traditional trimmings. Since we’d already shared in a big Thanksgiving dinner with our church family on Sunday, we had dressing and cranberries leftover and we’d already had our fill of turkey. So we settled on ham, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes with apples, cranberries, dressing, and homemade bread. We ate around 4pm . it was delish! That morning we watched Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. We enjoyed family time and of course a little football in the mix as well.
53: A Day to Give Thanks
54: So, early one morning, November 30 to be exact, I asked Sammy to let Buck out. I heard his nails clacking on the floor, I heard the door open, and then I heard his nails STILL on the floor. (Hmm, something is up.) I asked Sammy what was going on and she said, “Buck won’t go into the backyard.” Why not Sammy? “There’s a fire in the back yard and Buck won’t go out there.” I was instantly out of bed wondering just what exactly she meant. Sure enough, there was a fire in the backyard. More specifically, the deck was on fire. Fortunately, it was a section that extends out away from the house. I spent the next thirty minutes, in thirty degree weather, in my pajamas, making sure there was no more smolder and that it was completely out. The day before, Nathan had cleaned out the fireplace. He dumped the ashes into a hole in this portion of the deck. Apparently there was still some fresh embers and that night there was a pretty strong wind that stirred it all up and reignited the coals causing the deck to catch on fire. When Mamma asked Nate if he’d learned anything from this he said, “oh yeah, I’ve learned my lesson – never, ever clean out the fireplace!” | T h e F I r e | Dad Says....
55: Tucker's table he built early in the year was damaged beyond repair. | The hole in the bucket burned by the ashes
56: Over the past few years, as our family has reevaluated what Christmas really means to us, We've simplified the decor and traditions around our house to those things that mean the most... | On the hutch of our china cabinet sits the Nativity and town of Bethlehem. This particular set holds a special place in Chelsey's heart. After her mother died, Chelsey's Aunt started this collection. Each year we receive a new piece to add to our collection. | Poinsettia’s each year gifted by MawMaw (Phyllis Jo) who is now at the feet of Jesus; carried on by an amazing grandson - Tucker. | December
57: Traditions Decorations | Remembering the stories and promises fulfilled by a man born as a humble servant, died as a sacrificial lamb and rose to be Savior and King. | Our Jesse Tree | The piano, which belonged to Chelsey's mother when she was a girl, holds our Jessee Tree and the candles we light each night as we have our family devotions and time of singing. | and
58: On our kitchen bar sits a wooden nativity that Chelsey inherited when her mother past away. It is simple, yet filled with so many childhood memories of Christmas pasts. The children now love to play with it making new Christmas memories. | A simple strand of garland wrapped in lights, lines our mantle. This was given to us several years ago by Dan's mother when she was moving out of her home. On the cold nights, this is our favorite place to hang out.
59: On our table sits the runner that Dan bought first year we moved into our home. It holds the two candle holders we received for our wedding along with our advent candle display that we use each night during this season. | We have a small 4 ft tree that we put up. We’ve simplified the tree decorations to those things that remind us of Christ.
60: Noah's 3rd Birthday
61: The theme this year was Thomas the Train. Grammy made the cake and it turned out super cute! All of Noah's presents ended up being different Thomas sets.
62: Dear Friends and Family, It’s here. It’s finally here. We know you’ve ALL been waiting on the edge of your seat, giddy with anticipation at the arrival of The Hall Family annual update and Christmas greetings. Well, grab your cup of coffee, hot tea or drink of your choice and we’ll take a bit to share with you all of the happenings of the last year; one that has been focused on refinement and faith. Earlier this year Chelsey dealt with a difficult battle of depression. It was a difficult time for everyone, but a time that proved not only to strengthen our family, but our faith and reliance on our Heavenly Father. We held firm to the promise in Psalm 34:18 that says, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” When you are kicked in the gut, the Father is there to catch your breath. He carried our family through the dark and murky waters, bringing us to a beautiful place of peace and grace. He was faithful. Our six blessings have had a pretty normal year. Ryan will be fifteen this upcoming year and hounds us every day about getting his drivers permit. He also let us know a few months ago that he is feeling called into Missions work. While time will only tell if this is truly where the Lord will lead him, it has been neat to see him delve into and study the lives of the wonderful missionaries and saints that have gone before us. Tucker (10) continues to astound us with his sense of humor and knack for building things. Nathan ‘s (7) love for Lego’s compliments Tuckers’ and they spend hours upon hours building and making stop action movies. Sammy Jo (4) continues to charm her way out of almost anything, while Noah (3) quietly takes notes on what not to do and keeps us laughing at his funny antics. Leah surprised us at the beginning of the year by being one of our earliest walker at 8 months. Now at 18 months she is unstoppable and as cute as a button. | 2010 Christmas Letter
63: j | To our | Dan is in his tenth year of teaching at Webb Middle School. For the past several school years he has been working with the in-school suspension kids – basically the worst of the worst – which tends to wear on a person. We were both ready to see him out of there and back into the regular classroom. We began praying that the Lord would provide a way out; and He did. Dan is now teaching 6th grade Social Studies and has a great group of students. As I write this, however, he is currently out of school for an undetermined amount of time due to a fire that broke out in the middle of the night in the 6th grade wing. Thankfully no one was hurt, but there was enough damage to the school that it will be a while before things are back to normal. Oddly enough, not a week prior to this, our back yard caught on fire. Well, our deck and a table that Tucker built earlier in the year. It was put out in about 20 minutes or so and no damage was done to the rest of the house. If another fire breaks out anytime soon, however, we might start to wonder if God is sending us some kind of message! Which brings us to the big news of our year, (like all the fires weren’t big enough). Drum roll, please.. We are leaving the country!! Not immediately, but we have been accepted and approved by Wycliffe Bible Translation to teach at one of their missionary schools overseas. We will be going just as soon as we raise enough support to go. SO, if you feel so generous to go ahead and approach your Missionary Board or leadership for us about it, just let us know when we can come and present our story to your church.and beg for money. ;-) Well, we hope this letter finds you in good health and good spirits as we rest in the joy and peace of our Lord and Savior. May you be blessed with the fellowship of your family and friends, and don’t ever forget what the true meaning of this season is forCelebrating the most precious gift of all – Jesus Christ. Love, The Halls Dan, Chelsey, Ryan, Tucker, Nathaniel, Sammy-Jo, Noah and Leah
64: This year for Christmas we went to Houston to visit Paw-Paw & K-K, Aunt Paige & Uncle Kevin & all the cousins. While we were there, Mrs. Karen and Mrs. Carol invited us to Pump It Up for some awesome play time!
67: J O Y | Christmas at Aunt Paige & Uncle Kevin's
68: Christmas Morning
70: 2010 Family Christmas Picture
71: Christmas day left my heart a little sad this year. All month long we, as a family, had been very intentional about focusing on what this time was set aside for. A remembrance of the birth of Christ the prophesies, the fulfillment and what is yet to come. Each night, we had a time of family devotionals where we lit candles that reminded us of the promises, hope, love and light of Jesus Christ. We read passages from Scripture that helped us to focus on the gift of the savior, his legacy, his lineage, HIS story. We hung an ornament each night on our Jesse Tree that would remind us of what we talked about. We sang joyfully, to the Father, songs and carols of joy reiterating the celebration of the season. We purposed in our hearts and minds that our activities would be Christ focused and the perversions of this time of celebration by worldly traditions of santa, stockings and the focus of “I want, I want” would have no place in our home. We stopped to ponder this year what does Jesus get on his birthday? Instead of gifts under the tree, focused on one another, we gave to HIM. Together we chose rabbits, chickens, water filters, cows and musical instruments for worship. We gave to Jesus by giving to “the least of these”. We celebrated HIS birthday with sacrificial giving. Even the children gave their precious dollars to reach a people for Christ. So why the sadness? Christmas day was celebrated with family at my Father’s home. What I saw that morning was far from what we had worked so hard to focus on. While there was MUCH love, fun and even warmth, the REAL meaning, the true focus seemed lost in the unwrapping, the gifts, the chaos. The day should have been the culmination of a month spent in anticipation; wondering and weaving our way through the history, stories, prophesies, the roots of the one who would come to save our very souls. But it wasn’t. And it hurt. But we learned. And there was grace. Chelsey | Reflections on Christmas
72: On Christmas day, Paw-Paw and K-K took the older kids to visit Grandma and Grandpa out in Bastrop.
74: Out with the old, and in with the new...
75: TIME | As we look into 2011 we look at a block of time. We see 12 months, 52 weeks, 365 days, 8,760 hours, 525,600 minutes, 31,536,000 seconds. And all is a gift from God. We have done nothing to deserve it, earn it, or purchase it. Like the air we breathe, time comes to us as a part of life. The gift of time is not ours alone. It is given equally to each person. Rich and poor, educated and ignorant, strong and weak—every man, woman and child has the same twenty-four hours every day. Another important thing about time is that you cannot stop it. There is no way to slow it down, turn it off, or adjust it. Time marches on. And you cannot bring back time. Once it is gone, it is gone. Yesterday is lost forever. If yesterday is lost, tomorrow is uncertain. We may look ahead at a full years block of time, but we really have no guarantee that we will experience any of it. Obviously, time is one of our most precious possessions. We can waste it. We can worry over it. We can spend it on ourselves. Or, as good stewards, we can invest it in the kingdom of God. The new year is full of time. As the seconds tick away, will you be tossing time out the window, or will you make every minute count?