Dear Family and Friends,
I have been putting off writing this Christmas letter simply because I wasn’t sure where to begin trying to convey 2016. I REALLY tried and believe it or not, this was the best I could do in terms of brevity!
We were in a rental house last year after selling our big place in Elk. We liked the neighborhood we lived in so much we decided to stay in the area. We purchased a home just down the street and moved in last May.
It was a whirlwind as we did some updating on the new place before (and after) we moved in. Shortly after that, we had 3 kids graduate:
Jake finished his 5th year of college and graduated from EWU Magna Cum Laude with a BA in Computer Science, a minor in Game Design and a minor in Communications Systems. He spent the summer/early fall, job hunting, and is now working for a company based out of Denver, CO that sends their employees all over the country to write software and clean up computer systems for state DMV, tax processing and unemployment insurance. He will be transferred every 1-2 years as projects are completed. When you take the job, you don’t know where they are going to send you and Jake is now in Little Rock, Arkansas for the duration of that project. He has a great apt. with a view of city and seems to be enjoying his work.  It pays well and he is hoping to save up for the future. He says it’s great to be working hard and finally getting a paycheck for it!  He’s been gone less than a month, but it feels like 6 mos! We REALLY miss him, but we are so proud of the great choices he has made and the HARD work he has done to reach his goals.

Jake Grad 2016 2

Ben graduated from high school and he is currently employed at a local grocery store. Although it’s not what he will do permanently, it’s a good job that has allowed him to move out and be completely on his own, which he is loving! He is renting the loft apt above the garage at our previous home in Elk, so he definitely feels comfortable there. The new owners are fantastic Christian people, so we all feel very blessed!  Ben loves to spend his free time out in nature.  He loves survival training and bushcraft.  He is one of the most generous people we know.

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Luke graduated from high school as well and worked this fall. He is leaving January 4th to live in the Vancouver WA area and start attending full time winter quarter classes at Clark Community College. He is pursuing a degree in Web Development and this college is one of the top rated in the region! He is both excited and nervous for this big upcoming change, but he will be staying with some good friends that we know will be very supportive and provide a sense of family.  Luke will be missed at our house!

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Sam is 16 and a sophomore. He played his first year of football and LOVED it! He was on a huge learning curve, but is hoping to get more playtime next year. His team was undefeated until the last play off game! It was a great season! Sam has many interests as far as a career goes. He is a smart guy, so the real trick will be whittling it down to one or two things! He has also grown over 6 inches this year. He is officially the tallest of the Wilsons…not a huge feat, but something he is proud of!  He has not just grown in stature, but also in spirit. It’s a blessing to see!
Johanna is 14 and a freshman in high school. She loves decorating and redecorating and decorating again. Her dream is to start a business refinishing furniture with her dad. They even have a great business name…but I won’t ruin the surprise! Johanna still loves gymnastics, but hurt her wrist and has had to take a break. She is doing well in her studies, but more than anything we are loving the young woman she is becoming.
Silas is 12 and makes us laugh regularly. He still loves Legos and seems to have a math mind. He is getting taller by the minute and we are enjoying the short time we have before he enters the teen years! Our baby as a teen? WHAAAATTT????

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Thanksgiving Week

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Sam, Jenna and Avi live in South Spokane, but we get to see them quite often, which we love. Sam’s job has changed and he is now part owner in a construction company that seems to stay VERY busy. We are excited for this opportunity to invest in their family’s future and Sam is making the most of it! He is a fantastic dad to Avi, who is 2. She brings us more laughter and joy than we could have ever imagined. She is talking tons and has pretty much endless energy. Jenna has her hands full just keeping up with her, but is doing a wonderful job as both wife and mom!

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We are seeing the fruit of many years of labor raising these kids.  We aren’t finished yet, but are realizing more and more the enormous blessing we have in our family.  Even though the arrows are flying, there is a cohesiveness and care for one another’s lives and a unity of spirit that is difficult to find in this day and age.  We are so grateful for the grace God has shown to us in giving us such fantastic kids!

Jacob and Brittney are still in Anacortes…too far for our liking, but they are doing well and we see them as much as we can. Jacob is manager at a custodial and window washing company. He is enjoying the job and doing very well. Nate is 2 and all boy. He is very sweet with his little sister, Ella (8 mos) who joined the family in April! Ella is a cutie and so interactive for such a young baby. So much sweetness in such a little package. A toddler and an 8 mo old…do I need to even say what is keeping Brittney busy? She is such a great mom! It’s been fun to watch her kick into full mom mode as her days are pretty much filled with nothing but meeting the needs of children.  She’s a natural and is blessed to have Jacob who is an awesome daddy and a huge support to Britt.

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So, back to the move in May..then graduations, followed by Darryl’s shoulder and bicept surgery. This was no small deal and he is still recovering. He has healed incredibly well, but the process is long no matter what. He also had hernia surgery in November along with a few other medical issues earlier in the year. Let me tell you, this was TOUGH. He was a trooper through all of it, but would rather be done for awhile. We are hoping 2017 will be a medical free year!
Darryl has been busy with work for awhile now, which has been good. He is looking to make some changes in his work, transitioning to less carving and more internet sales. He continues to be an incredible husband and father through SO many life changes.
We have experienced SO many adjustments this year, my heart sometimes has trouble keeping up. We have talked about  many things as we look forward to this new season of our life. I’m sure 2017 will bring more changes, but hopefully see some settling as well. I am continuing to homeschool the kids, but have found myself also busy with working for my friend, Heidi St. John (thebusymom.com) We have continued to do podcasts off and on, encouraging moms, but I also now do her scheduling, contracts, and coordinate her women’s conferences. She has a new book being published by Tyndale in the fall of 2017 and that will change the landscape a lot. We are excited about what is around the corner! God is certainly at work, but we are also trying to lay the foundation that needs to happen for a solid book launch.
I have loved coordinating the conferences and meeting SO many wonderful women who love the Lord with all of their hearts. It’s a privilege to be able to pray with them and be part of an event that encourages women to KNOW THEIR BIBLES! Families are the foundation of any great nation. American families are crumbling, but there is a remnant of Christian parents who are pretty incredible! And we have the opportunity to encourage them by engaging the issues of the culture through the lens of scripture and encourage more to walk that path! We know that walking in obedience to God is the only place we will find true hope and change.
Last February I published a small book called The Unhurried Homeschooler. Much prayer went into this and I have been surprised and blessed at how well received it has been! Homeschooling is no small task, but Jesus said that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. He has a plan that is do able for each family. I am in the beginning stages of another book to follow up on the last one, hoping to give parents the tools they need to walk out their homeschooling journeys in freedom.
If I would have guessed what this election year was going to look like, I couldn’t even begin to fathom all that has gone on in 2016. Without getting too political, I will say I am beyond thankful that Hilary Clinton was NOT elected. The changes that need to happen in our country go far beyond politics. There is a deep need for Jesus here in the states and I pray that the Body of Christ will become united and start living out the gospel, being the salt and light He has called us to be.
That being said, this year was also a real eye opener for me. The world needs Jesus and part of what that looks like is for us to be involved in the issues of our time. I see nowhere in scripture that supports sitting back and doing nothing. PRAY above all and then do what God tells you to do.  This can happen in small ways and big ways.  We ARE His hands, feet, eyes, ears and mouth. We need to be fully engaged. We need to defend the defenseless and we need to do it all,  speaking the truth in LOVE.
May God bless our nation as the church returns to the truths of God’s Word. No compromise.
Praying you all have a blessed Christmas and New Year. We LOVE all of the cards and letters we have received!

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!
Much Love,
The Wilsons