To: Kathryn, Krisiti, Kimberly, Joshua, Matthew; Dennis, Rebecca, Grace, Emily; Zach, Taylor, Autumn, Emory, Mya; Marrisa, Byron, Jaelyn, Paxton;  Amanda; David, Jana, Nathan, Caleb, Sophie; Brian, Holly, Kaelyn; Nathan, Michel, Caelyn; Nathan, Kim, Kathleen, Nate, Josh, Adam, Carissa, Jenna; Kristy, Ray, Rayme, Joshie; Ed, Karen, Brian, Lisa, Tim, David; Matt

Dear Ones,

Adding me, this makes my 50 person prayer of Jabez daily prayer list. (sorry for any spelling issues, in my head I don’t have to remember the spelling). It started about 30 years ago when Kathryn and I heard Bruce Wilkinson teach on it, years before he wrote the book. It has been an almost daily staple since:

  ‘Bless each of us indeed, enlarge our borders, put Your hand upon us, and keep us from evil that it would not hurt us’

Over the years, as God talks to me, I add other pieces- sometimes the Lord’s prayer (as an actual request, not just a way to pray:)) – sometimes asking for His favor – sometimes adding others for a short season (like Matt Myatt while he is living with us, or boyfriends or girlfriends, or just my friends from work or church, etc.)

With this list I also have a list of daily attributes of God that I use to remember His glory (these I have written down since they can change each day- about 50 or so of them), and recently I am trying to remember people from the day before to start my day being thankful for them and my relationship to them.

All this to lead into; why am I writing a Christmas letter again after a few years taken off?

It’s Joshua’s fault. He said he talked to Kimberly and she was missing the letters (assume this is so, however there was that year when we got Missy on a Christmas eve waiting for pizza and he said Mom said she wanted a new kitty;-)

I stopped writing the letters when I realized I no longer had intimate knowledge of what was going on in each of your daily lives. They really were to help you remember your personal walk with God and Christian heritage. Kind of a personal old and new testament.

Then I saw Josh taking time out to write and print his letters this year, so I am blessed to see this tradition being carried forward. Not that it needs to be, but that each of your families have their own traditions to lay the memory foundation for each new generation.

This year’s letter starts a new tradition for me- I am going to try to share with you not so much what I see God doing in your lives, but what I see him doing in mine – to show you this spiritual journey we each individually start has no end………………………………

This year God took me to a whole new level of hearing His voice. Yes, I am hearing him speak to me cleared than ever before.

John 10 starts out talking about the good shepherd and His relationship to the sheep. It tells us he knows us by name and we not only hear His voice, we know His Voice.

Earlier this year Kathryn and I spent a few days watching our Nielsen grand kids. One day, I decided to take them for a walk. It was the opposite way from the day before. They were on bikes. Their previous day training of stopping at each street to be walked across was still intact. Good start at street one. Then as they took off in front of me and I was able to take my full time attention off Mya, I looked up and noticed (to my horror), not residential, but commercial driveways. A whole new level of danger for the young ones on bikes! So I sped up and started shouting. “Stop, Stop!” It was the end of the block before I caught up with them and by this time Autumn was crying. I had yelled at her. So I assured her I was not upset with her, just concerned for her safely. And whenever Papa used his Big Voice, that is all it is—concern for her safely, not being upset with her. It took about a half block for her to settle down and the rest of the trip went great, especially after stopping for some treats.

When we got back I was in a men’s bible study, when I heard the Holy Spirit at a specific point in the study say, “tell them about the Big Voice.” So after just a bit of inner argument, I did. Then He said to tell them, “That’s how I communicate with you. Sometimes I use my Big Voice, because I am concerned with your safety. Many times My Big Voice is circumstances to get your attention.”

For the last few years, I have been hearing God’s Big Voice. It started with difficulties in business/ job/ start ups/etc. and it included change in church, new relationships, and a new start up business; economics and finances not where I expected them to be at this stage in my life. But as my physical hearing has degenerated, my spiritual hearing has improved. As our personal finances have deteriorated, my abundant living has improved. As my ties to this world have been loosened, my expectations for His return are heightened.

Not sure if any of you are hearing His Big Voice or not, but I am also knowing his voice better as He opens up His word to me when I take time to meditate on it and ask Him what He means for me and those I love when I read it. Verses I memorized years ago are taking on new life. The Holy Spirit’s small still voice is getting a bit clearer. My believing friends are more willing to share with me. I can see Him in circumstances. All in all, I know His voice better.

And I know Jesus is coming back. And I know we each have a role in hastening this return, and it may be a bigger role than we can even now imagine.

And I know you can hear His voice and learn to follow it.

I am looking forward to 2012 with a lot of anticipation to see what God will be doing in all our lives.

Love you all

Merry Christmas—- And a VERY BLESSED New Year!!