Friday, December 28, 2007

Our Sweet Tree!

Sam and I went out on a snowy night with a flashlight to pick the perfect tree! It was so much fun and very romantic! The kids were SO excited to start decorating, so we did a little bit and sang some Christmas carols and then it was time for bed! The next day we put the finishing touches on!

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

2007 Christmas greetings from SW MN! We are so thankful for the way that all of you are a blessing in our lives. Life is rich with the blessing of family and friends! We wanted to touch base with you all and let you know what is up with the SAHLSTROM FAMILY! You can also check our blog, but here is a little journey up the line from youngest to oldest!

As you can tell from the picture, we added little Simeon Olaf to the family on Sept. 16th! He is such a delight and quite a little man already. Since he weighed in at 10lbs. 15oz., he certainly had a headstart on life. Although, his little cousin Elijah (10 days younger - son of Ben and Mindy Caron) seems to be passing him up already! These are the best days though, when they coo and smile. It melts our hearts! Erina Peace is now 2 and delights us with her cute little sentences. She is a gentle helper with baby, and just adores her daddy! She reminds me of Annika when she was little! Katrina Hope is now 4 and is loving her school time and art. She is the newest solo singer with some little dramatic one liners in some of our family songs. She is a quiet girl with a love language that needs and gives lots of hugs and kisses! Amelia Patience (6) is a little fireball of energy, as a lot of you know! She is learning violin, and is constantly playing songs by heart on the piano. She plays hard and sometimes has a tendency to run over others, but this can be a great quality of leadership if it is fostered properly! She has a beautiful smile! Reuben Samuel (8) is our detail man! In his free time he can be found drawing amazing pictures. They often follow the history subject that we are studying. His other big interest is being outside building forts or excavating antique treasures. He has found a 1944 wheat penny and a 1950 silver dime in the garden soil! He is definitely a nature guy! Becca Charity (10) would have to get the drama queen title! She is also a lover of music and is often singing her heart out. She loves to plan dramatic plays for the younger kids, put on tea parties or make up her own recipes. She is also playing basketball again this year with our homeschool team, the COYOTES! She has become quite a young lady this past year. Charisma Faith (12) is the book lover of the family. She devours books at an alarming rate, and I cannot believe how her spelling has improved just from reading! Wow! She is such a great help with little Simeon, and I appreciate that immensely! She is taking piano this year again, and enjoys playing in her free time. She is a people person, and loves to spend time with company. She also has the very best memory from names to places. We would be lost without her! Annika Victoria (14) has turned into a lady! She would probably laugh at that, but it is so neat to see them taking responsibility for all areas of their life, including ministry. She and a friend started a Bright Lights group that is a mentoring program for girls. They meet monthly with girls 9-12. Great ministry. She also plays violin, piano, and some guitar and mandolin. Basketball has been interesting for her being one of only 2 girls on the co-ed team, and she played volleyball for our homeschool team, ENDURANCE. Then comes Benjamin Lewis (16) who finally can DRIVE! YES! I am so glad that this chapter has come. I don't have to be the taxi driver anymore, and better yet, he enjoys it! We have been enjoying his computer/MP3/video/photo passion, and he has been helping others by putting together Power Point productions. He won a movie making contest with a friend this year that starred Reuben and his friends' little brother. It is neat to see what they can come up with sometimes! He has enjoyed volleyball this year, and is now also on the basketball team. Our homeschool group provides great opportunity for the kids to get the athletic need fulfilled! For more Ben facts, visit his blog! There is a link on our family blog.

So, now for the OLDEST two! Sam and I are both getting up there in the 30's, and it seems kind of funny! Gray hair? Sore muscles? This is a new chapter! I have to say that it is also a rewarding time since we are seeing some of the fruit of our labor from these past 18 years of married life! Before we know it we will be sending the arrows out on their life journeys! Our homeschool, ARROW ACADEMY, had been a highlight for us as we get to spend priceless time together. This past May we were able to take a trip out to Virginia and DC! What memories we made. We were able to see Jamestown and Williamsburg plus Virginia Beach. The kids loved our time out there, and since it was the Quadracentennial of the founding of Jamestown, we were able to see some amazing living history! Our unit study for History has been one of our favorite parts of school. Also this year, Sam and I are in charge of the Youth at church. We have been doing The Way of the Master and it has been so challenging. If you have not done it, we strongly recommend it! It stresses having compassion for the lost and being willing to share the hope of the gospel with them. We are also working with AWANA on Wednesdays, and Ben and Annika are junior leaders as well. We have a great group of kids each week. Sam has been keeping very busy with the business. He passed his Master Plumbers exam this year, and that was a big answer to prayer! He has Scott Schwartz, Ben Elson and Nate Mix working right now, and Lois Johnson comes weekly to to bookwork. They are all amazing, and we appreciate all that they do! Sam has so many opportunities to reach out to people when he is in their homes. It is like being a missionary disguised as an HVAC guy! Pretty neat opportunities. Last week he had a lady say that she was SO GLAD that her heat went out after he shared the Lord with her. Interesting! As for myself, I still enjoy being an at home mom! There are days when it is very challenging, but I can truly say that I am never bored! There is always something to do! School takes a big chunk of my time. Adding Katrina to the number of students made 7 now, so it is alot, but the older students are mostly on their own for most subjects. I must admit, however, that I have been dreaming about a trip to the ocean......hmmm. Time away with Sam is coming due, I think! HA! It has been fun for us to do that every few years. Other than that, we have had a blessed year, always enjoying God's creation when we can. Fishing, camping, gardening, swimming in the new pond, taking long walks, picking berries, hunting with Ginger our golden retreiver/lab, riding 4-wheelers, building forts in the woods and now making snow angels. Hopefully we will get a perfect snowman day before too long! One thing about MN is the great variety of seasons we can enjoy.

We are also wanting to recommend a book that has had an impact on us this year, The Heavenly Man. It is a story that really puts life in perspective for us as Christians living in America. We are SPOILED! China and some other countries do not have the freedoms we have here. The sad thing is that we are seeing these freedoms quickly fade away. We are also very excited to see Dr. Ron Paul running for president this year! He is the only candidate that we have found who holds to the founding fathers' intent for a Constitutional Republic. This, fo course is what made America great! It has been a long time since a man of his impeccable character has run for office. His theory is to say no to big government and let each person take responsibility for themselves, rather than paying the government to do it for us. Google him and study for yourselves. If you have found a candidate that is on the same track, let us know. It is a big job to study each one running, but it is also SO important as a God given responsibility for us here in America! Remember also to PRAY for our leaders.

Well, we hope and pray that each of you has a wonderful Christmas season with those you love! We also thank you all for being an encouragement to us. We have been so blessed to know each and every one of you. Please stop by and visit us anytime you can. We love the fact that we are a good stop-over point for some of you who are traveling north or south, east or west! Just know that you are always welcome!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the Sahlstrom Family!
Sam & Melissa
Benjamin, Annika, Charisma, Becca, Reuben, Amelia, Katrina, Erina and Simeon!