Monday, February 13, 2012

:: Happy 2012 From the Sahlstroms ::

Happy New Year from the Sam and Melissa Sahlstrom Family of Tracy MN! Since my time of living here at home with the family is coming to an end, I thought I would take it upon myself to write our yearly letter. It will be short, sweet and to the point. I believe in efficiency. I (Annika) have decided to give you an update from the youngest to the oldest… so hold on tight as we pass through a year’s worth of events of 12 (13 counting our lovely sister-in-law) Sahlstroms!

Johann Daniel turned 2 on January 4th. He is now very able to keep up with the “big” boys. He does all of his own stunts, in fact just last week as I was working in the kitchen I turned around to see him balancing on one of our tall bar stools and to my horror he leaps from one bar stool to the other…luckily he judged it just right and landed squarely on the other stool. He has had many bruises and bumps but I guess that would categorize him as 100% boy.

Johann’s favorite playmate is Simeon Olaf who is a whopping 4 years of age. He is the mastermind of all the evil plans that the two boys come up with. He has good intentions most of the time but usually the two of them end up doing more destruction than anything. As I continue to study psychology I have still not been able to understand why little boys do the things they do. Simeon and Johann have a sweet charm about them and never fail to brighten up your day by the things they say and do- not to mention deafen your ears with their noise… ;)

Erina Peace is the calm, loving, peaceful, and sweet 6 year old of the family. She has also been nicknamed daddy’s “super shadow” because when daddy is home, she’s right by his side. (Oddly enough she reminds me of myself when I was that age.) She is in Kindergarten this year and is enjoying learning about the wide, wonderful world that God has placed us in. Violin has become one of her new hobbies and she is learning that it takes practice and patience to learn an instrument.

As we continue to count by two’s up the line we come to the number 8 which happens to be the age of Katrina Hope. She is now in 2nd grade and also has continued taking violin lessons. Just this past fall I had started teaching her piano which was a mostly pleasant experience for her (or so she says). A few highlights for her this year were learning to swim and learning to drive the four-wheeler! Throughout the summer it has been such a blessing to have the pond and rope swing as it has offered much entertainment for all of those hot humid days.

Amelia Patience is the life of the party and is never short on her supply of energy. There’s nothing better than a vivacious 10 year old to keep things alive in a household like ours. Amelia is a social butterfly to say the least. She lives off seeing friends, having parties, and enjoying life. Camp Grace was definitely one of her highlights this summer. She has also become quite the expert at making crepes and a number of other desserts and dishes. She also enjoys reading and singing. She continues to play violin and piano. Occasionally I get to help her practice violin and it is so exciting to see her pursuing the gifts that God has blessed her with. You can always count on Amelia to give you a run for your money! She is definitely a dynamic and dramatic character in the Sahlstrom family.

Reuben Samuel is (yep you guessed it!) 12 years old and becoming a fine young man- not to mention he eats like a horse! I am proud to announce that I have passed the baton of nobility on to Reuben! This honor encompasses the chore of milking the cow (morning and night) as well as the general barn chores. This year he enjoyed exploring the creek as well as swinging off the rope-swing from the tower next to our pond. He also expressed the excitement he got out of attending Camp Grace. He is in 6th grade and tackling the books as well as excelling in Awana memorization. It is so good to see younger siblings on fire for God and wanting to hide His word in their hearts. Reuben is definitely a sweetheart (don’t tell him I said that) and he is a great asset to this family.

Becca Charity has pretty much caught up to me in height. People have begun to get us mixed up, sometimes even calling us twins. She is also pretty good at conveniently “borrowing” my clothes- I’ve learned not to mind at all. In fact, having sisters is great because you can all share wardrobes. Becca has become a very responsible and organized 14 year old. She takes her schooling seriously being the 8th grader that she is. Her room is almost always neat and clean. One thing she loves is to style hair, nails, and makeup on anyone who is willing. She has recently begun doing more photography as well as knitting. Some other activities include violin (which she has been working very hard on) and basketball (I think it’s mostly because it’s an excuse to see all of her friends). She is a delight to be around as she continues to love God and others therefore receiving joy (John 15)!

Charisma Faith is 16…Ah!! Another driver!? I guess so... I’ll just say I’m glad I’ll be in Hawaii while she’s breaking in her driving skills. So, for those of you here in MN, beware of Charisma out there on the roads! (I’m just kidding Charisma-you know that right?) Anyway, Charisma is a sophomore this year and has really been excelling in her studies. As far as I can tell she’s looking forward to being done with chemistry (yeah it wasn’t my favorite either Charisma). She knows what’s good for her even if it means buckling down and tackling the not-so-fun things in life. She continues to breeze through books like crazy; some of her favorites this year were the Chronicles of Zion and Safely Home. I must not fail to mention that she is a fabulous baby-sitter. She watches the kids for mom a lot, as well as being hired by neighbors all around. The mother instinct comes naturally to her, trust me. Since I will be leaving she is going to be taking over leading Bright Lights, which is a bible study for young girls, with one of her friends. It is so encouraging to see her seek first God’s kingdom.

Alright, so now it’s my turn to write about me. Have you ever had that feeling like you don’t know where to start? Yeah? Ha, me too. Well, I will start by saying I graduated from high school May 2011 and since then have learned a lot- mostly I have learned of how much I actually don’t know. I have been enjoying pursuing God with all that I have as well as committing myself to studying towards a BA in psychology via TESC/Collegeplus. My vision is to see God restore true beauty in women and girls and to see women rise up that are devoted to glorifying God. My prayer is that God will use me however He sees fit, as of now He is directing me toward becoming a women and girls Biblical/Prayer counselor. He is good! This past summer I had the privilege to attend Summit in Manitou Springs, Colorado. I met some wonderful people, did some hiking and white water rafting, but what I enjoyed most was that it taught me how to continue to think Biblically while engaging the culture. Another experience I must mention is that over New Years I went to Kansas City with some friends for Ihop’s Onething Conference. Praising God with 23,000 other youth is a pretty neat experience. I also learned how I have (unfortunately) underestimated the power of the Holy Spirit. Never put God in a box! I would love to share more on this but I think I better not get going or else I’ll never stop. ;) Ok, to sum it all up, I leave in a few weeks to begin a semester of Bible College at Kauai Bible College where I’ll be working towards a BA in Biblical studies. I still can’t believe God is leading me to such a lovely island where I get to just study His word! :D I’ll be updating my blog so be sure to check up on me every now and then.

Ben…and Naomi Sahlstrom! If you haven’t heard, my big brother is now a married man. He married the love of his life-sweet Naomi Nelson, and they lived happily ever after…Oh wait…there is more to the story than that. Ben continues to work for Sahlstrom’s Htg. Clg. Refrg. and plumbing. Naomi has begun working at the new Pizza Ranch in Marshall- not to mention she is definitely one of the most cheerful workers there- probably one of the best. Maybe I’m biased…? They have been working on their house pretty faithfully, but there is still a ways to go.

All right! Annika decided to take off for Hawaii without finishing this, so now I guess that means Sam and I escaped all the things she was going to tell you about us! We are doing fantastic, and it seems like the time is just flying by. Literally. Valentines Day is upon us and I can truly say that Sam is still the love of my life. I remember when he gave me a promise ring back when I was 19 and he was 20 on Valentines, and then we embarked upon a great adventure together 8 months later and it gets better every year! I have to admit, though, that it still makes me look twice when I see him put reading glasses on during devotions. We really ARE growing up! Haha. Living in a houseful of life makes me feel young. We are enjoying the Youth/College kids in our life. Sunday School with them and a study twice a month at our house makes for getting to know them well, and what an amazing group they are. Some are getting married now, and it is so much fun to see them making life long commitments! It will be something else to see what is happening with them all 10 years down the road.

Our life continues to be full of music, church activities, homeschooling, basketball, hospitality, family and friends. There are so many wonderful people in our lives, sometimes it just seems too good to be true. The truth is that God is the giver of good gifts, and He has so much He wants to share with all people. That is why it is so important for us to be out there loving people and sharing the good news with them. There is alot of hurting that could be lifted if these people only knew where to turn. That is where we need to be His hands and feet! We are considering becoming certified for foster care, but the process is long with TONS of paperwork. We had to laugh, though, because the social worker said that the maximum number of children allowed in a home at one time in MN is 8, and we are already past that number! may be a little while, or they may allow us to do respite care on weekends. Kids are fun, and someone gave us a little sign that says...Discover wildlife - have kids! How true is that!?

We hope your year is going great and that you will enjoy each person that God puts in your path this year. Each moment is a gift, and we are filled with joy when we serve God and others with all that we have. I am amazed at the way He keeps filling us up the more we pour out. So far 2012 has been great with the warm, MN winter that has been pretty easy on the snowplows! We are looking forward to filling up the greenhouse with little green plants and before we know it we will be weeding the gardens in the 90 degree humidity. Kind-of a pleasant thought! Have a great year everyone!

:: The Sahlstrom Family ::