Monday, February 1, 2010

Year-End Sleadd Newsletter for 2009

Oh, goodness, I'm behind on blogging and corresponding. Here is our year-end newsletter. Enjoy.

2009 Sleadd End-of-Year Newsletter

Words from Alexa
Well, though you may not believe it, all of us Sleadds got a year older than we were last year--except for Mother, of course, because mothers are ageless. I might take the liberty at this time to disclose all those things that nobody will bother to mention: like the fact that Dad’s consistent reliance on reading spectacles really helps complete his studious pastor image. (He just gave his 66th sermon, and I have yet to fall asleep during one of them.)
What’s new with me? My parents get regular stress-management tests in the passenger seat while I practice my driving skills. I’ve only been pulled over once for driving like I had ADHD, so no worries. I’m now a reluctant senior, because, as a homeschooler, I’m not sure when I want to graduate. (Mother’s note: we plan to graduate her in 2011 with her age-mates). I really enjoy doing graphic design/photography-related projects and maybe it’ll turn out to be an occupational pursuit. Nathan says he’ll hire me as soon as I’ve taught myself how to use CS7 and Illustrator (computer programs). Grandma Steves has been very indulgent, taking me on multiple photography trips and letting me use her equipment. Now she has given me her laptop to use for my photos; I feel so spoiled!

I’d have to say a continual highlight for me is church every week. Our church is growing a lot, but is still small enough to know everybody. I’m just in awe at what God is doing through the people, and Sunday is always a sanctuary in a busy week! We’re “family integrated”, so when I say I like to see “my friends” at church, it’s inclusive of people of all ages. Aaron built a website (and I helped design it) for our church so check it out:

I got braces last January, and had some minor gum surgery. Only got six months to go, before I can get all this metal out of my mouth!

Caleb’s a 7th grader now. (Mother’s note: he’s also getting taller and quite lanky.) His favorite pastime is reading and grazing in the kitchen. He eats everything in sight—if he’s not allergic to it.

Aaron, the brilliant fellow, coordinated a show called “A Night of Music”, in which he used a lot of Dad’s originals. We had a whole bunch of our teenage friends involved with singing, dancing, and playing various instruments. I made a flyer to advertise, we used the church building, and we made lots of memories with rehearsals and pizza! The turnout was fantastic. We also realized that Aaron played drums on every song except one!

Last Fourth of July, Mom and Dad gave Aaron a .12 shotgun, and Nathan a .22 as sort of a patriotic celebration of the right to bear arms… I’ve tried the shotgun a few times, and boy it’s got kick!

In October Nathan and Colleen bought their first house in downtown Grants Pass. It’s a cute little place built in 1900; Nathanael (Naomi’s husband) built them a shed and replaced eleven windows, and installed a dishwasher.

On the health front, Aaron keeps dislocating his shoulder (see picture). A genetic tendency, unfortunately. The Swine Flu really swept through our area, and everybody knows someone who had it. We all got sick too, but it may have been a seasonal bug. We knew some acquaintances/friends who were hospitalized, and it seemed like everyone in church was sick for awhile, but all seem to have recovered, thankfully.

Home improvement
One exciting part of our year has been the remodel. Nathanael, my brother-in-law, worked on our house for two months. Our current situation is no different on the inside of the kitchen yet; we just have the enclosed addition outside the kitchen. Caleb and I sure appreciated the interruption of our arduous school schedule to run out and do odd jobs for Nathanael. And with all the demolition debris lying around, I stepped on a nail, (which didn’t get past my sole), while Caleb fell and got a fat one in his knee. Ouch. We also completely re-shingled our house. That was an experience! Apparently the previous lazy roofers came to the conclusion that whacking down a third layer over the top was easier than tearing up the old shingles. So we had ourselves a big mess. We tore off the three layers and spent several weeks picking out tons of brittle flakes of shingle out of our lawn and hauling away load after load. One highlight was ripping off the bathroom roof, and interrupting an ant civilization therein. They had networked through the gypsum in the drywall ceiling and if anyone had poked it from underneath, they would have unleashed a shower of biting ants. That’s not the kind of shower you want in a bathroom. It happened anyway. We’re still killing an occasional ant.

Our well, which had been losing flow for several years, finally went dry this summer. After a temporary fix of buying city water to fill our holding tank (chlorinated—tasted awful!), we had another existing well drilled deeper, to 300 feet. It was an expensive mess, but we have plenty of tasty, clear water now!

Words from John
What highlights from 2009 come to mind? Here are a few.

I ran in a 10 mile race in April just to see if I could do it at fifty years of age. I spent five weeks warming up for it (3 jogs a week) and was grateful to make it to the end without passing out and spasming in front of the crowds at the finish line. I’m content to wait another 50 years to try such a thing again.

I enjoyed six glorious days with Arden in the tropical paradise of Kauai, Hawaii. It was beautiful and restful. We had fun exploring the island, visiting resorts, eating out and relaxing. I took some short solo hikes to scenic spots. Snorkeling among the colorful fish, that would gather when I snapped my fingers under water, was a thrill.

I was assigned to teach third grade this year at school and am enjoying working with a sweet batch of little whipper snappers. I will most likely be moved to fourth grade next year.

It was fascinating to watch Nathanael remodel the backside and roof of our house. I enjoyed coming home from school each day to marvel at the progress. I got to do some electrical work. I decided to hire out the plumbing to a professional.
I enjoyed another year of studying and preaching God’s Word in Household of Faith Community Church. It is a blessing and an honor to work with such wonderful people. As a bi-vocational pastor I preach two Sundays a month, and the other fine men on the teaching team preach on the other Sundays. Nathan and Aaron Sleadd both preached at HOFGP in 2009.

Words from Arden
We have so much to be thankful for: new well, new add-on, new grandsons. Our grandson population tripled this year with the births of James Christian Phillips (March 12) and Brock Alexander Sleadd (July 10). They are growing up strong and lively and are the joy of our lives.

Aaron graduated from high school along with a dozen other home school comrades. We are very proud of his hard work ethic. He is still interning as a computer programmer and working for Nathan as warehouse manager while living at home and driving a $500 Toyota Tercel—that is, he was driving it, until it threw a rod or something. (P.S. Aaron has replaced the Tercel with Nathan’s Stratus, who bought a new/used truck.)

I have only two children left to homeschool this year, Alexa 16 and Caleb 12, and it seems much easier. For once I feel organized!

For the last eighteen years I have battled fibromyalgia, and every year I have tried something new, to be disappointed with the results. This year was no exception; I took an antiviral for a year to combat HHV-6 and EBV, both implicated as possible causes of FMS and chronic fatigue. Though the treatment succeeded in lowering my antibody levels, my symptoms are largely unchanged. Now I am on Sporanox, an antifungal, to treat systemic yeast, in hopes that my red-hot, burning feet will respond.

In August John and I spent our 25th anniversary in Kauai, Hawaii. It was a wonderful week spent together in paradise. I had much help and prayer from John and my friends just to get me there. I agonized for months over the wisdom of planning such a trip, right up to the day we left, but God made a way and I enjoyed it greatly. We spent a day at my cousin Anita’s on the layover in Seattle, and we talked for hours to catch up on our lives. We saw soaring tropical birds over flood-swollen falls muddy from a storm. We saw turtles cavorting in the waves. We had great food and Polynesian entertainment at a luau. See more pics and a video clip at my blog. The twice-daily swims in the hotel pool helped me improve so much, I learned my lesson that daily water exercise was what I needed, and have continued them to this day. It has made a significant difference.

Caleb and I were both found to be allergic to dairy, wheat/gluten, eggs, and half a dozen other foods this year, so much time and attention has been diverted to changing our eating habits. Alexa, the chief cook, has been quite accommodating, but she’s a busy gal so I am pushing myself to the limit preparing more raw veggies for my diet. I’m trying the Body Ecology Diet (which targets candida) with Naomi’s help. John is as healthy as a horse.

We are currently reducing our flock of hens because 1) the egg business is not a money-maker, 2) two of us are allergic to eggs, 3) the kids have lost interest, and 4) John has lost willingness to spend any more money or time on their accommodations. Last summer a large, multi-colored, exotic rooster with long, black tail feathers found his way onto our property. He was in seventh heaven with so many dames. We let him stick around for some weeks until we noticed the hens’ egg production dropping precipitously and their behavior growing more aggressive and broody. Since we couldn’t find the cock’s original owners, Caleb and I drove him down to the nearest riverside park and let him loose. I hope he didn’t become food for another critter.

Come spring we hope to start again on phase II of the remodel. John and the kids also have big plans to visit the KY/DC Sleadd relations in the summer. So life doesn’t get much fuller, and we are blessed.

In the midst of economic and national uncertainty, God still reigns supreme. He has kept us in the hollow of His hand and blessed us, materially and spiritually. We can only stand amazed in His presence. May 2010 be a year of blessing for you as well.

In Christ’s Love,
John, Arden, Aaron, Alexa, and Caleb Sleadd

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