The year was 2009…..a Christmas letter from the Brown’s

Those of you who got Christmas Cards in the mail… this already…but since I couldn’t send cards to EVERYONE…here is our Christmas letter!

It is December 16th, and I sit here trying once again to write a Christmas letter. I started this twice before….the first time; it ended up being 19 pages because I added so many photos! The second time…The Photos won out again and it ended up turning into a Power Point slideshow. Both of which are wonderful , but the problem is printing out 19 pages of a letter to send to all of you is just not practical, and while the Slideshow is cool…..not everyone has power point access, and well, leave it to a shutterbug to complicate a Christmas letter. Let’s face it…I like to capture every moment possible with Pictures. Anyway…..I am trying once again to write this….they say after all, that the third time is the charm right?

The Year was 2009. The Brown Family celebrated many wonderful things over the past 12 months. Let’s see if we can summarize the Highlights.
March 1st brought snow to Montgomery, Alabama, causing the kids to wake Rachel and Bobby up far earlier and more hyper than your typical Saturday morning. After bundling up in their heavy jackets, Boots, gloves, scarves and Hats, the entire family including the dog headed outside for some rare Alabama winter fun…March also brought sadness with the passing of Rachel’s Grandpa Rabeler. She was unable to make the trip to Upstate NY, and that was hard for her, but with the love and support of Bobby and the kids, and many good friends, and the strength that can only come from the Lord Jesus, she managed to get through those dark weeks.

April arrived, and brought with it the start of Softball season for Sara; Her First Year playing. Her team was Dalraida Baptist, and her number was the number 8, which in and of itself was cool, because that was her Daddy’s number back when he used to play. Opening Day came the same weekend as Bobby had drill, so a car was rented for Rachel to ensure that they day would not be missed, and off they went to the ball field…… April was filled with weekend softball games, and evening Practices….. Easter Celebrations both at Church….. And at home with neighbors, Bubbles, Sidewalk chalk, pinwheels and Egg hunting….. Birthday Parties and fun times with Friends……. For Shawna’s 7th Birthday on April 26th, we did a Hannah Montana themed Party with Hannah and Camp Rock Karaoke…. April came to a Close with the closing Ceremony for AWANA and the AWANA Grand Prix…….

The Month of May was eventful as well….we saw a day of flooding here in Montgomery, More Softball, and Mother’s Day…….The end of May was especially Exciting for Sara, for with it came the conclusion of her Grade school Career, the 6th Grade Field trip to Atlanta and Sixth Grade Graduation…… While in Atlanta, they went to the World of Coke, CNN and The Aquarium. Sara Graduated 6th Grade with the Presidential award for Academic excellence, A-B Honor Roll, and Citizenship Award.

With the Month of June came Summer Vacation in full swing, though not without disappointments. The plans for a trip to NY had to get cancelled due to Back Injury, but we still had a wonderful summer. June brought us lots of fun times with friends, Vacation Bible School…… Father’s Day 2009; At the Closing Program for Vacation Bible School at First Baptist Church in Montgomery, Al; Sara was baptized! This was a beautiful moment for me. The Pastor asked if any other kids wanted to come forward and express their faith and Sara raised her hand, but in the commotion, He did not see her. However, I did, and the Youth Minister at First Baptist did. She started Crying, but the Youth Pastor and I both quickly realized what had happened, and while the Youth Pastor notified the Pastor, I talked with Sara. We told her that they would baptize her that night, or we could wait until she and I could talk to her Youth Leader at Gateway, and plan it when her Daddy could be there too. She did not want to wait, though she did want Drew and her Daddy there. It was a beautiful moment of the Lord’s hand moving on my child’s life; and what a wonderful thing for her to call my dad…on Father’s day with. June also brought us the end of Softball Season…….

July was filled with lots of wonderful family time, fun with Friends, and a very special surprise……Rachel Babysat for her friend Grace, so there were at times, 7 kids in the house. I do believe those were days that Bobby was glad that He had to go to work! Shawna and Sara attended a birthday party for Shawna’s friend MaryAustin……The Big surprise that July Brought was that Rachel’s mom was able to come from Upstate NY for a Visit!

With the month of August came the beginning of what is proving to be an eventful 2009-2010 school year. Shawna is in 2nd Grade at Dalraida, Dakota is in 4th Grade at Morningview, and Sara is in 7th Grade…that’s right, Jr. High…at Floyd Middle Magnet. Yeah, you heard that right….three kids in three different schools this year! For Sara’s 12th Birthday on August 16th, we did a Movie night/sleep over……They watched “A Little Princess” “Secret Garden” “Golden Compass” and “Prince Caspian”.

September 2009 brought with it Labor Day weekend, and a trip to the beach for the youth group. Sara took my camera with her, but when she got home she said “I am sorry mom, I didn’t take any pictures because I was having so much fun I forgot I had the Camera!” Sara is also playing the Oboe for beginning band at Floyd Middle Magnet, and is really enjoying it. For Dakota’s 10th Birthday on September 23rd, we didn’t do as much as had planned because we were all fighting off colds, but we did still celebrate it and Bobby took Him shopping at Toys R Us…

October found Sara and Shawna spending some Quality time together playing Beauty Parlor on the weekends…..Rachel has started doing more and more with her photos, and is thinking about looking into the possibility of doing Photos as a source of income. October came to a close with Fall Festival fun at church, and Trick or treating fun with friends.

November started off with sadness as Bobby’s step-brother passing away. We as a family were overwhelmed with the blessings and outpouring of love and support from our church family and many dear friends during this time. It was a wonderful reminder of God’s love shown through the simplest of gestures. My hope is that we never get to busy for a hug, or a smile, because to someone that may mean the world. With the blessings and friendships still fresh into our minds, we went from a season of grief into a season of Thanksgiving and the blessings continued to flow. We spent Thanksgiving with Bobby’s mom, and the kids helped bake the desserts for the day. It was a wonderful time of memory making with loved ones.

And that brings us to December….to where we are now as I write this. Last night, December 15th we saw the fruit of countless hours of Oboe Practice, and the dog singing along with Oboe Practice, as Sara and the rest of the beginning band at Floyd Middle Magnet school gave an amazing performance at their Christmas Concert. We have many events to look forward to in the coming weeks, to include Shawna singing with the children’s choir at church, and lots of time with family and friends.

Well, that is about all I can think of. It has been a busy year, and as the kids get older, and more social I am sure things will continue to get even more exciting. It is wonderful to watch them become more active and social, and scary at the same time! We hope that each and every one of you has a wonderful Holiday season and pray for blessings abound in the New Year. As December begins and I reflect on the past year I realize that what matters is Not the things I don’t have, but that I have a Husband who loves me, Three healthy beautiful children, a roof over my head and food to eat, a wonderful support system of friends, church family, and a family whose prayers and unconditional love have gotten me Where I am today. Thank you Mom & Dad for giving me wings so I could fly And Roots so I could always find my way home. As we look forward to a new year, I hope that each of you is blessed with Reminders of the simple things. The Lord showed me this fall a reminder that sometimes it’s the simple things that we need the most.
Merry Christmas and God bless you all,
Rachel, Robert, Sara, Dakota and Shawna Brown