Thursday, November 23, 2017

Christmas Update 2017

“Sweaty and exhausting.” That was Sarah’s response after asking her for a word or two to describe 2017. In the Lee home, it has been a trying year for sure. We are grateful for how God has led us through and showed His faithfulness through many challenges. Even though we haven’t had much time to pause in our lives along the way, here are a few pictures of our journey.

Much of our activity centered in our move from Fishers to Westfield, IN. “Live and learn” has new meaning as we are experiencing all that inspection reports don’t show in the
purchase of a new home.

Here is our country home. If you'd like to schedule a work-day, feel free:)...

Here is our new ride for mowing our property...

Our barn kittens are named Rascal and Flatts.

Our kids have been great through the transition. When we had no AC or they couldn’t use a bathroom because of another leak, they continue to focus on what is important. Our kids loved Hoosier Road Elementary, but we are encouraged by the appreciation they have for their teachers at Monon Trail Elementary. Their teachers seem to balance instructing a whole class and keeping students challenged based upon their abilities. In addition, all of the kids have chores that should increase as we become more established in our new home (feeding the guinea pigs and cleaning cage, caring for Knowa the greyhound, and also the barn kittens). Piano lessons with Aunt Becky continue and we hope that we’ll find extra time when we are not consumed with house projects to involve them in sports they enjoy.

Our kindergartner, Quinn, with Mrs.McCreary
on the ice cream social night. 

Gwyneth, our second grader, loves school and her teacher, Ms. Dunfee.

Jace has thoroughly enjoyed the influence of his first male teacher in his school career. Mr. Lewis helps to encourage Jace with math, science, and running.


Jokin' around before boarding the bus for their first day at Monon Trail Elementary...

We pulled the kids out of school for a week to visit Disney World in September. This was a long-awaited and planned bucket list event. It was good to break away from the normal routine, eat food we don’t normally consume, while enjoying entertainment, sunshine, and character heroes.

Meeting Mary Poppins, Jasmine, and Gaston in REAL LIFE was a thrill!

Sarah and John have grown this year. We are SO thankful for our employment and the people with whom we work. What a blessing to have a stable work environment where ‘drama’ is bare minimum. We’ve grown in our reliance on the Lord for our health, His provision, and His constant care. It has been evident to us as we have made the choice to trust His good plan. We miss Fishers and not seeing friends and neighbors as much but we already know we are fortunate to have new neighbors that show their love for our kids and us. 

We hope you have a BLESSED Christmas season.  john, sarah, jace, gwyneth, and quinn

Isaiah 9:6New International Version (NIV)

For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Christmas Letter 2016

Hello Family and Friends,

As I think about recapping our year, I’m drawn to showing our experience in pictures. In all honesty, I don’t think Sarah and I took enough pictures, but we try to capture memories at every turn. Time marches on, and we certainly feel it as we watch our kids grow and realize we aren’t as young as we used to be.
Each kid spends a portion of two grades in the year. For Jace it was 2nd and 3rd grade. For Gwyneth it was K and 1st. And for Quinn it was her 1st and 2nd year of pre-K.

One of Jace’s 2nd grade works of art was featured in an art show put on by the school system.

We attempt to give the kids a dabbling in a variety of activities that we pray helps to broaden their experience and help them to develop as whole persons.

Jace enjoyed basketball in the winter.

Gwyneth and Quinn did a dance class together and are pictured here with their instructor.

Jace and Gwyneth sang in the New Creation Choir at our church, and we are expecting another big Christmas show in which their choir is participating the second week, this December.

For the kids’ Spring Break, we headed to IA for a week to see Sarah’s side of the family. Sarah’s sister, Hannah, gave us a photo shoot on a frigid, rainy day. We didn’t have summer tans, but we were thankful for the opportunity to have family pics from a seasoned photographer.
Sarah and her mom.

Jace played his last season before Little League baseball and enjoyed his Pirates team.

At the end of summer, we rescued a greyhound from the racetrack in FL. We later found out he has run around 41 races, won 5, and placed in most … He was a sick dog at first, but Sarah has done a great job changing his diet and getting the worms out of his system.

At the end of the summer, we enjoyed a short trip to KY to visit Grandma Lee and Aunt Esther. Natural Arch was the chosen destination for a picnic and hike.

School arrived too quickly after a summer that the kids spent with our nannies Alyssa Cummings and Sarah Benson. They did an awesome job, and the kids had a lot of fun!

Here are first day of school pics for all three….

Jace/3rd Grade

Gwyneth/1st Grade


All three kids played soccer in the fall. This was Quinn’s first time playing soccer. We enjoyed watching the games.

Thanksgiving was spent at my sister Becky’s home. 

Sarah and I are full of gratitude for friendships, a good church, jobs we enjoy, and a relationship with God through Jesus Christ that sustains us. We hope you have a BLESSED Christmas season with your family.

John, Sarah, Jace, Gwyneth, and Quinn

Is. 9:6 "For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Christmas Letter 2015

Dear Family and Friends,
This past year began as the previous 5 years. John was able to stay home and care for Gwyneth and Quinn while Sarah continued working at Fishers Veterinary Hospital.  Jace was in first grade at Brookschool Road Elementary and enjoying his friends, his teacher, and learning. John continued to work in the evening, and as a family, we continued to trust that the right doors would open at the right time for him to step back into full-time work.

We enjoyed a few hole-in-the-wall restaurants with high online ratings.
An excursion at Shell Island.
In July, we took a family vacation to Panama City, Florida, and enjoyed a week on the beach. As a special treat, Sarah’s mom was able to join us from Iowa, and the kids had a wonderful time playing with Grandma.  (Mom and Dad enjoyed having 3 adults and 3 kids to make it easier to keep them in line!) Following vacation – life was dramatically different.
Deviation. Turn. Diversion. Break.

After 5 ½ years as a stay-at-home dad, God opened up a door for John, and he began a full-time job as a chaplain for Indiana Wesleyan University. God’s guidance and direction were very clear, and we were able to move forward with confidence that this is where John is meant to be. He works with non-residential and online students through Spiritcare, a segment of the Student Services department and is able to touch many lives through his ministry. He enjoys working with his new team and looks forward to ministry developments in the new year.

First day of school for Jace and Gwyneth.
Two weeks after John’s orientation day at IWU, Jace started second grade, and Gwyneth started kindergarten in a new school. Our school district went through a redistricting plan, and our kids were switched to Hoosier Road Elementary. Admittedly, we were apprehensive about this switch but now we see that God was watching over us.  Both kids have fantastic teachers; they are growing socially and academically. Gwyneth is blossoming in school. She comes home and performs the songs and dances that help her learn how to spell, and we see many expressions and hand motions that she mimics from her teacher. She LOVES doing her homework and is rapidly becoming a proficient reader. Jace is also a good student, although drawn more to art and creating than to math and reading. He continues to sing in our church’s children’s choir, and both Jace and Gwyneth take piano lessons from John’s sister Becky. They also enjoy dabbling in group sports through the YMCA.

Our spunky Quinn.
With John working full-time, Jace and Gwyneth at school, Quinn is now attending The Playschool at Arbor Village. She is there all day on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday and continues to struggle with this adjustment. Her teachers assure us that once we are gone, she does very well but openly expresses that she would rather stay at home.  At 3 ½ years of age, this is the first time she hasn’t been with a parent during the day.  On the plus side, she is learning to play with kids her age, she gets to paint almost daily (her favorite), and she enjoys feeding Lucy, the guinea pigJ.   
Our family has always been one to follow tradition, and that includes putting up the Christmas tree and decorations on the day after Thanksgiving. We also like to watch The Muppets Christmas Carol in the evening of Black Friday. Consistent with how 2015 has gone – this also changed.  Instead, we joined Sarah’s mom and her sister’s family at an indoor waterpark north of Chicago. We enjoyed turkey chili in our hotel room on Thanksgiving after splashing through the normal Thanksgiving meal time. While being with family was wonderful, we don’t anticipate a new Thanksgiving tradition! 

A family shot at Key Lime Cover, Gurnee, IL.
Sarah’s year has not been quite as eventful as the rest of the family’s. She continues integrating Western and Eastern medicine in the veterinary practice and enjoys caring for her patients and their families. On the health front, she continues to focus on a rigorous and specific diet that will get the full function of her adrenal glands back. While a grain, sugar, and dairy free diet is challenging, she is definitely feeling stronger and hopes for a full recovery in 2016. Please pray with us for that.

May your family sense God’s blessings during this season and in the New Year. It is a privilege to journey with you and with the Lord.  God’s best to each of you,

John, Sarah, Jace, Gwyneth, and Quinn

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6 NIV

We are looking forward to some time with grandma Lee this Christmas.