Friday, December 3, 2010

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from the Rodens! This year we are moving into the 21st century and moving our annual update to the blog-o-sphere. This way we can go on and on in crazy details about our hectic life. Nah, we are just a bunch of tree huggers that don't want to waste paper. Well, that's not exactly true either. Let's just chalk it up to easier and leave it at that.

Ed's update:
This Christmas is already much different than last year. Last year we were halfway around the world and wearing shorts. It was an amazing trip, teaching Indian pastors how to study the Word of God, and traveling around India and Dubai. Christmas dinner was a curry fish with an Indian dessert. Delicious, but definitely different. But we missed snow and Christmas trees and carols. Since we were gone there were no lights and no trees at the Roden residence. This year the tree is up, lights are twinkling, Christmas cards are going out, and we're trying to take it easy and enjoy each other and our friends through this season. And we're still on the crazy ride that God has us on.
I'm still at McGraw-Hill, and work has been work...reorgs and server issues and all-nighters and all the usual that goes with IT.
I enjoyed opening weekend of trout season with 3 friends on the Au Sable river - beautiful weather, some great fish, and unbelievable fellowship! Most of the summer was spent bass fishing from my birthday kayak, and lots of fish, including a monster 20" bass. Rachel in particular enjoyed being out in the boat with me.
Fall meant soccer season, and both Josh and I moved up to the varsity team. With Josh's knee injury, he ended up coaching more than playing. Fall also brought a family trip to Montana and a cabin on the Madison River (Esther knows how to spoil me), not far from Yellowstone. My dad joined us for a few of the days, and we enjoyed some beautiful weather, but frustrating fishing.
Esther's last minute trip to India in November found me as Mr. Mom with a very different schedule while she ministered there. And now it is Christmas time again, with snow and mistletoe, and musings on the incarnation of Jesus Christ - giving us a gift we can never repay.

Esther's update:
Wow! What a year. Every year I say it seems life gets more and more hectic, and this year is no different. So as Ed already told you we began our saga 8000 miles away. What a really amazing journey we had. While our Christmas was so different, it will be one that we will never forget. It will also make us appreciate more of what we have. Once home we eased back into our routine. Yeah, right! Having two teenagers in the house makes for a very delicate balancing act. Mostly, it involves driving around. A LOT!
This year I took up a new hobby - Couponing! Yes, you have seen some of those extreme coupon shoppers on the news. Or maybe you have found yourself behind one of them in the line at the grocery store. Yup, I am one of THOSE! But the good news is - we have enough shampoo and toothpaste in the house for a year - and I didn't spend a dime! FREE is my favorite four letter word and I took it to a new level this year.
We made a ministry transition in the fall to the Lake Orion campus of Woodside Bible Church. We are excited about how God may use us at this campus. This also opened the door to work with a group of women that went to India. I was meeting with them and helping prepare them for their trip to India. Little did I know that God had me in mind for that trip. 5 weeks before departure, I was asked to fill in for another woman who had to back out unexpectedly. After a crash prayer session and many answers to prayer, I sent off for another visa. And on November 11th I was off for another Indian adventure. You can read all about it on this blog. It was definitely a different trip from our family trip, but it was an amazing God filled time.
This Christmas I just crave one thing - SIMPLE. We have said "no" to a lot of good things in an effort to keep this December uncluttered and focused on how the birth of a Baby changed it all. I pray that you will also have a chance to focus on the real reason for the season.

Joshua's update:
Two words pretty much describe my life this year: soccer and school. This year I officially became a public school student. Well, I still do all my work at home. And mom is still my main teacher, but I am enrolled in a public charter school academy that is virtual. I like it for the most part, as much as a teenage boy can really "like" school.
This year I had a first in soccer - an injury. Yup - dad gave me his bad knees. In May I dislocated my kneecap. The rest of the month was spent in PT. I was able to finish out my season and try out for a different soccer league. I spent the summer being an assistant coach for our church's OnGoal soccer program. I enjoyed this so much. The fall soccer program began in August and I made it three whole weeks before I dislocated my knee for the second time. Only this time I was benched for the rest of the season. October found me in the operating room repairing the tendon in my knee. I am currently recovering quickly and I am glad that I didn't wait to have the surgery. I have another month of PT and then I will begin a training program that should see me return to the soccer field stronger and faster.
Oh yeah, I forgot one little thing - I have a girlfriend. Yup, her name is Kimberlee and she is wonderful. Who knew? Girls don't have cooties!

Hannah's update:
This past year God has really taught me that I am one person that He can use in His great plan of rescue! He has shown me that you might be a long way from home, but you need to trust in Him for what you need. We went to India last winter and that really opened my eyes. It was hard to be away from my home and my friends, but it was a chance to see other parts of God's creation. India brought me a lot closer to God and made me want to learn more and more about Him.
Over the summer I had a chance to return to Angel House - a mission field just miles down the road. This place is located among the largest Muslim population in the U.S. It was weird to experience such similar circumstances as we did in a Muslim country (we stopped in Dubai before India). It was fun to see a lot of familiar faces.
In the fall our Wednesday night program called Oasis started up again. This has really been making an impact in my life. We have been talking on a series called "Rescue IS Coming". It covers everything from the beginning of creation all the way to the end of time. It is sad to see the perfect world that God created a long time ago, and look at it now and see that is so... Not that.
Also in the fall, I joined in a homeschool group for choir. I have really enjoyed all the music I have been learning.
That pretty much wraps up my year!
Mom edit - I wish it were this simple. I spend many hours each week keeping Hannah socialized!

Rachel's Update:
My mom tells me that I am the easy child. Insert evil laugh! I am definitely the tag-along child. I get to go to ALL my brother's soccer games and my mom drags me to the store to coupon shop. Ugh! But this last spring I joined the city soccer team. I loved it! I spent all my time in the back field talking to my new friend Teddy. Sometimes I even kicked the soccer ball. I also finished up dance in the spring.
My summer was filled with summer camp and soccer camp. Oh, and fishing and kayaking with dad.
This fall I ditched dance to take up guitar. So far so good. I have my first concert coming up. I am a little nervous about performing, but I really enjoy learning this instrument.

From the Roden Household: May you find Joy and Peace this Christmastime and all through 2011. Merry Christmas!