Tuesday, December 29, 2009

2009 Christmas letter

It’s an overused cliché, but this year has truly flown by. With such a sudden end, it is astonishing to reflect on all that has taken place over these last 12 months. It’s easy to feel like time has escaped us, but looking back we realize how blessed we really are. What started out as a normal year has sped up to a busy close with several large changes taking place all at once.

We couldn’t be more proud of all our children and are excited with them for what their future holds.

Our oldest son, Jason, and his wife, Becca, are doing well and we have enjoyed the times we have been able to be together this year. Jason began working in the High School as the officer there. He has enjoyed the change and the challenge although, He misses the street action and will probably go back to that work soon. Becca is working in tech support and is wonderful with computers. We have gotten together several times this year including a trip to Georgia together this summer. This newsletter would be remiss if we didn’t mention the now famous canoe trip Jason and Joey took together. Armed with ample camping accoutrements, the 2 set out to venture down the Lumber River in southeast NC. They got much more than they bargained for with 95 degree weather, gargantuan spiders, unending logs blocking their path and some encounter with “Crazy Ivan” that to this day remains their little secret! Their 13 mile journey was cut short but the experience will long live in their lives!

Our daughter, Jana graduated from the School of Worship dance program at Grace College of Divinity. This was a wonderful opportunity for her to be trained and involved in worship dance again and led her to Fayetteville NC where she decided to continue taking classes. She is teaching dance for several classes there this year as well. She is a wonderful dancer and we are so blessed to see her use her gifts to bring glory to God. She will be attending a dance competition this winter.

Our daughter, Julie is working and enjoying life. Julie served as young adult leader in our church for the first part of this year and planned several events for the group. More recently, she has become involved in a large Church in Wilmington and loves participating in the small groups. She enjoys playing the Djembe, shopping and being on the go. She will be going on a ski trip with the young adults group this winter. She also found a nice apartment and moved out on her own to Wilmington and is enjoying living in the city.

Our son, Joey graduated from high school this year and also helped in our church as leader for the young adult’s group. Joey played lead guitar in the worship band at our church for several months as well as playing in a couple other bands whenever there was a need. He thoroughly loves music and using this gift to bring glory to God. He also completed the first of what we hope to be many short action/adventure books geared towards ages 8-13. Joey has also developed a passion for cooking and decided to attend Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Orlando this January. He participated in National Novel Writing Month and completed a novel of over 50,000 words in 30 days! He is now working on adding a couple more chapters to that book and hopes to have it finished soon. In December, he was chosen to participate in a cooking challenge in Orlando with 10 other competitors. He had a great time and though he didn’t win, he did very well and the judges had a lot of positive things to say about his dish.

Last, but not least, our youngest son, Jeffrey turned 9 this year and on any given day, he can be observed running across the property in full military fatigues, enjoying every minute of the country life. Rarely a day goes by when he doesn’t mention something about planning the next camping trip. His sense of humor is contagious. Jeffrey showed some serious talent in the culinary arts when he won the Red Robin Kid’s Cook Off for the Wilmington restaurant with his Cherry-O burger.

Moving into the latter part of this year things really started to take off. After much prayer and inspiration we decided to adopt. We have wanted to do this for some time now, but despite our increasing busyness we felt it was now the right time. We have felt a strong compassion for two 7 year old boys from China in particular. We feel like this is the perfect age because we wanted to adopt two boys that were old enough to play with Jeffrey when all our older kids moved out. This is a very costly adventure that we feel led to go on. We believe that God led us to do this and He will make a way for it. We are doing several fundraisers ourselves and would appreciate your prayers and support of our projects if you can. If anyone is looking for a year end tax deductible donation, you can donate to Christian World Adoption in our name and it will go towards our adoption. Just go to http://www.cwa.org/ and click on make a donation, then put “for adoption of Russell and Karen Thomas” in the memo section and it will be accredited to us. Thank you for your prayers and support in this. You can read about our process and see the other fundraisers by following our Blog. http://boysinthebulrush.blogspot.com/

Karen continues to homeschool. She also has been painting this year and will look to do more of that this year. Following in the culinary projects we created a fundraiser to help with the adoption expenses. Our “Orphan Pies” are being sold during the holiday season. They have been a big hit here, particularly the “My Heart Overflows for Two Boys I Never Met Pie” (Chocolate Delight Pie). We look forward to bringing our boys home from China in 2010.

Russell continues to work his private practice in spite of endless rumors of what will happen in the healthcare arena. He has been working on his second book and is excited to see it published in the early spring of 2010. He has been enjoying his “second career” in writing and hopes to write much more in the upcoming year. While our “farm” consists of only 5 acres, Russell enjoys raising a garden each year and the numerous animals we have including 36 chickens, 2 horses, 2 cows (actually a bull and heifer), 2 dogs, and 5 cats (give or take a few)!

That about sums up our year and we wish you all blessings and abundance in the coming year! Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas shopping

Karen & I were out last evening Christmas shopping and enjoying the holidays. Part of our annual Christmas night out includes a quiet dinner for just the 2 of us at a Olive Garden. The hostess seated us at a table for 6 and when I got on the same side of the booth as Karen, she looked at me kind of strange and said "Oh, you're sitting on the same side?"... as if that was strange. I just wanted to be close to my wife while we ate. Is that so strange? I think not! We began our meal and as we looked at the long empty bench on the adjacent side of the table we couldn't help but fast forward and imagine what it will be like next Christmas when we look across the table at three boys: Jeffrey, Jeremiah and Joshua, the later 2 our boys from China. We imagined them seated across from us with their mixture of mischief and delight of having each other. For Jeremiah and Joshua it will be their first Christmas having a family and experiencing both the joy and magic of the season. The moment included some mixed emotions as we wondered what this Christmas was like for our 2 Chinese boys who remain in an orphanage at this time on the other side of the world awaiting our arrival to get them and welcome them into our family. Earlier in the day, Karen asked 9 year old what he wanted for Christmas. Jeffrey said what he "really, really, really wanted for Christmas was to bring the boys home". Its funny, we've never met these boys and yet they are already alive in our hearts and family.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Two Guys and a Pie

Another fundraiser we are doing to raise money for adopting our two boys is selling pies for the holidays. Our family loves pies! and we love to make them. After seeing the movie The Waitress we began naming our pies with unique names that express our feelings for the event we are making the pies for, so we decided to sell pies for our adoption, naming the pies we sell to express our feelings through the adoption process. For example, we have 'My Heart overflows with love for two boys I have never met' Pie, which is a chocolate and cream cheese pie and 'Help our boys 'Banana Split' from the orphanage' Pie, which is banana split inspired. A new pie for Christmas is 'Wishing the boys were home for Christmas' pie which is a white chocolate/peppermint pie topped with crushed candy canes. This fundraiser is very fun and family and friends have supported us by purchasing pies. You can check out our page on Facebook, Two Guys and a Pie and if you are relatively local to us we would love to take an order or two and share our family favorites with your family. We also make Cheesecakes! Regular, Mocha, Chocolate and Berry! Pies sell for $15 each and the cheesecakes For $30 each. All Proceeds go to our adoption expenses.