Friday, December 14, 2012

Merry Christmas 2012

Luke 2:11
Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you, he is the messiah, the Lord.

From our house to yours we hope your year was full of health and happiness. The Arnold House was once again a place of change. Our family grew from 6 to 7 members. The good news is that we are finally settling into life in Longview. A big change from sun, wind, and snow to what I call the 3 D’s dark, damp, and drippy. The weather is much more moderate here with sunshine and little rain in the summer. The winter brings rain, rain, and more rain. We do have beautiful trees and sights all around us.

Let us start by saying Graedy has had a huge growth spurt. He is catching up with Brent and surpassed his mother’s height. The year is 9th grade Mark Morris High. He played water polo for the first time and learned what commitment takes when practicing at 5:30 am. Games were often late and up in the Seattle area about 3 hours north. Now he is on the swim team and wow do they swim? He has had to swim 65 laps in 30 minutes or 125 laps 2.5 miles to build endurance. He has embraced the changes with ease. A huge step since change used to be so hard for him. He is constantly engaged with his siblings some times in jest and other times as a tempest. He is a huge help with chores reaching things on high shelves now, hauling the trash can down the hill, and the best to empty the dish washer for his mom. He is turning 15 and driving is right around the corner. Can I say how wonderful it will be to have a chauffeur! Graedy wants to go into engineering at a NW Christian University. This is our Graedy

Elise our dramatic one is now a teenager, 13 years old. She played her first season of volleyball and we had a great time watching her games. In March Elise had the privilege to travel to Ghana to pick up her little sister. She did very well with most of the cultural differences and learned a lot. She learned to cook a couple traditional foods. We were very lucky to stay with another fellow adoptive mother that was living in Ghana while waiting for her daughter’s adoption to be finalized. She visited 4 orphanages, went to street market, saw a huge botanical garden, experience an African Reserve, and saw how many in the rest of world live. She is a great help with chores her specialty is vacuuming and cooking. She is still playing the clarinet, flute, and trying to learn the saxophone. In her spare time she loves to dress her fix up her little sisters, the living Barbie dolls. Her dream is to attend a culinary institute, study in France, and then open a Victorian bed and breakfast with restaurant...

Our Elijah from China is now 11 years old. He is completely at grade level reading and writing after knowing English for less than 5 years. This is a huge accomplishment on his part. He loves math and it just comes to him. He wants to be an accountant in the future. He is a wonderful singer and is in choir at school and tried out for honor choir and made it as well. At church for the Christmas play he will be singing as the INN KEEPER. He and Joy are being to interact and play together more all the time. He is a big help with chores trash duty, pet care attendant, and the maker of the Pbj’s for lunches.

Sneha is now 11 and in 6th grade at Cascade with Elise. She loves school once again with a wonderful staff to help the special needs kids. She gets to swim with school twice weekly and she signs about swimming throughout the week and into the weekend. She takes a new medicine and it has helped with her concentration. She had her first in depth dental treatment under anesthesia and did wonderful and all of her teeth were cleaned, filled, and had sealants applied. She has an excellent medical team here in Longview to help us meet all of her needs. A few of her favorite things are glitter, pink, purple, and candy!

We would like to introduce the newest member of the Arnold family Joyce (Joy) Abena Nyamekye Arnold. We adopted Joy from Tema Ghana Africa. Joy was in the care of nuns from the order of Mother Teresa from the time she was 6 months old. The loving Catholic Priest Father Campbell took interest in her and made sure that she had life saving heart surgery in Accra. Once the Sisters and Father knew her heart was declared healthy they pursued an adoptive family for her through Beacon House in Accra which is owned by a great Italian lady Romana Testa. She provides a home for them in Accra until they are adopted. She advocates for hard to place and special needs children the have been abandoned in Ghana. Joy is very hard of hearing almost deaf. She is bussed daily to the Washington School for the Deaf in Vancouver. Her days are long, we arrive at the bus stop at 5:45am and she returns at 4:45pm. They are amazing- teaching her sign, English, and daily skills.   Joy loves to eat and watch cartoons.  She is learning to be part of a family and to live a life on the go.

As a family we have enjoyed being close to Andrew my brother and his family.  It is fun to visit them just an hour away in a vacation destination on the coast with views of the columbia in their victorian retreat.  The kids have enjoyed getting to know the other cousins.  A fun adventure for us is to go out and explore new restraunts either on the coast or in Vancouver or Portland.  We have ventured to try Lebonese, Korean, Chinese, Indian, Thai, German, and Bosnian cuisine.  We have gone to Longbeach, Cannon Beach, Ecola Beach State Park, and the Portland Rose & Japanese Garden.
Brent once again has the first hard year at new job under his belt. The PUD launched the new website a major project for Brent and the staff. Brent experienced his first kidney stone for a Thanksgiving to remember. We are proud of Brent at his accomplishments at the PUD and hope for many more years to come.

Wishing your family a Merry Christmas remembering the birth of our Lord Jesus. We look to the new year with hope, health, and happiness. We are thankful for the many charities that have blessed our lives Chinese Children Adoption International, Beacon House Ghana, The Sisters of Charity Tema, Ghana, and Father Lou that gave the gift of life saving heart surgery to our Joy.

James 1:12
Blessed is the one who perserveres under trial because having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies. Mother Teresa

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