Saturday, January 1, 2011

Family Letter!

Hi everyone! Happy New Year!

Here is our family letter for 2010 - some of you may have received
the hard copy, but for those who didn't, we are posting it here on the blog.

Also, we have gone through the letter and linked to blog posts from
different events throughout the year, a first for us!

There are a couple screenshots of the letter,
 then the letter and links below:

(click for larger view)
(click for larger view)


December 2010

Dear Loved Ones,

We hope you have had a wonderful year in 2010! We have seen the Lord’s hand at work in so many ways that we would like to share those memories with you. Here is a breakdown of a few of this year’s noteworthy occurrences:

MARCH
Our piano had been in the family for over 30 years, but when the piano technician told us that it would take several hundred dollars to keep it in good condition, it was time to say goodbye. God provided so that we could purchase a Kawai upright piano, and it has been a great blessing!

After about 2 ½ years of work, and much expectation, the girls moved into their new room! We are still waiting on carpet, but at 432 square feet, there is elbow room for all 7 girls!

APRIL
We took a surprise trip to see the Palazzolo family in Alabama, and spent a few wonderful days with them, full of fun and fellowship.

JULY
Pat and the five oldest attended the Student Statesmanship Institute (ssi-online.org), some for the first time and some for the second. Pat went as a chaperone, and the kids were “Representatives” and “Senators” for the week, taking trips to the state capitol and giving speeches for and against bills on the House floor during mock legislative sessions.

SEPTEMBER
We shook up the “norm” a bit when we took our annual trip to the Barn in early September, enjoying time with Lorie’s folks and extended family. We then headed to Connecticut and were blessed to share music at Colchester Bible Baptist Church. During our stay, we visited Plimoth Plantation and enjoyed learning more about our Pilgrim forefathers. After an unsuccessful attempt to tour Independence
Hall in Philadelphia (no place to park a big van and trailer, so we had the “drive-thru” tour), we visited Valley Forge and were sobered to think of all the sacrifices made for our country. Calvary Baptist Church of Clymer, PA, was our second ministry stop, and we enjoyed the fellowship of the sweet folks there as we stayed at their church camp.

NOVEMBER
Mid-November, we headed to Schaumburg, IL, (near Chicago) for the National Bible Bee, as Melody qualified for the second year in a row. Thousands of young people across the nation enrolled in the local Bible Bee competition in August, which incorporated memorizing up to 800 Bible verses and in-depth study of the book of Colossians. Pat was able to be on the committee of our local contest, held at our church. Seven of the children participated, with Melody making it to the top 100 in her age category nationwide. The entire family was able to attend and watch the competition, as well as take some time to visit the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry. It was a great learning experience, one that we will always remember. We were also able to minister in music at Victory Baptist Church in New Lenox. Back at the National Bible Bee, Melody advanced from the preliminary rounds to the Semifinals, then after 3 perfect recitations, she advanced to the Finals! She placed 6th of all the Senior contestants in the country. We are so grateful for God’s blessing in this endeavor – it is always worthwhile to hide God’s Word in our hearts.

Jonathan is enrolled at Bryan College in Dayton, TN, taking courses online. He is majoring in Liberal Arts with an emphasis in Political Science. Jonathan will be interning in Lansing this year, as he seeks to have a Christian impact in the political arena. Pat and Jon were both elected precinct delegates for our area in August, and enjoyed nominating candidates at the Republican State Convention. Jon completed the Ambassador League program through SSI, earning the John Quincy Adams award and scholarship. Jon is the chief photographer and blog author for the family, for which we are all very grateful!

Grace is looking toward graduation and post-high school ventures. She was very involved with our local Bible Bee, doing a lot of the behind-the-scenes work to organize the 60+ volunteers. Grace and Melody started piano lessons with Mrs. Rebecca Mayer early in the year, and have appreciated her instruction as they continue to use their musical gifts to minister through many different opportunities.

Melody is getting back into the swing of things after studying for almost 5 months for the Bible Bee. She plays cello in several orchestras and enjoys singing in church and for concerts. One way that Melody blesses the family is by making muffins and bread on a regular basis. We truly appreciate Melody’s servant’s spirit.

Joseph is maturing into a godly young man. This year, he took up the string bass (thank you Mr. Holliday!), and played it for a few concerts. Joseph continues to love gardening and biking (logging 150 miles this year!). He recently started BJ Vending in order to develop entrepreneurial skills and earn some income. If you have any suggestions for good locations to place a candy vending machine, let us know! We are looking forward to the many ways God will use Joseph.

Anna very recently got her braces off, after 4 ½ years of having them on! Her cheerful smile is always sure to brighten the room, braces or not! Anna enjoys playing in the Orion Chamber Music Society and the orchestra at our church, First Baptist Church of Troy. She is still saving for a harp! Anna is such a blessing to our family.

Caleb was excited to purchase a 12-gauge shotgun recently so that he can bring home some food for the family! Besides target practice, Caleb enjoys biking and any activity that takes him outside. He is our resident “finder” – whenever you lose something, just ask Caleb, and he’ll find it! We are excited to see God working in Caleb’s life.

Lydia joined the church orchestra this year, and has enjoyed honing her abilities in that way. She is also learning many homemaking skills - assisting with canning, food preparation, and cleaning. Lydia, along with Mary and Julia, enjoys knitting and crocheting gifts for others, and are always excited to show us their creations! We pray that Lydia will grow to be a godly young lady.

Mary is still our resident bookworm, plowing through piles of character-building books and amusing us by her pronunciation of words that she’s read but never heard! She enjoys playing the piano and cello, especially when participating in family concerts. It is a blessing to see Mary growing into a sweet little lady.

Julia is growing up so quickly! She is now an excellent reader, and we often hear, “Can I read to you?” Recently while in the car, Julia said, “That sign says, ‘On the Go!’ That’s me!” Julia asked the Lord Jesus to be her Savior earlier this year, and it is precious to see her thoughtfulness about what is right and wrong and how God wants her to act.

Rebecca keeps us smiling. She is at the age to say a LOT of cute things! Sometimes, she will ask if she can drink “yummalade”. Once, when she saw a picture of a protest, she exclaimed, “They’re saying 2!” (Think peace sign :). She told us that angels have “birdie things,” and, on one of our trips, she was excited to drive over the “KenDUCKY River!” On Mother’s Day, Rebecca woke up and said, “Mother, did I tell you how dear you are?”

Lorie keeps busy with home management and homeschooling. She and Pat celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary in July! On a sad note, Lorie had a miscarriage at 11 weeks in October. We are grateful for God’s strength and comfort and thank Him for the assurance that little Hope is with Him in heaven.

After taking the buyout from Chrysler 2 years ago and operating Heritage Building Services, LLC throughout 2009, Pat took a full-time position contracted to Versata, a company contracted to Ford, in late 2009. He commutes to Dearborn 2 days a week, and works from home the other days. We are very thankful for the many ways God has provided in all circumstances.

Pat’s brother Brian and his family keep busy with lots of activities, including gymnastics classes for Bella and Miley. Lorie’s brother Gordon and his family are doing well. It’s hard to believe that Gideon graduated from kindergarten this year!

Pat’s mom and dad enjoy coming over on Thursdays to spend time with the family. Sadly, Pat’s Grandma Luella Utich passed away in August. She will be missed.

Lorie’s mom and dad still participate in many classic car shows. We love seeing them on Sundays and Wednesdays. The blessing of parents and grandparents in our lives is a joy.

Though your lives and ours may be full of activities throughout the year, nothing is more important than contemplating the fact that we will live somewhere forever. Not one of us knows our last day here on earth. You may be unsure, if you were to die today, that you would go to heaven. We would love to share with you how you can know for sure you have eternal life.

Thank you for the special place you have in our lives! May your 2011 be blessed by the Lord!

With Love,

The Mieczkowski Family

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