Thursday, January 1, 2015

2014 Family Letter

Here's a belated Christmas gift for y'all - our family letter from this year...enjoy!

December 2014

Dear Loved Ones,
We pray that this letter finds you rejoicing in the goodness of God, whose steadfast love never ceases! People are often interested in hearing about what’s new in our family and what everyone is up to. Family is certainly a treasure. But is it the most important treasure? As the year draws to a close and we think about what we have treasured throughout the year, let us focus on what is truly important - our relationship with Jesus Christ. If you do not have a personal relationship with Christ, we would love to share with you at any time how you can have that assurance that you are part of the family of God.

{Jonathan - 23}
This summer, Jonathan had the opportunity to help run the congressional campaign of Tom McMillin, his boss in the State Legislature for the past two years. This made for many busy weeks for Jon (and for the family as he enlisted our help!). Although the outcome was not what we would have hoped, the lessons learned will be invaluable as Jon continues to serve the Lord in the political arena. Beginning next month, Jonathan will be working for newly-elected State Representative Lee Chatfield, who is a conservative Christian and represents part of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
Besides his full-time job in politics, Jon still enjoys being an integral part of our family, whether it be the numerous mechanical projects or just spending time with his siblings. He has also enjoyed being part of a Bible study with some friends this year as they seek to follow God’s will for their lives.

{Grace - 21}
The year 2014 has seen me continuing on with the activities of the past couple of years - lots of music, music, music! I really enjoy teaching around 30 piano and violin students each week, and it’s been a joy to see each one grow this year, not just in their musicianship but in their character. Another repeat responsibility for this year was running the Orion Chamber Music Society String Camp, where we once again set a record attendance with 110 students! More than that, we saw an incredible amount of growth in each student, and are excited for what God has in store this year. If you have string players in your family, check out the website at OCMSstringcamp.org and make plans to attend this year’s camp! It was also a privilege to be on staff at Sforzando String Camp (sfzstringcamp.org)during the summer, and to be an accompanist for the High School Festival at Bob Jones University in the fall.

{Melody - 20}
Melody has taken over most of the food preparation this year, for which we are very grateful. It’s like running a small restaurant at our home, with at least 36 meals served per day! Melody continues her studies in herbal remedies, and is the one we turn to for advice whenever we feel something “coming on”. When you have a cold, though, don’t ask for advice unless you are ready to drink a concoction of apple cider vinegar, cayenne pepper, garlic, onion, ginger, horseradish, rosemary, sage, and honey (aptly named “The Coldkicker Potion”)!
Melody took Piano Book One Suzuki teacher training in Chicago this summer, and continues to teach about 8 cello and piano students per week, and along with Anna and myself, joined the Oakland University Chamber Orchestra this year - which has been a tremendous experience! Melody is a wonderful example of Christ to all who know her.

{Joseph - 18}
I think we can safely say that this has been the most eventful year of Joseph’s life to date! At the beginning of the year, he was simply finishing up his high school work, and now he has his driver’s license, a car, a job, and a lot more life experience! Joseph worked as a crew chief during the year for Rogers Neighborhood Lawn Care, and is now working for Beckett Restoration in snow removal. Like the other two guys, he has been doing an incredible amount of work this year in mechanical repairs - even to the point of rebuilding the top end of his car’s engine! It has been good to see how the Lord has grown him throughout this year, and we look forward to what is in store for the next few years!


{Anna - 17}
In May, Anna had the opportunity to solo on violin with three different orchestras at three different concerts in three weeks! She is very grateful to God for His gifts and strives to honor Him in all she does. This year, Anna also began writing hymn arrangements for lever harp, which both fills the need for more beautiful arrangements and gives her an outlet to practice her composition skills. She is also a contributing writer to a website for harp players, and enjoys using her creative writing skills in that way. Anna is in her last year of high school, and along with various competitions and projects, she looks forward to presenting a senior recital in the spring of 2015. Check out her website for her harp at: clarityharp.weebly.com

{Caleb - 16}
Caleb is often the only son at home, and as such, is responsible for much of the maintenance that comes with a large home on 27 acres of land. Whether mowing several acres of lawn, cutting and splitting the never-ending piles of wood (there are 32 full cords ready for this winter!), or maintaining 5 vehicles, 2 quads, snowmobiles, chainsaws, logsplitters, and snowblowers, Caleb is an amazing asset to our family! One of Caleb’s newer hobbies is wood-turning, to which he was inspired by our Cousin Paul, and is in the process of buying the necessary equipment.
We are excited that Caleb was baptized and became a member of our church this year, a wonderful step as he grows into a godly young man!

{Lydia - 15}
Lydia is the organizational genius around the house - all of her personal belongings, lists, desk, and even her schoolwork are as neat as can be! Lydia also continues to be “blogmaster” on our family blog, where you can find pictures and updates on all of our activities! Check it out at mieczkowskis.blogspot.com. Lydia loves spending hours and hours playing on the piano, and she has really progressed a lot in the past year! She also loves to correspond with and make gifts for friends. We pray the Lord would continue to work in Lydia’s life this upcoming year.

{Mary - 11}
Mary is quickly growing and maturing into a sweet young lady - her maturity is apparent in her care for children, and her growth is evident by the fact that she is only a couple of inches shorter than me and shares some of my clothes and shoes! Mary officially joined the church orchestra on cello this year, and just played in her very first Christmas Cantata! She has officially been dubbed the “Chicken Lady”, as her newest responsibility has been taking care of our chickens. We are excited to see the Lord’s work in Mary’s life.

{Julia - 10}
Julia is such a sweet young lady, always looking for ways to do special things for others. There have been many times that the younger girls will make us a special treat “just because”! Julia continues to learn piano and violin, and plays in the church orchestra for Sunday evening services. She is also following in Lydia’s footsteps by spending a lot of time on the piano just for fun! Julia is also quite the computer whiz, and enjoys creating stationery and other fun things, as well as crocheting items to sell in our Etsy shop (go to heritageindustries.etsy.com). Julia said she enjoys her “Land Sakes” hot chocolate, and also informed us that birth was painful for her because she cried at the end :) It is amazing to see the growth in spiritual understanding Julia has shown this year, and we pray it will continue.

{Rebecca - 7}
The most exciting thing that happened in Rebecca’s life this year is that she trusted Christ as her Savior! She has been excited to tell others her testimony, and it has been very sweet to see her become tender to obeying God’s Word. Rebecca finished reading through the Bible for the first time in 2013, and we held a party earlier this year to celebrate that milestone. She has also started taking her own notes on sermons this year, and is a very thoughtful and attentive young lady. Lest I make her sound like a perfect little saint, I must mention that she is definitely a typical carefree 7-year-old who loves playing, crocheting, reading, playing music, and being babied... Rebecca once enlightened us as to why deviled eggs are so named: “Because they’re tempting!”

{Dad and Mom}
Our parents continue to be the fearless leaders of our crazy family, keeping us focused on the things that matter most. This phase of parenting has certainly been an adventure, with such a wide range of ages and stages. Now that we older ones are out of the home more, we have grown to greatly treasure our family time all together while it is still here, and it has also been neat to see how we can reflect on the wonderful way that our parents have raised us, even while they are in the process of training our younger siblings as well. We have grown to love being in our family even more, and there is quite an abundance of laughter each and every day! Our parents are a great example of faithfulness, as they will be celebrating their 25th anniversary in 2015! They have also continued to graciously open up our home to hundreds of guests, presenting a living picture of hospitality for us to follow. 
We are grateful to the Lord for the siblings that He has chosen to take home to be with Him before they were born - in May of this year, just 8 weeks along, little Patience joined 9 other siblings in praising God for eternity. Yet after this trial, we rejoice in the gift of another little one on the way, due August 18th!

Although the numerous individual activities already mentioned may make it sound like we all operate separately, there have been many things that we have been able to do as family this year! We were thankful to share music at several churches throughout the year. Right in the middle of a crazy summer, we celebrated Dad’s 50th birthday with a surprise party, joined by about 70 family and friends. After OCMS String Camp, Sforzando String Camp, Student Statesmanship Institute, and various other summer activities, we were very ready to get away to “the Barn” (the family cottage on Lake Ontario in Upstate New York), and were ecstatic to be able to spend a record 2 weeks on vacation there! During that time, we visited Letchworth State Park - known as the “Grand Canyon of the East” - for the first time, and spent a wonderful day of hiking on and off the trails (we love leaving the beaten path!). Our grandparents and uncles’ families continue to do well - they keep busy! Grandpa Mieczkowski had extensive shoulder surgery, and has recovered well, for which we thank the Lord.

Praying God’s richest blessings for you all in 2015!

The Mieczkowski Family - Pat, Lorie, Jonathan, Grace, Melody, Joseph, Anna, Caleb, Lydia, Mary, Julia, Rebecca, & Baby




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