Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas 2012 Letter

Christmas 2012

Dear Family and Friends:

What an amazing year we have had seeing good come from difficult circumstances and experiencing the faithfulness of Christ!

It was 6 a.m. on April 2nd when David discovered the back door of our home wide open and many of our electronic items gone from our family room and office. A TV, two laptop computers, two game systems, three cameras, a purse, keys, wallet, cell phone, and more were all gone in an instant while we lay fast asleep upstairs in our bedrooms. Nathaniel’s backpacking items were in the living room as he readied himself for a backpacking trip on the Appalachian Trail with the church youth group. He still made it and had a glorious time, but in an instant we became victims of a home burglary. Later, our neighbor shared the recording of the entire burglary from their home security tape which we turned over to police. But they could do nothing to catch the thief. Yes, he came – a thief in the night – and we were not prepared. Fortunately, he only took “stuff” – much of it was broken or not working. So after insurance settlements and many tears later, we discovered that God’s plan was better than anything we could imagine. Our home and car locks were replaced, and we soon discovered how the Lord gives and takes away and gives again. We could replace nearly everything except a few video tapes of the kids when they were young. More importantly, we learned many lessons about the love and comfort of the Holy Spirit, the beauty that comes from the ashes of sinful behavior of people, and how to cling tightly to Jesus and not to our earthly treasures.
Just six weeks after the burglary, we got a call on May 18th. Nathaniel was faithfully doing yard work for a friend when David received a phone call, “I’ve cut off my fingers!” David jumped in his car so quickly I could only fall on my face and cry out, “Please, Lord, help!”  Within minutes, David was at the ER (only minutes from our house) and six hours later, with the help of a world-class hand surgery center physician, Nathaniel’s fingers were repaired and months later, he was declared “healed.” God provided once again, leaving us stunned and amazed at the faithfulness of Christ to supply all that we needed and more! Nathaniel will always have the scars, but he learned a bigger lesson of trusting the Lord in the midst of trouble. Once again, we saw the mercy of the Lord and once again, we learned that our treasures in Heaven are much better than those on this earth.

We are happy to report the rest of the year was fairly dull and unexciting and we are thankful for that! 
Nathaniel indeed had an eventful year. In February, he had his Eagle Scout Court of Honor which was attended by friends and Aunt Dru who took wonderful photos of the event and family photos we will always treasure. He turned 15 in June, but was unable to attend Boy Scout camp due to his injuries. He continues to play cello and guitar, playing in two bands at church one of which he leads. Homeschooling is going very well and he remains active in Boy Scouts and Awana. He earned two Eagle Palms this year – additional awards Eagle Scouts earn for completing merit badges and staying active in their Troop. He serves as Assistant Senior Patrol Leader and looks for opportunities to hone his leadership skills. With the encouragement of a friend, he learned to swing dance and helps with nursery duty at church. A hard worker, he made enough money to invest in a new electric guitar and iPhone this year. Nathaniel’s biggest accomplishment came in October when he cycled 195 miles in three days across Indiana with his Boy Scout Troop. Using David’s 1970’s road bike, he biked all of those miles without hitching a ride on the sag wagon that followed along. 

Joshua, 13, was hit the hardest by the burglary. He lost all of his Xbox games, two gaming systems, gaming accessories, and a computer screen. He had gone to bed only a half hour before the burglary occurred and we are thankful he was not harmed. He never complained and made us all proud as he waited patiently to have most of the loss restored, including new games, new Xbox, and an HD TV instead of a broken computer screen! Joshua is doing well in school, but has discovered his internal clock runs best later in the day. Joshua, almost as tall as his dad, is growing up to be a charming young man with a great sense of humor. He enjoys Boy Scouts, became a member of Order of the Arrow, and gained Star Scout rank this year. Joshua loves camping and never misses an opportunity to sleep outdoors in a tent! He attended summer camp and earned his Shot Gun Shooting merit badge, scoring 23 out of 25 shots! He has discovered his love of American history this year and loves to study battles and wars in particular. Earning his Meritorious Award in May, he started his 10th year of Awana in August!

David’s business endeavors are going well, as we celebrated our fifth year of self-employment in November, adding one new client this year. We are so thankful that the Lord has allowed him to continue building his business despite the economic slowdown. He works long and often strange hours, but his clients appreciate his dedication as he helps other small businesses work better and smarter. He and Camille co-lead the high school Awana club called Journey. We are humbled by our new “calling” to minister to high schoolers and find it both challenging and inspiring.
Camille continues to manage the household: cleaning the house and clothes, planning and preparing meals, and keeping the home school schedule on track. After a year of testing four different washers and dryers, we finally settled on the one to purchase – a Maytag top loading washer with all the bells and whistles. Happy with the new appliances, the only disappointment is that the clothes do not fold themselves and put themselves back into the dressers and closets! Camille’s sister, Pam, planned a family reunion in July which we were blessed to attend. It was a huge success and fun to see so many family members. We camped two nights at a wonderful campground and had a great time! Friends Jack and Tonya Johnson stopped in for a visit and we gave them a tour of the city. Camille always looks forward to Pam and Tim’s annual visit to Indy and this year was fun as we stumbled upon a free concert in the Artsgarden downtown. It definitely put us in the Christmas spirit and, while always too infrequent, family and friends are always welcomed to visit.
Three of us received our first aid, CPR, and AED certification this year. David and Camille were “camp cooks” for the weekend biking trip across Indiana. We made and delivered two healthy and hot dinners to the troop members when they finished biking for the day. While cooking is a fun hobby, we finally put to rest any aspirations of opening our own cafĂ©!
We celebrated Thanksgiving with our special needs friend Susie McCloud again this year. She has no family, so we’ve made her a part of ours. As the year winds down, we will celebrate Christmas Eve with our neighbor singing carols and fellowshipping with a meal and snacks. We are definitely dreaming of a white Christmas and more snow this winter than we had last year.
As we close 2012, our prayer for you is the same as Paul prayed for the church in Ephesus: 

…that He (Christ) would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. – Ephesians 3:16-19
Wishing you a most blessed Christmas and a happy year to come!

The Cantwell Family
 David, Camille, Nathaniel, & Joshua

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