Deuteronomy 6:5-9

"You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Merry Christmas from the Mangum family

Merry Christmas!                                                                                                                                                  
We hope this letter finds you full of joy as we look forward to the coming of our Lord. 2013 is quickly coming to an end. This year has been full of many emotions for the Mangum family. We welcomed a new nephew to the family, lost a friend due to cancer, adopted our girls, and lost our grandfather. Through all of this, our God has remained faithful.

The most exciting news, our adoption has been finalized! Aaliyah and Naomi have been decreed by the courts, “Adopted for Life.” This has been an amazing process and God’s presence has been constant. The girls have been issued new birth certificates, which only add to that sense of permanency. We are reminded of the scriptures and the entire reason for Christ’s coming. To adopt us into the family of God. Our sin, which once separated us from God, has been washed away. We’ve been bought by the precious blood of our Savior. Just the same, our girls are now in our family. They have been rescued from a life that was not ideal for a child. By God’s grace, they will grow up to know Him and have an opportunity to follow Him.

Martie is still pastoring Parkwood Baptist Church. This is our eighth year.  Life at PBC has had its challenges, but we are hopeful God will build His Church. Martie started back hunting, but has not had any success. Most of all he enjoys the time alone with God & His creation, but desperately would like to bring home a deer to his eager children. Every time he returns home the children run to the door or windows to see if he has a deer.

Heather stays home with the children each day teaching them about the Lord and the world He has made. Along with the normal chores of daily life, Heather also directs our homeschool community. Classical Conversations has been a blessing to our family for 7 years now.  Heather is desperately missing our garden and has talked about cutting several trees down so we could have another one.

Taylor turned 16 this November and is in the 10th grade. She is excelling in school and loves attending her Challenge II class each week. Thankfully, she is motivated and self-driven. She swims with a swim team weekly, and most recently started serving as a prosecuting attorney with Teen Court in Durham. Taylor has grown into a beautiful and responsible young lady. We praise God for her love and relationship with Him. She is also an excellent big sister. Each sibling loves taking turns riding in her car, helping her in the kitchen, and camping out on the floor in her bedroom.

Aaliyah is 10 and in the 5th grade. She is a bright and loving young lady. She loves to care for her younger siblings, play games with the others, and help Taylor cook. She and Taylor also like to sing and dance while cleaning the kitchen. We are learning lots about Aaliyah. She has a condition called, Marfan syndrome. Thankfully, with medicine and a watchful lifestyle she’ll be okay.  Marfan is the reason she is tall, needs glasses, and has an enlarged aorta. She can’t participate in competitive sports. However, this sweet and full of energy girl hasn’t let anything stop her. She swims weekly with Blue Dophins Aquatics. She also loves going to her Foundations and Essentials class weekly at Classical Conversations. She is zipping through her academics and is proving to be self-motivated also. She’s probably most excited about learning to write in cursive this year.

Ethan will be turning 9 on December 28th and is in the 3rd grade. Ethan is a natural leader. He will be the one organizing the games and letting everyone know their place. He loves playing spy, reading history, and aggravating his sisters. He likes things organized and always has a plan. During school he wants to get his notebook and books and get his work done. He understands the quicker you get your work finished, you can move on to more fun things. He loves camouflage and wears it almost daily. He also loves to pick out Seth’s outfits each morning.

Naomi is 7 and in the 2nd grade. She has a huge smile that lights up her whole face. She loves fashion, hair, and anything girly. Tabitha and Naomi share a room and are truly inseparable. Recently they traded beds and closet space. Naomi has made huge progress with her school work. Excitedly she now exclaims, “I can read!” We’re starting to slow down a bit as we’re seeing some areas she needs to keep working. Naomi’s giggle is contagious. Heather takes all the kids, except Taylor, to watch Naomi practice gymnastics each week. We are pretty sure she likes the attention.

Andrew is 7 and in the 2nd grade. He is basically Martie’s little clone. This boy loves to be outside admiring God’s creation, chasing squirrels, climbing trees… He is completely content playing by himself and is easy to get along with. School is a bit more challenging for all the above reasons. Heather has taken him outside to do work some, but then he gets distracted. We are thankful to be able to keep him home and encourage him through his studies. Although his nickname is Bam Bam, he is super gentle. Each morning he has to have cuddle time.

Tabitha is 5 and in kindergarten. Smart, silly, girly, giggly, and mature! Tabitha has always been very driven when it comes to academics. She can also hang with her older siblings in any fun creative game. She is learning to read, add, and subtract. Most often she is working alongside of Andrew and Naomi. Tabitha is self-proclaimed, “Taylor’s girl,” although there’s an ongoing battle to steal her away. Tabitha loves attending ballet each Wednesday with Ms. Jessica. She’s often been caught twirling around the house in her own little world.

Carissa is 3 and participating wherever she can in school. Carissa is Andrew’s sidekick and has been given the nickname, Pebbles. She likes to try and call the shots, which is why she still is not potty trained. She is also very content playing in her room with dolls and other toys right by herself.

Seth will be 2 on January 5th. This boy is into everything! He has to be the most loved on baby, ever. By Tabitha and Carissa you might hear him called, “Sethy.” He pretty much sticks close to Heather throughout the day. You might find him, rummaging through the kitchen cabinets, grabbing books off the book shelf, or playing with many toys. Because of Carissa, he now loves Dora the Explorer.  He is also being potty trained, and surprisingly excited about it! His favorite songs are, The Itsy Bitsy Spider, Bringing Home My Baby Bumblebee, Ten little Indians, and Jesus Loves Me.

During this season we are focusing on the “Good news of great joy which is for all people” as declared by the angel to be the Savior who was born and is both Lord and Christ. We hope that you too will spend time reflecting on Jesus who came to “Save His people from their sins.” He is our life and hope. We are looking back on 2013 and giving thanks to Him for all He has done while looking forward knowing He is still at work completing the good work He started in each of our hearts.

May God fill you all with Grace and Peace,
The Mangum Family

(Martie, Heather, Taylor, Aaliyah, Ethan, Naomi, Andrew, Tabitha, Carissa, and Seth)