Hello friends and family!
2019 has been a pretty wonderful year. As the kids have gotten a little older and enjoyed more independence, we’ve been able to explore new and fun activities. We traveled to Nashville, Chicago (finally saw Hamilton!), and Greenville, South Carolina for three fantastic wedding celebrations, went camping at Warren Dunes, and explored many other local spaces, visiting and hosting friends on weekends as much as we could. The ladies went to NYC for a short weekend and Jeff ventured solo to Colorado and Ohio, for fun and work respectively. Our typical Friday night consisted of take out and a movie after full weeks of school, work, and activities in three different towns–Family Fun Night has become a Mastin tradition and we love it! We’ve officially lived in the Farm House longer than anywhere else in our marriage–even if you take out the spurts we’ve lived next door because of septic problems (new system going in as we write this!). As we’ve transitioned to life without babies and loving this kid phase, this year has felt like a bit of settling in. Of course the year has had rocky moments too but we’re grateful for these months of really getting to explore life together as a family.
For the holidays this year, we pray your awareness of God’s presence increases and the love of Jesus infiltrates every moment of your life. Thanks for being in our lives, friends! Merry Christmas!
JEFF (written by Maggie) || Jeff, as always, has worked hard and played hard in 2019. In February he had a much needed weekend away in Colorado with his roomies from college and he’s enjoyed learning more and more hard-core board games with our community here. He was Best Man for his brother Steve’s wedding in October (the girls were flowers girls and Cros was a ring bearer–although only in title as he wouldn’t go down the aisle!). Jeff’s work requires a lot from him (celebrated his 10 year workiversary this past May!) but he always makes time for each of the kids and me–helping out also with the farm as the only person around most of the time these days. He leads ourweekly small group and he’s pretty much awesome at it. Unfortunately allergies keep him inside May-early July but he’s hoping the time he’s been spending with a specialist will help him find some relief in 2020.
MAGGIE (written by Jeff) || Maggie is the glue that holds us all together, keeping track of the chaos that is the Mastin calendar while building in special times for all of us, whether family vacations or spontaneous kitchen dance parties. Her role at Indiana Wesleyan University has increased this year; her title is Spiritual Engagement Coordinator – mentoring students, encouraging spiritual formation, and generally making the community there more wonderful. She is in her 2nd and final year of training to be a spiritual director as she learns practices and wisdom to the benefit of so many around her. Teaching dance classes and periodic photography gigs round out her main side hustles. Retreats with cherished friends a few times per year help keep Maggie refreshed to serve so many people so well. Fun fact: this summer she read and watched the Harry Potter in its entirety for the first time. Above all, her intentionality in mothering, wife-ing or other forms of loving the rest of us regularly challenges us all to be the best versions of ourselves.
RAENA || Raena turned 7 in July and started first grade at Acacia Academy a few weeks after. She loved the pool this summer, rarely coming up for air, and has really enjoyed reading more and more although she’ll take a math or logic problem over any good story, and an opportunity to create above all else! She holds her own against Jeff in board games like Cataan and Power Grid. Unfortunately she broke her right arm in August after tripping running down a hill, making her transition to first grade pretty rough. She’s starting to find her rhythm though. The highlight of her year was seeing the Statue of Liberty in NYC when we traveled for Aunt Kelley’s bridal shower.
REIS || Sweet Reis still goes through life at her own speed–full of love and silly giggles.She turned 5 in July and LOVES attending junior kindergarten at St. John’s five mornings a week. Almost everyday she declares to be the best day ever. Dancing and drawing are a few of her favorite things, along with Barbies, games with Raena and Dad, make-believe with Crosby, and snuggling with Mom. She says the best part of her year is any time she spent with Mommy!
CROSBY || Crosby brings so much joy to our family! Most recently he’s taken to saying “silly me!” any time he purposefully–or not so purposefully–makes a “mistake” like calling his hand a foot just to make us giggle. He absolutely refuses to wear pajamas at night and never misses an opportunity to ride in the tractor or skid steer with Uncle Dooey for as long as 5 hours at a time! He’ll be three in December and we’ll probably celebrate with sausage eggs, raspberries, kefir, and ice cream–the only things he consistently eats.