Merry Christmas From the Kerns Family

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Can you believe this is our 10th Christmas from Novato?!?!

As I sit down to write up our annual Christmas letter, I realized that I was struggling a little bit coming up with some new and clever material to give you a snap shot into this last year of our life.  I think the reason for the writer’s block is that on some level, nothing has changed.  It has been 10 Christmases in the same house, at the same job, with the same kids, and same dog.  (Ok, the second kid and dog came a little later, but you get the point.)  

But for as much as life on the surface seems very much the same, the truth is that we have been blessed in multiples of 10’s all year long!  This year we have had:

10 trips to the orthodontist: I love my son so very much, and I sure hope he loves me, considering he came up short in the DNA department when it comes to teeth.  But thankfully, modern orthodonture has done the trick and made his smile shine.  That took up the normal 6-7 trips you would expect.  Goofing off with some friends and flying over the handlebars of a bike, bracing his fall with his mouth necessitate the final three visits of the year.  That extra metal saved his front teeth, and his smile!

10 flights on an airplane: It is a little embarrassing how much I have traveled this year.  Because of my job, as well as some ways that I have gotten to serve our denomination, combined with some writing and speaking gigs, I  have traveled all throughout middle america, including Illinois, Tennessee, Nebraska, Texas and Alabama.   The highlight of my travel was taking my wife to Birmingham to meet up with some new friends, and go to a SEC college football game.  #wareagle

10 million words read: Despite the protest early on in his education career, Noah has embraced reading, and has taken it to the next level.   He has devoured all the Harry Potters, and several other series that I have never heard of.  With all those stories rumbling around in his head, he has started to develop some of his own and is becoming quite the writer in his own right. 

10 soccer games: That is the length of U8 soccer.  And like a champ, MacKenzie played her heart out.  In both her soccer season as well as her softball season, MacKenzie managed to be on a team of good friends. And these friendships combined with “looking cute in uniform” made these seasons such a win.  Watching my precious and sweet girl turn it on and fight for that soccer ball was pretty impressive!

10 open houses: My wife has turned on the hospitality this year.  Now that the kids are finally away from home at school and I have almost mastered putting my own clothes and towels away, Katie has decided to set some world records using our home as a staging ground for some great parties.  This year she blessed the socks off some friends with dinners, birthday parties, showers, and sleepovers!

10 surfboards: In an effort to avoid a midlife crisis, I decided to take up surfing.  Like clockwork, Thursday morning at 5:00 am as become a sacred time to head to the coast with some friends to enjoy the surf and sunrise.  But because I love being with people, I want as many people as possible to come, and so without even realizing it, I have at times, had as many as 10 surf boards in my garage.  (Just in case)  So, if you want to go out some time, just let me know.  

10 stuffies in her classroom: Following in her mother’s footsteps, MacKenzie is a born teacher.  She even opted to switch out her little cooking center for a desk and chalk board.  Every now and then, I will think to my self the house seems awfully quiet, and then I go into MacKenzie’s room only to find 10 of her stuffs sitting in rows with paper in front of them as MacKenzie teaches them math facts and disciplines the naughty ones.  

10 trips to the school:  Extending the hospitality outside the home, Katie has stepped up her game by blessing the school our kids attend.  By simply caring for our kids’ teaches, and serving as room mom, art docent, to throwing lunches and parties for the staff.  (She would of course defer to others who help, and they do)  But I am so impressed with the way that my wife continually pours out her life to bless me, our kids, and every single person she encounters.  

Reflecting back on these last 10 Christmases and this last year, I am overwhelmed with how good and gracious God has been to me and to our family.  I pray that as you reflect on your year, you too will be able to see the places where God showed up and was gracious to you and your family as well!

Love,  The Kerns Family.   (Ben, Katie, Noah, and MacKenzie)