Greetings to our friends and family,
First, we hope this letter finds you well and enjoying this blessed Christmas Season, celebrating the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. We are thankful to report that we’re all healthy and doing well. For us, 2013 was a very busy year.
Bert started the year off at a new employer called LSI. He works with the technology known as “flash memory”. He is a statistician working amongst computer programmers. He’s said he is the one who thinks in shades of grey, while his coworkers think in black and white. He is greatly enjoying his new work, and is thankful for a good work environment. He works in the northwest part of Rochester, and has a beautiful rural drive of about 14 miles between his office and home. When the weather cooperates, he loves to ride his bike at least one way of his commute.
The job change meant we needed to move. With the help of a wonderful realtor, we found a house that fit our family well, and we moved to the lovely little historic town of Mantorville, Minnesota. The downtown has sweet stone buildings and the Zumbro River runs through it near a playground/park. Our home is near the head of a bike trail that goes through Kasson and Mantorville. It’s a nice 7 mile bike ride. We can walk the 2.5 miles to Mantorville or Kasson. We have adjusted well here, and we’re thankful for the many new friends we’ve found. It is a blessing.
There is a strong community of home school families in Dodge County, where we live, and in Rochester. We participate in both groups. One of our favorite opportunities is a hand bell choir that is large enough to cover four and a half octaves.
The girls spend Monday afternoons practicing with this group, and in December they participated in several Christmas performances in Rochester. We learned that the hand bells were developed at the time when churches would use the large church bells to call the local people to worship or make announcements of funerals and so on. The hands bells gave them the opportunity to practice their ringing without calling the entire town. The hand bells are beautiful, and it’s fun to know how dependent the entire choir is on each player. Sam, Ben and I spend time at a local park during the bell practices, finding things to do appropriate to their age and energy.
We’ve also enjoyed the new opportunity of hosting a Physical Science lab class in our home on Tuesdays. Thankfully, we’ve had no lab accidents, and our house is still standing. The girls also participate in a ministry called “Bright Lights”. It is a sweet time of fellowship with girls their ages. They sing hymns, have a short Bible study, and enjoy tea at each meeting.
The girls learned to spin yarn this year. We entered the fun hobby of working with fiber, which is really an extension of our love for knitting and other needlework. On Mother’s Day, Hannah purchased a fleece, hand washed it in small portions, and then she and Lydia turned it into lovely hand-spun yarn. We also enjoyed seeing how flax is turned into linen, and we have hopes of pursuing this a little more.
We are thankful to have found a local church where we are involved in various ministries. We’re thankful for new friends and fellowship there. Our kids are active in a youth class called A.R.K. (always reaching kids) and the Youth Group.
Sam loves to spend a fair amount of his time outdoors…pretending. We’ve had some fun this year learning more about our Celtic roots through studying Ireland. Sam’s testing out whether the traditional Aran jumper and tweed hat will hold up to Minnesota cold. It’s been impressively cold the past few weeks, staying around 0 degrees F, making the return to 20 degrees F seem like Spring. The other thing Sam loves is his younger brother, Ben. Now that Ben is 2, the action has started, wrestling and rolling.
Connie enjoys all of the busy activity with the kids’ interests. She is blessed by all of the music and fun things the kids decide to do. She makes some time for her own pursuits, and this year enjoyed learning more about shirt making and tailoring. Mostly, she’s thankful for God’s goodness to our family this year. He is our Provider.
We hope you have been blessed with God’s goodness and grace this year. We wish you a Merry Christmas and blessings in the New Year.
Bert & Connie, Hannah, Lydia, Madeline, Rachel, Sam and Ben Perry
Luke 2:11, “For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”