C H R I S T M A S
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Vaughn’s Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
Merry Christmas This has been a good year. Our family is so blessed. A day does not pass without a reminder of the blessings of family, friends, work, education, worship, ministry, and so much more. By the time you read this, the winter solstice has passed. Summer is just around the corner, but our thoughts are directed toward this holiday that looms directly on our doorstep. Christmas is here. Our prayer for you this advent season is that you will experience God’s blessing in a unique and powerful way. May the God of creation, the Lord of life, and the Spirit who guides us all touch your heart and life as you celebrate Christ’s birth.
Our Children Are Growing! Only a few short years ago Lisa lay pregnant and in labor—all day long. Early that spring evening in1990 Sarai was birthed. Five years later Rebekah joined our family. In 2006 we were blessed with Benjamin. He is such a joy to us all. You see him holding his Halloween pumpkin in the photo above. As I write, he is bouncing and chasing a ball. Scripture speaks wisely when it says: Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him. Psalm 127:3. We are truly blessed!
What happened in 2011? Ken Vaughn
September Col. Kenneth Vaughn, my brother, returned from Afghanistan.
September My work for Ignite, CBF youth curriculum, was published!
October I attended the Crossroads Writers Conference in Macon, Georgia.
Memories from 2011 There are so many memories that I will treasure forever. Many memories were made this year. Here are a few.
Fall Celebration at the Torrance Farm Community Baptist Church, our faith community in Milledgeville, had its annual Fall Celebration at the Torrance Farm again this year. The children experienced a very special treat. In the top photograph, you see Benjamin takes his turn feeding this young calf. Young and old had a great night of food, fellowship, and a story about a warm fuzzy told by Charles Burrell.
Camping at Fort Mountain State Park
Sarai is a Senior at GC&SU!
Our family enjoyed camping at Fort Mountain State Park located between Chatsworth and Ellijay. We were there in September just before the peak of God’s annual finger-painting the mountain leaves. The weather was gorgeous. Our family enjoyed telling stories around the campfire. We had fun making memories.
Sarai has proved that hard work pays off. We are so proud of what she has accomplished. She has reached senior status at GC&SU. This next spring semester will finish her work toward her undergraduate degree in biology. Next fall she will enter nursing school. I’m confident that she will do exceptionally well. Lisa and I are so proud of her and expect great things.
Bekah Enjoys School Activities Rebekah is enjoying the eleventh grade. Lisa and I are proud of our youngest daughter. She is so focused on her faith and is working hard to maintain focus on some difficult academic subjects at JMA. One night she recently announced, “I have decided what I want to do. I want to teach high school English.” Well I’ll tell you one thing. Rebekah will make a wonderful teacher. Those children will be fortunate to have this bright girl guiding them. 2
Enjoy life! It is a gift from the One who makes each day, blesses it, and gives it to us. Dr. John Claypool told us. It took me a while to understand the full impact of those words. Life is a gift. I am still learning from his wisdom.
things really have nothing to do with the eternal Christ child. You do not need an app to count the real blessings of life. Look around you. Start counting the simple things, sleep, food, shelter, and then remember those you love and who love you. Finish your meditation on blessings by reflecting on the Christ. When you think about it, there really is a lot to be thankful for.
We are constantly graced with gifts from above. An old-time favorite hymn prompts us to “Count them one by one.” This year, I would suggest that we spend time reflecting on the gifts we’ve been given by God rather than the gifts we give and receive on Christmas morning. Everything that sits under your tree will one day end up in the county landfill or on a yard sale table—unless you lose it first. This cultural phenomenon we call Christmas is a grand demonstration of our temporal existence. These
Times can be good or bad. They may even be happy or sad. One thing I know is that there is much to be thankful for. Enjoy the gift of life.
Almost Famous Pumpkin Cheesecake This is one delicious holiday dessert. It is sure to please everyone! http://www.foodnetwor k.com/recipes/foodnetwork-kitchens/almostfamous-pumpkincheesecakerecipe2/index.html
The “Almost Famous Pumpkin Cheesecake” recipe can be found on the Food Network web site. (The link is given at the left.) I made this one for our Sunday school class Christmas party. It was delightful. There was none left to bring home.
Advent! Prepare the way of the Lord. impress you; however, Dr. J. was a part of The First Westminster Company. This group of ten learned men was responsible for translating the first twelve books of the Old Testament from their ancient languages into English. The result was The Authorized Version of the King James Bible published in March 1611.
So much has happened this year that it is very difficult to tell it all without writing a book. The real truth is that there is the added difficulty of remembering all the details. Heck, I’ve slept since then. :D This year started in Mexico when I was tasked with opening a factory in Nuevo Laredo. In August of 2010 we signed a lease on a building. In December our team of employees in Nuevo Laredo were producing high-quality parts for our two Mexico customers. I spent the first two weeks of this year at our new location just tying up some loose ends and was very excited at the progress our team made.
John Layfield was educated at Merchant Taylor’s School. Later he became a Fellow at Trinity College, Cambridge from 1585-1603. His early years in the school in London were rigorous academically. Hebrew, Latin, and Greek were an integral part of the curriculum. It was during this period of learning he became a Greek scholar—and kids complain about the difficulty of school today.
I wish that the entire year was as good as that, but as we all know, things can’t be perfect all the time. Lisa’s Uncle Richard has had four hip surgeries this year. He’s spent a considerable amount of time recovering from one complication after another. Ken, my younger brother, left for Afghanistan in April, but he returned in September due to a non-combat related injury. Recently he had surgery to correct a herniated disk. Lisa’s mom had a pacemaker put in only a couple of weeks back. All three are healing nicely. We praise God for the life and health we are given.
John served as chaplain to the Earl of Cumberland in 1598 while on a voyage to Puerto Rico. Their mission was to fight the Spanish; however, John fell in love with the beautiful Caribbean’s sights and sounds. Later, as he worked on the translation committee for King James, he would have drawn from his experiences in Puerto Rico’s lush Eden-like garden when he helped write these words. And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food: the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. And a river went out of Eden to water the garden. (God’s Secretaries, page 104).
Dad turned 77 in July. A large number of friends turned out at the First Baptist Church in Eastman for a surprise party. Rebekah turned 16. We all know how big a deal this can be for a young lady. I do hope she has many years ahead of her. Perhaps one day she will be 77, and will enjoy a surprise birthday bash.
God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things. In what extraordinary ways will God use you during this upcoming year? Consider that thought during this Advent season. Prepare the way of the Lord. Make straight his paths.
We discovered a bit of good news for Lisa. Her great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather was Dr. John Layfield. That much may not 4
Happy New Year Our closing prayer is that you will encounter Christ in the ordinary and everyday circumstances of this gift weâ€™re given, which we call life. We are a chosen and royal people of God who are called to share the gospel with the people we meet each and every day. God has appointed you for a purpose. Find it and live it.
Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth, peace and good will toward humanity.
Keith, Lisa, Sarai, Rebekah, and Benjamin Milledgeville, Georgia 31061