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October 31, 2001.

Dear Sisters,

The children are outside playing in their bare feet as I write on this surprisingly lovely late fall day. I'm afraid this weather won't last long. Soon we'll be using chap stick on our dry lips, and picking up toys in the house all day long. But (hurrah, hurrah) we'll also soon be preparing to get together with friends and family for holiday celebrations. I'm so looking forward to having Jennifer, Steve and Joshua home for Christmas!

David (14) is working hard on the addition to our home so we can have it insulated and (we hope) ready to house all our guests for the holidays. I'm so thankful to see the addition being worked on again at long last---the garden and various mechanical repair jobs took up all of David's work time this summer. Each little bit of progress on the addition is exciting; I now have lights in my kitchen extension!

I've been garage-sale and thrift-store shopping since the beginning of the summer, getting ready for Christmas. With fifteen people to shop for, my closets are bulging. I plan to 'wrap' the gifts in pretty bags this year, to save time. I do love the anticipation of giving all these gifts to my dear family. Now if I can just keep myself from saying, "Can you believe I only paid...'' all Christmas morning.

Speaking of Christmas, our usual Christmas special on gift subscriptions is once again in effect until the end of this calendar year. This lets you save $3 on every gift subscription you order from now until December 31, 2001. Please note that this offer is restricted to new subscriptions only, but any number of new gift subscriptions may be ordered at this special price---simply attach your list.

Now here's a closing thought for this wonderful, busy time of year. Mary was priviledged to be chosen to become the mother of Jesus. But God did not force the responsibility of mothering the Messiah on Mary. He sent His angel, Gabriel, to announce His intention. Whether or not Mary would take up this duty, sacrificing her own plans and interests for the sake of her Heavenly Father's program, was entirely up to Mary.

We are priviledged women too, called by God to the responsibility of raising the next generation for Him. What we will do with this responsibility is up to us. As we daily fulfill our duties in our homes, sacrificing our own plans and interests again and again for the sake of those God has placed in our care, we identify ourselves with Mary who said:

Behold, the bondslave of the Lord...(Luke 1:38, NASB.)


Helen E. Aardsma

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