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October 30, 2002.

Dear Sisters,

Our usual annual Christmas special on gift subscriptions is once again in effect until the end of this calendar year. This saves $3 on every gift subscription purchased from now until December 31, 2002. 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. The accompanying order form shows how to claim the discount.

There is a nip in the air these days. Out have come the crates of hats, mitts, boots and winter coats that were stored away last spring. David is busily working our acre vegetable garden with his home-made chisel plough, pulled by his "junk-yard" garden tractor, and spreading manure over the nicely tilled sections. The meat chickens have ceased their squawking (they are in the freezer now), our barn is getting ready to hold it's winter supply of hay and alfalfa for the cow, and the children are beginning to think about their great surprises for Christmas. (Several times a week, from at least three children, I hear, "Mom, are you going to the thrift store soon? I simply MUST go with you! I don't have even one Christmas gift purchased yet!") All is normal and well this fall on the Aardsma homestead.

I have mixed emotions as I have watched the children take down my tomato vines and tomato fences for the winter over the past weeks. I already miss those fresh tomatoes on my daily salad, but I don't miss the overflowing baskets of tomatoes waiting to be done up for the freezer!

Mothering is filled with conflicting emotions too, isn't it? Children grow up and leave the nest, going on to new ventures and vistas. This leaves a hole in our hearts, but it also makes a little more space in the house for the other children, who are already clamoring for the empty room! An older toddler gives up nursing bit by bit, until he is able to 'take it or leave it'. Oh! How it breaks our hearts to see that tender closeness of nursing gone forever. And yet, what joy to watch the child mature and go on to the next stage confident in himself and feeling that the world is a great place.

In the midst of conflicting emotions, what a peace to know that God, in overarching wisdom, has designed all of the seasons of mothering. Dear sister:

Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance. The Lord be with you all! (2 Thessalonians 3:16.)


Helen E. Aardsma

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