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December 31, 2002.

Dear Sisters,

I can't believe we have completed eight years of The Mother's Companion! And what an exciting adventure it has been. Gerald and I look forward to continuing the relationship of our family to yours through The Mother's Companion in 2003.

As I write it is Christmas Eve day, and Jennifer and Steve and grandsons from Virginia are expected to arrive, sometime in the next 8 hours. I'm getting more hyper as the minutes pass. The house smells like Sani-Sol, M & M cookies, and stuffing all at the same time! I kinda' like the smell myself. It means my house is getting scrubbed clean and the cooking is getting accomplished.

Only big families who have experienced the stomach-flu all at the same time can really relate to: line-ups for the one-and-only bathroom, crying children with stomach cramps, loss of sleep for several days and nights running, cracker crumbs and more cups of old soda than I can count, and unbelievable laundry loads of towels, sheets, and bedspreads. Gerald aptly described our recent illness as 'our night of terror!'

Well, we are all thankful it happened a few days before Christmas and not on Christmas Day. We are also thankful that stomach flu is an illness that has a short duration. And I'm especially thankful for automatic, electric washing machines and fast, electric dryers!

As we begin 2003, let us remember God's goodness to us in the midst of all the trials, be it never-ending laundry, financial troubles, critical relatives, vehicle breakdowns, serious illness... or even stomach flu. And while we are at it let us remember God's goodness in the past: the abundant garden produce, the laughing, barefoot children playing in the spring puddles, a many good night's sleep, a full freezer, a heart-felt thank you, a teenager's hug, a new insight into Scripture, clean, sun-dried sheets, fresh, soft, warm mozerella cheese and cars that start up when eight of us are loaded up to go shopping.

Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth. Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before Him with joyful singing...Give thanks to Him; bless His name.
(Psalm 100: 1--2, 4--5. NASB)


Helen E. Aardsma

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