Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Garner Christmas letter 2007

Dear family and friends,

Greetings in the Name above all names—that of Jesus Christ, our Lord! Certainly we have reason for joy this Christmas; in the fullness of time God fulfilled His promise and sent the Savior. Can it be that God planned and brought about such a redemption of His sinful people—through sending His own Son to earth to fulfill all righteousness as a man, to suffer and die in the place of the guilty, and then to rise victorious over sin and death? Oh, the mercy of God who then credits the righteousness of Jesus to those sinners who hope in Him alone!

A few days ago, we celebrated Abigail’s second birthday. The whole experience delighted her: Uncle Cabet’s (Julia’s brother Caleb) visit, candles, frosting, ice cream, and then the surprise of presents! Abigail can jump (up off the ground now) and turn summersaults and is turning into a little chatterbox. For awhile her vocabulary seemed stuck at, “Dada,” “no,” “uh-oh,” and “ruff, ruff.” But just before 20 months she started repeating words and now she’s trying to communicate all the time. Abigail counts from 2-16 (skipping 8, 13, and 15 faithfully), knows everyone’s name, loves colors and animals and especially people! She’s Mommy’s helper and imitates lots; putting in contacts, cooking for Daddy, caring for and disciplining her babies, and taking them shopping in the stroller. She is learning of Jesus and can tell you that He came as a baby, but now He’s the King in Heaven. She knows that He loves her and that He says, “Children, obey parents in Lord—This right.” She knows that He can make things better that no one else can.

Nathan’s finished five years of full-time work at the Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport and is as busy there as ever. His primary responsibility is managing the airport’s Geographic Information System. He also directs the charter handling service and occasionally fills in as an operations supervisor. He’s about a third of the way through his MBA program at BJU. We’re grateful for the opportunities and experiences God is providing through the airport.

Julia’s happy to be a full-time homemaker and mommy. Last winter/spring, Julia worked part-time from home making phone calls to a local company training new employees. However, mid-spring, we decided that babysitting is a better “job fit” for us (and provides great opportunities for Abigail to learn to interact rightly with other children).

We’re still thrilled to be part of the local body of Christ at Heritage Bible Church and love our class of seven and eight year olds. Our new Shepherding Group—made up of those who work with the children and youth—blesses us often.

We travelled a lot this year . . . to Georgia visiting Mom and Dad Garner and Nathan’s grandparents, to Tennessee to spend time with Mom and Dad Mee and family, and to Alabama to see the Talleys (Nathan’s sister Talitha, her husband Stephen and their four children—Abigail’s beloved cousins) who are now in a new home with their own land surrounding it. The first weekend in May, Julia and Abigail met Nathan in Orlando, FL after a conference and we took our first “family-of-three vacation” –two days at Sea World. We also travelled to Virginia several times for events including a 60th anniversary celebration for the Julia’s (Johnson) grandparents and a last visit with Mimi (Julia’s Grandmother Patteson) and later a memorial service for her. July 4th, we all flew to California and spent five days with our friends the Swillums. Mid-July, Julia’s sister Lydia (who, by the way, was married last spring to Tom Dever and is expecting twins next summer!) graduated from the Police Academy in Columbia. The following weekend we joined Mom and Dad Mee and clan in Charleston for a weekend at the beach and staying in KOA camping cabins.

The times in between and since have been full with work, school, Sunday school lessons, visits from friends and family and lots of babysitting (good thing Julia and Abigail love children and babies!). “Chris-is li-ights” are a delight to our little girl and her face lights up every time we turn the Christmas tree lights on. We pray that one day soon Jesus will bring a much greater joy and light to Abigail’s heart.

Our hearts are often weak and doubting and fearful as we face the questions and hurts of life on earth, but we rejoice to remember that God is mighty and that He will accomplish all His good will. We stand on the present and eternal hope of Christ Jesus’ perfect work in our stead and His loving orchestration of the details of our lives for the glory of the Father. May Jesus be your great hope and joy this Christmas! We love you.

Nathan, Julia, & Abigail Garner

Abigail's two years old! - December 10

Pictures are finally up - just two months after the fact. =) Julia's brother Caleb (Uncle Tabet to Abigail) joined us the evening of Abigail's birthday - which made it a party in Abigail's estimation. She was delighted by his company and the balloons and cupcakes and ice cream and candles and singing. Her three presents were overwhelming - we had to pull her away from the first to make her open the second (If only we'd known!). She loves her pots and pans, dollhouse, and play-doh barrel. The next morning five young friends (and mommies) came for a snowflake themed birthday party (ironic considering the mid-December 75 degree weather!). "Happy Dirthday, Abigail!" We love you and thank God for you!

November B - coming soon

Travels in November

The first days in November found us in Lynchburg, VA for Randy Beaty's funeral service. Randy was the 21-year-old second son of long-time friends who are missionaries in China and the testimony of Randy and of his family brought sweet praise to our God. We spent time with a number of friends while in the area.
Mid-way through the following week we left for Georgia and got to spend a few days with Mom and Dad Garner and to visit all of Nathan's grandparents - a real treat. Abigail loved all the spoiling from her grandparents and great-grandparents. =)
The slideshow includes a couple of pictures of Abigail with David - one of her best buddies whom we keep weekly.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Visit from Great-Grandparents

GramMee (Julia's mom) brought Abigail's Great-Granddad and Great-Grandma Johnson here for a visit October 18-21. We loved having them in our home it was great for Abigail to have time to get to know them better (than the "quick overnight for big event trips" previously).

Fun times in October

Abigail thinks it's perfectly delightful when Mommy babysits her friends! She's also becoming quite the helper in the kitchen--making "biscuits for Daddy" is her specialty. Jennie Lue's birthday (eighty something) was a highlight and for weeks afterwards, every cake or balloon prompted Abigail to say, "Happy dirthday, Jennie Lue!"

GSP Family Fun Day at Holden Park - 9/29/07

Friday, October 26, 2007

So much to learn - October 19

Granddad and Grandma Johnson and Mom (Mee) are here for a few days and soon after I put Abigail to bed last night, she started crying. I came up to check on her. It seems she was disturbed by all the commotion in her usually quite house. I talked with her about how she could listen to Great-grandma Johnson getting ready for bed and listen to the others (my brother Caleb too) talking downstairs while she fell asleep. She responded, "Listen - tummy. Listen -tummy." Huh?? She tried again, "Listen - ears? Listen -ears?" "That's right, Baby, we listen with our ears." Have you considered how much a child has to learn? =)

(Pictures later: first I have to find Abigail's hiding place for the card reader for our camera/computer.)

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


"Jumping" is Abigail's newest skill. Her practice and performance sessions are quite comical. She crouches, she springs, and. . . you can view the rest. Just for your peace of mind: she was not injured (no tears) in the second clip.

I like it

Abigail spoke her first complete sentence last week. On this silent video clip she's saying "I like it." Afterwards she expounded on the topic: "I like it - bubbles." "I like it - ice-seem (ice cream)".

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Overwhelmed with gratitude

Moments ago a far-away friend and I were communicating by e-mail. She mentioned amazement that I loved her after seeing her re-act wrongly in a situation years ago. This triggered precious remembrances for me. Can I hold a wrong against another believer when my Savior has forgiven me so much more? We fail and fall often. . . but CHRIST NEVER DID! And His righteousness is what God sees in the accounts of His children! Praise His Name! Rest in Him.

For He hath made him (Christ) to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Bedtime stories

Abigail loves stalling bedtime. When we sit down to pray with her she starts distraction tactics. "Eye-bows. Da-da. Eye-bows. Mommy. Abi-ail." One evening (a month or more ago) as we finished praying she put her hands on the sides of Mommy's head and starting "helping" me nod up and down. While I was "nodding," Abigail started saying, "Yes. Yes. Tweat [treat]. Yes." Of course, we had to chuckle at her creativity. And, of course, this encouraged her to continue.

We have no idea where she got the idea, but Abigail loves to put socks on her hands at bedtime. Several mornings I found her with bare feet and socks on her hands and so Daddy often gives her an extra pair before he says goodnight. Abigail thinks it's very funny to wave "hi" with her mittened hands. Abigail told us she was "swimming" on the counter the night this picture was taken. Who knows the mind of a toddler?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Visiting the Mees

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

First day in pig tails - she's growing up!

August 20 Abigail wore TWO (her favorite number) pony tails for the first time. Her personality and understanding of life are really coming out these days as her vocabulary increases. She talks in paragraphs of mostly one-word sentences: "Baf! Waher! Spash! Bubbles. Towwul. Da-da!" But verbs are starting to join all those nouns: Abigail says "walk, wunning, hohle (hold), dwink, hehp (help), share and obey." She's learning her colors and identifes green (learned first because of stoplights), pink, white, and yellow accurately most of the time. She loves to sit at the piano and play (if a friend or a doll will join her, all the better!). If you ask her to sing, she'll start "Je-suh wuhs. . ." and then wait for you to pick it up "the little children, all the children of the world. . . ."

Visiting the Talleys in Alabama

We spent August 10-11 with Nathan's sister Talitha and her family at their new home in Crossville, Alabama. The time together was a such a treat and of course the cousins had lots of fun. Lane is seven and had just begun second grade. Patrick just turned six and he started kindergarten the day we arrived. Laoise and Gavin are three and very funny. Abigail talks about her cousins all the time now! On the way home, we met Mom and Dad Garner for supper at Cracker Barrel.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Granddad & Grandma Johnson's 60th Anniversary

July 28th Julia's grandparents celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in Norfolk, Virginia. Congratulations, Granddad and Grandma Johnson! Well over a hundred people were present and we loved the opportunity to spend time with family members and see/meet many long time friends of our grandparents. Abigail was delighted to see her third (?) cousin Sherilan Bedogne and showered her with hugs the whole weekend. On the way home Sunday afternoon, we had a surprise (see pictures). So thankful that the Lord protected us from harm and enabled Nathan and Caleb to remedy the situation in short order!

P.S. For those who are new to blogs (like us): If you click on a slide show, the captions will appear.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Charleston family gathering - July 2007

Friday, July 20 the Mee/Patteson/Garner clan (formed July 2006) met up in Charleston for a weekend together. We stayed in KOA camping cabins and enjoyed time at the beaches (Kiawah and Folly).

Monday, July 16, 2007

Abigail's 19th month update

Dear family and friends,

Welcome to our new blog! Here’s an overview of Abigail's development the past few months.

April: Nods “yes” (after months of shaking head “no,” takes great concentration and is very comical); makes the sounds of ducks, dogs, horses, and pigs; able to eat cereal and milk with a spoon

May: Can identify many body parts (hers, then Daddy’s, then Mommy’s); flies to Orlando and starts making (her own) airplane sound (ddjjjj…); loves brushing her own teeth (and begs to use Mommy’s makeup)

June: Tries to repeat words- says mommy, juice, cheese, yes, meow, bow and bubble; attempts to climb on everything and thinks she’s big enough to walk the stairs; makes us laugh by hunting for her belly button

July: Enjoys spending four days with buddies Rose Marie (2 1/2) and Autumn (8 months); learns new words every day

Abigail's travels over the past three months include trips to: Tennessee (GramMee, Grandpa Mee and family), Florida (two day vacation at Sea World), Virginia (last visits with Great-grandmother Patteson “Mimi”, cousin Jessica’s bridal shower, Mimi’s memorial service and time with family), Kentucky (new state - visiting Mommy’s friend Rachel), Georgia (Grandddaddy and Grandmama Garner), and California (friends Lai, Brian, Rose and Autumn Swillum). Later this month we plan to help celebrate Abigail’s Great-granddad and Great-grandma Johnson’s 60th wedding anniversary.

We'll try to keep this page current. Check back whenever you like. In the meantime, we'd love to hear from you!

Nathan, Julia, and Abigail

Psalm 73:26

California - July 4-9, 2007