Monday, December 18, 2006

Christmas from the Franks

Merry Christmas from the Franks
It’s that time of year, time to reflect on 365 days of living. Usually this letter is about one big event, but this year, (which I think we’ll affectionately call the ‘Year of the Roller Coaster’), there are many events to share.

January found us frozen on the pristine prairies with the Rocky Mountains in plain sight just beyond our backyard. I was working from home for SCM, delivering the Calgary Herald and caring for Isabella each day. Nick was just as busy with classes at AUC, studying for accreditation and working full time at Sport Check selling athletic shoes. We took a refresher trip to Vibank to visit my family then returned to Calgary ready to give all our gusto to finishing the academic preparations of entering into ministry.

Early into February our energy was quickly zapped. My exhaustion was due to carrying our second child and Nick’s busy schedule began to catch up with him in the form of a physical tiredness. We also experienced a spiritual and emotional exhaustion as Nick did not pass through the accreditation process and his classes mounted in their level of difficulty. We found our zeal being replaced with disappointment and our fervor with weariness. For a few days we were knocked down and chose to do nothing but lay on the couch. Thankfully we received many kind words from family and friends and by God’s grace we continued to put one foot in front of the other trusting in His plan for us. It had been decided that Nick must complete an apprenticeship before he could become an Alliance Worker. This apprenticeship would include many academic requirements as well as mentoring by other pastors, preferably in a ministry setting.

In March Isabella turned one!

In April Nick’s parents came to visit and graduation was on the horizon. Nick got really stressed out about his final exams and did not do so well, but he passed. Three days before graduation it looked like Nick would not be receiving this accolade either. After many meetings and phone calls, much consideration and prayer it was decided that Nick could walk the stage with his class and graduate “pending requirements”. This meant that Nick must take a class over, or another class approved in the BTh curriculum, to boost his GPA at least one one hundredth of a grade point. Much confusion and frustration was evident within us. Why were so many hurdles being put in the way of Nick following God’s call on his life? I confess that I still don’t understand it, but I trust in His wisdom and His plan for us.

Somewhere in the next bit Nick approached his home church about the possibility of completing his apprenticeship under the tutelage of the pastors of his youth. From the moment that Nick first expressed this desire to me we both had a peace that we would indeed be returning to the center of the universe for the next leg of our journey. The pastors and elders at Georgetown considered Nick’s request and an invitation was extended to us to come. We eagerly accepted and moved across the country.
In July we did a four day car trip. It was long. Isabella watched Cinderella on the portable DVD player so many times that both Nick and I can quote it. We made this trip a family time with stops at the Mall of America and Comerica Park. Our arrival seemed to refresh us once again and smiles returned to our faces. It was so nice to move but have it be to
a familiar place with familiar faces.

I would describe August and September as harsh. I had forgotten about the Eastern heat and humidity. Moving across the country is not an easy feat for anyone and we had our share of unexpected “surprises”. Our movers ended up costing almost double what they estimated and our belongings arrived late due to a heat wave that cause
the moving truck’s radiator to blow. Nick’s transition into his new employment did not go as seamlessly as anticipated. There was also a miscommunication with my employer that resulted in a delay of us receiving my maternity leave benefits. Many days were spent behind our front door wondering how we would put food on the table or keep our roof over our head- and our family was about to grow again. Confusion consumed me as our bank account dipped into the red. Even though I had complete peace that we were exactly where we were supposed to be I couldn’t understand why it had to be such a hard trek.

We’d like to say a huge thank you to friends who fed us countless meals and fun times during our transition. Somehow we were not consumed by stress, worry or doubt. Each day we left our worries at the cross and enjoyed life: definitely not an accomplishment of our strength, rather a testimony to God’s grace.

In October we welcomed Brooklyn Adia to our family. Nick’s parents were in town and spent the day with Isabella while we were at the hospital. My parents and Deanna were able to visit at the end of October as well.

The dust seemed to settle a bit at the beginning of November and as we put the events of the year into perspective and consider the big picture we’re thankful that we can see up the side of the mountain from the valley. Slowly but surely we continue to take baby steps and understand that our journey is more of a marathon than a sprint.

In the new year Nick’s time will be split in many directions as he works, continues to wade through his apprenticeship requirements and lead our family. I will continue to cook and clean and plan on becoming a consultant for Creative Memories, (scrapbooking), which would allow me to bring in an income at home. Isabella and Brooklyn will keep us on our toes and melt us with their cuteness everyday.

Although this year is coming to an end I am very sure the roller coaster we’re on has only rounded it’s first loop. We’re looking forward to the blessings we’ll experience and trusting in God’s provision during the trials. Who knows what I’ll be writing about at this time next year!

Here's to family, friends, transitions, trials, and blessings.
Cheers and Happy New Year!

Nick, Amanda, Belle and Brooklyn


Jen said...

Roller coaster year indeed. I'm glad at the end of the year, you can look back on it learn something and so glad that you kept your faith.

Here's to a great 2007 for the Franks family!

Cyndi said...

AMANDA!!!! You and your daughters are SO beautiful. I'm sorry to hear about your difficult year. . . you are such a strong, amazing and resiliant woman; I know God is going to use this experience to make you even stronger. I admire you so much! I'm so glad I found you on here, you've been on my mind A LOT lately!!
Love you! Send my love to Nick too!

Michelle said...

Amanda, You look so pretty in the family picture of the 4 of you. Can you believe you have 2 children already?

Amanda Franks said...

Cyndi! Where can I get in touch with you!!!