Lily is 15 and in grade 10. She is involved with a few school clubs and working hard in all her classes to stay on the honour roll. She attends Youth group and regularly invites her classmates along. Lily is still an avid knitter and movie/show watcher. Downton Abbey, Dr.Quinn, and Heartland are among her favourites. She likes Family Studies courses best, especially child studies, cooking and baking. Lily passed her Bronze Medallion this fall and will likely be studying hard for her drivers test next year!
Russ is 14 and in grade 9 at the same high school as Lily. They ride their bikes together and will continue to until the snow comes. Russ has been faithfully delivering the Brampton Guardian for over 2 years and is appreciated by the neighbours, as he scooters his way around the street delivering. He attends Youth Group with Lily and his cousins and likes all things Minecraft. He is our go-to guy for everything technical we need help with. Russ loves playing hockey for the Brampton Bears and is doing well on defence. He loves dirt biking with Kirk and their buddies.
Russ, Lily, Audrey & Annie
Audrey & Annie are 12 and in grade 7 in the same contained ASD/DD (Autism Spectrum Disorder/Developmental Delayed) classroom they were in last year. The same teachers, TAs, bus driver and bus attendant made September an easy transition. They both got to attend Kids Camp at Lakeshore Pentecostal Camp (LPC), (where we have our cottage), this summer. We hired 2 respite workers from home and brought them with us to camp. LPC accommodated them and they took the girls to the kid’s camp activities and services as much as possible. It was a wonderful week for all of us.
Seizure control has been challenging as usual, and the girl’s growth and developmental changes that come with being adolescents have impacted them, as expected. Annie was hospitalized in May 2014 for 5 days due to her having 30-40 seizures per day and much aggression, as a result. We felt like we had been to seizure-management boot camp, and although it was a turbulent experience, we learned how better to manage these episodes. There are still meltdowns and frustrations and Annie needs to nap daily, but we are managing.
Audrey is in the choir this year at school and loves to practice at school and at home with her iPad. She is almost too big to stand on the bay window, where she often rehearses, curtains and all! She loves singing and dancing and reciting familiar phrases from shows she loves. Audrey hates tooth brushing, is fearful of dogs and still pretty sly about getting the iPad Annie has.
Annie loves her reflection and is quite chatty these days. She made her way onto the stage during the Pastor’s sermon a few months ago, as she was quite taken with her own reflection in the drum set, plexiglass cage. The pastor simply said, “Welcome to the Stage!” Annie still nicknames people and imitates very well, to the point we are not sure if it’s her or the thing/person she’s imitating! She loves music too and reciting her memory verses the girls learn at Pioneer Clubs on Wednesday nights at church. iPads truly are teaching language.
Kirk is still working hard at firefighting and running Fire and Ice Heating and Cooling. He is also great about taking care of all the stuff here at our home and being my partner in raising tweens and teens. He tries to get to shinny hockey with the fire guys and hopes to hit the slopes with the 2 eldest this winter, should it ever snow!
I am busy keeping our home as usual, among other things… I graduated with my Bachelor of Theology in April and have just completed my first 2 of 10 courses for my Masters in Disability (online). I am speaking more regularly and had the opportunity to be a guest lecturer at Masters College and Seminary this fall. I had an article published in alliance.ca Magazine (spring 2014), and in Testimony magazine (July/August 2015). I am excited to see where the Lord is leading and trust that I am on the right track.
As we continue to walk this journey of raising twins with special needs and two teenagers, working hard to provide for our family, as well as seeking to do whatever God has for us to do, we are constantly faced with choices and decisions in the midst of it all. Sometimes we are overwhelmed. It’s in those moments when we look up and remember Jesus, and the gift He was and is for the world. That through Jesus all people have a way back to God. We find comfort in knowing that God loves us. We are strengthened by His Spirit and take courage when things seem impossible. We keep following Jesus, because: He is the “wonder of Christmas” and the “the way the truth and the life” (John 14:1), all year round.
May God bless you in unexpected ways and use you to be an unexpected blessing in the life of someone else both at Christmas and throughout 2016.
With love, Andrea, Kirk, Lily’s, Russ, Audrey & Annie Foster
“And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:10-12)