Dear friends and family,
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
We are reminded once again how thankful we are for each of you, near and far, and we want to let you know our great strides towards maturity we have made 2016.
MaryKate turned a golden 7 this fall,
and she loves piano, soccer, gymnastics, needlepoint, and misplacing her brothers’ nerf guns in her own secret hiding places. Her dream came true when she lost her first tooth this summer as our family surrounded her in cheers. This school year in first grade she has been busy making new friends and keeping up with old ones, usually in a dogpile-group-hug in the parent pick up line at the end of school every day. We call her our easiest kid. She eats anything except salad with dressing and cheers happily for her siblings at any sporting event…as long as she can bring her beanie boos.
Kristiana turned 8 and began 2nd grade this fall.
She enjoys soccer, gymnastics, piano, sewing, duct tape projects, pandas, and writing poetry about her brothers and her stuffed animals. Kristiana schedules her own playdates and lets me know who we are picking up at what time. If ever I break down and make a suggestion about her outfit or hairstyle, her preference is the opposite. 🙂 When inspired, she writes and illustrates her own stories and dedicates them to lucky family members. The books she makes me are among my most valuable treasures.
Caleb is 9 ½ in 4th grade,
and he loves playing flag football, having friends over for massive nerf skirmishes, and reading star wars comics. He doesn’t always love playing piano and cello, but he sounds great on both of them, and frozen yogurt dates with mom still motivate his practice. He displays his highest form of art on his desk and shelves of his room: original lego designs. When he grows up he wants to be either “a really good math teacher like Mr. Bush” or “a lego master-builder” who designs the creations in front of the lego store at Mall of America.
Gabriel turned 11 this fall and is in 5th grade,
his last year in elementary school. He tried out tackle football this fall playing defensive end for his team, and there is no end in sight. Gabe also loves reading adventure series, flipping water bottles, dabbing, inviting friends over for nerf battles, and cooking pancakes for the family on Sunday morning. Just when I am content with our google background, he changes it to Darth Vader. Over a good snack after school, Gabe still tells me all his highs and lows and lots of details in between. Unfortunately he now notices when I wear my Minnesota sweatshirt three days in a row. He is readier than we are for middle school.
Then we have Batgirl and Panda, our feline family members who sometimes get along and sometimes fight like cats. We squirt them in the face with water when they fight, and we give them treats when they don’t even deserve it. Our kids now regularly experience the heartache of “babies” who don’t get along. But they agree, the cuddles and the cuteness are worth it.
Bjorn turned older and handsomer, and the students at Patrick Henry High School greet him with special handshakes and “‘sup, Doc?” He works hard every day spreading lots of grace. So much grace that we celebrate 15 years of marriage in January. This adventure only gets better. Apart from our family get togethers this summer, in which we gained a new brother:
…Bjorn took our family to the next level of camping (not to be confused with glamping)–Boundary Waters in extreme wind,
Rocky Mountain National Park outside of Estes Park, CO,
and North Shore boulder-hopping along Lake Superior with friends.
Our hearts are fuller from the beauty and we are pouring over our map, strategizing our next summer.
I don’t do special handshakes yet, but Kristiana and I have a few of our own steps to “Cheap Thrills.” Don’t ask, because we’ll never show you. A few of my greatest joys this year have come from hiking new trails with our family, eating food my kids have made themselves, reading great literature with students at school, and pondering new questions about God’s Story together with kids at church. I am still a child too, seeking the Kingdom of God and what it means to be a part of it.
The Kingdom of God is a seed, a grain of wheat; the Kingdom of God is a treasure in a field, it’s leaven in the bread, it’s a feast and a wedding and a party, it’s the forever way…the people of God are salt and light, a city on a hill. Kingdom of God people stay when everyone else leaves…The people of God love, they push back the darkness together, they freely give honor and dignity. They make friends. The people of God’s Kingdom come back. They learn before they teach, they listen, and they stay. I’m learning to stay. I’m learning to listen…Taste and see: we are invited to the God-with-us life. In co-creation with the Creator, you’re a namer, a maker, an altar builder, a lifter up…and you are a pilgrim, a disciple, made in the image of God; you are the one who walks with God without shame.
–Sarah Bessey, “Out of Sorts: Making Peace with an Evolving Faith”
Let’s keep wondering and listening and loving and hoping. Let’s keep entering into the mystery of Christmas: God has come to live with us. Let’s give glory to the newborn King who was and is and is to come. May God be with you, before you, behind you, beneath you, above you, on your right, on your left, when you lie down, when you sit down and when you arise in 2017.
Love, joy, peace, hugs,
The Lundgren Family
Bjorn, Sarah, Gabe, Caleb, Kristiana, and MaryKate