Dear Friends,

According to the Chinese Zodiac Calendar (at least Google’s rendition thereof), the next “Year of the Dog” is not scheduled until 2030. But we didn’t want to wait that long, so Christmas came early and the fifth member of our family – Rookie the Smiling Corgi – arrived in August!

Lawson is now a freshman at Auburn University (War Eagle!) studying professional flight. Before leaving for college, Brad was the inaugural passenger on Lawson’s first fully independent flight. They flew to a NC airport with its own BBQ pit. Sallie was relieved when they made it home safe. Lawson is doing well at Auburn, even with a flight lab that requires him to be at the airport at 5am on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. That means Lawson is starting his day when most college students are finishing their night before.

Marshall is a junior at Voyager Academy. Baseball is still his passion but the puppy and Poppy, his girlfriend, are vying hard to overtake first place in his heart. Voyager High School made it to the semifinals of the North Carolina 1A state championships last year and has the talent returning to compete for a state championship this year and next. Career and college choices are unclear for Marshall right now, so you can pray for the angst this creates for Sallie’s mama planning heart.

Rookie’s arrival into our family was decided within 24 hours of Lawson leaving for Auburn, just in case you’re wondering how long it took Sallie to break and agree we needed a dog. Rookie enjoys long walks in the woods, belly rubs, and whatever edible delicacies happen to be on his humans’ plate. On the occasion that he goes to work with Brad, his code name is “Serotonin” because he’s better at cheering people up than Brad is.

Sallie, after one year as a 5th grade science teacher got promoted and is now a high school history teacher at Voyager Academy. Any of you who know Sallie, know her more natural habitat is with high school students rather than 5th graders (of whom she affectionately refers to as moody teenagers who never get sleepy… as usual, she’s not wrong).

Brad double-downed on his nerd-dom by publishing two books this year, Mobilizing Church-Based Counseling and Facilitating Counseling Groups with New Growth Press. Now that he is fully retired from little league coaching, he had to spend his free time doing something other than trying to entertain Sallie in her non-existent free time as a full-time teacher.

We hope that regardless of what 2024 brings, you find joy in pursuing the things you are passionate about. Christmas and New Years are a time when we look back, with reflections like this letter, and look ahead. Pray for us as we pray for you that we will be faithful stewards of the opportunities and abilities that God gives in the coming year.

We are grateful for you, your friendship, and the unique role each of you have played in the life of our family. Our prayer is that this Christmas you will experience the power, peace, and joy of Immanuel – God with us (Matthew 1:23) – and multiply that hope by sharing it with others.

Merry Christmas!
The Hambrick Family