Wishing you all a joyous Christmas season and many blessings in the coming New Year!
Our lives have been very joy-filled in many ways this year, including the arrival of a new little bundle of joy on November 7th! Miss Harriet Frances Dodson is doing her best to be the sweetest and most adorable baby ever.
Here are a few other ways in which we have been blessed in 2014:
Margaret completed her first official year of school with flying colors and exuberantly started her 2nd grade year, attending the one day program at the classical Christian school, Ozark's Academy, and studying at home the other four days each week. Her favorite class is Art, and she daily proclaims her ambitions of being an artist. For her 7th birthday she received a book light and now stays up to all hours of the night devouring Marguerite Henry horse books. William began his official studies at home this year. He is well on his way in learning how to read and can spout off all manners of poetry, math facts and Psalms. He is scheduled to join Margaret at Ozark's Academy for the spring semester. Amelia follows in their wake and can already repeat almost all of William's assigned poems. Elissa is enjoying getting a second education as she teaches the little ones, as well as being absorbed in the never-ending studies of motherhood. Susannah plays with her dolls.
Clay and Elissa (professionally hiding under the riveting alias: “Swinging on a Gate”) enjoyed furthering their burgeoning career as local folk musicians. The Fair Grove farmer marketeers put up with them on a regular basis and even occasionally threw food at them, which the Dodsons thankfully devoured. They also broadened their scope to include the Farmers' Market of the Ozarks, the Fair Grove Heritage Festival and English Country Dances in Columbia, MO, where they joined Elissa's siblings in forming the “Deylight Country Orchestra”. They are considering quitting their day jobs. Margaret slaves away at her piano and cello on a daily basis, with an apparent love of music, and in the hopes that she will be joining her parents when they take their show on the road. She made enough progress this year that she was able to sight-read Christmas songs on the piano. Even William and Amelia are joining in and beginning to learn basic piano skills under their mother's tutelage.
There is no shortage of animals here at the Cross D. Chickens, guinea fowl, Harp the Goose, Arlo the Starling, Athos the “Guard” Dog, Mr. McElligot the fish, Peshewa the (not-so) Wild Cat, Ellie the Farm Cat, Hunca Munca & Tom Thumb the gerbils, and Buttercup the Milk Cow, not to mention the horse herd (Chico, Samson, Sackett, Fritz and, on occasion, Lady), the goldfish residing in the horse water tanks, the resident basement toads & frogs, and the random assortment of other wildlife that have been known to spend a few hours or days in the Dodson home. Elissa managed to work with the horses and teach a few riding lessons throughout the spring & summer, until the horses got a long vacation as Harriet's arrival became more imminent. In September Elissa & Clay attended a Driving Clinic where Clay spent the day driving ginormous Percherons in fancy wagons. Samson (our draft pony) continues to be oblivious to the grand plans we have for him. The children continued loving on their patient ponies and this fall Margaret and William were able to spend some fun hours riding together in the arena. Buttercup had her first calf in the spring and since then has become a sweet family milk cow, even patiently letting the children milk her. The highlight of every day for Susannah was calling up Buttercup with her father (“Buttercup! Yoo hoo!”) and would often practice for hours ahead of time in her crib.
Work & Home
Surviving the whirlwind of a home remodel was high on our list of accomplishments this year. With much outside help the main floor was completely gutted (including removing most of the interior walls) and insulation, drywall and fresh paint was installed in the new open floor plan. New kitchen shelving and a beautiful wood stove were also included in the updates. Clay continues to beautify the landscape outside with a great variety of fruit trees, bushes and gardens, and the resulting benefits and harvest are slowly starting to make themselves known. In his free time he does a great job as an Environmental Consultant at Terracon.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. – Romans 15:13