Merry Christmas friends and family far and near!!
I don't quite remember when last we wrote but a lot has happened. Our family has been on quite a rollercoaster for the past five years. But God is so good and has blessed us in so many ways. I miss writing these letters because I not only write them to share with you but also to keep years but I'm sure the younger two won't see it the same. I will try to catch you up as briefly as momentum or our children. I'm not sure that the oldest children will forget our roller coaster possible. So what has our rollercoaster ride been like? It started when Michael bravely took a leap of faith closing his mobile car repair service and went back to school. At first, he wasn’t sure what he was going to do but after a lot of prayers, we decided that a CNA program and eventually nursing program would be a great fit. Then the birth of Mary-Anne came with some anxiety and a 12 day stay in the hospital. Wow, we were so happy to have her home! That roller coaster came at the beginning of the pregnancy especially after the loss of Peter. Our Christmas letter that year asked our friends and family to help us financially get through the rough patch. The response was overwhelming and we can't thank our friends and family enough for that help! On January 1st, 2015 our family became homeless but here are two amazing blessings! Have you ever seen a community rally! Although we didn't have a home to go to our amazing community, with two good friends Becky and Rebecca as organizers, came to help us quickly pack us up to move all of our stuff into storage. The scene was amazing young ladies with moms packing boxes and cleaning and young men and dads throwing away things we didn't need, packing a truck several times, and filling our storage unit. It took a long time to pack and a whole day of running to storage but our amazing community did it! Seriously just like in the movies! Two amazing families welcomed our family of six to stay with them. Thank you so much to the Murphy family and the Szkoda family for putting up with our rambunctious crew! We finally found housing on Mary-Anne’s first birthday 8 months after the start of our journey! As you can imagine there were many other adventures with Michael and his schooling but the next most difficult year was 2017 when Adrianne lost her Grandmother then 9 months later her father to rapid lung cancer. Her father's death was sad and sudden but in the end beautiful because he had a priest come to baptize him and give him last rights, bedside conversion at it’s best! Thank you Fr. Marc! Once again dads friends, many if Adrianne’s brother’s friends and our friends helped us with the expense of dad's death. Please continue to pray for the soul of both Paul G. Bell and Lucille M. Voutour. All of our lives have ups and downs and we know we will continue to see those ups and downs in our lives but we are so grateful to now have an RN in our family!
Michael graduated as a nurse after long and hard 4 years of nursing school. We used St Joseph of Cupertino so many times and we know he interceded for Michael during many tests. He is now working full time as a nurse in a nursing home. He loves his work and now only fixes our cars. Yes, he still runs at least one race a year often coming in third place.
Adrianne is still homeschooling all the kids except Adriana. She runs the kids' homeschool 4-H club, Homeschool Homesteaders. She also runs the kids all over the county to participate in their many activities. A few years back she fell in love with Lilla Rose Flexi clips and started to sell them for a little extra income. This year she went to California with her friend, Erin, to the Lilla Rose convention. She occasionally takes time for herself and this year she took a second trip to New York with Anne to see the sad end of their favorite band, Third Day. As usual, Adrianne loves being mom, teacher and now support to Adriana schooling.
Adriana is 14, can you believe it. She has grown into a beautiful, confident, athletic, and very mature young lady. She has learned to be a leader through our 4-H club. She shows goats in the show ring and she is a great speaker. She loves basketball and enjoys running. She most recently challenged herself and her parents to enroll her in a local Catholic classical education school where she is a freshman. She struggles academically but she loves her new school and has taken on the challenge.
James is 10 and in 5th grade. He loves all things! He is a boy's boy but still our Sweet Baby James! He also challenges himself in so many ways. He seeks out challenges. He became an altar server for the traditional Tridentine Mass a few years ago. He is a Knight of the Altar. He serves with the true love of Our Lord. We pray for his vocation often. He feels a little tug towards priesthood but also being 10 and having a beautiful soul sees himself as a dad. Please join us in prayer for his vocation, prayer he seeks God's will. Since his sister left our homeschool 4-H club he has become the president. He also shows goats and chickens and recently gave up showing pigs. He plays soccer and basketball with all his heart. He loves to learn and absolutely has an engineering mind so he focuses a lot on the math and sciences. He also loves robotics and coding.
Thomas is 8 and in second grade. This past year on the Feast of Pentecost he made his first communion. The Holy Spirit was totally present. He has also joined James at the Knights of the Altar but has not yet started serving. He still has tons of energy. Is learning to read and truly has a love for books. He also loves to play with legos and create art. He loves to teach younger children so I can see his leadership growing. He tried his hand at showing pigs this year. He loves showing goats and chickens. I can see his maturity growing.
Mary-Anne our baby is four! She is growing. She has lots of spunk coming after Thomas. She has her brothers wrapped around her fingers and is still the best gift Adriana ever received. As the youngest, she knows her way around a youtube better than any of our other children at that age. She is cute as a button and loves to spend time with her great-aunt Denise. She has a natural love of animals especially goats and dogs. She interestingly loves to be home and I say that because we are generally not home. She loves school including are homeschool Co-op. We all wait and watch to see her character.
Adrianne also posts lots of our family Adventures on Facebook. If you are not already friends with her it is a fun way to watch our family grow, https://www.facebook.com/ajniall. We wish you the Merriest of Christmases and a Blessed New Year. God bless, Michael, Adrianne, Adriana, James, Thomas, and Mary-Anne Niall
Fun crazy family picture