Blessings of Christmas cheer and good health to all!
The Phillips family is doing well and stays amazed at God’s goodness and faithfulness in our lives.
“Amazed” is definitely this year’s defining word for us. If we look at our financial numbers, it is truly astonishing how we are able to meet all our obligations during the extended times when Russ’ consulting contracts are almost non-existent. The absence of the source of worldly wealth showed us the presence of the source of true wealth....God's amazing power and priceless, loving grace.
God's amazing grace blessed us with an ever responsible and caring eldest son. Phil is our family's saving grace as he selfishly and lovingly provides financial support as needed. He is also a great eldest brother to his siblings providing quiet encouragement to Immanuel at work, making sure that Ian (our family's picky eater) has food to eat, and assisting Isabella as needed in her home schooling.
Another amazing grace this year is Immanuel’s promotion at Experts Exchange in San Luis Obispo, CA, from internship to full-fledged Systems Administrator. He traveled to Virginia in August to upgrade and maintain the system configuration that his brother, Phil, had initiated in 2009. And as in Ephesians 3:20, “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,” Immanuel is blessed to lead a project at work that successfully launched dRACKula (Datacenter RACK Utilization and Locator Application) appropriately on Halloween. (article available here)
As for our third son, Ian, he is now in his third year at Cal Poly as a Business major with concentration on Information Systems. He continues to be the sweet son that he is, calling his mom every so often in between classes and giving foot massages whenever Mom's foot “aliens” attack. He also enjoys giving “tickle fights” to his mom and sister when he visits.
Another amazement started right at the beginning of 2012 when God opened the door to our long-time thought of home schooling Isabella. The idea of home schooling had been on our mind ever since Isabella started showing a real passion for dance (around 2008), God allowed a negative situation (a girl from her class picked a fight) to serve as the trigger spurring us to enroll her in home school in which she has flourished even more as a scholar. It is another testament to Romans 8:28 that “all things work for good”.
As for travel this year, we spent one week in Orlando in June before Isabella’s 3-week summer program at San Francisco Ballet School. She is now in Level 6 (8 levels in total) and is the youngest in her class. This year, she performs as one of the four dragonflies in the San Francisco Ballet Nutcracker production, her 4th season appearing in this world-famous production. Isabella’s blessed spirit to see the good in everything, gives her the ability to stay happy and positive throughout the “drama” inherent in the world of dance. It gives us so much peace of mind as parents knowing our children can amazingly handle any seeming disappointment and grasp the truth that all things work for good.
We are truly overwhelmed and ever so grateful for God’s amazing grace. It is our Christmas prayer that you come to really know God and His amazing love and receive His joy and peace that passes all understanding. Have a very Merry Christmas and an amazing New Year!
Russ, Imelda, Phil, Immanuel, Ian, and Isabella