Although we failed to send one last year, the tradition of an annual Christmas letter with family news updates is one we would really like to maintain—so here it is: Our 2010 Annual Report. The biggest news we have to announce is the presence of a fourth person in our family picture—due to arrive May 17, 2011. We have no further details to share at this point, but—unlike our decision with our first pregnancy—we will be finding out  the gender of this child in January. I am already catching a little bit of the “nesting bug” and intend to embark on a little bedroom swap around/remodel project as soon as we are home from our holiday trip to Knoxville.

Rodney is coming upon the completion of his third year of employment with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office. He has formed many strong friendships and still enjoys going to work (almost) every day. He has also joined the Brush Creek Ranch Advisory Board this past year and was a part of their annual review meeting in October. Brush Creek Ranch is the property Rod’s father owns in north-central Nebraska and the land upon which we have built our dream home in our minds. While the Ranch’s main enterprise is currently the rotational grazing of cattle, Rodney and his father share a vision to also incorporate hunting and other “eco-tourism” business ventures. As we have discussed these ideas over the past year, our desire to move to the ranch has grown exponentially stronger. Although a practical timetable is dependent upon many variables (especially preparing and selling our home here and securing employment there), we hope to be settled in at the ranch in time for Josiah to start kindergarten in a few short years.

In the meantime, we are all keeping ourselves plenty busy with work around the house. Our main projects this year have been redoing the landscaping in our front yard—including a beautiful water feature Rodney has expertly crafted—and completely renovating our main bathroom. We are also actively involved with a new church plant in the downtown Denver area called “The Embassy.” Our church is still very much “in the works” with an intended launch date set for September 11th, 2011.  Still, we are growing in strong relationships with the other 30 or so members of our launch team whom we have been meeting with for just over a year now and are excited to begin leading our regional Community Group this January. We have been able to do many fun and exciting things with this new church family of ours over the past year: one of the most memorable being Rodney’s participation in the Denver Rock and Roll Marathon with other Embassy members, in which they placed 19th out of 324 teams…not bad, not bad!

I am still at Denver Seminary, pursuing a Master’s Degree in Biblical Studies. Although I have been only slowing progressing as a part-time student since the arrival of Josiah, I am very near the completion of my studies. I have spent much of the past year buried in thesis work, and am excited to announce that all 132 pages (entitled “Re-Building a Proper Conception of Satan from the Hebrew Scriptures”) have been accepted and sent in to be bound. I have only my comprehensive exams to complete this February and am scheduled to graduate May 14th, 2011. The natural next question you would have for me would be “What are you going to do with your degree?” While my original intention when I began my M.A. was to continue with Ph.D. work so that I could teach at the college level, our plan to move to the ranch has dramatically altered my plans (I do not desire a long commute nor to teach correspondence or online courses which the location of the ranch would require). I am actually quite excited to be finished with my schooling so that I can focus more of my attention upon our growing family. So I guess my response to “What are you going to do with your degree?” would be that I am now going to try to pay for it. I have already started a small online business selling hand-made baby products, although I have not yet been able to devote enough time to it to really “make it happen” yet. With the energy I have put into my studies and thesis work over the past year, I hope to really get my business off the ground next summer by participating in craft shows and offering a wider selection of products in my online shop.

As you can tell from our family photo, our baby has become quite the grown up little boy. Josiah turned two this past November and is already “quite accomplished” as a two-year-old! Although he has meddled in pure disobedience and deviousness, his most powerful weapon (and he knows it) are his hugs, kisses, and the most adorable pouting face you’ve ever seen. Josiah loves Finding Nemo, pushing noisy toys around the house, and “reading” animal books. His vocabulary consists mostly of the names of farm animals, and the opportunities he has had over the past year to visit three different zoos (Denver, Lincoln, and Omaha) has been quite a highlight for him! Josiah is very excited for his new best friend and sibling to arrive. Although he doesn’t actually understand the whole “baby in mommy’s tummy” concept yet, he is very interested in and gentle with other babies and has a very social personality.

Much Love and Christmas Blessings,

Rodney, Alisha, and Josiah Keim

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