Thursday, December 23, 2010

Derek & Rebekah - Official 2010 Newsletter

Confession time... Rebekah and I haven't prepared an official "Christmas Newsletter" for several years now. If you're one of those people (and we know several) who are traditionalists and think, "What's wrong with putting a real card in the mail?", then we apologize... To the United States Postal Service - we apologize for contributing to your demise... And, to the folk at Snapfish and Kodak who wanted us to make all those nifty photo-cards - we hope you're still in business next year.

So here goes: "The News from Maul Hall, Christmas 2010"

There has been, and is, a huge amount of activity going on around the Maul household. Most of it has surfaced on my blog in some form or another, but I'm going to hit the highlights one more time. 2010 has been full, rich, exhausting, wonderful, difficult, inspirational, overwhelming, hopeful, challenging, disappointing, affirming, joyful and full with promise.

"Uh, that sounds all over the map, Derek?" Duh...! The truth is, 2010 was the kind of year that was loaded with every kind of emotion. No exaggeration. Sometimes 2010 felt like "Mr Toad's Wild Ride", except that - instead of riding in the driver's seat - we were tied to the roof just trying to hang on!

TRAVEL: Other than speaking in several states, Derek travelled to the U.K. for Linda Andrews' funeral. It was so sad to say goodbye to my cousin, but it was also a time of strengthening many vital family connections. Together, Derek and Rebekah enjoyed two epic road trips. First to the Georgia/North Carolina, and later to New England. It's always great fun to travel together.

REBEKAH (pictured being recognized at Presbytery): October marked 14 years as Senior Pastor here at First Brandon. The church has engaged this fragile economy by making the commitment to build a new Discipleship Center. Groundbreaking is January 2nd! The journey to get to this point has been, well, a trip to say the least. Rebekah also served as moderator for Tampa Bay Presbytery, and she steered the organization through the most radical reinvention in its history. Her staff at church have been wonderful, and we're so grateful that Tim Black has been on the pastoral team now for six years. It has been a "re" year in so many ways, featuring re-commitment, re-newal, re-organization, re-warding growth, re-markable faith, re-evaluation, re-invention, re-modeling and (more than enough) re-ality!

DEREK: Derek's newest book, The Unmaking of a Part-Time Christian, failed to make any noticeable impact in the Christian book market! However, he still believes it's the best book he's published to date. But the next book (Oct, 2011) is complete and in production. 2010 saw a lot of travel to speak at various churches, conferences and retreats, as well as several new writing opportunities. He is now a regular contributor for, The Tampa Tribune, The United Methodist News Service, FOCUS Magazine and The United Methodist Reporter. His work also appears in The Presbyterian Outlook, Presbyterians Today, These Days and The Upper Room. Two of his stories were featured in the Guideposts Christmas "coffee-table" book for 2010. He also teaches at Looking ahead, Derek has been booked as the keynote speaker for the National Presbyterian Men's Conference (2011) and the National Men's Gathering for the Disciples of Christ Church (2012). One more item: Derek's new blog, The Preacher's Husband, is already gaining traction. Check it out and pass it along!

ANDREW (28): Andrew completed his year in Bahrain and was excited to receive a great job offer back in Italy. The new Casa di Drew is located in a tiny Tuscan village. His travels have been too numerous to enumerate, but included most of the Mid-East, much of Europe and even North Africa. Andrew made his way to the USA twice, including a memorable Thanksgiving at home. Along the way he has worked with youth retreats and mission trips, learned the guitar, been trapped in exotic locations due to Iceland's volcanic eruption, established a growing reputation in his industry, been offered positions in Korea and Hawaii, and grown in stature as a fine Christian man of noble character. As a consequence of all this travel, he received a coveted "Gold Travel" status card that he flashes to great effect when checking in at airports worldwide.

NAOMI (26) & CRAIG have been living in Moodus, Connecticut, for almost three years now. Naomi has added a banking job to her Pier One work and is still a creative artist, while Craig continues to move forward in retail management at Stop & Shop grocery. The Campbells enjoy their rural Connecticut life together, attend a nearby UCC Church, play with their pets, and are looking forward to whatever the future may bring. Every time we visit them we are thankful for their commitment, their love, their obvious joy and their happy home.

EXTENDED FAMILY: We see Rebekah's siblings whenever we can and they're all doing well in Orlando, Jacksonville, Virginia Beach and Winston-Salem. Her step-mother, Myrt, celebrated her 80th birthday in Apopka. Our niece, Faith, lived here at Maul Hall from June through Christmas and we enjoyed her tremendously. Derek's parents, Grace and David, are enjoying good health in Sarasota. Derek's brother, Geoff (also in Sarasota), has had to take disability to fight liver cancer, so we would value your prayers for the year ahead.

CONCLUSION: Rebekah and I are blessed with a loving family, an awesome church, stimulating work, and a remarkable marriage now at 31 years and counting. We're both 54 now, and we look toward the future with hope, belief, motivation and abiding faith. Living with grace and purpose can be a demanding and challenging journey, but it's a journey brimming with abundant life... and love... and promise.

God bless you and fill you with joy!
  • Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from [people of faith] —put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:8-9)

1 comment:

Ali Hoad said...

God bless you all at this time of family and just let God guide you in the coming year, as we know so well He's in control.
Love to you all Alistaire & Kathleen Hoad