The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it… To all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God… And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth… From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. – John 1: 5-17
Another year has flown on by, and along the way we have seen just about every aspect of life play out:
- love in vivid exhibition,
- spectacular joys,
- outrageous blessings,
- griefs to bear,
- the “normal” ebb and flow of the day-to-day,
- a lot of hard work,
- surprises, disappointments, grace, and serendipity.
Highlights include (but are not limited to) the following (click links for more details):
- Celebrating 40 years of marriage! Wow, what a journey this has been!
- Welcoming our third grandchild into this world! “Mr. T.” is a happy, inquisitive, much-loved 4-month-old.
- Our Great Adventure to Germany, exploring Dresden, Leipzig, and then Prague.
- An epic Christmas with all of our immediate family.
- The sad goodbye to Scout Labradoodle after 13 years of unconditional love.
It has been a rich blessing to enjoy Naomi, Craig, David (8), and Beks (6) just two hours away in Richmond. They love their church and their local elementary school, where the children have excelled in first and second grade. Naomi serves as an elder at Southminster Presbyterian Church, she is a talented artist, she was a star at her job with the Credit Union, and she now majors as a rock-star mom. Craig is an increasingly valued – and in demand – asset at Trader Joe’s.
In Germany, Andrew and Alicia both work with Dresden International School and enjoy the beautiful and extremely livable Saxon capital city. Their adorable baby, “Mr. T.” is thriving, and parenthood looks very good on both of them.
My parents, Grace and David, are in relatively good health but cannot avoid some of the pitfalls of being a combined 180! I cannot stress enough how grateful we are to live next door, available to offer support during this sometimes difficult leg of their journey.
The saddest and most difficult moment of 2019 came when our loving and incredibly awesome Labradoodle – Scoutie – came to the end of her wonderful life. Our hearts are still broken; but, as in other griefs, we are grateful for the joy we had together (pics below).
REBEKAH & DEREK:
One highlight for Rebekah and Derek was/is not only celebrating forty years of this marriage adventure, but enjoying each other now more than ever. Everything worthwhile involves creativity and hard work, and being married is no exception. We have concluded that the challenge is even better than advertised! In consequence, these next thirty years or so are going to be amazing!
Rebekah is in her seventh year here as senior pastor at WFPC, where she leads a super-talented staff and a church that continues to push the envelope in terms of creative, fruitful, Christ-centered ministry. We are blessed with between 700 and 800 members, an abundance of youth, children, and young families, amazing music (both contemporary and traditional), and a campus that is pulsating with vibrant life. We can confidently say that the community of Wake Forest is significantly impacted because of the life and witness of the Presbyterian Church on Capital Boulevard.
Derek is at work on a couple of new book-length projects, busy writing for several editors and publications, on the road occasionally to speak and teach, leading an adult-ed Sunday morning class, and facilitating small groups for the men’s ministry.
A BLESSING FROM OUR HEARTS:
If you check in to this page (DerekMaul.blog) on a regular basis, you can keep up with things moving forward. In the meanwhile, and from the first chapter of John’s gospel, “from [God’s] fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.” May that – always – be your experience too.
In love, and because of love – DEREK & REBEKAH
- P.S. – This year has been a revelation in terms of realizing the power of a picture to communicate. I am still a writer at heart, but photography is increasingly important. The images below may well tell a better story than my words. Just three or four from each month. In chronological order, this is what 2019 looked like:
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.