Writing a Christmas letter in December and looking back to January is quite a challenge, but the first thing that stands out is the Razorbacks’ horrific loss to LSU last month which knocked them out of contention for the National Championship game. It was just yesterday (last January) that Sam and Jeff flew to New Orleans to see the Hogs drop another clutch game in the Sugar Bowl against Ohio State. They were blessed with tickets by members of our church who also sent our worship leader, Cody, with them since he was an OSU fan. He didn’t rub it in too much. That was the big event for the first week of January 2011.
The first few months of 2011 were tough ones as well. Carolyn had a double mastectomy and reconstruction surgery as a result of breast cancer coming back. Boobs became a household topic and provided Jeff with an endless source of humor that helped keep things light. Sam and Adelyn were incredibly gracious and a source of encouragement during this time. We are so grateful for the continuous love and support we received from our church family here and friends and family from all over!
The early months of 2011 were spent bundled up. It’s COLD in Blacksburg during the winter, but that didn’t stop us from catching several VT basketball games! With the Hokies getting left out of the NCAA tourney for March madness, we got to see them in the first few rounds of the NIT which were hosted at VT’s Cassell Collosseum.
Sam tried out and made the JV baseball team for Blacksburg High School as an 8th grader in March. It was great experience for him. Carolyn’s brother Jeffrey came to see us in Blacksburg, but we were unsuccessful in hooking him up with any VT gals.
In April-May, we spent many a chilly afternoon at ball parks, with Adelyn engaged in softball (on top of her continued dancing and guitar lessons). Our church’s Volunteer Appreciation Dinner was western-themed, which provoked Jeff and the staff to make some insane videos. Our worship leader got bucked off a horse, and then he and Jeff performed the “My Little Buttercup” dance from The Three Amigos movie dressed in full costume. Scary. Sam took an overnight trip to DC on a field trip, and he and Carolyn planted a garden on the side of the house.
Adelyn’s dance recital was at Radford University in June, and Carolyn’s folks (Pa & Memaw) were able to join us for that extravaganza. Sam got to ump some of the younger kids’ baseball games in June-July, and we were blessed to be able to travel with a team from our church to San Sebastian, Spain. It was our first mission trip together as a family, and the Lord provided every dime we needed! The Nobles came to visit in July, and we took them all over SW Virginia where they experienced Jefferson’s Monticello, UVA campus and Abingdon’s Barter Theater. On the way to Abingdon, they learned their house had been burglarized and their TV stolen. They were good sports, and Gayle began to scheme about how to get a 3D HDTV.
We spent a week in San Angelo, TX in August at Carolyn’s family’s lakehouse. It was HOT! Even Jeff’s iPad was sweating. Temps ranged around 105-110 each day, but we drank plenty of iced tea and had a blast watching all our kids on the jet skis, fishing and card games. Carolyn’s folks were incredible hosts – there were 18 of us, including kids all together for a week. School started that month, and Adelyn began 7th grade, while Sam moved to Blacksburg High to enter 9th.
Our church exploded in August, and in the span of four weeks, we grew from one service to three services. We were so excited about God’s work in our midst. By the end of the year, Jeff had baptized almost 40 people – only one under the age of 12. Adelyn began helping lead worship for the younger kids at church, and Sam began volunteering to run the media for the worship songs for the evening service.
September-October were truly blurs. Even now, we wonder where they went. Carolyn and the kids traveled to Arkansas for a week for a doctor checkup for Carolyn (all clear), and they all got to spend time with dear friends in Monticello. Adelyn turned 12, and she got interviewed by a Roanoke TV station at school about an iPad app that VT had developed for use in schools and was featured on the news. Carolyn and Jeff went to see Bill Cosby at VT for an early birthday present for Carolyn, and they laughed their heads off. (Of course, Jeff still claims that he’s funnier.)
In November, VT quarterback Logan Thomas agreed to come share his faith story at a college outreach event our church hosted. Sam got to meet him and now really looks up to him. (Of course. Logan is 6’7″.) Carolyn continued subbing at schools. She has really enjoyed serving special needs children as an aid. Jeff did several weddings this year, and Carolyn went with him to all them. She took pictures for one of our church couples at a beautiful outdoor wedding in Pennsylvania the 2nd weekend of November. Our church partnered with a new church start in Radford, and since they needed help with worship leadership, Adelyn began helping with some other musicians from our church. We all went to Little Rock to see Jeff’s parents for Thanksgiving and enjoyed the down time. Sam and Jeff slipped down to Monticello for a day. Sam went deer hunting with our long-time friend, Jeremy Woodall. Jeff’s too-short morning was spent reminiscing with a few friends.
Snow flurries began to tease us in November, but so far, December has been relatively mild. Sam has gone hunting here with one of the Cru staffers that goes to church with us, but he hasn’t killed a deer yet. We walked in the Blacksburg Christmas parade alongside our church’s float (which won 1st place!), and we celebrated all that the year has given us – both good and challenging. Just this week, we worshipped with Shane & Shane and Phil Wickham that Northstar brought back to town for a community Christmas concert. Jeff’s sister Amy came to visit and was able to watch Adelyn perform in the Nutcracker at Burruss Hall.
It’s been a wild, wonderful, worshipful year for the Nobles. It’s been so full of experiences, and we’re amazed. This letter can’t contain our gratitude for the blessings and yes, even, the trials we’ve encountered. From cancer to Christmas, from New Orleans to Spain, from Hogs to Hokies, from pictures to baptisms and from quarterbacks to coffee shops, we have seen and testify to the vivid reality of Jesus Christ’s presence in our lives. We yearn for you and your family to experience His deepest blessings and favor this Christmas.
He is the baby given. He is the King reigning. Merry Christmas, one and all!