Merry Christmas and
Happy New Year!!!

Dear friends & family,
2008 has been a year full of blessings, growth, struggles and stretching. We've made a lot of new friends through work, church and school. We've lost a dear friend to cancer. We've celebrated new marriages, graduations, and births. We've seen a lot of our "family goals" (which we wrote down on New Years Eve) come to pass... and we've seen a lot of changes happen in our world, politics and economy. Our boys are growing taller every day - we measure them every 6 months on a wall in our basement. Time really seems to go by fast, but we're thankful that we can be so heavily involved in our kids through family time together, church, school and community activities.

We were able to spend a week at a Minnesota resort with the Dixon family, fishing & boating, playing games, and just hanging out. We took a really fun road trip to Kansas City, St. Louis, Louisville, Cincinnati (Creation Museum), Indiana, Chicago and the Wisconsin Dells - all in 6 days! We went to Vikings training camp, shook Adrian Peterson's hand (ouch!), got some cool autographs, and enjoyed a game on the field thanks to Sed's wheelchair. Sed broke his leg as we raced our bikes in the driveway. He quickly learned how to have a positive attitude and make the most of the situation, instead of grumbling and complaining (for the most part). Anders & Sed went to Branson with their grandparents. Carson learned how to ride a bike, started wrestling (formally), and started Kindergarten. Isaiah made some new friends, is adjusting to being the only boy home during school hours, and is expanding his creative abilities every day. Our family enjoyed spending more time with our church family, helping serve in areas of need. Amanda had a few "girls days out" and continues to invest herself in vacation bible school, good news club, teaching Sunday school, PTA and helping out teachers at school. Joe continued to expand his horizons by purchasing some vacation rental condos in Scottsdale, Arizona. He also travelled to LA, Orlando, Chico, Aspen and Sydney, Australia! His time in Sydney was the first time he'd travelled to another continent, and he enjoyed spending time with his wife's parents, as well as with his business coach, Jeff Miles and his family.

Amanda & Joe went on a romantic getaway to New York City to enjoy some alone time, watching Broadway shows, sightseeing, watching a Yankee game, and trying new food. We voted for a new president and saw gas prices go from $4.00/gallon to $1.49! The economy has been shaken, and we're bracing for more uncertainty in 2009. But we don't like to focus on negative things too much, so we're mostly looking ahead to strengthening our friendships, growing in our faith and love for God and others, minimizing our bad habits, forming good habits, maintaining health and balance, contributing more to worthy causes, paying off our mortgage, celebrating births and birthdays, traveling to new places, being an encouragement to more people, improving our business practices, being less materialistic, growing in godly contentment, sharing the good news of Jesus Christ, and watching the Vikings win the Super Bowl! ;)

May God richly bless you in 2009, and may we all stay thankful to Him for all He's done and is doing in our lives each day!

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!
The Barton's

For a trip down memory lane...
2007 Barton Christmas Letter | 2006 Barton Christmas Letter | 2005 Barton Christmas Letter