While I would love to have been able to mail this letter to everyone I know to let you know that I am thinking about you, I am resorting to "cyber copies" for most folks!
Wish everyone a wonderful holiday season!
Dear Friends and Family
Christmas is a time when we celebrate; however, most of the world has lost sight of the reason we celebrate. We do not remember that the true meaning of Christmas is the Child . That Child has many names and each name describes His character. The prophet Isaiah wrote of His coming and said:
“For to us a child is born………
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” ~ Isaiah 9:6
How we struggle in this difficult world filled with evil and heartache. How we long for a world where there is no more pain and suffering! We know that this earth and its people will never achieve perfection. As long as we live in an imperfect world, we will deal with sadness and turmoil. Yet, as we make our way through this life, we have the promise that that baby born and placed in a manger on that first Christmas morning, the Prince of Peace, is with us.
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." ~John 16:33
Our family and extended family have faced repeated grief in the last 18 months and while our faith does not keep our hearts from hurting, it does give us the ability to continue to find purpose in life. Faith fills our hearts with the peace that comes from knowing that someday we will see our loved ones once again. When we come face to face with the Prince of Peace and are able to hold our loved ones in our arms on that day, there will be no more pain, suffering or heartache. There will be perfect peace for all of eternity.
He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, …..."~Revelation 21:4
In the past eighteen months our extended family has lost grandmothers, grandfathers, and a mother. In our immediate family, Mikey and Kristin’s maternal grandmother passed away. Mike’s 16 year old niece passed away, and as most of you know, Tammy’s son Joshua passed away in September of 2008. In addition, we have lost two of our precious pets this past year.
It cannot be argued that grief changes a person’s entire life and forces individuals to find a “new normal” because life will never be the same again for those who remain. We are so thankful for our family and friends who surround us with love. We are also thankful for the wonderful gifts that are bestowed upon us every day by the Prince of Peace who gives us the strength to find joy even in the midst of sorrow.
One of the beauties of farm life is that as the seasons come and go there are routines that remain. Normal daily activities that some might find mundane, in fact give us a balance and bring comfort. The day to day farm life provides structure and forces us to embrace the beauty of God’s creation, as slowly our eyes begin to open once again to life. With each calf that is born, each puppy that survives and grows, the little peeps that hatch from the eggs, and the plants as they come to life out of the soil and grow to their full potential, we are reminded that life continues and joy remains.
We continue to grow and sell produce in season. Our largest crop would be our potatoes as we plant about three acres of them every year. Although, we do have a restaurant that buys potatoes from us on a weekly basis, we sell them to individual’s right from the farm for the most part. We also raise beef cows and take the calves to the market twice a year. We have had a good year selling steers f to individuals interested in locally grown, pastured beef. We also grow a good bit of hay each year for our own use and to sell.
Our cow share program which allows share members in Virginia to legally be able to get fresh, raw milk from the farm has grown by leaps and bounds this year. We have added two new standard Jersey heifers to our Jersey herd. These heifers will calve in the spring and early summer. We now own two registered Miniature Jersey cows, three registered standard Jersey cows, and one purebred Jersey that is not registered. We also have three Jersey heifer calves that have been born in the last year in addition to several bull calves that will either be sold as stud animals or be raised for beef. In addition, we still have our free range hens and have added two miniature Nubian dairy goats. The goats are still young but we plan to buy or a rent a buck and breed them next fall. We are enjoying all the dairy products made from raw milk including butter, cottage cheese, mozzarella cheese, a variety of cheese spreads, sour cream, kefir, yogurt, ice cream and even hard cheese.
The past year has given us opportunities to spend time with our families. Mike’s family is good about getting together for holidays and special occasions and “just because”. We have been so blessed to live close to them and have their continuous love and support. While the past year has been difficult, it has also helped us to draw even closer as a family.
We were able to make the trip to Charleston, South Carolina for a few days this year to visit with Mike’s daughter Kristin. Tammy’s dad has made the trip to Virginia from Missouri twice this past year and her mom has been able to visit once during that time and intends on visiting again soon. Tammy’s sister, Elizabeth was able to visit with us as well while she was home from Korea. Tammy, Mike and Alissa were able to make a trip to Georgia over Thanksgiving weekend and spend time with Tammy’s Grandparents, Dad, Mom, two brothers and their families, as well as uncles, aunts and cousins. This was the first time in four years that we have been able to join Tammy’s family for a holiday. We really missed Elizabeth, Tammy’s sister, who is teaching English in South Korea and was not able to be with us.
We are thankful that the kids are doing well and have jobs during these tough economic times. Kristin works as an executive assistant at a bank in Charleston, South Carolina. Mikey works as a night auditor for Holiday Inn here in Staunton and has done very well in that position. Alissa is still working as a waitress as Red Lobster while attending college full time and making good grades. We are thankful for all of our children and are proud of them for doing so well in their jobs and with school.
We are thankful for our friends far and near and we want to wish each of you a blessed Holiday season. We pray that no matter where life may take, through the joys and the sorrows, that you will find comfort in knowing the Prince of Peace.
All our love,
Mike and Tammy Cupp