Dear Friends and Family,
What a year. Though I've missed the socially correct pre-Christmas time frame, I still wanted to take a minute to connect with you and to affirm how much you have meant to us over the years. Here's a summary of what's been happening in our life the past year (click on links for more detail).
"A" is a healthy 14 year old who is constantly on the move and rapidly growing: musically, physically, athletically and otherwise. His feet have settled in at size 13. His height is just beginning to show. This past year he first played saxophone, then guitar in the school band, traded piano lessons for guitar lessons, helped shepherd kids in Sunday School, had a supporting acting/singing role in the spring musical "Guys and Dolls," learned to water ski, began freestyle snow skiing and noticing girls. His hockey involvement has provided many exciting opportunities and experiences, winning a couple of contests and being able to do demos with and receive instruction from an NHL goal coach. This fall, he was drafted (and made the cut) to a Bantam AAA team where he shares net-minding duties with another goaltender. He continues his schooling in grade nine in the National Sport Academy Hockey program. He also mountain bikes, plays video games, is learning to drive (pray for us), and enjoys his social life (when he has time).
B continues in his role as a team leader. He maintains a great sense of humour and really likes the people with whom he works. They seem to like him too. :-) He enjoys singing in the choir and attending at least half of the Flames hockey games. He's done a few dramatic roles in sketches at the church this year. We both have been in choir for part of the year and attend a life group Bible study together. We also invested in a travel trailer this year so we could hike more often. We live in God's backyard, so close to the mountains - love to camp and hike in Kananaskis - on the eastern side of the Rockies.
I had the most dramatic change this year, thanks to a medically supervised health program, I shed a significant amount of unhealthy weight. I started hiking, returned to skiing and began a new 30 hr/wk job at our church in October where I prepare the bulletin and give admin support to three ministry areas. My days off (Tuesdays) are reserved for errands and women's Bible study where I help coach small-group leaders. I served as a chaperone for the school band tour and took in a few very high/fast waterslides at West Edmonton Mall. I had a small role in the church Christmas production, sing once a month in a worship band for weekend services, tried my hand at golf lessons, started scrapbooking, got more organized with www.flylady.net and currently love connecting with other parents on A's hockey team.
Bernadette, our dear dog, had a close call this summer when she was stricken with acute hemorrhagic gastroenteritis which made her gravely ill. Thanks to the nearby animal hospital she has made a full recovery. The majority of her life is spent sleeping, cuddling and eating.
We enjoyed a family skiing trip to Whistler, BC at spring break, which included visits with friends and family in the Vancouver area and taking in an NHL game. Summer brought celebrations in Missouri as we renewed our wedding vows in honour of our 25th anniversary. Other highlights of that trip included deepening ties with our Nebraska friends, hiking in the Ozarks, visiting with my family and sight-seeing our way home through Grand Tetons, Yellowstone and Glacier/Waterton Parks. Since B had work commitments after that, A and I camped for a week; hiking and mountain biking. Andrew even managed to talk me into a gruelling mountain bike trek (23 km, 600 metre elevation) which ended up being a most exhilarating single track riding and mother-son bonding experience! We all find the mountains to be a place where we relish in the breathtaking proportions and dazzling glory of God's handiwork. Two long weekends were spent with friends at a resort, relaxing and sailing (well they sailed and we rode along). We also visited a wildlife park where I was "kissed" by a live 1,400 lb. Kodiak Grizzly bear. See pictures here.
The rest of the year reflected the circle of life, with cancer claiming the life of one sister-in-law in January; the birth of another niece; a close friend moving away; the final sale of my parents' property, connecting with some special high school friends at a reunion; B's niece graduating, marrying and moving to Calgary, and four other weddings. We were delighted that B's parents could be here for one wedding and then celebrate Christmas with us before returning to Arizona for the balance of the winter. They live in Edmonton during the warmer half of the year.
Well that about wraps up the big events. If you want more details, you can read the archive files on Joyce's blog at http://liveaquietlife.blogspot.com.
Recommended books this year:
- Stand Against the Wind: Awaken the Hero Within by Erwin McManus
- Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis
- Sacred Pathways by Gary Thomas
- DNA of Relationships by Gary Smalley
- Solace by Steve Bell.
- Somewhere In Between by Steve Green
This season, may you know the love of God; the joy of his son, our saviour, Jesus Christ; and the peace of the Holy Spirit in your life!