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2011 Christmas Newsletter, Part 1

December 14, 2011
We can hardly believe that it is that time again!  Yes, time to write our annual update of how things are going around Team Stevens headquarters.  2011 has been a relatively good year.  It seems that as the kids get older and more involved, spontaneous events don’t just happen as often as we would like. 
 
 
Daniel and Kandy (along with Pastor Don and Sandy Leclere) struck out for a new venture this year – leading a grief recovery group called GriefShare (www.griefshare.org).  It was an amazing experience as we continue to heal ourselves while using the events of our lives to help others move from mourning to joy. 
 
Daniel continues to work at Schwans as an analyst in the Information Services Department.  At the beginning of the year, Daniel volunteered with 4-H Shooting sports focusing on Archery.  He is still a volunteer with Firearms Safety courses.  He and his friends took their annual trip to hunt in Montana, and he returned home with a deer.  As soon as the weather becomes nice, he hits the road on his motorcycle and just enjoys the time in the open air.  The rest of the time he is busy keeping up with our kids’ schedules and enjoying friends and family.
 
Kandy: As for me, I have had an interesting year.  I continue to teach as an adjunct at SMSU in the spring.  Additionally, I keep busy with my blog writing and speaking at Best Life (www.bestlifeministries.com) conferences and substitute teaching when it works with our family’s schedules.  This year I purchased a new sewing machine and a refurbished embroidery machine; so my just-for-me time  is spent crafting and quilting. My personal goal this year was to complete a triathlon which was a goal that Reed, Sawyer, and I started in January 2008.  Last year, I woke up one day and decided to finish that goal.  On November 18, two days shy of 42 birthday, I completed 1/2 mile swim, 17 mile bike ride, and 3.1 mile run/walk in 2 hr 37 min.  I was so proud of that accomplishment and for being blessed with the best cheering squad in the world!
 
We hosted our third annual Reed’s Run this year on 9/24  (www.reedsrun.com).  For the first time, the weather was absolutely gorgeous.  We had a great turn-out and we exceeded our fundraising goal.  We have a 5K run, 1K dog walk, and 1K kids run.  We still have a flagline honoring veterans, and we had the distinction of having all the major US conflicts represented except for WWII.  This year, we honored all the emergency personnel that responded to the bus crash.  There is a HUGE silent auction.  We had a Bear Factory on-site where kids could make Reed-a-Cheetahs.  Then the close of the evening was a luminary service honoring any child who passed away.  New this year we recognized 3 loved ones who passed away, but who had been very supportive of us in our darkest hour.  Finally, we ended with a showing of the movie “Soul Surfer”.  It is exhausting work, but to see all the people who come and remember Reed and support our mission is humbling.  Next year will be the last Reed’s Run as we  committed to only four years for many reasons.  We are working extra hard to make sure that the last run is memorable, because each year the event has grown larger and larger.
 
HUCK is hired!  Through a series of fortunate events, Huck found a way to heal.  Once a week, he and I travel to a nursing home to visit residents.  We have quite a large group of friends that help both us to remember that serving others is the greatest gift we can give to ourselves.   Our faithful friends threw Huck a fabulous 9th birthday party on Dec 7.
 
Additionally, Huck decided that we should celebrate Reed’s 16th birthday this summer.  We hosted a movie night in our backyard, and instead of presents for us or Reed, Huck asked for books.  He then turned around and created “Huck’s Heroes” which is a reading program at Mikinaak – a child care center on the Cass Lake Reservation in Northern MN. 
 
 
Sawyer is really growing up.  He is currently in the 9th grade, and he is involved in many different activities in and out of school.  He was able to play Junior Varsity and a little bit of Varsity this year in football (despite living in pain every day). He continues to doctor at Mayo for his injuries.  He is active in Scouts, 4-H, Math League, Student Council, FCA, Youth Group, FFA, Golf and Student Council.  There have been several highlights of his year, but there are two that receive top recognition.  Sawyer traveled with his youth group to New Orleans, LA for a missions trip.  Granpa Junior was able to drive over and spend a day with him.  It was an experience that changed Sawyer’s life forever.  He cannot wait to go to the next place God is calling him.  His second major highlight is his first ever hunting trip.  Sawyer and Daniel traveled to ND for deer season.  On the last morning of their trip, Sawyer finally got his deer.  He is definitely hooked, and ready to go spend time again with Dad at Uncle Bryan’s farm. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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