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Merry Christmas 2012

December 17, 2012

Mom & Dad:  I, Kandy, keep busy with the kids’ schedules, teaching at the college, coaching Math League, volunteering, and sneaking in some crafting, writing, and speaking at various churches. I have recuperated from some health issues, and I am feeling the best I have in many years. Daniel enjoys hunting and fishing any chance he gets.  He had success again in Montana, and has enjoyed his trips to SD to hunt with Sawyer. He continues to work at Schwan’s and volunteers with Hunter Safety.

Erin smileErin is now 13 years old and in the 8th grade.  She is active in 4H, Jazz band, Knowledge Bowl, Math Counts, NJHS, Student Council, FCA, FFA, youth group and of course, basketball.  She continues to play at school, any 3-on-3 tournament she can find, and on her AAU team.  About half of our year, Erin is playing on one team or another. All of her extra effort has paid off as she earned a spot on the C/B squads this year. She has grown to 5’9” and she wears size 11/12 shoes.  She volunteers as a leader in the AWANA club and she regularly babysits. Her future dream jobs are WNBA player, physical therapist, or teacher.

Reed’s Run: 2012 was our 4th and final run.  We reed's run logohad gorgeous weather, an incredible turnout, and precious memories.  We came away exceeding our fundraising goal for the 4 years.  There were so many special memories from that day: my best friend from high school, Matthew, and his wife, Kimberly,  flying up to run and share in remembering their son, Alex (Big A); that same friend organizing Reed earning his Eagle Scout status; the incredible live performance by Jesus Painter Ministries; having Sawyer’s god-brother attend his football game the night before as Sawyer’s biggest fan; family that flew and drove to be there; and most importantly, the amazing outpouring of love that we received from family, friends, and community.  www.reedsrun.com

Really great garden:  planted, tended, harvested and shared between our family and our dear friends the Bell’s.  Despite drought conditions, we had an overabundance of garden produce.  We also had our fair share of weeds.  The garden has produced much frozen, canned, and stored produce for our family for the winter, but it also provided a place for laughter, therapy, and a daily reminder of God’s abundant blessings.

Yearly traditions continue to be the things that keep our family ties strong.  A few years back we conducted a family survey on what traditions meant the most to us at Christmas.  The strong favorites were the annual sleepover under the Christmas tree, the candlelight service on Christmas Eve, and the pageant held at church.  Once again this year, our children are participating.  Sawyer has a Bible passage to read. Erin Elisabeth is playing Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist.  Cloie is signing to Away in the Manger.  It is always one of my favorite days in December.

Studio B photography

Studio B photography

Cloie is soon to be 8 years old and is in the 2nd grade.  She continues to be a true delight in our family, as she is all energy and spunk.  She loves school, especially reading and math.  Cloie began piano and voice lessons this year – where she sparkles.  Our little “Sally Gal” wowed us all at Reed’s Run where she sang the national anthem flawlessly, bringing tears to the eyes of many. Her dream is to be able to sing at a Twins game. Clo continues in swimming, AWANA, and is itching for basketball to start.  Still a Cloverbud in 4H, she talked us into letting her show goats and pigeons at the next fair.  Her dream jobs are to be a professional singer or teacher.

Heavenly home – we mourn the loss of loved ones very dear to us this year.  In January, our beloved kitty, Ocho lost his short battle with leukemia.  We lost Daniel’s Aunt Imelda in April. We always enjoyed her Christmas cards. In June, we were devastated to lose the son of very dear friends.  Through AJ’s death, we have learned that God has a purpose in all our experiences as we have been able to walk alongside our friends. A few months after our visit this summer, my aunt Margaret went home to Jesus.  My aunt has always held a special place in my heart as she often said that I was the daughter she never had.  I was moved to tears when she and my uncle made a surprise day trip to come and visit me this June.  The one person I always believed was larger than life went to her heavenly home in November.  My Nannie, Katie Campbell, was my world as a little girl and will always hold a special place in my heart and memories.  Now more than ever I am THANKFUL for our long trip to Florida this summer. My children celebrated their remembrance of the most magical time spent with Nannie at the Fiesta Five Flags parade by throwing Mardi Gras beads at our outdoor remembering tree.  This morning Uncle Ted Schuler went home to Jesus.  Our hearts are filled with sadness for a great uncle who loved everyone.

Remodeling was the theme of the year in our house as we spent a large majority of the year redoing the basement.  At first, it was meant for aesthetics and organization, but it turned out to be a needed project as we discovered support beams a fraction of inch away from crumbling.  We love our “new” space and we enjoy that it truly feels like our designs.

In need of a Savior – we are so thankful that God in his wisdom knew exactly the best present that we would need for Christmas.  The first Bible verse Reed learned was an abbreviated version of Luke 2:11. “For unto us is born this day a Savior who is Christ the Lord.” Listening to the tape over and over to help him prepare for his first pageant, I am reminded of it each and every year.  As our children get older and their wish items become smaller and more expensive, we have had some great conversations about what really matters at this time of year.

sawyer & cloSawyer will turn 16 in February and is in the 10th grade.  At 6’1” and size 12 shoes, my gentle giant towers over me. This year marked milestones for him as he had his first football coaching jobs: Chad Greenway Day-to-Reach camp, Lakeview mini-camp, and Special Olympics Junior team. He loved every minute of it – coaching his SO team to 2nd place.  Sawyer is involved in Student Council, Math League, golf team, Knowledge Bowl, pep band, FFA, youth group and football.  He volunteers as a leader for AWANA, is VP for the 4H club, and is one of the huddle leaders for FCA.  This year, Sawyer has his first job, working as after-school care for two little girls, and he is working toward his lifeguard certification.  We are already starting to receive notices from colleges – YIKES.  His current career plan is to become a pastor.

Trips – we have had some incredible trips this past year.  We spent 3 weeks visiting my family down South.  Daniel drove down with us, then flew home and the kids and I drove cross-country to get home.  We loved every minute we spent seeing everyone and enjoying some of the finest beaches in the world.  We savored every bite of Southern food.  In August, we had a great daytrip to the Minnesota zoo to see the Dinosaurs exhibit and back-to-school shop.  The guys enjoyed their hunting trips.  Our visits to ND for our nephew’s wedding and for Thanksgiving were just what we needed.  The last family trip was into Canada to see “How to Train Your Dragon – the LIVE spectacular”.  Our whole family enjoyed Winnipeg, good food, and an AMAZING show.

Many special moments – this year we have started to shake the fog of deep grief.  While we will always miss Reed, our eyes have been awakened to the many, many, MANY blessings God has bestowed upon us.  I feel that we have been given spiritual vision to see our blessings daily.  We have been able to reconnect with old friends, share an unexpected laugh with many, savor good food and even better conversations, and simply live and love.  While this is in no means an exhaustive list, these are a few of my favorites.

  • Sailing and dining with my parents in the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Having three generations glued to the tv at Mama’s house for 3 days to watch the Hatfields & McCoys mini-series.
  • Throwing beads in the Fiesta Five Flags parade in Pensacola with Nannie.
  • After 23 years of waiting, reconnecting with my best friend, Matthew.
  • Laughing hysterically at the largest sweet potato possibly ever grown in the state of Minnesota.
  • Successfully seeing Reed’s Run to completion.
  • Watching our nephew cry when he saw his bride.
  • Finding our special cardinal in the most unexpected places.
  • Having our breath taken away by the everyday, ordinary moments of life with our friends back here at home.

A new addition:  our hearts were too sad to replace our little, Ocho, with another kitty.  So, on Easter Saturday, we welcomed home a new little Mal-shi puppy whom we named Hiccup.  (All our dogs are named after book characters.)  We have learned that training little dogs is much more challenging than big dogs.  So there are many days that we would put him on the corner for a quarter, yet Hiccup has helped to keep Huck much younger.  Before the puppy’s arrival, Huck (age 10) still volunteered at the nursing home, but mostly slept.  Now, he wrestles with the little guy and that is quite a sight.  A ninety-seven pound golden retriever playing with a ten pound tyke is definitely entertaining.

Snow – we had snow for only one day all of last winter.  We made the most of it, and made sure to make a snowman and girl in the backyard.  Now to most people, they would say, “Count Your Blessings” and for the most part we did.  However, Sawyer didn’t get to use his Christmas snowshoes and there was no sledding or snowball fights.  But the biggest chuckle – the Christmas present we gave our entire family last year was a dog-sledding adventure.  The outfitter gave us a rain (or should I say snow)check. Since Cloie has her two front teeth, we are secretly wishing for snow this Christmas.

More importantly, we are wishing that you find the Light of Christmas in your heart always.  Merry Christmas!

Photo taken by Studio B photography

Photo taken by Studio B photography

 

 May your days be filled with blessings
Like the sun that lights the sky,
And may you always have the courage
To spread your wings and fly.

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