Thursday, December 11, 2014

Merry Christmas 2014

I used to write Christmas letters every year and enclose them with our Christmas cards. For a variety of reasons, this has gone by the wayside. But I did want to let those that want to read about our year, to have a place to go.

Last Christmas we drove from Washington state to Florida (with a short stop in Austin, TX to see our kids and grandkids there) and back again. You may not believe this but we had perfect weather for 98% of the trip. Blue skies, sunshine, but at times very cold temperatures, were prevelant for the entire trip to Florida. It was an amazing time spent talking and planning for the future and just enjoying each others' company. The trip back was amazing weather as well until we arrived in southern Idaho - fog and some snow were in the Treasure Valley. All in all, it was an absolute spectacular trip! Especially for that time of year.

At Easter, Ken and I sponsored a beautiful young lady as she joined our Catholic faith. Lent was amazing and such a great time for us all. Spring also brought Ken and I into participating in a course in Canon Law. It was so interesting - a lot of work and reading - but well worth the time. We both are now able to consult with marriage cases for our diocese (mostly within our parish). 

Also around Easter, I found out through friend in Potlatch that my father had suffered a stroke and was in the hospital for about 3 weeks. I found out just as they were moving him to a convelescence center to get PT and OT so he could eventually go home. Since then, he has gone home and has a caretaker with him a lot. He did not want me to be told about any of it, my mom's daughter, Paula, has made it very clear that I am not welcomed there - so I have kept my distance. I don't want to upset him so have stayed away.

May-June we took our Victory Vision touring bike to Austin, TX to see our oldest granddaughter, Katie, graduate from Lago Vista High School (the same high school her mom, Mandy, graduated from in 1995). We had crappy weather for most of the trip and even got caught between a tornado warning (to our north) and t-storm (to our south). We rode into Austin pretty hot and pulled up to Mandy and Ray's just behind the t-storm. It was fine but sort of crazy for several miles. 

We were able to spend time with all seven of our Austin-area grandchildren and it was so special. We even did the tourist thing in Austin and visited Congress Ave and the capitol building. Afterwards, we had dinner at Rudy's BBQ - one of the best BBQ joints in the area! 

While we were in Texas, my step-mom, Alice, passed away. She left this earth loved by our entire family and mourned by all who knew her. My step-dad, Ben, scheduled the memorial for after we returned from Texas (God bless him) so we could attend without cutting our trip short. At her memorial, we wrote a message on a balloon and then at the end we released them heavenward so she would see how much we love and miss her. We miss Alice every single day but Christmas is especially difficult as she loved celebrating Jesus' birth. She was generous, loving, caring, and so very kind. God has a special angel helping him now. Three of moms are now in heaven - each taught me something different and I miss them all.

Ken graduated from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Boise's Lay Ministry program in August and was accepted in their Deacon formation program (officially) right after. If all goes well, he will be ordained a deacon in the Catholic Church in October 2016. I am very proud of him - he is following a path that is not for the faint of heart so I know he is inspired to do this.

I have only about 14 months left before I complete my B.S. in Health Informatics. It has been pretty tough, very challenging, and immensely rewarding. I only have 9 classes or so left to complete so am just concentrating on finishing them on time and then graduating! Working full-time and being a full-time student has been exceptional difficult at times - I could not do it without my wonderful husband's love and support. 

In closing, we want to wish every one an awesome Advent season, a very Merry Christmas, and a wonderful New Year. May all of your prayers be answered. God bless ... with love.....

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