Does anyone even look at this blog anymore? I don't. I promised I wouldn't write anymore until I somehow got a way to post pictures. I thought I'd post even though I don't have pictures. That wonderful camera that was listed in my last entry has been a very wonderful addition to our family. Sam LOVES it. And we have been using it like crazy, taking some great pictures, but then in early December, an ERR 99 showed up on it. To make a long story a little shorter, we had to send it in to get fixed, so for the whole month, we were without a camera. So I have nothing to show of our trip to VA for Christmas... I would have loved taking photos of my family and I got together with a couple dear friends, who have recently had new babies. It would have been so much fun to photograph them with their little ones, but alas, just the memories will have to stay. Oh well. But the good news it, it's back, completely repaired and ready to rock and roll in the new year!!! If only I could pry Sam's hands off of it to get some pictures! HA, totally just kidding. We ran to Fargo yesterday to visit Sam's sister, Sadie and her hubbie, Nathan and their little guy, Ethan. I was taking pictures the whole time and got some good ones. IF, and I repeat, IF I get access to those pictures on my computer, I'll post a few for you!!!
Anyway, we are well. For the most part, everyone is getting a Christmas card/letter, even though it'll be a bit late, but for those that can't wait or don't receive one for whatever reason, I'll post our letter here and that way you can get caught up on the last 4 months of my life. Actually, it's an overview of the year, but maybe you can see why I didn't have the time to post earlier!
Happy New Year everyone!!!!
Dearest Friends and Family,
Sam and I have been going back and forth on whether to even write a Christmas card this year. It’s been forever since we’ve sent one out and sometimes on your list of priorities, it doesn’t even make the cut! But we LOVE hearing from you and posting all your pictures on our fridge, so we thought we’d send some well-wishes back to you!
It’s been a big year. The New Year always dawns bright with Youth Ski trips. And so that keeps us hopping for the first 3 months.
Then this Spring, Sam and I got a few days off and flew down to Orlando to visit my brother Wes and his wife, Cindy. We had a great time visiting and going canoeing at Blue Springs, seeing manatees and going to Epcot! It was definitely a highlight of the year! Then we flew back into Chicago, where Sam attended a 3 day Youth Conference at Willow Creek Church. It was a great opportunity of refreshment and renewal for us.
May dawned with sad hearts. As many of you know, Sam’s dad, John, battled Lymphoma for the last 5 and a half years. On May 16, Jesus took him home to be with Him. I don’t even know how to begin a tribute of his life. So I’ll just tell you the impact he had on me. I worked with John for the last year and a half and came to enjoy that time with him so much. Talk about a ray of sunshine. He was ALWAYS smiling, even when you knew the pain was almost too much to bear. He always had an encouraging word and was always thinking about other people. I came to rely on his encouragement a lot more than I realized. I learned so much from him just about being focused on others rather than myself, no matter what conditions were. I have a long way to go, but he gave me a standard to reach for! He was a man that knew where he’d spend eternity which perhaps was the best gift he ever gave his family; he made a huge impact on the world he left behind and for those that knew him, their lives will forever be changed. I could go on, but there is definitely a void in our lives where John was.
The summer continued on, as it always does, even when tragedy strikes. Our summers are extremely busy in youth ministry. For Memorial Day, we headed off to the Turtle Mountains with about 10 4th-6th graders. It was a cold camping trip – we woke up one morning to a world of white frost, everywhere. I think it got down to 20 degrees. Let me tell you, that is cold when you are sleeping a tent! In July, Sam and I took about 12 Jr. Highers to Minneapolis for the Middle School mission’s trip and it went great!!! As soon as we got back from that trip, Sam headed out to Chicago with the Sr. Highers for another missions trip. I missed out on that one, but I know they had some great adventures. Then as soon as Sam got back from that trip, he took his three younger brothers on an adventure to the Boundary Waters. They were gone for another week. I know they had a great time together, even though Charlie says a week in the wilderness is a bit much for him!!!
We had our shares of lows and highs this year. Sam’s sister, Katie got married this summer as well. Sam had the opportunity to marry Katie and Mike at a small, intimate, family wedding on May 4th so that John could walk his last daughter down the isle and that was so special. Then they had their big wedding on July 5th. My parents flew in for the wedding and got to take part in the festivities by doing the flowers – they turned out beautiful and it was a great fun time to help Katie celebrate this new chapter of her life!
In September, Sam and I got a chance to scoot on down to Jackson Hole, Wy – a must see! We LOVED it! Sam was inspired to finish the 40+ originals for his one-man art show in November, which was a huge success. I wish all of you could have see it! I’m so proud of him! I could go on, but there were just too many adventures to share – but I did want to tell you how thankful we are at how God has impacted our lives through our family and friends. Thank you for your love and support – we couldn’t get on without it! God Bless you this Christmas season and may you be overwhelmed by the love of your family and friends as we have been. May Jesus be glorified this Christmas season!
Love, Sam, Sarah and Tonto - woof!