December 1st, 2015 ….and just like that it’s the last month of 2015, another year has almost gone by, and Christmas is back again. Truly, the older we get, the faster time goes. And the more aware you become of the uncertainty of life, the fragility of life …and more thankful for the amazing God we serve! And so grateful for His Sovereignty. In today’s world, with all the political upheaval, the turmoil, the threat from ISIS, the continuing “natural” disasters, the economic uncertainty and personal tragedies – it’s comforting to know we serve a God who is in complete control, and that His plan is unfolding . What a gift to be able to see His hand throughout time – all the way to the beginning of time, to the birth of Jesus Christ, and to now where we anticipate Jesus’ return! May you all feel His presence this Christmas season ~ and find meaning through Him.
This year, instead of mailing out Christmas cards/picture, I thought I’d save a bit on postage, and do a Christmas letter blog post with lots of pictures to give you a peek into our lives and what makes us tick. :-)
We’ll start with the youngest – Ethan. Ethan is now 11, and in grade 6. What makes Ethan, Ethan???
LEGO — and lots of it …mostly Star Wars. Of course!! He learned how to play the Ukelele in grade 5 this year ….but I don’t think that’s his gift ….. :-)
Sports – of all kinds. Here he is doing High Jump, and the long distance run at Sports Day this year.
HOCKEY!!!! Yes, loves playing ice hockey. He’s in his fourth year, final year in C Division, once more on the Penguins. Sadly, he’s a Pittsburgh Penguins/Sidney Crosby fan now, and not a Canucks fan. We still love him though …. :-)
And he loves his pals ….. :-)
Video games – specifically on the Xbox – and playing Minecraft on the computer too. And Soccer – here he is participating in Spring Soccer …coming in for a goal!
So, Danielle? She is currently 14, and in Grade 9 at Credo Christian High School. What makes Danielle, Danielle?
At the beginning of the year, she was allowed to have highlights put in her hair by her Auntie Michelle …. and due to her parents faulty genes, she got glasses this year ….
She can be found reading (or on her phone!) …. all the time, and dabbling a bit in art:
And then there is her Dog, Prince, and a horse called Smokey that she spends time with, a few blocks away:
And of course, her friends: ( at the Spring dinner with Abigail and Maddy, and her birthday celebration with Lauren, Torah and Karissa)
What makes Braden, Braden? Braden, is now 17 and in his final year of high school! But ….. what a year!!! Remember how in previous letters you learned about his broken hip, surgery, and then subsequent surgery last year to remove the hip pins? Well, this year he suffered two concussions in the spring …he hadn’t even recovered from the first one, when he got a second one. (both were from soccer). He missed a fair bit of school, and we spent a lot of time going from one place to another to find a way to help him recover, and get rid of the headaches. As of now, he’s almost at the end of 6 months of treatment at the chiropractor:
Doesn’t he look thrilled? (that was the first visit!)
He got a part time job at McDonalds :-), and spends time playing Xbox with his buddies:
During the summer, he volunteered as Counselor for the Stepping Stones camp, which he really enjoyed. He and his buddy Micah went as “Calvin and Hobbes” …. Braden was Hobbes.
At the very end of the summer, we had a massive windstorm that took out our power for just over 72 hours. It also put a massive tree branch on our roof, which Braden removed for us:
What makes Alanna, Alanna? 19 this year, and experiencing a year of transitions ….. right after graduating from high school last year, she began a full time nannying job for my cousin Adyron, taking care of sweet little Lani (and later, Kai as well) ….and this October said goodbye to the nanny world, and to some truly wonderful people, and hello to MTI college!! She’s enrolled in the “Child and Youth Care Worker “ program – which will enable her to work with at-risk children and youth in the community and in schools. Unfortunately, her campus is in Chilliwack, and so she has moved out part time (Mon- Fri) – currently with her Aunt Michelle’s sister Amanda and her hubby Lyle, and when the place (more private with her own bathroom!) is ready, with my cousin Greg and his wife Veronica Dehaas. Waaaaaa …. I’m not ready!!!!!! :-(
Not to be outdone by Braden, she sustained an injury at the beginning of the summer and broke her left big toe!!! But she still managed to have fun (hobbling around on an air cast) – at the Taylor Swift concert with her friends (pictured here with Megan):
She was busy this year – as a rep on the Fraser Valley Young People’s League, (pictured here with all other reps at the May Long Weekend — yes, she’s the SHORT one at the far left in the front), went to the Calgary Study Long weekend (pictured with a bunch of second cousins from her Mom’s side….Tyler, Curtis, Justin, Jocelyn, Andrea, A, Kailyn), and was, again, a Counselor at Stepping Stones ….a much loved event, made even more fun by being co-counselor with friend Kristy.
And we would be remiss if we didn’t bring in her love for photography … here she is capturing her sis Danielle. You can check out her work at Alanna Danae Photography: http://alannadanaephotography.zenfolio.com/blog We’re very proud of her as we watch her business grow. Give her a call!
What about us, you say? We’ve had a different year. I think the most changing thing this year was losing Martin’s Mom on March 27. She passed away, 3 months shy of her 80th birthday. We all miss her so so much. She truly was the matriarch of our family, with wisdom and love and so much more. She suffered so much pain in her life, yet she always put a smile on her face, and cared for us all. One day, we will see her again, in Heaven, but she will be without pain, standing straight and tall!!
Martin continues to teach at Credo Christian High School, and for the most part, enjoys it. This school year he teaches Socials 8, English 10, History 12 and Law 12.
Truthfully, there is always a struggle because of his headaches which have not gone away despite our prayers – and yours. God has not seen fit to answer our prayers for relief. We will continue to trust in Him, and rely on His strength and peace. It’s been over 14 years of headaches, and we’ve even gone back to square one and he started seeing a new neurologist, but so far, no answers. No great break through in pain management either, even trying essential oils. Continued prayers are appreciated! So … Martin takes a lot of medications, and spends time in his “den” – prepping and prepping and prepping!!
One thing that has been a blessing is the success God has granted to his presentations with Behind the Screen. http://www.behindthescreen.ca/ He did a lot of local presentations, and has also been flown out to Manitoba (Carman and Winnipeg), and Alberta (Edmonton, Barrhead, Neerlandia). There are plans to go to Alberta again next year – to the Calgary, Coaldale areas. If your church or school has not had the presentations on how to handle social media, what social media is, how it affects kids, pornography, etc etc, plus how to protect your family from the perils of the ‘net … contact Martin. I got to go along on the Winnipeg trip – which meant FINALLY visiting my sister Maria and her boy Ryan!! Good times!!!! We also got to visit with my cousin Michelle and her hubby Ed on their farm in Carman ….thanks!
Last year I was studying to get back into nursing again, a career I left behind when Alanna was born. It was a long long year of studying. FINALLY, in March and April, I did my preceptorship at Langley hospital on the main Surgical floor, and FINALLY got hired in July! I’ve been working as a casual RN on both 2 North (surgical) and 2 North B (peds and short stay surgical). And thanks to God, have been getting enough work. I hope that next Christmas I can inform you that I’ve moved to 3 North – the Maternity floor! Proof: (even wearing a doctor’s stethoscope! – :-) )
This doesn’t mean I have abandoned my love for doula and prenatal work. I still teach classes, and had two doula “babies” this year …both births were “repeat” clients …both third babies – and I got to attend all three for both parents! The first was a baby girl named Aberdeen (Abbey) – pic of me and her mama Daniela, and the second was my very beautiful niece Gwen Elizabeth – from James and Michelle!
Martin found two great “hobbies” this year – one he shares with Braden – airsofting, and one he shared with Ethan – rock stacking (it’s called zen) :-) (that was in Whistler, where we vacationed again …and for the final time …as the people who let us use their condo there have since sold it – :-( )
What more can we tell you? We are still in the same house :-), no moves there. We are finding our place in Langley church … I now serve on the Home Mission Committee. But with work, and that, plus being a wife and mom, I have not had time to go back to other things like choir or piano. One day ….. Martin is super super busy with school, Behind the Screen presentations, as well as the odd website here and there. Oh ….. RATS. Yes, rats – the rodent kind. We were dealing with that this year …. ugh ugh ugh. So, out of desperation, we adopted “Athena” …and since her arrival, we have not seen “evidence” of rats!!
WE WISH YOU A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS, and GOD’s BLESSINGS FOR 2016!!!