Thursday, December 24, 2009

Our Christmas Letter

Greetings from Bishop! Somehow last Christmas came and went and I didn’t get a single Christmas card mailed. This year is going to be different, at least that's what I keep telling myself.

Like most people, we have been busier than ever but fighting “busy-ness” all the way. One of these days I’m sure that boredom will take over and I won’t know what to do with myself. Until then, let me catch you up to date on our family.

Joe is still working in Mammoth at the Cable TV system. It’s been nearly 26 years of employment there and we’re thankful he has a job. He loves to backpack into the Sierras and along with some family day hikes, he packed in several times during the summer. There’s nothing like sleeping under the stars and knowing the phone won’t be ringing. Plus, the trout in the mountain lakes taste like none other! He also logs many miles on his bike and this year he’s put on over 2100 miles. It doesn’t matter if it’s hot or cold, the ride is always good for his soul.

Scrapbooking and photography keep me on the go. I’ve been with Close To My Heart for over 15 years now. In October 2008, Karliann and I spent a week cruising the Mediterranean with other CTMH consultants. (Joe preferred the mountains to the city so he didn’t go!) It was the 8th cruise I’ve earned with CTMH. This year’s incentive trip is to New Zealand but I chose not to work so hard and therefore, I didn’t earn it. While I would love to have traveled to NZ, our family visited Jannalyn and Derrick in Australia in June 2008 so I don’t feel entirely jipped. Photography has always been a passion and this past year I’ve done a lot of portrait work. I had the opportunity to photograph 3 weddings this summer/fall and that posed new opportunities and growth for me as a professional photographer.

The port in Malta.

France...we walked all over this little seaside town. I couldn't get enough of the colorful buildings and incredible architecture!

Jannalyn and Derrick completed 3 years of nursing school in Australia and returned to the states (Bishop, specifically) last December as RNs. They stayed with us for several months after returning, were hired at our hospital (they’re well loved!), found out they were expecting, and bought a home. Not bad for a young couple! Our sweet little grandson, Riley Chase, was born on November 6th, making him nearly 7 weeks old. Being in the delivery room made me wonder why in the world I had 4 children without an epidural...can’t quite figure that one out. But oh well...too late! Jannalyn is off of work until early spring and Derrick returns in January after 6 weeks of family leave. We spend a lot of time together. Obviously that is so wonderful.

Brandon is in Toldeo, Washington where he works as a mechanic. Joe, Karliann, and I drove to see him this past June. We had a great time seeing the Northwest and spending time with him, his girlfriend, Leslie, and the dogs. We drove to Mt. St. Helens one day, ran into a bear on another day, and had some of the best chicken ever before making the trip home. Brandon and Leslie had been here earlier in the year to help us dig a pond in our back yard. That was a big undertaking and they were determined to see water flow into it before they left..and they did!

Jessica turned 20 a few weeks ago. She graduated from high school last year (June 2008) and enrolled at University of Reno, Nevada where she has completed 3 semesters. During this fall semester, she realized that her call is to nursing. Bishop offers a terrific 18 month LVN step-up to RN program through our local community college and so she enrolled. In the midst of a winter storm recently, I drove to Reno, helped pack her up, and bring her home. We love having her cheerful little self around the house. School begins for her mid-January. She completed a half marathon in September at Lake Tahoe. Amazing!

Karliann turned 16 a few weeks ago and is a Sophomore at Bishop High. She volunteers at Bishop Kids Club, an after school program for kids who are elementary age. The kids absolutely adore her. If she’s not “working” at playing Wii with the kids, she’s helping with homework or fixing snacks. She and Joe have a date night once a week where they go to Ceramics. They’ve made some beautiful pottery items while making great memories together. It’s been tough on Karli to be an only child but she has some sweet friends. Now that she has her big sisters around and the new responsibility of being an aunt, she doesn’t lack for things to do. That's Karliann on the left:)

In keeping up with social if I have the time... I have a blog where you can read about our encounter with a bear (really, it was pretty exciting!), see photographs of our family activities, and keep up with us throughout the year. Please visit me!! In addition, I have a facebook page so please stop by and be my friend! One thing I hate most is losing touch with friends.

It’s been an exciting year filled with many exciting events, new challenges, and blessings beyond measure. May each of you enjoy a fabulous new year sprinkled with fun and exciting adventures, the love of family and friends, and great health and safety. God bless you!

Laurie and Family