One of the highlights of this past winter were a couple of trips to Gunnison/Crested Butte in January-February. Todd learned to "backcountry" ski this year, which included wearing an avalanche beacon, and having a poking stick and ice axe with you at all times in case someone needed to be dug out .. yikes! . .a little too adventurous for me, but he really enjoyed skiing in the really high country off the beaten path, in deep, deep powder. . with our friend Chris, who has taken Todd on as his "project". . .Chris knows the mountains like the back of his hand, so I don't worry when they are together. . Chris is very athletic, and a good teacher. . and a wonderful Christian friend for Todd, so I am thankful that God has let their lives intertwine. . .
For me, these trips meant days of cross country skiing at Crested Butte, and sometimes in Gunnison. . .I really love to cross country ski. . .it's like gliding on the snow, and it's a form of exercise that is really good for you. . .I am always inspired when I meet folks on the trails that are in their 70s and 80s and still going strong. . I really want to grow up and be active just like that. . .One weekend while we were in the Gunnison Valley, it snowed 36 inches in 2 days. . the scenery was so beautiful that words can't really describe it. . A fresh covering of snow that literally sparkles in the sunlight can't really be captured on film. . you have to see it for yourself. :) . . We are really thankful for these short trips to the mountains to mentally rest, see some different scenery, and to connect with our friends there. .
We started this year by keeping the three Salas children (Alexis, Dominic & Francisco) for two weeks in January while their little brother had heart surgery in San Antonio. . .We became became acquainted with this family through House of Faith ministries. We enjoyed having 3 elementary school-aged children in the house again, but we quickly remembered how much work this phase of life is. . .getting everyone up for breakfast and off to school, home work each night, and constant instruction and discipline, plus lots of laundry and housekeeping chores. . .I told Todd that I don't ever want to forget how busy this stage of life is. . .so that we can identify and empathize with the young families that God puts in our path. . .It's busy but it's so worth it. . .investing in the next generation. . .so to all you young families out there. . .Hang in there. . .you are caring for the next generation of Jesus followers. . . and creating a legacy for generations to come!
Todd caught an armadillo for the children to play with. . .Nothing like West Texas fun!
Well, now that it is March 2011, and I have still not finished up the 2010 review, it's time to close out last year and jump into the new year, for sure!
I will simply say that the Fall of 2010 was filled with House of Faith activities about 3 times per week, and the weekends were spent traveling to Killeen, where Austin, Brittany, Georgia and Jordan ALL lived within 5 minutes of each other. . .Austin and Jordan were both in the same brigade at Ft. Hood, which is really unusual. . .AND of all the places in the USA that our Army family members could be stationed, we were sooooo thankful that both couples were together in Killeen, only 3 hours away from San Angelo. We knew that this year would be the only time they would all be living in the same town, so we took advantage of it. . .heading down there every chance we could get and stopping through to sharing a meal on business trips! Ft. Hood is one of the largest Army bases in the country, and has a really different feel to the city. . As you drive around the town, you see license plates from all over the US, and an overwhelming majority of short haircuts on the guys. . . It truly is a military town. . it's a little sad, in that the town really does not have a distinct Texas charm of its own. . It's a conglomerate of every fast food and chain restaurant in the nation, as well as many businesses catering to the military lifestyle. . .and the motels are always full of military people coming and going from trainings on the base. . .it is a mission field all it's own. . and you can even feel the loneliness of some of the folks there, far away from their families and just ready to move on to the next place. . .When you think of it, pray for the city of Killeen, and for those who minister to the military families who are passing through. .
We enjoyed an Aggie football game this fall, taking Chelsey Kelly and Marci Menchaca with us. The Aggies enjoyed a 8-3 season so it was a good year to be an TAMU Aggie fan!
The Fall always brings Deer Hunting Season, which consumes a big chunk of time taking our family, friends, and business associates on hunting adventures on the deer lease about 12 miles from our house! Fall is our favorite time of year, and especially this past fall, as we had a record-breaking heat wave in August and September with 30+ days of 100 degree heat. . We were so ready for a break! No, we don't get the beautiful color changes in nature like other parts of the world, but we DO get a most welcomed break from the heat! October is always the best!
Because everyone's schedule is so full, we combined Thanksgiving with Christmas this year. . by having a big Thanksgiving dinner with family and friends on Thursday, and a Christmas dinner with our family and grandparents on both sides on the next day. . .It means we all have to do our Christmas gift shopping early and decorate the Christmas tree before Thanksgiving Day, but it really frees everyone's schedule up to go to the other side of the family's Christmas gatherings without juggling time off, traveling arrangements and special Christmas events. . .so the 2010 Christmas season was very relaxing for us, as we had had our family time together, and we could simply enjoy the Christmas season without the stress. . .Georgia and Jordan had a wonderful trip to CA to spend time with Jordan's family, Austin and Brittany spent time with her family in New Waverly and August headed to Denver to help with a WorldView Academy conference with all his buddies. Who knows what the Christmas season will look like next year, with our family being scattered to the four winds. . . but we have learned to take each year at a time and not to be regimented in our holiday planning. . .Todd and I really want to be flexible for our children as we grow older. . .fitting into their schedules instead being bound up by a certain pattern of expectations during the Holiday season. .I always feel so badly for young families who are completely worn out from traveling during the holiday season. It's easy to forget the real meaning of Christmas when you are stressed out by family obligations. . .
Without a doubt, 2010 was one of the most monumental years for us. . .but it was a good year with many many blessings to recount! We are most thankful for God's guidance and protection as we participated in our busy schedules. . .and made big changes in our lives. . Romans 12:12 became my life verse . ."Be joyful in hope, patient in afflictions, and faithful in prayer.". .
We have lots of changes on the horizon for 2011. . Austin and Brittany leave in May for a year in Kenya at Mattaw Children's Village as staff missionaries, Jordan leaves in May also for a year in Iraq and Georgia will move home to live with us in San Angelo while he is gone, and August will spend the summer traveling again with WorldView Academy Ministries. . . Hang on to your hat . . .HERE WE GO!!
2010 review continues. . . May
Lindsay Wright's wedding was a big event in early May, as Lindsay had lived with us for 9 months and had become like part of our family. It was definitely wedding season at our house, as we prepared for Georgia and Lindsay's wedding in the same year. . Lots of wedding magazines laying around. . .We loved getting to help her with her wedding plans and we are thankful that God let us be a part of her and Brandon's life as they prepared to unite as a couple. . .both of them had been a part of our college Bible study group for a couple of years and we were especially close to them. .almost like second parents. . .I offered to be her florist for the event, which has always been a secret ambition of mine, and I learned alot . . especially that nothing is as easy as it seems, even when it comes to preparing and arranging flowers! Lindsay was beautiful on her wedding day and we loved celebrating this event before the Lord, their friends and family. It will be such fun watching to see what the Lord does with their lives.
May 15th was Georgia's college graduation and pinning as a RN. . .a huge accomplishment! I wish I could say that the weeks before her graduation were easy sailing, but as I said in an earlier post, we all prayed and sweated with each exam she took, even up to finals week. . . and after visiting with some of the other nursing students' family at graduation, Georgia was not the only one walking the graduation tightrope. It's just a very difficult program, so there was much to celebrate once the grades were in. The pinning ceremony was beautiful as all the graduates were in their white lab coats. And graduation was great fun, as we knew many of the students graduating from the college Bible study that met at our home for 3 years and many of Georgia's friends.
Georgia immediately started studying for her state nursing board exams, which included attending a review course in Austin to help her prepare. . . On about the end of the 2nd week of June, I rode with her to Abilene as she took her state board exam. . . Well, it was a long, very stress test- about 4 hours, and when she came to the car, the look on her face was tense. . .she really felt like she had failed it. . .so we rode home in a somber mood and talked about options if she had failed it. . . .For a little extra money, she could find out in a couple of days if she had passed the test instead of waiting two weeks by regular mail.. . .so she paid the extra money and looked up the results on the computer. . I'll never forget it. . she said in a solemn voice. ."Mom, it says I passed.". . Really unsure whether to believe it or not, she did not get excited or celebrate. . .until a couple of days later, when she double checked with other past nursing students to see if the computer results were really accurate. . .THEN the celebrating started!! Not only celebrating, but a HUGE relief from the pressure that had been on Georgia all semester. . .really all through nursing school! NOW she could relax and soon it was time for Georgia and Robyn to drive to California for the long awaited wedding week!
June 23rd- Six of us flew to Corona, CA on Wednesday before the wedding--Todd, myself, August, Sara Warren, Adam Skelton and Jordan. . .Austin and Brittany joined us later that evening, and the grandparents arrived to Corona a bit later. . .We enjoyed Wednesday night dinner with the Monroe Family, Thursday was Bachelor and Bachelorette Party day--with the guys going Paint Balling and the girls for a nice Dinner and time on the beach, Friday was "Zip Line" day with the Texas folks and Friday night was a very fun Rehearsal Dinner with different members of the family and wedding party providing the "entertainment." Wedding Day , June 26th, was perfect, with 80 degrees, a cool breeze and lots on sunshine on Saturday afternoon. . .Lots of great memories that day. . . for all of us.
We flew home from CA on Sunday following the wedding and were home a week, then headed to CO for the July 4th holiday. . .Georgia and Jordan joined us for the last half of their honeymoon, which included the July 4th festivities and hiking, biking at Paradise Divide, north of Crested Butte and a quick trip to Lake City. We really enjoyed spending the holiday with the newlyweds! :)
We returned back to CO to host 6 of August's friends from his Teenpact internship for a week in the mountains. . .these students were from all over the US, and several had never been in the mountains before . . .we were "tour guides" all week. . mainly hiking, kayaking, and a little rock climbing in the Hartman Rocks area. We are still thanking Jesus for protecting August when a rock gave away and he fell about 30 ft. off a cliff and tumbled like he was cartwheeling down the mountain. . I have never felt so helpless to be standing a good 300 yards away when I saw him fall. . .and Todd was completely scratched up from scurrying over sharp rocks to try to get to him. . .We really thought he was dead. . .He was pale, pretty shaken up and had skinned up his hands badly. . but otherwise he had no broken bones. . .it was a miracle. . .We spent 5 hours in the ER waiting for a doc to look at his hands because they looked pretty bad, and I think the whole experience was a lesson to the whole group that all college students are not invincible.
August returned back to A&M at the end of the month, and for the first time in 4 years. . .our house was empty. .all the children were gone and the girls who had lived in the extra bedrooms had moved out. . . I think it was a good break for us. . .because communal living always has drawbacks. . but for the most part, it had been a blessing for all of us. . .but the house didn't stay empty for long. .