Dear Friends and Family,
I am trying to get a head start on Christmas, so as I write this letter my Halloween decorations are still up (though the holiday itself is over). It's challenging to put myself in the right mood, and I am wondering how magazine editors do it - focus on the next season, always working somewhere in the future. In many ways that sums up the lessons life has taught me this year. How to plan for the future and live in the moment? How to grieve and move forward? How savour the end of something and at the same time embrace the beginning of something new? It seems we have had a year of transitions, which maybe makes it the same as any other year. Robert Frost said, "In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life. It goes on." For us this has meant celebrating the life of Ken's sister Christy and missing her particularly during special times as an extended family. Progressing through this year has also meant realizing that Ken and I can take a vacation and leave the kids to care for themselves. We marked Jaclyn's graduation from high school and Steven's graduation from junior high school. With those celebrations came the new beginnings of Jaclyn now away at college attending BYU, Steven moving up to high school academics and athletics, Carmen attacking junior high school with a dedication to homework like we've never seen, and Chloe getting the 5th grade teacher she was hoping for and seemingly ALL her best friends in the same class. Living in the moment, we spent a week skiing together in Montana, and a weekend as a family at the Columbia Icefield. We played more board games together on Sunday afternoons. We took bike rides and went for hikes. Ken and I saw Ireland with his parents, and spent a couple of days alone in London. We did a backpack trip in August with Steven. We had a girls trip to Edmonton to see Taylor Swift, and after we dropped Jaclyn off in Provo we took Carmen and Chloe to Disneyland. Planning for the future, we work and we save. We eat healthy and work out. We hold a short devotional together in the mornings before we go our separate ways. We do homework. We dream. And I hope that the time we spend preparing for the future provides happiness and satisfaction in the moment as well. Christmas is a model for that: the baking and shopping and decorating prepare us for the holiday, and in other ways are the very holiday itself. As we celebrate Christ's birth we are reminded of our hope to see Him one day, as well as how to live every day.
Our love to you now at Christmas and in all the moments to come.
Love: Ken, Barb, Jaclyn, Steven, Carmen, and Chloe