2019 Family Christmas Letter
Season's greetings, friends and family! What a wonderful year on Mission Rd Homestead as we embraced our “new normal". This year was a time of catching up rather than crisis. We not only caught up around our home, but we were able to intentionally connect with family and friends. We camped at Indian Lake (twice), Heppner Ranch, Jubilee Lake, Ft. Rilea (on the Oregon coast) and twice during various hunting seasons. We all enjoyed the opportunity to disconnect from work and smart phones to just play games, visit, read aloud, hike, kayak, hunt, etc. It's been great to have the time to do these “normal activities” as a family again.
Michael is starting his 5th year of commuting to La Grande to work as a heavy-wheeled track mechanic for the Oregon National Guard. Hee was able to go to Canada for Annual Training this year. He is now a W2 Chief Warrant Officer in the OR Nat. Guard. April, 2020 will be his 24th anniversary being in the Guard. He keeps himself busy working on the homestead, being an Assist. Scoutmaster for Josiah's BSA troop, hunting, working on the T-bucket and taking us all camping. He installed our flooring and got a lot of trim work done on the house. Only one more room to go, and we'll be done with the flooring!
I am homeschooling all three children (1 high schooler, 1 middle schooler and 1 pre-schooler), working as a part-time tour guide for the Pendleton Underground Tours, and am the Committee Secretary for Josiah's BSA troop. I enjoy bible study, gardening, working on the homestead, practicing my fiddle, writing, contra dancing, and have begun exercising regularly again. I've been learning to bake more and still enjoy cooking from scratch whenever I have the time. This past year, I've really tried to add margin to my life and given up a lot of things to keep from being excessively busy.
Josiah is 16 and driving (gasp!). He's enjoying more independence and we're enjoying having another driver in the family. He just attained the Life Rank in Scouts and is well on his way to achieving Eagle rank. He and Michael went to Melita Island on Flathead Lake in Montana for summer camp. He loves hunting, fishing and wants to start trapping this year. He enjoys camping and is always super creative when it comes to survival techniques. He also started doing a little boxing and is working to get in shape so he can join the military when he's older. He participated in his first Civil War reenactment and hopes to do more next year.
Hailey is 12 and turning into a beautiful young woman. She is thriving in our homeschool, even with the extra challenges dyslexia brings. She is learning to adapt and use tools to help her be successful. She is currently writing a book using “speech to text”. Her imagination and vocabulary continue flourish. She still loves participating in gymnastics and also enjoys art.
Rina is 4 and such a delight to our family. She keeps us all laughing at her cute antics. She insists on being homeschooled along with the other kids and knows all her letters and sounds and can count to 100. She's starting to read and write some very basic words. She's enjoying the “Little Learners” class through our local homeschool group and has her own library card now! Our little cowgirl adores horses and animals of all kinds and rides her miniature horse, Bakerman, whenever she gets a chance.
This is the year we learned to breathe again. The house fire and rapid re-build taught us many things. It made us take stock and re-prioritize. Our faith, family and friends are our number one priority. God has brought us so far. He has blessed us beyond our imaginings. It was undeserved, unmerited, but He did it anyway. We're thankful for His continued grace and peace as we go through this crazy life with it's joys and pains. We thank Him for the salvation He gives as a gift to us through His precious Son, Jesus, our Messiah. He was born in humble circumstances, lived a perfect life, died and rose again so that we may be saved from our sins. Oh how precious is His name! We pray blessings on our family and friends as we enter into 2020. May His face shine upon each one of you!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!