The following is our Christmas letter. As one of my six loyal readers, you probably know most of this already but please enjoy my year in review...
Dear Family and Friends,
Merry Christmas! May the joy and peace of this season be upon you. It’s true that there have been times when we have looked back over the course of a year and seen few changes. We assure you that for us, this has not been one of those years. Twelve months ago we were enjoying a typical, warm, San Diego Christmas with our cuddly and immobile infant. This year we are trying to write a Christmas letter from chilly Salt Lake City, but our toddler keeps reaching for the keyboard or demanding more milk or pushing that pretty button that turns off the computer or running away with the Christmas decorations. No, we did not decide to take a snowy holiday vacation this year. We live here. We know what you’re thinking. Who in their sane minds would trade San Diego for Salt Lake City, right?
To make an incredibly long and prayerful journey short, Troy’s father retired from fulltime ministry at OUR OLD CHURCH in April and the elder board encouraged the remaining staff members to explore other ministry options. Through a church consultant, Troy’s resume was sent to several churches. Over the course of several months, interviews, discussions and prayers, Troy eventually accepted the Senior Pastor position at OUR NEW CHURCH in PART OF, Utah. Just after Thanksgiving we packed up our lives and drove the 750 miles to our new home. During the past few years, Troy has really enjoyed preaching and is looking forward to being in the pulpit every Sunday. His new position will be challenging, but the congregation has been so loving and welcoming and Troy looks forward to leading them and being a light in a land that so desperately needs to hear the truth.
Lori profoundly enjoyed teaching drama at Mountain Valley Academy during the past year. She really loved seeing her vision come to fruition during the productions. However, summer came and she was able to spend three months as a stay-at-home mom. The experience of getting to be with Garrett every minute of the day was tremendous and she’s happy to announce that with Troy’s promotion came her own. She is now a fulltime stay-at-home mom. Although, being a Senior Pastor’s wife and partaking in her own ministerial endeavors will certainly take a great deal of time.
Garrett celebrated his first birthday in July and is enjoying every minute of being a toddler. He walks. He runs. He drops the basketball through the hoop. He plays with everything that even resembles a car—complete with engine noises. And one of these days, we’re sure that he will start talking. His current language involves grunting, squealing, babbling and pointing. He understands enough to obey most commands but can’t exactly hold a conversation. We had quite a year with him and all of his capers, including but not limited to, splitting his head open—blood, blood everywhere—and having a whopper of a dirty diaper on an airplane—poop, poop everywhere. Speaking of airplanes, Garrett has become an avid flyer. In his sixteen months of life he has flown seven times, to Oregon twice (to visit Troy’s family), Sacramento once (for a wedding Lori was in), Utah three times (to visit the church and then to move here) and Hawaii.
Yes, in September we were blessed with the opportunity to vacation on Oahu and Kauai with Lori’s parents. We had a wonderful time visiting Pearl Harbor, swimming, snorkeling, sightseeing, ziplining, hiking, kayaking, tubing down the canals of the former Lihue Plantation, and spending time together. Garrett absolutely loved it and, when the ten days were over, no one was quite ready to leave. In fact, if it were an option, we’d still be there, relaxing by the white sand pool and lounging in the tropical sun. The memories are a far cry from our new life in what Lori refers to as “the tundra.” In addition to our trip to Hawaii, we spent a week at Campus by the Sea, Catalina, where Troy was the speaker, and took a beach camping trip.
Beck and Oliver, plus Evie, a somewhat tamed feral cat that we’ve been feeding for a few years, made the move with us. Currently, the cats are living in the basement of our beautiful rental (anyone want to buy a home in Ramona?) and the dog is still deciding whether he’s a fan of the snow. He loves to play in it but he doesn’t seem to be thrilled with the outside temperatures or the amount of time he now spends inside.
We encourage you, as always, to remember that our Savior’s birth is the real reason for this holiday. May the wonder of that first Christmas fill your lives. God Bless!