Jaysn and Rachel had been house hunting earlier this year and found a cute little place in a small town that was still just a short drive to where they both work. They worked hard to be able to afford to buy their first place and have been busy getting settled in. Rachel has found a new talent in refinishing furniture. We gave them our big old dining room table and some chairs and she refinished them beautifully! I would have never recognized it as our old table. Jeff and I recently went to the Winter Jam 2014 Concert (Ten Christian Bands for $10) with them and we all had a great time!
Chris and Heather have been busy raising our 2 grandsons, Isaiah and Bradley who are growing like weeds. Isaiah is now 1 and is walking and starting to talk. He is a bundle of energy and joy! Bradley is 2 and wants to know "why" everything is the way it is. ;) He has been busy learning the states in the United States and also about the continents. Heather is working at a daycare a few times a week in addition to teaching preschool to a sweet little girl along with Bradley. Chris is now a Sheriff's Deputy and graduated from the Idaho Police Academy earlier this year. He has been taking classes to become an instructor and also to be on the tactical team.
Josh just finished his AA degree in Criminal Justice while serving full time in the Air Force. He is going to continue his studies and get his BA in Criminal Justice. He has been stationed in the Washington DC area but will be deploying for a post overseas in a little over a month. He brought his girlfriend Marissa home to meet the family at the end of the summer and we all just love her. She fits right in with all of us and is so much fun!
My parents have made several trips over here to see us. They are wonderful to always pitch in and help us with whatever is needed. This last trip over for them, though quick, was one where they could finally just enjoy everyone without having to help pack and move grandkids. ;) We also were able to make a trip over to their place while Josh and Marissa were here. Chris, Heather and the boys joined us on that trip. Our good friends allowed us to stay in their cabin next door to my parents house so that everyone would have more room to spread out and have actual bedrooms to sleep in. :)
We had our water line to our home break twice and our friends (also neighbors) came to the rescue. They provided us with jugs of water, use of their shower and Ray, came up with his backhoe and dug up the pipe and then helped Jeff get it replaced and fixed. We could not feel more blessed by these wonderful people.
We've reconnected with family members and even connected for the first time with others. Old friendships have been strengthened and we have made some great new friends also. Prayers for healing have been answered, and family bonds have been strengthened during times of stress and sorrow.
Jeff and I are both still able to do jobs we enjoy (most days at least). We continue to do volunteer work in our community and feel like we are just giving back a portion of what has been given to us. A friend asked me the other day how long we had been volunteering with our food distribution program and I realized it has been about 21 years now. The boys and I started when they were very young and they continued to help until they left home. Jeff took their place when they were no longer able to do it.
There is so much to be thankful for! Life has it's ups and downs but with faith, family and friends you can weather the storms.