Friday, December 30, 2016

Christmas Letter 2016

Here is the Christmas letter I sent out to various friends and family this Christmas season.  Since my blogging took a bit of a hiatus during 2016, I thought it appropriate to post the letter here . . . then you'll at least have a bit of a glimpse into what went on over the past 12 months! I plan to be more faithful in my blogging in 2017, but we'll see how that goes.  Enjoy the letter (I have modified some parts for privacy reasons, but for the most part it should still make sense).

December 10, 2016
Dear Family and Friends,
          It seems like it’s been years since I’ve included a Christmas Letter with our card, so I thought it was time to give an update in this format.  Although social media has provided an opportunity for more life updates on a regular basis, some of our family and friends are not connected in that way, so this is an opportunity for you to read about what we’ve all been up to recently.
          2016 brought many changes to our lives, and it appears that 2017 will be doing the same.  Wayne’s 10-year anniversary of employment where he currently works occurred in January.  He now enjoys access to 4 weeks of holidays rather than 3; however, he has yet to max-out his holidays.  For the most part, his workplace  has managed to stay afloat despite their connection to the Canadian oilfields.  Thankfully, the management has tried to diversify what they build, and it was not until this November that they finally felt the effects of what is happening with the oil industry.  Thus, Wayne has received a layoff notice effective the beginning of January 2017, although he is hoping this is just a precautionary measure his employer is taking, hoping that the layoff will not actually come into effect.  However, we trust that God has this all under control and we know that He will continue to provide for our needs despite the uncertainty surrounding Wayne’s job.
          Aside from his job, Wayne has kept busy this summer and fall working on a renovation project on one of our outbuildings, which was originally used as a storage shed.  Wayne has been slowly transforming it into a heated workshop he will be able to use year-round.  He’s making great progress and hopefully it will be fully operational by next summer.
          While Wayne was on summer holidays, as a family we were able to participate in some “stay-cations” closer to home.  We visited the Tunnels of Moose Jaw, the site of the television show, Corner Gas in Rouleau, SK, as well as the Sand Dunes close to Leader, SK.  The boys and I also took a trip with my sister and niece to the Crooked Tree Forest near Hafford, SK.  All of these experiences were enjoyable, but it was nice to come home to our own comfy beds at the end of our days in the sun.
          Mitchell is currently in grade 12 at an online school.  He is diligently working on completing his first-semester classes, which include Calculus, Physics, Workplace & Apprenticeship Math, and English.  He is a very strong math student, and with aspirations of attending the College of Engineering at the U of S at some point in the future, he knows the importance of working hard in order to enter that particular field.  He was recently accepted into the one-year Impact program at Millar College of the Bible, where he will start in the fall of 2017.  It’s hard to believe how quickly the last 18 years have flown by— it literally seems like we were just announcing his birth, and now he’s in grade 12!  Mitchell is excited about the opportunity to attend Bible College, and we look forward to watching God’s plans for his life as an adult unfold.  
          Mitchell is very active in our church and youth group.  He plays drums on a worship team, and also ushers on a regular basis.  Last spring he started a Bible study group for teenage boys, which meets every-0ther-week.  It has been encouraging to watch this group of boys forge friendships in order to build one another up in their faith and lives.
          Tyrone is in grade 10, also at an online school.  His favourite subject is History, and unlike his older brother, he loathes his Foundations & Pre-Calculus math class.  This semester Ty is also taking English and Photography.  He has taken some amazing photos, and he is better at using our camera than I am.  Ty also enjoys drumming on the church worship team, and he provides leadership to his youth group through the YOT Club (Youth Overseeing Team).  He is also an active participant in Mitchell’s Bible study group, which has provided him with a strong support system.
          My life is extremely busy as I oversee the education of Mitchell and Ty, even though they have designated teachers for their online school.  I provide assistance with scheduling, proofreading their assignments, and generally making sure they stay motivated to do their work.  It’s going to feel strange next year to have this responsibility cut in half after Mitchell graduates from high school.
          I continue to work as an Educational Assistant, but this past June I received some devastating news regarding my job.  My six years of working at a Colony School came to an end, and leaving this school broke my heart.  Our school division had to make some extreme staffing cuts, which left me jobless.  I attempted to re-enter the administrative workforce, which I haven’t “officially” been a part of for over 9 years, so it was tough to even get an interview.  However, due to my level of seniority within the school division, I was able to transfer to a different school as an E.A.  I now work at a different school located about 75 km from where we live.  I went from working in a school of approximately 40 students at the Colony, to 800+ students at my new school.  To say it’s been a huge adjustment would be an understatement.  My transition to the new school has gone as well as can be expected, although I continue to grieve the loss of my former workplace.
          Beyond my job and helping the boys with their school, I teach a grade 3 girls’ Sunday School class, which I thoroughly enjoy.  I also lead a small group Bible study for women, which occurs about twice a month.  Wayne and I also recently joined a Life Group at our church and it’s been great to get to start getting to know some friends on a deeper level, as we explore God’s Word together.
          This December we celebrate living on the acreage for 10 years . . . time passes quickly when you’re having fun!  We enjoy the space and freedom we have here . . . as well as our 4 dogs and 1 cat (although another cat just decided to join us, so make that 2 cats!).
          Thanks for taking the time to read a bit about what we’ve been up to.  We wish you all the best in 2017 and hope you will experience true Joy this Christmas season as we celebrate the birth of a baby who continues to change the world!
                                                                                      With love and Hope,

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