Tag Archives: Christmas Card

2022 Annual Burkholder Christmas letter

I read a quote from Jamie Finn the other day that seems to sum up what God has consistently placed on my heart in 2022. It pulls from 1Corinthians 13 where the Holy Spirit reminds us that love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things 😊

The quote goes like this, “Love doesn’t float downstream with the natural current of annoyances and provocations. It paddles hard, against the flow, toward forgiveness and understanding, toward charity and kindness.”

I remember when 1Corinthians 13 was read at Matt’s and my wedding more than 26 years ago. The scripture carries a message that has always been special to me, but it seems that God places it deeper within my heart with every year that passes. As our family prepares to close out 2022, I think of how we have been blessed with love. Jesus fills our hearts each day with the kind of love that perseveres, inspires, and strengthens regardless of circumstance. And, I am reminded of what a beautiful gift that is.

Ashley Grace graduated with honors from Notre Dame University in the spring of 2022 with majors in Political Science and Theology, and a minor in Public Service. Notre Dame gifted her with close friendships and good years as she navigated college life, and we are thankful for that! In June, she moved to an apartment in downtown Chicago as she prepared to teach 25 energetic 3rd and 4th graders at Grace Christian Academy in Little Village. Her days are filled with lots of little, needy hands and hearts as she inspires them to find purpose in knowledge and to love each other well. She has a great support system in Chicago with Luke and his family, as well as many Notre Dame friends.

Megan continues to pole vault her way through college at Davidson. She is a Physics major and reports that she is “going through her nerd phase”. She loves her track team, her Young Life group, FCA, and her fellow physics majors on campus. God blessed her with victory at the A10 Indoor Championships in 2022 and she flies higher over the bar with each season that passes. She spent another summer working at the K Bar Z ranch in Wyoming, and is truly blessed with a “2nd family” on the ranch. She has mentioned wanting to come home and farm after college, so we are hopeful that she will head back to the prairie in a few years.

Karyn is a senior in high school this year and will join the Corps of Cadets at Texas A & M University in the fall of 2023. In addition to the Corps, she plans to be a Forensic Science major in her time in Aggieland. She is very excited to head south for a few winters 😊 and reports that she will not miss the cold Nebraska wind! Karyn’s quiet strength and kindness is a constant source of inspiration for me. I got to coach her for the last time this fall in Cross Country, and watched God bless her with a 3rd place run in the 300 Hurdles at the Nebraska State Track and Field Championships last spring. She continues to be active in our church family, go on mission trip each summer to Mexico, and be on the One Act Performing Arts team at school.

Matt and I still work to tend to the family farm. I am consistently amazed at how talented he is at “leading the ship”. I love his heart for the land, the crew that he cares for deeply, and the savvy he brings to the family business. He serves on many local boards and also has a heart for our community. I am so very thankful to get to “do life with him”! We took a delayed 25th anniversary trip last winter to the Virgin Islands which was awesome! Matt still glides across the water like a teenager as he water skis and we love spending time at the lake each summer. This fall we were blessed to become foster parents to a sweet and amazing 7th grade daughter who I met through our church. Our house is a lively place!

I continue to volunteer with our student ministries team at church, coach swim team and cross country, substitute teach at the local middle school, and help Matt on the farm. I’ve circled back to my love of psychology as I’ve completed online classes to be trained as a Mental Health Coach. It is my hope that these classes will better equip me to love and support the kids that God brings into my life.

Our family wishes each of you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


Filed under Family, Wednesday Wisdom

Burkholder Family Christmas Letter – Long version 2020…

While I sent out a few paper Christmas cards this year, the “letter” included with them is fairly abridged.

So, in honor of the 24th annual Burkholder Christmas letter tradition, I am including here a longer version for those inclined to read it 😊

As I reflect on 2020, what God places firmly on my heart is the rekindling of a deep gratitude for our farm, our community and the place that we get to call “home”. I think that both Matt and I would report that our ability to “work the land” and live in the midst of “God’s country” frees our hearts and brings peace to our minds even in the midst of chaos and upheaval. We are closing in on 25 years of marriage and 24 years of farming! Matt’s hair is a little bit grayer and I seem to develop more wrinkles with each year that passes, but we are so blessed to have each other – our family – and all those whom God brings into our daily lives.

Matt continues to manage the farm and “play in the dirt” as the girls and I like to tease him. He loves studying the soil and figuring out ways to better care for our land. He uses his “engineering problem solving skills” to help his crew harvest alfalfa and create alfalfa dehy pellets that feed animals all across the United States. In addition, he works with partners to grow a blend of rotational corn, soy beans, wheat, oats and cover crops to ensure good long-term soil health. In his spare time, he serves on several community boards, water skis like he is still 18, and chases determinedly after his girls 🙂

I “retired” from my animal (cattle) welfare job with the Beef Marketing Group on May 1st. I’m keeping busy helping Matt on the farm and taking care of our grass cattle during the spring and summer months. I also continue to coach swim team and cross country, serve as a small group leader for local middle school girls through our church, and added on substitute teaching at our local public middle school this fall. I’m finding that 6th-8th graders are just as ornery as cattle caregivers, but they bring a new sense of hope to my heart as I shake my head at their antics. I am truly enjoying this new door that God has opened in my life.

Ashley Grace is a Junior at Notre Dame University. She is a dual major in Political Science and Theology with a minor in Public Service. In her “free time” she works as a writing tutor for the university, and spent the fall tutoring football players. She is very proud that “her boys” are in the running for the National Championship title. She also is learning the sport of boxing and continues to run a bit on the side. She heads to Milwaukee, Wisconsin next summer to work as a summer school teacher before completing her final year as an undergraduate at ND.

Megan began her tenure at Davidson College this fall. She plans to be a STEM major of some sort – likely either chemistry or physics – with a long term goal of being a teacher and coach. She is a member of the track team where she pole vaults and is looking forward to the winter and spring season! Covid made for a difficult transition to college, but we are very proud of her tenacity. We are also incredibly thankful for God’s blessing of helping her to find a supportive group of awesome young Christians to “do life with” during her time in North Carolina.

Karyn is surviving living as “an only child” with Matt and I. She adopted an “emotional support kitten” this summer right before her sisters both left for college, and persevered with greatness through both the Nebraska State Cross Country Championships and the Nebraska State One Act Championships this fall. She is currently keeping busy with basketball and claims chemistry and math as her favorite subjects. We are extremely thankful that “in-person” school and activities persevered across Nebraska this fall. Our local school board, administrators, teachers, coaches, custodians, and bus drivers are a beautiful set of humans who have worked tirelessly to ensure that the children of our community are loved each day.

We wish each of you the peace and love of Jesus this Christmas Season. As always, our door is open for those who travel past the farm.

Matt, Anne, Ashley Grace, Megan, Karyn and all the 4-legged members of the Burkholder family 🙂


Filed under Family

The Burkholder Annual Christmas Letter: 23rd edition

The Burkholder Annual Christmas Letter: 23rd edition

In honor of our children beginning to reach the age of “adulting”, we asked them to contribute to the 2019 Christmas letter by composing their own Limerick poems.

Photo Credit: Katie Arndt Photography

Ashley Grace: Age 20, Sophomore Political Science major at Notre Dame – Servant heart, fluent in Spanish, and inspired to take on the world’s challenges in order to make a difference 🙂

Our girl has done well in South Bend

To many she’s been a good friend

She loves a tail-gate

Her grades have been great

Next year she’ll continue this trend

Megan Anne: Age 17, Senior at Cozad High School – Joyful heart, full of Holy Sass, 2019 Pole Vault Nebraska State Champ and enrolling at Davidson College in the fall of 2020 🙂

Turns out I’m a champion napper

I played a bartender that’s dapper

A science fanatic

And very sarcastic

Now that’s a very great capper

Karyn Allison: Age 15, Freshman at Cozad High School – Hamilton Musical and history lover, expert baker, math whiz, courageous athlete and kindhearted girl 🙂

I had to Rise Up to high school

Take My Shot and play it cool

Never back down

Learn to go a few rounds

And not be afraid to look like a fool

As for Matt and I, we continue to enjoy life on the Nebraska prairie. God blesses us daily, and we both look forward to another year loving and working alongside each other on the farm. We hope that the joy that Jesus Christ brings permeates your heart this Christmas and brings you hope for the New Year!


Filed under Family, General

Merry Christmas!

The annual Burkholder Christmas letter — 21 years in the running 🙂

2017 brought the year of the teenagers to the Burkholder residence. Ashley Grace achieved the big 18 this month, Megan quickly approaches 16, and Karyn celebrated the fall with 13. Despite the fact that he is surrounded by women, Matt continues to thrive on the Nebraska prairie 🙂 The girls are truly our greatest blessings and the farm is alive with the love and joy that comes with family.

While Ashley Grace rocks her senior year in high school, Matt and I are left pondering how in the world we have a child old enough to leave for college! Last week brought the news that she will join the Notre Dame family in August of 2018. Her excitement rivals the pride that we feel toward the beautiful, compassionate young woman she has become. 2017 brought competition in the National Forensics League Extemporaneous Speaking finals as well as the completion of a successful four year state qualifying cross country career.

Megan expanded her repertoire this year to include set building for the Haymaker State Runner Up One Act play, and state appearances in pole vaulting (along with a school record) and cross country. She is in the midst of a great sophomore basketball season and still makes time to help out with cattle on the farm. Her smile is contagious and she packs her faith with a dedication that makes this Mama proud.

Karyn began her Junior High career this fall bringing home hardware on the cross country course and a successful basketball season. She relishes the fact that although she is the youngest of the Burkholder girls, she is the tallest. Karyn’s greatest dream came true this summer when we welcomed a yellow Labrador named Theodore into the family. Theodore brings a whole new level of antics and laughter to our home; and I have to admit that she is not the only one who adores him 🙂

Matt and I celebrated 21 years of marriage last June although he swears that I turn 29 with every birthday that passes…I am thankful each day to be able to share my life with him. He continues to manage the farm with a dedication to sustainability and integrity, although I think that he would tell you that being a good daddy dominates the top of his priority list.

Ashley Grace challenged me to run in my first half marathon this fall. I found a unique element of good health and strength amidst the 550 miles of training. I finished the race with a smile on my face, peace in my heart, and a time of 1:42.49. I continue to coach the local swim team as well as acting as an assistant coach for the Haymaker Junior High and High School Cross Country team. I truly believe that it takes a community to raise a child, and hope that I positively influence the athletes that I coach.

We wish you and your family the very best this holiday season. As always, if your path ever brings you across Nebraska please stop by and say hello!

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