For those of you who do not receive our annual Christmas letter via snail mail — Year #22 🙂
If I were to think of a family “mantra” for 2018, it is that we learned to live by faith. 2018 was a year full of blessings and change for us as we packed our faith to live with God’s grace. In April, a young man who I had been tutoring at the high school needed a place to call home so Joseph joined the family. He is a brave soul – stepping into a house full of women – and Matt rejoiced as he lost his status of “only male” in the family!
About six weeks after Joseph joined us, Ashley Grace graduated from high school. We are still adjusting to having an “adult” child as Matt and I wonder daily how we could possibly be old enough to have a college student. Ashley Grace joined the Notre Dame community in August and loves her new role. In addition to school, she is interning with the Girls On The Run organization. She has the heart of servant – plans to major in Political Science – is well on her way to being bilingual – and has a long-term goal of using her talents to help others to find their voices. She brought home straight A’s during her first semester in the Fighting Irish family and we are tremendously proud of her kind heart and fierce discipline.
A week after Ashley Grace’s graduation, Megan pole vaulted her way to victory at the 2018 Nebraska State Track Meet bringing home the gold in addition to a new school record. It brought joy to my heart to watch her develop confidence as an athlete as she soared 11’2” through the air. She still has her sights set on beating her Dad’s pole vault PR so we’ll see what the future holds 🙂 She began her junior year in high school this fall, and takes every science class available with the plan of studying physics or engineering when it becomes her time to start college. Meg approaches life with the same passion that she brings to the athletic field, and packs her faith with a devotion that allows for an ever-present smile.
2018 marks the year that Karyn found her voice. My quiet, shy girl blossomed into a confident and eloquent young woman. She is currently mastering 8th grade, and finding leadership roles on the various athletic teams that she loves so much. I think that she would report that swim team is still her favorite, but basketball and track are likely not far behind. Karyn’s compassionate heart combined with her steadfast loyalty provided an important foundation for Joseph as he began a new life with us. I love to watch the two of them be brave together – facing challenges with God’s grace and a faith that reflects Jesus’ universal agape love. They both serve as an inspiration for me.
Joseph is a senior in high school this year. In addition to mastering the art of deftly handling sisters, he played football in the fall and is now immersed into wrestling season. Matt reports that we are tremendously blessed as a family, and he and I are both so grateful that what used to be a great 5 is now an awesome 6! We continue to farm in the Platte River Valley where Matt amazes me with his adept entrepreneurship skills. I still work for the Beef Marketing Group with a continued passion to improve cattle welfare in feedlots. In my spare time, I coach the Cozad Swim Team and am an assistant coach for the junior high and high school cross country teams. We hope that your travels will bring you across Nebraska on Interstate 80 and that you will stop and visit us!
In the meantime, we send blessings and smiles from our farm to your family!
Matt, Anne, Ashley Grace, Joseph, Megan, and Karyn