This year...

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Sweater’s, carols, and egg nog,  oh my!…As I sit here contemplating the year and what to write I find myself once again babbling so feel free to use this as kindling .  I do not journal and although I have entered the virtual world of blogging I am very sporadic. Consequently, these letters and a few Facebook status updates seem to be the sacred words written about our year’s events. 
Here is our year’s month by month synopsis.
January- we after much prayer and consideration decided to join a new church edifice, Bayside Community.  This is a place filled with hope with  young and old alike who love to serve and do genuine outreach. not to mention the fact that it meets in the children’s school and all of our college kids attend here as well and it is our joy to see them all loving church. Worshiping and being in community with such folks is what church is really all about. This and good doughnutsJ.
 February- Our previously postponed trip to Haiti takes place as we Skype with Summer on her birthday.  Technology in the third world…. what an irony…
March-Just listening to my first and second born little girls play Hallelujah on the Violin and Viola, pure delight!
April-after photographing numerous weddings I finally decided to make my 18 years of photography into a business: Kirstin Shontere photography “An Image Boutique”.  I have learned more the past few months than the previous 18 years in spite of all of the classes I took while in college.   I can’t say I am in the black yet due to some serious camera and lens investments.  However the tax breaks alone should be stellar in spite of the current administration’s insistence that “hope and change” really means taxes.
May- was one of the most heartbreaking times of our life.  Roy has gone home to be with the Lord.  We are grateful for his release from pain and the agony of fighting Cancer.  Please keep my mom in your prayers, however, as she will have to learn to live without her husband of the past 18 years. 
June- Resigning from teaching has to have been the hardest decision I have ever considered.  It has been six months since I resigned and I still toil over the decision daily.  All the while, rejoicing that I do not have to spend my days pent up in a room full of frustration, both mine and my students.  I truly believe that every human being has infinite worth. Yet, I was finding the system of standardized testing made it impossible to see my students as anything but underperforming numbers dictating my own  self- worth as well as theirs.  Mind you I was teaching reading to 10th graders.
July – we once again traveled to North Carolina for Vacation and while we saw many elk and waterfalls we once again eluded the dreaded bears.  These mysterious creatures cause my children much anxiety on hikes, in spite of the fact that they have never seen one.  My anxiety however comes from being trapped by growling teenagers.
August- The discovery of Pinterest has both filled me with joy and lots of ideas.  It also steals much of my time. but I do love the idea of having boards filled with pictures of things verses a house full of things.  (Oh wait I already have that so now I suppose I have real things and virtual things)The way tastes change these days, it is a lovely option and beats buying magazines and saving them for years only to collect dust.
September- throws us once again into volleyball season. I must say I am thrilled at the girls’ choice of sport and the fact that they continue to get better each year makes the games worth watching!  Girls at BCS can play some serious volleyball!
October- Ahh a return to my roots.  Dan took me on a trip to Chicago.  As I relished the art Institute, Savannah called me in Chicago to ask for her Social Security number so she could take her driver’s permit test. I was both elated and terrified.  Thrilled she was taking initiative and petrified at the thought of my baby venturing into this crazy world of driving.  Thankfully my mother in law spends a lot of time here and is thrilled to let her drive her car. 
November-Summer remains as entertaining as ever.   She played the ugly duckling in her class play very well I might add.  She didn’t even take offense to this.  Furthermore, she learned to ride her bike without training wheels.  Life without training wheels is tough I am thinking of going back myself. 
December- I fear senility or lunacy may be setting in.  As I stepped out of the car at Home Depot to get our Christmas tree I discovered I had forgotten to put shoes on.  If I were my brother in law this would be fine, however, I do not enjoy the feeling of concrete pressing upon my feet or being unsure of where I left my shoes.
After getting the entire tree decorated it decided it was a little front heavy and fell over,(or perhaps the fact that Dan insisted that it ouch our 11 foot ceiling and put cinder blocks under it to make it taller). Summer made a beeline for the dining room as though it might run after her and to which Sierra exclaimed, “I sure am glad Mom wasn’t here!”  I believe I was out getting more decorations for it.  Thank goodness I am sick of stuff. Phew!
We embarked upon another return to Haiti for our annual Christmas break mission.  Dan, myself and 14 young adults whose heart’s desire is to serve and change the world for the better.  Haiti is truly one of the most dilapidated, filthy, corrupt places on the planet, yet in the midst of the people lays the hope and truth of a God who redeems and dwells with us.  I must state that I have more peace and joy when I am there serving the least of these as they in turn serve me; the gospel paradox.    Having a hungry, thirsty half naked child brush the dirt off of your shoes is as humbling and uplifting as it gets.  Seeing a child relish a peanut butter and jelly sandwich like it is a piece of heaven, priceless!
I constantly find myself torn by the desire to both to save and savor the world. 
May you all be blessed in the New Year and beyond.
Dan, Kirstin, Savannah, Sierra and Summer