Tuesday, August 16, 2011

My obsession with good quotes!

Okay, so...I guess you could say I am kind of a quote junkie. I absolutely love inspiring quotes, and I spend what could probably be considered an inordinate amount of time searching for them. Most of them are pretty self explanatory, and I won't comment on them, but this first one is fast becoming my new favorite (or one of the top 15 anyway...I know...like I said: I LOVE quotes. So I have a lot of favorites).

“Today I bent the truth to be kind, and I have no regret, for I am far surer of what is kind than I am of what is true.”
—Robert Brault

"What on earth is so special about that quote?" you might ask. Usually, I am they type of person who will not bend the truth. I have pretty much prided myself in not lying or telling half-truths in order to spare someone's feelings. So this quote hit me pretty hard. And, at first, I sort of laughed at it. I thought "Yeah, that's exactly the kind of quote that someone who gets their feelings hurt at the slightest thing would come up with. Ridiculous!" So it didn't make my top quotes list.

The more I thought about it, the more it haunted me, so to speak. So I didn't think about it. I put it out of my mind, and I didn't even allow it a spot in my "quotes and inspirational stories" folder on my desktop. Or the one in my email, for that matter.

But tonight I was reading a booklet by Sheri Dew proclaiming the virtues of motherhood, and of helping to rear a righteous generation. There was one paragraph in the booklet that brought me right back to this quote as though it were written right there in black and white as well!
"Few of us will reach our potential without the nurturing of both the mother who bore us and the mothers who bear with us. I was thrilled not long ago to see one of my youth leaders for the first time in years. As a teenager who had absolutely no self-confidence, I always sidled up to this woman because she would inevitably put her arm around me and say, "You are just the best girl!" She showed me she loved me, so I was willing to let her lead me."

I realized in that moment that not everyone is born with the innate feelings of self-worth to realize their divine potential without help from others along the way. I certainly wasn't! I have had countless examples throughout in my childhood and adolescence and even into my adult life, of friends who could have spoken the truth, but instead chose words of kindness to buoy me up and give me confidence. For those, I will always be grateful, and I cherish those individuals as some of my dearest friends...in no small part because of their kind words.
Sheri Dew's story led me back the the oft-quoted Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: "Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you help them to become what they are capable of being."

We are truly sons and daughters of a Heavenly Father who loves us, with divine qualities and a divine nature within us. I have found a new appreciation for those who are able to speak a kind word when the truth would be harsh; to treat people as the gems of tomorrow, instead of the diamonds in the rough of today.

Anyway...so that's my sappy quote story for the day. For all you fellow quote enthusiasts, here are a couple more of my favorites; and I will spare you my comments on these so you can simply enjoy them :)

“There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.” - Elie Wiesel

"The awesomeness of His true perfection lies more in the good He never failed to do rather than the wrongs He never did." - Neal A. Maxwell

"We are not only our brother's keeper; in countless and small ways we are our brother's maker." -Bonaro Overstreet

"I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom, and that of all about me, seemed insufficient for the day." - Abraham Lincoln (I just have to say that I LOvE HiM!! What an incredible man!)

“Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as ever you can.”
- John Wesley

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." - Plato

"Anyone who imagines that bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around shouting that he has been robbed. The fact is most putts don't drop, most beef is tough, most children grow up to be just people, most successful marriages require a high degree of toleration, most jobs are often more dull than otherwise. Life is like an old rail journey...delays, side tracks, smoke, dust, cinders and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride." - Gordon B. Hinckley

“Be happy. Talk happiness. Happiness calls out responsive gladness in others. There is enough sadness in the world without yours. Never doubt the excellence and permanence of what is yet to be. Join the great company of those who make the barren places of life fruitful with kindness. Your success and happiness lie in you. The great enduring realities are love and service. Resolve to keep happy and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties.” -Helen Keller

"People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway. If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway. If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway. What you spend years creating and building, others could destroy overnight. Create and build anyway. If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway. The good you do today, will often be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway. Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough. Give the world the best you have anyway. You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway." - Mother Teresa

“It's what you learn after you know it all that counts.” - John Wooden

“A truly rich man is one whose children run into his arms when his hands are empty.” -Unknown

"There's one sad truth in life I've found
While journeying east and west -
The only folks we really wound
Are those we love the best.
We flatter those we scarcely know,
We please the fleeting guest,
And deal full many a thoughtless blow
To those who love us best."
-Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Monday, August 1, 2011

South Dakota

Our most recent adventure was a trip to South Dakota to see Mt. Rushmore and the other sites. Ralph, Reghan and I went last year, and the other kiddos thought they would like to go too, so we took everyone back again this year. I have to say, I love that place! The kids love all the attractions around the area, but I just love Mt. Rushmore! I guess patriotic stuff like that just gets to me...I'm grateful that we live close enough to get to see it :)
So here we are at the monument...

And riding on the alpine slide in Keystone:

Carlie and I found a new favorite place to ride! And I'm sure everyone in the pickup was a little more comfortable with the extra room :)

The kids loved Reptile Gardens! I am not really a reptile fan, so I wasn't all that excited about going, but I have to admit it was pretty cool. They got to pet snakes, alligators, and giant tortoises, and had a great time. Reghan's favorite was the giant tortoise "Crush," (she thinks it's the sea turtle from Finding Nemo), and the sand box. Aghh...we could've stayed home and played in the sandbox :)

Adventures at the Cosmos...

We have four fish for kids (which is fine with me, but I don't understand how such a thing could happen to Ralph! He doesn't even like water). Anyway, thanks to our little fishies, we had to pay a visit to Watiki Waterpark. It's the largest indoor waterpark in somewhere...probably in South Dakota, but maybe in the region, I don't know. Anyway, lots for kids to do...everyone slept soundly that night! Reghan got brave and went down the kids slides by herself. Then she got really brave and went down the tube slide with Nate. He had strict instructions to keep her above water at all times...and he did a pretty good job of it :) She LOVED it! She screamed for about half of the ride, then would jump out and say "come on Bubba!" on her way back up the stairs. Ryann, Carlie, Ralph and Nate spent most of their time on the tube slides or playing basketball, and I pretty much just chased Reghan and floated my way around the lazy river getting sprayed and cooled down :) Fun times.

And...this is the only proof I have that I actually went on the trip, so just thought I'd throw that out there. Reghan had no intention of leaving Robin Hood and Prince John at Storybook Island, so we had to have a little race back to the truck. I love her competitive nature...and that it works for everything from leaving places to cleaning up toys. If I mention a race, she is determined to win :)

Home Projects

Yes, sometimes we get the urge to fix up some part of our home during the summer. Actually, that urge happens a lot more often than you might think...it's just that it doesn't always come with a lot of motivation. But Ralph did decide that he'd had enough of our deck being painted this ugly brown color (with about 3/4 of it chipped off), so he and Nate took it apart, planed it all off, and to our pleasant surprise, it was redwood underneath. So he put it back together and put a clear stain over it - it looks so good! I'm so glad he knows so much about home repairs and remodeling. He's definitely handy to have around! :D

Notice the large gap on the end...yeah, the boards had shrunk a bit since the deck was built 10 years ago. When they got it all put back together, oops. We had a 4 inch gap with no board to fill it. Nothing that a quick trip to Home Depot won't fix. With redwood at $17 a board, I'm glad it was only a 4" gap we needed to fill :)
Thanks boys, you do good work!

Park Time!!

So, Reghan and I get so incredibly bored at home all day. She LOVES, LOVES the park, and we try to frequent as many parks in Casper as we can find. Her favorite is the "pink one" in these pictures.

It's so blasted hot right now that we can only bear to go in the morning or evening, and she's usually sleeping during those times (I can't believe she's probably growing again!! At 2 yrs old, she already wears a size 4...). So we have been trying to fill the midday hours with some other way to get out of the house. Ryann and Carlie have never been ice skating in their sheltered lives, so that was a recent adventure ;). All three girls had a lot of fun, so we'll have to make that one a hot summer day tradition. The ice rink feels SO GOOD!

Another fun choice for cooling off in the middle of the hot day is heading to the lake! We haven't done nearly enough of this for my liking - we've spent so much time traveling this summer that there hasn't been time. But we have been out a few times, and the kiddos had some fun tube rides. Ryann got up on her first wakeboarding try...and Nate found that much to his dismay, his feet don't really fit in the wakeboard anymore. Ahh, the joys of growing ;)
Carlie and Nate found some short cliffs to jump off, so if I find those pictures, I will post them later. Nate and Ralph also found some not so short cliffs to jump off at Flaming Gorge. I think they measured them at about 65 feet - they are brave boys, that's for sure! And they were hurting boys, for a while after those jumps. But, good times, and the video is priceless! I'll see if I can edit it down and get some of that on here as well.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Summer Travels!

Whew! Summer has flown by and it’s only June.
I’ll give you all the quick rundown on the past couple of weeks, and then maybe a few other events of significance in our family lately…
I am SO SORRY for the lack of pictures. I happened to forget my camera on each trip, and when you’re 4-9 hours from home, it’s just not convenient to run back and grab it! But summer fun pictures are soon to come.
The weekend of May 21 Reghan and I drove to Idaho to watch my youngest sister Chelsie compete in the state track meet for her last time. I can’t believe she is graduated from high school already. Time sure does fly. She is an amazing young woman, and I am so proud of her! She qualified for state in the triple jump, 200 M, and the medley relay. She didn’t do as well at state as she would have liked due to a rotten knee injury. I know that feeling well, and sure felt bad for her, but I was so proud of how hard she competed, her determination, and her camaraderie with her teammates (that’s not easy in track, especially when you are pretty athletic and could easily qualify in four events by yourself, but she is such a great teammate!). Anyway, we had a great time in Boise, and loved the track meet, and also loved the fact that it is likely the last trek I will make to Boise to watch the Idaho State Track meet. It brought back some good memories, and also some painful ones, but the one thing I love about looking back on my own time in athletics is the renewed determination I always come away with to make every moment of every day count. I really look back and feel like I cheated myself out of what I could have been (I know, a real Uncle Rico moment ☺), by not working as hard as I should have. And really, in high school athletics, how trivial is that? But it is painful to look back and feel that way, and I don’t ever want to look back on my life and feel like I cheated myself out of what I could have become if I had only worked harder, or done more. So anyway, there’s my plug for life lessons learned in athletics.

It was great to get to spend time with my parents and siblings, and also my Grandma Pope and uncles LeRoy and Eric, aunts Kris and Zina, and cousins Brigette and Dallan and Dallan’s daughter Brittany. It was fun to watch the cousins compete as well…Brittany, Brigette, and Allie – great job, girls! AND…we got nice weather!! Last year we got snowed on, so I just had to throw that out there.
So…we got home from that adventure on Tuesday and had a few days to wash clothes and clean house. Yes, my husband does pick up after himself pretty well, but no, he does not do dishes by hand, sweep or mop floors, or clean bathrooms. So there was a bit of housework to straighten up before I felt good about leaving again.
Friday, Ralph, Reghan and I took of for the big city of Lyman, WY, to visit some old friends. Kent & Amy were great friends of both Ralph and my family in Idaho, and after hearing Ralph talk about the way teachers are treated in Wyoming as compared to Idaho, they decided to make the move out here too. We are glad to have them closer, and decided that since they are here, we better make the effort to visit ☺. Their kids (especially Jake and Kenna) took amazing care of Reghan while we were there, and she can’t wait to go back! The fact that Kenna gave her some princess shoes she’d outgrown didn’t hurt, either. Saturday, we drove from Kent and Amy’s house to Salt Lake City to watch Les Miserables. My mom and I had been planning FOREVER (okay, so for about a year) to get tickets when it came back to Salt Lake, and we were able to get four of them, so we invited our husbands to go with us. I think Ralph was kind of embarrassed about going to a broadway musical production with me, but he took it well, and actually remarked that he enjoyed the show. I know I did! It was amazing. What a great moral, great singing, and amazing sets! I do have to say that as usual, the book was better; but if you’d rather pay the money and watch the show than read, you won’t be disappointed. Unfortunately, my parents weren’t able to come this time…but that just means that when it comes back in a few years, I have another excuse to go! And yes, I will stalk the tickets from the moment they go on sale this time so we don’t get hosed on prices again!! ☺

Okay, so we stayed Saturday night in American Fork (the play was almost 4 hours long – we didn’t get out until almost midnight) with Kent’s sister, and headed back to Lyman on Sunday afternoon. In the meantime, they got 14 inches of snow in Lyman. Blah! I was feeling very glad that the only plants in my garden were raspberries and strawberries!
When we finally made it back to Casper, I decided it looked warm enough that I better get my garden in if I wanted a harvest before Thanksgiving. So Tuesday I put my gloves on and went to work – I am excited to report that there are now plenty of other food items (and a few weeds) growing. We’ll see how long I can keep this up. Most of you know that patience is not my strong point, and pulling weeds that seem to sprout up overnight while I wait weeks on end to see any change in the food I am trying to grow really drives me crazy! But I have committed to stick around enough this summer to give this an honest effort. Poor Reghan, she already knows more than most 10 year olds about pulling weeds; and stepping on strawberries; and feeding worms (she’ll only touch them if she’s got her Dora gloves on); and tipping over the wall’s of water around the tomatoes. What a helper!
Anyway, back to our summer traveling adventures…Monday night we got word that Ralph’s Grandma passed away. She had been sick for quite some time, and although it is never easy to lose a loved one, it was a blessing to see her out of her extreme pain. She had been almost constant pain ever since I met her, which has been about 7 years now. So it is good to picture her up and walking, and smiling without grimacing in pain, and being able to enjoy herself again.
Her passing meant that we were up for another trip to Idaho. The funeral services were going to be Saturday, so we headed down on Friday morning to get there in time for the viewing that evening. It was good to get to see so much family, and once again feel totally lost as I tried to place everyone with their respective families. ☺ Now I know how Ralph feels when he comes to the Ivie reunions! My mom has 11 children in her family, and most of them have large families as well, so it can be a bit overwhelming. But Ralph’s family is pretty close to that…I think his mom comes from a family of 8 children, with several half- and step-siblings, so it can definitely get a bit confusing as well! But I love big families and wouldn’t have it any other way.
Going home for Grandma Hatch’s funeral meant that we would be in Idaho for my birthday – the big 2-5. I feel like being a quarter of a century old, I should have some wisdom to share or something, but I’m just not coming up with anything. I do feel old, though. I don’t know what I’m going to do when 30 and 40 creep up on me…most days I’m still pretty sure that I just got out of high school. Good old glory days!
Anyway, I have to say it was the best birthday I’ve had in a long time! Usually it’s just another day, which is the way I like it. I would probably be mortified if I ever walked into a surprise party for myself…it’s just not my thing. But being home with Devri (we share a birthday, 5 years apart) and the rest of the family made it special. All of us girls (with the exception of my mom) had a campout in the tent. We had a small encounter with a smelly friend, but all survived no worse for the wear. My mom made me a birthday cake, and it was SO GOOD! I think I’ve made my own cake since I turned 15, so that was a fun way to get spoiled on my birthday. I was a little upset that I had to leave before they had Devri’s birthday cake made, because the greatest thing about sharing a birthday is sharing cakes, but my rear end probably thanks me for it! Especially considering all the miles I’ve put in on it the past few weeks ☺.
Other exciting news from that trip – Carlie talked her mom into letting her come home with us for the summer, so she’ll get to spend June and July in Casper. We are so excited to have her here!
We got ourselves home on Tuesday and I tallied up the hours Reghan and I had spent in a car over the last three weeks. I stopped at 60, but it’s slightly more than that. ☹. Ugghh!
So needless to say, when Ralph asked if I wanted to go back to Kent and Amy’s for the weekend while he helped up in a sprinkler system, my answer was a vehement NO. Sorry guys…I know you are missing out on the pleasure of my company, and my landscaping expertise, but I can’t take another minute in a car!
So…here we are back at home, and ready to stay here for the entire rest of the summer. Hopefully we will get some decent summer weather so we can just camp ourselves out at the lake and eat hoagie sandwiches, licorice and chips, and water ski to our hearts’ content. Hope you are all enjoying your summer!!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Dee-ing Lessons

Nate was on the Alpine Ski Team at his high school, so Reghan knows all about "dee-ing." She asks all the time if she can go, so we took her up twice this year - she has pretty good coordination for being 2 :)
The first time was massive tears. When we asked her how she liked it she replied "Dat fun skiing. Dat scare me a little, though!" The reality is that it scared her a lot! But she begged to go again, so we took her back up, and she LOVED it! What a cutie. And what sore legs for Mom & Dad. Don't let the video fool you, Ralph didn't do all the teaching. He did do the majority, but we both had pretty sore quads from all that snowplowing at Reghan's height. And Nate followed closely all afternoon with the hula hoop that she refused to use...what a trooper. Anyway, we had a lot of fun, and everyone is excited for next year!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Fun times :-)

Just a warning to all you moms out there, I have the sweetest, most adorable little girl there is! (She is also probably in the running for most physically violent toward siblings and parents, and biggest grouch when she doesn't get her way :-)

This afternoon, we were "playing" hide-and-seek. Not the actual game that most of you remember from growing up. The Reghan version. This version consists of Reghan and I (yes me) hiding in her extremely small closet on the tiny toddler couch together. I am not allowed to move. At all. Occasionally she opens the doors and goes running for a blanket or a bottle for her doll, or some other necessity (ahhh, freedom & a quick stretch of my cramping legs!!). Then it's back in the closet, cover mom with a blanket, cover herself with a blanket, and pull the door shut...ripping off both blankets in the process. After about 10 minutes of this, she realizes that (oops!) the only two people involved in this game are both hiding, and NO ONE is coming to find us. So out she goes again to bang on her bedroom door and yell "Nate, Daddy, tome find me!"

Nate is a good sport, so in he comes as Reghan frantically dives back in the closet and shuts my toes in the door with a "torry mom!"
Nate calls out "Where's Reghan? Is she under the bed?" To which Reghan replies in a whisper "no!"
"Is she under the covers?"
Again, a whispered "no!"
"Is she in the closet?"
Now she's really excited, and it comes out as a bit of a cross between whisper and squeak "yes!"
By this time I am cracking up, and Nate asks "Is she laughing??"
Reghan can't contain herself this time and she replies aloud "No. Dat Mommy! I not laughing." So we are found. But miraculously, we are not "it." We don't even get to come out of our hiding place. Nate just walks out the door and Reghan tells me "dote move, otay?" as she runs and slams the door shut behind him so the game can begin again.

Replay the whole scenario up to the point where Reghan shuts my toes in the closet door...only this time she doesn't because I keep my knees tucked right under my chin and my toes curled over like they're in the womb.
Enter Nate. This time he thinks he'll try a little trickery, so he calls out "Reghan, what's your full name?" (She loves to tell us that she is "Reghan Telly Obay").
Not about to fall for his trick & divulge our secret hiding place, she opens the closet door and points at her brother. "Shut up, Nate," she says. Then pulls the door back closed and waits for him to check the usual spots before 'finding' us.
At this point my back, legs, and toes can't take it anymore, so I volunteer to be 'it' and come find her in a few minutes. I think it might be more interesting if Reghan looks for a new hiding spot, and I mention this out loud. Right. I am met with a look of total disgust and the simple, no nonsense reply "No. I hide my tloset."

Guess I'll know where to come looking... :-)

She is getting to be so imaginative and I just love it! I remember when we were young, Kyle used to play in the cupboards all the time. I think my mom had one she just left empty so he could climb in and out of it. And he just KNEW that Hudam Hussein (Saddam Hussein...he was on the news every night during that time period, so we were intimately accquainted with him and viewed him as the ultimate enemy...), lived in our kitchen cupboard. And yet, he still played in it. Maybe he was blowing him up. Who knows. Anyway...recently Reghan has discovered a mostly empty bottom shelf in my pantry cupboard. She pulls out the few items in it on an hourly basis, then climbs in, pulls the door shut on herself, then peeks back out. After making sure she has my attention (and with no prodding or lessons from Kyle) she says something like "No worries, Mom. I just going in my car. I just going tee Tanta Clause. Tee you later!" Only once did I try to force her out of the cupboard before she was done visiting with Santa, only to be met with "Mom, just tool it, otay?"

That was good enough for me...I spent the next five minutes or so reflecting on the hilarious and adorable things that come out of her mouth, and she got to spend as much time with Santa as she wanted :-)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

~ Holidays 2010 ~

Well, another eventful year has come and gone! It seems like just a few weeks ago I was sitting down to write last year’s Christmas letter.

We started 2010 in our typical style…ski trips to Grand Targhee. Living in Dubois put us pretty close to good skiing, and we tried to take advantage of that whenever we had a free day!

Ralph and Reghan and I took a summer trip to South Dakota to see Mount Rushmore and the Black Hills area. We decided we’ll have to do that again next summer with all the kids – it was really neat, and a great family vacation area! The most memorable part of the trip (for Reghan, at least) was visiting Old MacDonald’s farm, where she could play with all the animals, and the “goat bite my shirt!” She still reminds us about that, so it must have been pretty traumatic.

Over the summer we were able to head back to Idaho for the Anderson and Ivie family reunions. It was so good to catch up with so many of you! I might be the only child in my family who remembers the last Ivie reunion, so it was much needed and lots of fun to see so many cousins and family members!

We also bought a boat last year, just in time to store it all winter. I worried all through the winter months that Ralph might get some crazy idea to sell it and buy snow machines (living in Dubois we might have been the only family in town without them), but he is learning about making the wife happy if he wants to be happy, so we were able to spend quite a bit of time this summer at the lake skiing, knee-boarding, wakeboarding, and riding the tubes.

At the end of the summer, Ralph was offered a job back in Casper, and we jumped at the opportunity to return. Moving to Dubois was a blessing in many ways, and it was hard to leave our friends there, but Casper is home and we are very grateful to be here. (I will also be very grateful if I can write our Christmas letter next year without including another move!)

Reghan turned two in October and is right in the middle of the terrific or terrible twos (depending on the moment J). She loves to play the piano and sing “I am a Child of God” or “Santa Clause is Coming to Town.” She also loves to be silly! She has pretty sweet dance skills, and loves to crank up the 80’s music and dance with daddy. A few of my favorite quotes from her are “I’m sick. I need go see my Dopter Popper (Dr. Pepper),” and (every mother’s favorite) “I wu (love) you sooo much!”

Carlie is 9 and in 4th grade this year. She moved to a new school, and loves it. She was excited to report that she doesn’t even have any “mortal” enemies there J. Carlie is a sweetheart, and I don’t know how she could have enemies anywhere! She still loves soccer and swimming, and if she could have one wish for Christmas it would be an indoor swimming pool so she could swim year round! Carlie is such a good big sister to Reghan, and even gets up with her at night when she stays with us.

Ryann will be 12 in January. She is becoming quite the young lady/computer nerd. Her latest facebook quiz labels her as “jaw dropping beautiful & best personality on earth…” And since we all know that facebook is the ultimate authority in these things, we’ll just leave it at that :-). She just finished her competitive soccer season by winning the championship in the Boise tournament. She is involved in basketball right now and loving every minute of it!

Nate is 15 and a sophomore in high school. He played center on the football team at Kelly Walsh this year, and is now in the middle of alpine ski season. We finally have enough snow to open the main runs at the local ski area, so he got to put in some slope time last weekend & is looking to compete for a varsity racing slot this year! He got his first elk this fall and takes pride in reminding us that he provided dinner each time we feast on his elk. He also has a driver’s permit and has dubbed himself the family chauffeur. I think we are all excited for the time when he has a license and can be his own personal chauffeur (maybe)! :-)

I have been blessed this year to be able to stay home with Reghan, and also do a little bit of substitute teaching. I didn’t realize while I was teaching how much I truly loved it, and I have missed my junior high kids (Agghh! Did I just admit that in writing??). I also teach a few online math classes, and while that is not as fun as being in the classroom, it does make me a positive contributor to the family finances J. I was privileged in Dubois to get to work with the young women in church, and go to girls camp, which is always one of the highlights of summer! I currently teach the 9 year old primary class, and I’m pretty sure I have the best group of kids in church. They never fail to amaze me with how much they know!

Ralph is working at Midwest schools as the Assistant Principal / Dean of Students. He is over the entire school, K-12, and is loving the opportunity to interact with the elementary kids (he says when he feels underappreciated, he just heads down to the kindergarten classroom for his daily round of hugs :-). He was able to take Nate, Ryann, and Carlie elk hunting in Grand Teton National Park this fall and introduce the girls to some of the finer points of outdoor living. Carlie loved it and volunteered to pack out the meat, but I think Ryann preferred her book, ipod, and seat in the warm pickup.

As we contemplate this Christmas season and the year leading up to it, we can’t help but reflect on our many blessings. At the top of that list of blessings are the wonderful family we have been blessed with and the many amazing friends in our lives. We are truly thankful for each one of you. Merry Christmas, and may the Lord’s choicest blessings be upon you and your families this Christmas season and always.

With love,

The Obray Family