As I look back to the past year I am humbled by the blessings and trials we have managed to endure. We found ourselves a family of three, instead of five, and in Belgium.
Dave turned 49 and discovering that he's not as young as he used to be. After have a hernia operation, first one since he had his tonsils removed at 3, in July of 2010, he was still having a hard time doing some of his regular activities due to pain. The summer found him making several trips to the doctor, miliatary and civilian, to find an answer, just growing older and slower to recover. After several months of tests, x-rays, ultrasounds, and Priesthood blessings, things are back to normal and no clear answers. Most of the year was spent in turmoil at work due to a co-workers lack of professionalism and her desire to climb the ladder of success with no reguard of other people. After several meetings with supervisors and a trip to EEO with a folder full of evidence of her path of distruction, there were some changes made and Dave now has a new job and co-workers. He is enjoying his job now, sleeping better, and doesn't spend every hour worrying about what he has or hasn't done. He had to take a couple of TDYs, The Hauge and Luxombourg, during the summer and was authorized to take the family. Dave is still the Ward Mission Leader in our ward, a challenging calling to say the least. Our ward is made up of French and English speakers. At least half of our ward is African, about a quarter is American, and the other quarter are Belgians or other Europeans. It makes for an interesting mix of cultures, languages and ideas. Dave has been missing his bicycle since the last time he rode it the brakes fell apart in his hands. He's hoping to buy another one before we leave Belgium, but they are extremely expensive (at least the one he wants). He'll have to save his pennies or wait until we return to the United States. He probably ought to find another hobby too. His goals, hopes and dreams for the new year are many. One of them is to find a job back in the US before the end of the year, but it's in the Lord's hands.
Pam turned 43 and after spending the majority of the year suffering from the affects of fibyromyalgia spends most of her time at home taking care of her family and home. She has been able to complete many cross stitch projects and crochet projects. The stash of baby blankets that were sent for Christmas and throughout the year are completed and ready to sell or give as gifts. Pam received a Kindle for Mother's Day and seems to seen EVERY where with it! She has managed to read over 100 books and loves it. She loves it so much that Kaitlyn and Wendy both received one as gifts this last year. Mysteries seem to be the preferred genre right now. Pam is currently serving as a Relief Society instructor teaching once a month. She finds it a challenge to teach to sisters who don't always understand the concepts that are in the manuels. She only has to teach for 10 minutes since she has to have everything translated for the non-English speakers. Family History seems to have taken a back seat, but we try to make it to the temple at The Hauge once or twice during the year. Her goals for the year are to continue losing weight, regain her good health, finish more cross stitch and crocheting projects, and to continue increasing her spirituality. Just some of her goals.
Aimee turned 22 and spent the year in Cambodia serving the Lord and teaching the Vietnamese people the Gospel of Jesus Christ. She has grown so much in her love of Heavenly Father's children. Her testimony has strengthened. She left us a germaphob, but has learned that while serving the Lord she is protected. We receive weekly emails from her and have seen the incredible growth within her. We have had the privilege to speak with her on two occassions this year, Mother's Day and Christmas. She will be returning from her mission in April of this year!! We have a hard time believeing that 18 months is coming to a close. She has plans to find a job, go to school, and continue serving the Lord as best she can and where she can.
Wendy turned 21 and spent the year in Utah working and attending University. She has been enjoying living with her grandparents and having the freedom to go and do as she pleases. She is always considerate and lets everyone know where she is. She made a couple of trips to Preston, Idaho, to visit friends that we met while living in Italy. Her testimony has grown and she has become a wonderfully beautiful young woman. She was able to get a job with IRS as a seasonal worker, which means she works during the tax season. She made a trip to Belgium for the winter holidays, returning to Utah just a couple of days after Christmas.
Kaitlyn turned 12, started middle school, graduated from Primary, and started Young Women. She is becoming a beautiful young lady, very talkative and loves to spend time with her family. She misses her sisters and would talk for hours on the phone with them if we let her. She loves to draw Disney characters, watching movies, and playing games. She has many friends at school and loves to spend time with them between classes and at lunch. She made the honor roll for the first quarter of school! She has been enjoying her school year and found that she actually enjoys some of the subjects she previously hated. Kaitlyn is having a hard time with Young Women because she is the only English speaker that attends midweek activities. As a family we are working on the Personal Progress program, with the hopes that Pam and Kaitlyn will be able to receive their Young Women's Medallion together.
We are so thankful to the Lord for His watchful eyes upon our family as we have been scattered throughout the world this past year. He has blessed our family in many ways, tried our faith, and is aware of our sacrifices. We, as a family, know that the Lord lives, that He is our Savior, and that He loves each us. We are so grateful for the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
We pray for the health and love of our family and friends throughout the four quarters of the globe. May the Lord bless each of you with the righteous desires of your hearts.