This year finds us in much the same place as we were last Christmas. Jerry and I are still empty nesters. We live in the same home that has been our primary residence since 1986. We have had no marriages in the family this year. No one has moved or changed jobs or schools since last Christmas. We do have three wonderful new grandchildren born this year:
Seth Brian Carroll joined his three older brothers Benjamin, Joshua and Dallin, and his parents Camie and Spencer on Sept 20, 2013. He was 9 lbs 5 ounces and 20 inches long.
Addison Blake Martin was born on October 3, 2013 to Sara and Jerry. She was 6 lbs 6 ounces and 20 inches long. She is their first child.
Brinley Kristine Martin joined her older brother Trace to become the second child of Kara and Justin. She was 7 lbs 15 ounces and 19.5 inches long. Her birth brought our grandkid total up to 19 (with our 20th expected in February).
Adam is still in Brazil preaching the Gospel in Portuguese and baptizing many people. He will have a lot of interesting stories to tell when he gets home to us on March 11, 2014. He changed missions and Mission Presidents without even moving. His area transferred to the new Brazil São Paulo West Mission. We are excited to have him come home. His time at home will be short lived. He plans to resume his studies at BYU-Idaho in April after traveling to see all siblings, their spouses and his nieces and nephews including the three new ones he has yet to meet.
When I said we were empty nesters, that is not completely true. We have two 19 year-old missionaries in our home with us. Elder Day and Elder Forbush are wonderful young men, devoted like Adam to preaching the gospel full time. They do acts of service for us and others. It is nice having them there. They keep the house running while we travel to visit our parent, siblings, children and grandchildren. We had two different missionaries occupying the house while we spent spring and summer in Utah for Gemie to study at BYU and Jerry to visit family members and be a house-husband.
Gemie was able to complete five of her remaining nine classes. The others will be completed next year as we do the same thing and again return to BYU in Provo, Utah for Spring and Summer terms. Hopefully Gemie will have earned her Bachelor of General Studies with an emphasis in Psychology before next year’s Christmas letter. Gemie’s Church callings have been in the area of Emergency Preparation. She was asked to be the Emergency Preparedness Specialist for the Plano 4th Ward. Then, she was approached by the Stake leaders to be the Emergency Preparedness Specialist for the Plano, Texas Stake. In February the Stake put on an Emergency Preparedness Fair which was attended by many from both the Church and the community.
Jerry is really enjoying retirement. He did celebrate a big birthday this year (60 years). He has been a big support to Gemie as she pursues her studies. He has been able to spend time with his mother and sister in Preston Idaho. He has logged in a lot of hours playing with his grandchildren. He still exercises a lot. He hiked “Y Mountain” several times a week and hiked all over the Provo area while we were there. He is now hiking around Plano, Texas and often going to the Frito-lay fitness center to exercise. For his Church calling, he helps teach the Missionary Preparation Class in the Plano, Texas Stake. Before we went to Utah, he was the Young Men’s President over the 12 to 18-year-old young men in the Plano 4th Ward.
We wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year!