Monday, December 22, 2014

2014 Christmas Reflections

The end of 2014 finds the Martins counting our blessings with much to be grateful for:

One Returned Missionary!
Our youngest son Adam returned in January from serving in the Brazil São Paulo West Mission Of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  We spent a few days in Southern California where Adam reported on his mission in the Ward we were living in when he left for Brazil. It was fun to return to the California San Fernando Mission where we had served and visit with some friends we made there.  President and Sister Hall were very gracious and held an open house for Adam in the Mission Home where we lived and they now live.

And. . . 
One New Grandchild!
James Lee was welcomed in February by his parents Jenae and Brett and his three adoring sisters.

Two College Graduates!
Our daughter Alyssa McKay graduated in June with her Doctorate of Pharmacy from Roseman University of Health Science in South Jordan, Utah.  Brendan and the kids are glad to have her finally finished with school. She works part time as a pharmacist.

Our daughter-in-law Karen (Christopher's wife), graduated from BYU with her Bachelor's degree in American Studies.  We attended her graduation ceremony in August.  Way to go Karen!

Three Homes!
We've loved our springs and summers in Provo, Utah as Gemie has attended classes and studied to finish her Bachelors degree at BYU.  The past two spring/summers have been spent in married student housing.  We decided we like the idea of spending summers in Utah, but we've had enough of student housing so we bought a town home to stay in when we are there. We also have a home in Moab, Utah (where Gemie grew up) which serves as a vacation rental for tourists when we are not there (which is most of the time).  We still live in our home in Plano, Texas and spend most of our time here.

Four Church Callings!
Jerry is one of the teachers of the Missionary Preparation class which is held for youth who are planning to serve a mission for our Church.  The class is held on many Sunday Evenings.  Gemie is the Stake Emergency Preparedness Specialist in charge of training all Ward Specialists and coming up with an emergency preparedness plan for the Plano Texas Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Right now we are gearing up for the Emergency Preparedness Fair to be held Saturday February 28th.  Gemie is also Assistant Wolf Leader for the Church's Cub Scout Pack.  Gemie and Jerry were asked to oversee the training for Ma's and Pa's for the Stake Pioneer Trek which will be in March.  And while we are grateful we have Church callings, we are grateful one is an assignment that will end in a few months (Trek) and we are grateful we don't have 5 Church callings.

Five Grandchildren Living in the Same Metro Area!
Our daughter Camie, her husband Spencer and their four boys moved out here from Orange, California.  They stayed in our home while we were out in Utah and they were looking for a home here.  They now live in about 45 minutes away. So now, five grandchildren live in the Dallas area. With the above-mentioned grandsons and our grand daughter Addison who only lives about 20 minutes away with her parents Jerry (Jr.) and Sara we now have five grandchildren we can play with on a regular basis.  Such fun!

Six Years of Retirement for Jerry!
Jerry (senior) has been busier than ever!  He was recently inducted into the National Women's Business Enterprise Hall of Fame where he received the "Trailblazer" award for helping sponsor what has turned into several different organizations dedicated to furthering  the interests of women business entrepreneurs. At the end of his acceptance speech he received a standing ovation.  Our daughters have officially accepted him into the "Sisterhood." (inside family joke). Way to go Jerry!

Speaking of Jerry (Sr.), he will be getting a full right-knee replacement on January 15.  He broke that knee playing church basketball back in 1986.  The doctor who did the surgery at the time said the knee would most likely last another 25 years.  We are grateful he got a few extra years out of it.  

Seven Grandchildren in Texas !
With Justin and Kara's son and daughter, we have 7 grandchildren who live here in Texas. Wish San Antonio were just a little closer.  Every few months we either go down there to visit or they come up here.  Justin is in his third year of medical school at UT Health Science Center.  Kara is home with the two children who keep her very busy.

Eight Wonderful Children! 
Eight wonderful adult children! We are grateful all eight are still with us (on this side of the veil).
Thanks to his helmet (and what must be an overworked guardian angel) our son Jerry's life was spared as he was hit by a truck while stopped on his bike at a red light on Preston Rd.  We are grateful that a broken arm and a few scrapes and bruises were his only injuries.  His wife Sara is a nurse and did a better job cleaning his arm than the ER people did at the hospital where he was taken after the accident.

In a few weeks we will once again have an empty nest.  Adam returns to BYU-Idaho to continue his schooling. We will miss him.

Nine Grandsons!
Ryan (11) will turn 12 in March and be ordained to the Priesthood. He loves Parkour and is quite a gymnast. Ben (8) was just baptized by his father last Saturday  He loves to read, jump on the tranpoline and watch TV.  Luke (7) loves soccer, golf, transformers and cooking (especially breakfast).  Josh (5) is into cowboy toys (very appropriate for a new Texan), He also likes to play with other toys and watch TV.  Logan (4) plays soccer, loves golf, playing with transformers and wrestling with his big brother Luke. Dallin (4) is also into cowboys and just had a cowboy themed 4th birthday party.  His favorite TV show is Wild Krats. Trace (3)just celebrated his third birthday. He is into Legos and Pirates. Seth (1) just learned to walk a few weeks ago.  He is very sweet but very busy.  James is almost 1 and almost walking. He is a happy little guy who loves it when his sisters play with him.

Ten Credit Hours Earned! 
Ten more credit hours earned this year toward Gemie's degree! (Just two to go). She graduates in April from BYU and will walk with our son Christopher.)  Christopher will graduate in April with a Bachelor's degree in Exercise Physiology and has aspirations of medical school and to be a doctor some day.

Eleven Beautiful Granddaughters! 
Brooklyn (10) is growing up fast.  She loves soccor and to read and play card games. Ashlin (9) is in company at Highlight Dance Academy and is quite a piano player. Katelyn (9) loves horses, is taking riding lessons and plays piano.  Bailey (9) loves designing clothing and playing with dolls.  She also is quite a soccer player. Abby (8) is taking horseback riding lessons and plays the piano. Ellie (8) is also taking riding lessons and plays piano, Marin (almost 8) will be baptized in March.  Like her sisters, she takes riding and piano lessons. Rachel (7) is quite a soccer player   she also loves to dress up as Queen Ilsa  from "Frozen".  Lilly (4) has a big attitude in a little body. She also loves dressing up as Queen Ilsa and the other Disney princesses and loves to dance.  Addison (1) is walking and talking.  She loves playing with toys, especially toy (or real) cell phones. Brinley (1) is also walking everywhere.  She loves playing with toys (especially her older brother Trace's toys) much to his dismay.

Twelve Wonderful Months!
Twelve wonderful months of 2014! In addition to visiting our family members in Utah and San Antonio, we also went to Atlanta for about a week where we visited with Kindra and Neil and their 4 children and spent Halloween with them.

Yes, 2014 was truly 12 wonderful months!  We are especially grateful to our wonderful Savior, Jesus Christ whose birth we celebrate this Christmas.  It is His life and mission that gives meaning and purpose to ours.  It is His example we strive to follow.

We wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Jerry and Gemie Martin