Sunday, December 18, 2016

Jon and Shelby's Christmas Letter - 2016

It's that time of year again when I try to write about our entire year in just a few paragraphs. Shelby and I have had lots happen over the past year, so it's a challenge to keep this short, but I'll try anyway! To summarize it in one sentence, I would say we've learned a lot and God has proved himself faithful in 2016.

Shelby is still working as a nurse for Denver Public Schools at three different elementary schools. It’s been a good job for her and she enjoys that she can help kids and their families. She always comes home with great stories about Diabetes Club and her kids with all kinds of interesting ailments. Most recently a student came into her office claiming that she was stuck walking sideways. The nice thing about working at schools is that she got the summer off, so that allowed us to spend lots of time together in the afternoons and my days off and allowed us to make a few trips.

Afternoon adventure in Clear Creek Canyon

I lost my job in January and spent the better part of 2016 working part time jobs and looking for a permanent job. I worked as a substitute teacher for DPS first, which was a good learning experience, but incredibly challenging. For the summer and fall I found a job working at the Golden Bike Library. If you’re wondering what that is, it's like a regular library, but instead of books they do bikes! I learned a lot about working on bikes and had a lot of fun talking with all kinds of people who stopped by. My time working part time jobs was at times hard, but we were very thankful for those jobs and the experiences that came with them. In November, I started working at 3D at Depth, working with subsea LiDAR systems, which are basically for taking 3D laser scans at the bottom of the ocean. It’s been a great job so far and I am learning a lot.

Best office in town at the Golden Bike Library

We have been married for almost two years now and live in the same little house in Lakewood. The house has a large plot of land across the street to the west which gives us a clear view of the mountains. So one of our favorite parts about the house is sitting on the porch together sipping a drink and watching the sunset over the foothills. In March we started going to a new church in Denver called Park Church and are enjoying building friendships there and are feeling more at home there. We've been playing a lot of disc golf this year and Shelby has been killing it. I've been playing disc golf for 10 years and I've never thrown a hole-in-one. Shelby's been playing for only 2 years and she got two aces this summer. She's a natural!

Our other favorite thing about our house 

This spring we went on a little culinary adventure called the Whole30. The gist of it is that you don’t eat any grains, alcohol, added sugar, beans, or dairy for 30 days. It was pretty hard at times, but it forced us to start looking for alternative dishes to eat that aren’t so heavy on the carbs and to eat more veggies. We learned a lot through it together and found some awesome recipes that we continue to make regularly. Barbacoa taco bites with slaw on butternut squash discs was one of the many amazing dishes Shelby concocted.

Barbacoa taco bites

Our list of big outdoor adventures was shorter than normal this year, with most of our outdoorsing being quick after work adventures close to town. But the big adventure for the year was a 300-mile bike tour around northern Colorado. This took us from Fort Collins up to Estes Park, over Trail Ridge Road to Grand Lake and Walden, then back down Poudre Canyon to Fort Collins. The tour was really challenging, but really fun. We got to see a beautiful part of the state we hadn’t spent any time in before and got to meet all kinds of cool people along the way. 

We were pretty busy with traveling to South Carolina this year with a total of 4 trips - a new record! We got to attend Shelby’s cousin's wedding and her grandpa’s funeral. We got to welcome our new niece Ellison into the world in July and then spent Thanksgiving with the Salley family in November. For Christmas, we’ll be going to Alaska for my first time since 2012 and Shelby’s first time ever!

Our cute niece Ellison

We’re looking forward to our new year, enjoying the things that stay the same and all the new changes that are bound to occur. This year has been a year where God has proved his goodness and ability to provide and we look forward to knowing that to be true next year as well.