We write a family update letter every year to send in the mail with our Christmas cards. Below is our 2014 letter:
I’ve been thinking about this note for a while now. My goal every year is to keep this short, easy to read, and somewhat humorous. Despite what you may or may not have heard about our year, I’m going to stay true to form. Let’s get started.
I was at the bar with my good friends over Thanksgiving weekend and was introduced to a drink called “The Game Changer”. It was really just some concoction with tequila, vodka and some lime juice in it (don’t bother Googling it, I might be making this up), but it got me thinking about what a game changer the entire year of 2014 has been for our family. With my lung cancer diagnosis this summer and the death of Katijo’s mom in October, the last 6 months have been very challenging. We would not wish our 2014 on anybody! It’s forced us to take stock of what’s important in life, and so we would like to share some of what we’ve learned with you this holiday season.
You really CAN count on your friends. You love your friends and you assume they’ll be there for you when the shit hits the fan, but to see it in action still gets me choked up as I reflect back on the year. Our friends have supported us with their time, with their money, with their hugs, thoughtfulness, prayers, food, flowers, as drivers during long car rides, as childcare providers when we lost our go-to woman, and as our support during life’s hail storm. Our friends buy last-minute airfare to be with us. Our friends are the best.
We also re-learned the value of having great employers. We already knew this – a steady paycheck is beyond what many have right now – but there is so much more that comes with this blessing. Union Pacific and Midwest Surgical Hospital are a family to us. The flexibility with schedules, generosity, and the “take the time you need” response from our employers during tough times has allowed us to take a huge stress factor out of the equation and focus on the task at hand. This gift extends beyond our horizons.
And finally, we have strong family to thank for teaching us to love, laugh, and trust in God’s plan. We can’t expect to know what His plan is for us, but our family has reminded us that faith is strength, and strength is what we now have in abundance.
We often look at the boys and are reminded of what amazing little people they are. Francis (7) is in first grade and is blessed with the ease of learning and a quirky goofiness. Bennett (4) is in Pre-K and is blessed with curiosity of cause and effect, while always trying to push the boundaries. Keeland (2) is definitely the third child, he is coordinated beyond his two years of age and has the energy to keep up with his brothers. We have been blessed by God to have 3 amazing, healthy, intelligent, and fun loving boys, and they keep us focused on living a full life.
That wasn’t very humorous, so I’ll end with something light-hearted. As you can imagine, a cancer diagnosis can be a kick in the ass to do things NOW that you previously assumed you’d check off your list in retirement. In this spirit, Frank flew to Ohio in October and drove back a 2003 BMW M5 after a months-long hunt for just the right one (singing “Oh what fun, it is to drive, my BMW M5, hey!”). Also in the “you only live once” spirit, Katijo just wrapped up an adventure to Peru to see the mysterious ruins of Machu Picchu. So if you’re ever on the fence and needing a pep talk about whether to go “all in”, give us a call and we’ll help nudge you over the line.
With so much love,
Frank, Katijo & the boys