Family Christmas Letter

Twas the Season of Christmas and here in Singers Glen,

I watched the mailbox expectantly- waiting for the mailman.

We heard him at the neighbors in his trusty blue Bronco

He stopped at our mailbox, we barked as we watched him go

“Hey Wait! We wanted newsletters, and cards and pictures too!

You just left a wad of junk mail and bills from Kalamazoo!”

Then we heard his laughter as he roared around the bend

“Oh you silly watchdogs, to receive you have to send!”

I know dogs don’t have time for writing- this is really a silly sight,

But I must report for our family, so this Christmas the mail is right.”

To our friends scattered to and fro, we PAWS  to say “Hello” from our little corner of the world. I, Detroit Snappenbarker Mendoza, the faithful canine watchdog am the contributing writer to this report. And really, it’s perfect for me to write this, because after all- I am an unprejudiced part of this operation.

The Winter of 2017 was a complete fizzle as far as winter weather goes. The family kept busy traveling (Travel included visiting Deborah in Nicaragua, and meeting up with friends in Florida, Cambodia, etc.) Rolo and I had to keep our suitcases packed and sitting by the door, because everytime we turned around, we were being escorted back to the dairy to bebabysat help out there. It seemed ironic that the only snow that we received all winter was the middle of March, the very day that Kendra and a group from church were scheduled to fly to Nicaragua to spend a week with Deb. The little amount of powder closed all the airlines for miles around. However the snowy start did nothing to dampen the travelers spirits and a good time was enjoyed by all.

Winter projects included emptying the pond of about 30 years of fill while trying to juggle the water and fish. We sure were glad for all the runaway topsoil that we retrieved.  Mother quilted a quilt for Deborah, that she had pieced and appliqued out of fabric scraps.  Also Kendra took on a project writing the story of a local widow lady, and ended up needing the entire family on board to complete the book. Not sure if that trusty panel of editors are going to need to edit my Christmas letter or not.

Spring arrived with all of her splendor and we watched silently as Kendra headed out the lane. Again. (*note- if we barked everytime she left, we’d be hoarse)  Kendra and her cousin Mervin flew to Nicaragua and loaded up Deborah and bussed through Central America- visiting friends in missions along the way,and finally- after visiting 6 different countries, they gave up and came home. All of them! We are so excited to have Deborah back.

Oh and the dog portion of the family increased- Julia’s German Shepherd had puppies and made them a small fortune.  And Emily found the sweetest yellow lab puppy named River and the entire family has been fawning over her ever since. She is cute and funny and all that, but I still say ‘Purebred is overrated and snobby.” “And no, this mutt is not jealous of a dog with papers. I have papers- how else am I writing this epistle?”

As Spring melted into Summer, Rolo and I discovered our suitcases were once again, parked by the door. Mother and Father took the chorus in the bus and visited New England and the eastern part of Canada. They returned home with tales of border crossings, lighthouses and mosquitoes. Meanwhile Kendra and Deborah were wandering all over the US and western half of Canada. They were driving for a group of 7 ladies and had a grand time exploring, but as always there is no place like home. More importantly than the girls travel tales, were the fact that Emily and Julia stayed home and kept everything rolling smoothly.

Also- major red letter day- the farm next to Emily’s field came up for sale, and so Kerry and Emily purchased additional acres and are moving forward to becoming poultry farmers. We are so excited to see God’s hand providing for them!

August- sigh, another suitcase by the door when the ENTIRE family took most of a week off and relaxed on the Outer Banks. “It’s been years since we were all together” I heard them say over and over. “Ummm- excuse me- but all together means everybody and you left some important pieces- aka every single dog at home to do chores, pal.”

Deborah rushed off to Colorado with her Nathan Kennell distraction and Rolo rewarded her absence with 10 healthy lab pups. They were cute little rascals, and were very demanding and stole all the attention, and let’s just say that it was time that someone-hehe- return to his spot in the limelight. Adios, cute puppies.

Harvest went really well. We had all hands on deck, all day and occasionally all night. But with the dawning of Harvest, came the grim reality that Emily’s knee was needing attention ASAP. So she submitted herself to major surgery and ongoing physical therapy. Recently she’s gained ground, and we are hoping that after a second surgery Dec 12, she will regain full use of her knee. Emily and River moved in up here where Mother provided TLC for weeks until she could return home. Kerry sure was glad to have them return home, and even though we miss our sweet patient and her pup’s youthful energy- All is right in the world.

That brings us about up to current events. Deborah stays busy balancing milking jobs on 3 different farms, and keeping up with her boyfriend.

Emily is still very involved with her volunteer work with the local rescue squad and we are so thankful she’s back to running calls again! Kerry enjoyed a trip to Montana with his family and continues to his job as a Project Manager with Skyline Roofing and overseeing the construction on their farm.

Julia is milking cows as energetically as ever. She and Sherman are doing a great job keeping the cows on Paradise Lane happy. Sherman’s 30th birthday combined with his love of hunting was the perfect occasion for Julia to surprise him with a birthday bash were guests arrived in camouflage.

Joyce divides her time between the needs of her family, her love of sewing, and helping her widowed Mother- there is not enough of her to go around. We were especially thankful for her gift of nursing with Em’s recent surgery.

Eldon is glad that harvest is completed. The winter ahead looks filled with hauling soybeans to the port and maybe a bus trip or two. His current hobby of poetry has us all entertained.

And Kendra- she’s rarely around- a quick count shows that she spent over 145 nights away from home this year. The recent trip to Germany with John Deere and Mother and Father was a definite highlight.

And that is a quick report on us. We do look forward to this time of year as an occasion to catch up with friends and family. How ironic that this season of enjoying loved ones is a reminder of God sending His Son out of His Heavenly Home. What a Gift.

God has blessed us so well during 2017, may His faithfulness continue to shine on 2018.

Merry Christmas!

Detroit for the Horst gang

Christmas Joy?

The little fellow seated directly behind me managed to keep up a steady stream of chatter. We traveled through the night ahead of a snowstorm and occasionally I tuned into the circus behind me. We were on a 4 track rotation with Mr Levi. “Please sing ‘a million angels’.”he’d request of his mom. Next came a little jump rope poem about bubble gum and “get that bubble gum off my feet” which I thought was cute and innocent until he stopped mid sentence and announced “uh oh Mom-do you see my gum?! I lost my gum!” And the driver had visions of finding gum ground into the seat-but alas catastrophe was averted.

But my favorite was the discovery of Christmas. “Look Christmas!!! Wow! Oh my word! Christmas!! ” and then in the clearest sweetest voice-Levi would sing 🎶Oh Beautiful Star of Bethlehem.🎶

Sometimes he’d get a little confused between a house with Christmas lights and regular pole lights, but it didn’t matter- “Christmas’s everywhere! So many Christmases” said the tiny voice.

The childish wonder and joy of the Christmas Spirit was not lost on me.

I haven’t discovered any too much of that this year. Emily had another surgery this week-we are so thankful this is behind us. She’s been such a sweet patient, but it’s really hard watching the pain flicker across her face as she struggles to get her knee moving again. *random side note: Last night a very joyful 🎶Away in a Manger🎶 brought me out of dreamland at a friendly 3:30 am. My darling mom was making Em some tea and getting her meds and singing. We all agreed that next time 🎶Silent Night🎶 is preferable.

Sunset during Em’s daily hour at Physical Therapy

As I’ve referenced before-my quest for good health continues. Way too many days find me on my mom’s La-Z-Boy. We are managing, but this is not ideal, and it’s discouraging.

I’ve had plenty of time to analyze my lack of Christmas zeal. Admittedly it took me way too long to put the connection between my discouragement and the true Christmas Spirit together. This is the exact reason Christ came! Jesus didn’t arrive in a musty stable to create a unique atmosphere for Christmas Cards for years to come. His arrival on earth was not just to establish a season of winter wonderland and delicious food and gingerbread houses covered in candy. He arrived in the lowliest fashion to bring help to the hurting and to bring hope for the discouraged!

I discovered Jude 2 on a flip calendar that should’ve been changed days ago, but I read it for several days before it sank in. This is my Christmas wish this year. “May God give you more and more mercy, peace, and love.”

As we sort through the reality of life this season, may we rejoice in these gifts from the Reason for the Season!

Merry Christmas,