Merry Christmas Friends & Family,
We hope this letter finds you well and that you are enjoying a wonderful holiday with your loved ones. We have had a year of many ups and downs and wanted to take a minute to catch you up on all that is going on in our little corner of the planet.
Allie finished her second semester at Montana State this spring and came home for the summer. She really loves college life but while there momentarily forgot she wasn't a trust fund baby... I don't know how she so easily lost track of her middle class roots but upon arriving at home we had a few reality check conversations. She quickly found a job at an incredibly cute shop in downtown Camden for the summer which is owned by an amazing christian couple who seem to adore her. She then made the very hard choice to stay home for the fall semester. I would love to say this decision was made souly to allow her more time to save up for school, but remember this is the "real" letter so in reality this decision was made by a combination of tough love (on our part) and procrastination (on her part). She has grown and matured A LOT this summer and fall and is very excited to get back to school next month. We will miss her but we are very proud of her too.
Katy is in court as I type this finalizing her divorce. This has been a long, hard, bumpy road but she has navigated with much more grace then I think I could have mustered in similar circumstances. She does still suffer from occasional anxiety but for the most part she has come a long way and has even gone out on a date or two this fall. She is in absolutely no hurry to get into a relationship but it is good to see her moving on and embracing this next chapter of her life. We made the decision as a family for her to wait until after the new year to get a job. This was to give her maximum time to heal and to allow our grand baby the same. We have an AMAZING lawyer who got Katy most of what she wanted and although like everything in life there were compromises overall we are happy with the decree and are prepared to leave this chapter behind us.
Goobie turned two in June and continues to be the joy of our lives. We noticed some behavior changes in her back in the early part of 2015 but it wasn't until this summer we started to discuss them openly and began testing. She is currently being tested for Autism Spectrum Disorder and although we are awaiting the formal diagnosis it seems pretty obvious to most everyone in her life that it will come back positive. I hate calling this a "disorder" as that couldn't be further from the truth. She just views and experiences the world differently then the rest of us, and in the end her world is pretty cool. Although there have been some real challenges she is such a happy, loving, sweet spirited little girl that she wins everyone over with her sweet, quirky ways. Because of this and the fact that it just seems to work for us we have made the decision that Katy & Goobie will continue to live with us for the foreseeable future. Because Paul & I work from home we will adjust our schedules to accommodate Goobie's care when Katy gets a job so she will have the consistency of being home. There was a lot of discussion and adjustment of expectation about this decision but it seems to be working and the best arraignment for both Katy & Goobie for now.
My mother continues to do well but being someone's caregiver defiantly changes the dynamic of the relationship. My step father passed away in late September. He was 93, had Alzheimer's for over 12 years and "lived" in a locked nursing home unit so he was ready to go but it still has been rough on my mother. He was nearly 20 years older then my mother so logic dictates he would go first but grief and logic are not her normal bedfellows. I think I approach my grief in a very pragmatic way, she approaches it in whatever the opposite of that is... It makes for an interesting season for both of us. Fortunately her health has been relatively stable and although she is home bound 99% of the time, at least she is doing well.
Paul continues to work from home and this has allowed him to support my business and to pursue his interest in organic gardening. He has taken several courses with the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) and would like to eventually have a "hobby farm" but he has done amazing things with the small plot he currently has. Paul continues to be the glue that hold us all together and the spiritual head that keeps us all grounded. I look forward to celebrating our 25th anniversary with him in April.
I continue to sell Mary & Martha and still love the products. I promoted to Director this summer and in the direct sales world that is a big, fat, hairy deal... But basically means I have more people to train and help out. (And possibly earn a small percentage of their sales if they ever decide to sell anything.) It is hard because it seems like a lot of people join, try it for 3-6 months then just kinda quit or fade away. It makes me genuinely sad when someone leaves my team so that is the downside. Working from home continues to be the best option for me though and Mary & Martha is a fun company to work for. I also won several awards and blah, blah, blah... For me direct sales is all about relationships and as much as I am grateful for recognition I have decided it is fairly hollow compared to getting to share what the Lord is doing in my life with total strangers at parties and vendor fairs. To be totally honest though, to be successful in the direct sales field you have to be self motivated, unaffected by constant rejection, immune to people not thinking your job is "real" or taking it seriously and prepared to feel like you are constantly hustling and scrambling. Sounds fun huh? (I should be making the marketing videos!) I seriously had a lady tell me Sunday when I showed up to deliver some items she bough from my sale that she no longer wants them because she spent too much on Saturday but if I still have them after Christmas she will think about buying some of the items then. These are items that three days earlier she ordered from my sale. Fun huh? Don't y'all wanna join my team now?
There you have it folks... The perhaps a little too "real" Christmas letter! Since I couldn't actually write this letter most people are just getting the following photo tucked in their card:
Thanks for listening,