Saturday, January 7, 2017

Looking Back on 2016

Today as I put away the Christmas ornaments to be stored, I was reading one of the Christmas letters we got from our friends.  There my friend Sue highlighted each persons most significant thing they did or happened to them during the year.  And I thought to myself - what is it that defined the year for each members of my own household?

Madrid 2016

Silver Wedding Anniversary.  Tim and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary just the two of us!  How we did that?  Brahms invited Miriam to stay with him for the weekend and the two of us stayed in our favorite hotel in Sacramento and did some wonderful romantic things in town.

Spring in Spain.  In the March the family took a quick trip to Spain.  There we rented a beautiful apartment in the heart of Madrid.  From there we visited Segovia and Toledo.  We went there because first of all it was my dream to have a glimpse of the culture that once influenced the Filipino culture.  Secondly, my daughters all took Spanish. Thirdly, Tim and Brahms are always in favor of going to any place of great history.  Spain foot the bill.

 New Church.  In July 2016, Tim and I decided to start attending Oak Hills Church in Folsom.  So far it has been a good decision.  Being in this church community has been stimulating and calming at the same time. 

Miriam - Started her Junior year in high school.  Still in the Oak Ridge Marching Band but now played snare drum which she really enjoyed.  The percussion group made history when they placed second in the overall competitions (32 schools).  She also played percussion in the Wind Ensemble.

She remains to be very motivated in being on top of her academics.  She has been thinking about colleges and universities but no specific favorites as of this time.

As soon as she qualified, she got her driving permit and has consistently drove with her father, of course.  She has been reluctant to have me as her passenger because she thinks I'm extremely reactive.  However, I heard her say yesterday that I am being a good passenger after she drove us to Barnes and Noble in Folsom.  Now, she is scheduled to have her driving test next month - February. 

Brahms -- He started his senior year at UC Davis!  Soon he will be done, God willing.  He took a new job as Lead Student Farmer at the UC Davis Student Farm.  This was a big shift from his job at the Dining Commons which he had since his first year in college.  He enjoys learning new things at the farm and takes pride in being called a Farmer.  One thing, though, is that he and I can now talk about agriculture like real people. :)

He continues to be involved in his college Christian group where he plays a significant role in leadership including speaking and planning social events.

In planning for his life after college, he filed his application to the Peace Corps to go to Senegal.  Very soon he will be finding out whether he will be accepted.  If not then he will consider his alternatives.

Shannon -- Shannon started working for the State Legislature of Wisconsin as a Software Developer.  Yes, part of the year she was still working for Epic (as a Business Intelligence Developer) but she could not handle the work pressure from a big company.  Now she enjoys having to work eight hours only and be home after office hours and not have to think about work.  She also enjoys the benefits of working for the government like having good insurance and three weeks of vacation immediately :)

She moved from Verona to Madison.  When we chose the former, we were only considering the proximity to her work.  Now her place is closer to the city and civilization.  Also she now can take the bus to work and not have to drive all the time - especially in the snow.

Tim -- Continues to work  as CTO for Insyde Software - traveling 6 times a year to the Taipei.  He was granted three patents for 2016.

During the band review season, being a band-parent, he is "shoe-shiner" or chaperone.  He also joined the Oak Hills Choir and a men's bible study group at Oak Hills.  He enjoys both of his new group a lot since it gives him a chance to be part of our new church community and at the same time learn how to live life through his interactions.

Helen (Me) -- I started the year not working - I quit my job at Green Acres.  The job itself was fine but the effects on our life was not that great.  Since Tim travels a lot, someone has to be a present parent for Miriam.

I started learning to draw and paint.  I enjoy doing it and it's becoming a hobby of mine.  This year, I made some of the Christmas cards we sent to people - but not to everyone because I started making them very close to Christmas day. :)

The things I have done or happened to me this year are not all things that can be seen or have names.  Instead they are things that occurred inside.  My faith was put to the test many times (as when my daughter quit her job and when Tim had a ER incident); my tendency to control was exposed before my eyes and my ability (or inability) to love others was provoked (during spiritual formation sessions) God.  God is at work in me.  Although I rebel continually as my natural response, my heart and my mind are instructed...and with God's grace my actions may also be.  Maybe my husband and my children may also have experienced the similar things but since I am the one writing this narrative, I can only speak for my self.  :)

Overall it was a year we are thankful to the Lord for.  His grace and mercy was visible in every aspect of our lives.  God help us to live according to his will.

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