It is still hard for me to believe that this is the last day of 2009. Chad and I have had an amazing year, it really will be hard to top. I had hoped to write a family letter to include with our Christmas picture card this year, but other things got the better of me. To remember and show what God has done in our life this year I thought I would at least take the time to blog about it. So let the recap of 2009 begin!
Together Chad and I have had a whirlwind of a year. We began the year by going to Tahoe for a long weekend of skiing and hanging out alone. We had a great time despite me taking Chad out on the bunny hill. I found myself wiped out after a few short runs and let him take off to do the more advanced hills. In July we took a road tip to Vegas and took in the sights for a few days. We then headed down to Victorville to visit with his family for a few days. While in the LA area we went to both a Dodger and an Angels game. We hope to be able to visit every ball park in the country, we know this is a goal that will take years. Upon returning from vacation we received a call from our real estate agent saying that if we wanted to buy a house, now is the time to do it. We hopped on the house hunting wagon and 30 or maybe 45 houses later we finally got the news that our bid on one of the houses had been accepted. We moved into out new home on October 17. What a blessing this home is and we are so thankful that God made one of our biggest dreams come true. We have been working non-stop on house projects since move in day, and the projects will continue for years to come. But hey we are enjoying it!
Chad has continued to work hard at In-N-Out. He began the year by being flown down south for his very first kick off dinner. The kick off dinner is a black tie event that In-N-Out throws annually and is usually only attended by first managers and those above first managers. Basically Chad was surrounded by In-N-Out royalty, a dream come true for him. He made his rounds around a couple different stores landing in Gilroy just in time for the busy Christmas shopping season. The biggest news came in October when Chad found out he would be opening the newest San Jose store just after the first of the year. He will still be a second manager but this is a huge opportunity for him to get a leg up in the company. We are thinking a promotion is somewhere in the near future but we are trusting that God is going to allow that to happen when Chad is fully ready for the responsibilities. Chad will celebrate his ten year anniversary with the company this May.
I had a busy year myself. I started my second year as a Kindergarten teacher at Calvary Chapel Christian School. It's a job that definitely keeps me going. I continue to tutor the two children that I have been working with for over two years now. My biggest news of the year came in March when I prayerfully decided to go on a mission trip to China. It had been something I had wanted to do for years and I finally decided to go for it. The trip was more than I could have ever imagined. The Lord worked though me and my teammates as we worked with the children at Shepard's Field, an orphanage that is home to 100 special needs children. I made lots of new friends who are located all around the USA. My heart was broken many times on my trip but I completely fell in love with the country. I want to go back desperately but I am waiting to see what the Lord wants me to do. Upon returning from China I started training for my very first triathlon. I completed my first sprint triathlon in late September which was a huge accomplishment for me. I hope to continue doing more races in 2010 and I hope to get Chad on board. Right after our big move in October, I got Swine Flu and battled that for weeks. I am just now returning to normal and hope that I will not fall ill again for at least another year.
Milo our cat has fit right into our family. In February Chad (dad) built her a kitty condo. I think it is more like a kitty paradise. She was a little distraught over my absence while I was in China and she was very confused when we moved to a new house. It took her about a week to adjust to her new home but she is right at home now. Her favorite things to do are sleep in the front window and cuddle with me or Chad. We are very thankful for such a sweet kitty.
Well that pretty much sums up our year. We are so thankful for the many blessings that the Lord bestowed on us this year. We are very thankful for you all as well. We do not know where we would be without all of our family and friends. We pray that you and your families are well and that you receive a multitude of blessing in the year ahead. God Bless and happy 2010!
-Chad, Vanessa, and Milo
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Six months ago I arrived at SFCV, the orphanage that I would spend the next week at. Although it was dark when we arrived, I was able to see some of the grounds. There was a row of houses lined up perfectly. These were the houses that housed the children. I could see the lights on in the first house, the house known as Samaritans House. This is the house where the sickest children at the orphanage were housed and cared for. Coincidentally the children in this house were among the first that we met the following morning. They were outside with their nannies, some on little toy cars. It is where most of us held our first of many children that we held on that trip. There was Adrian, Tristan, Emily, Margaret, and Tiffany to name a few. Tiffany was one who sat on a toy car. At four years old she was very inquisitive, and very smart. Many of the girls on the team would say things to her in English or Spanish and she would repeat it back perfectly. Looking at Tiffany, you knew she had a very serious condition. Her lips and fingers were very blue. As we found out later children that appeared to be blue usually had a heart condition. I never found out what her heart condition was nor did I think that it was as bad as it really was. One of my teammates informed me that Tiffany went to be with J*sus last week. That was a tough blow and my heart broke. Tiffany was five years old and she never got to have her own home with a mom and a dad. While it is very sad for me to think about, I know that she is now in a much better place. Tiffany is now in the arms of J*sus. No more heart condition, no more pain or hurt. She can run and play freely, something she was not able to do here on this earth.
Yesterday in the mail I received a beautiful gift from fellow teammates John and Allison. It was a Ch*na flag glass ornament. I so so overjoyed to get such a precious treasure. A message was included with the gift and this is what part of it said. "We hope that each time you see it, you will remember to pr*y for those sweet faces that we were able to love on and the countless others that G*d holds in the palm of His hand. May they all one day come to know the love only He can give." I say AMEN to that! While I want to save every child that does not have a parent, I know that I cannot. What I can do is pr*y that they will each come to know of our Fathers great love.
A part of my heart is still in Ch*na and I know it always will be. I wonder when God will bring me back and what that trip will entail. Until I hear what G*d wants me to do next, I will be waiting prayerfully for Him to tell me. Is anyone on board with me?! Think about it!