2017 has been another year of milestones marking the passage of time. And as time marches on I find myself on the older end of that timeline. This aging is taking some getting used to.
The first milestones this year were very happy ones. In March our second daughter Karen, gave birth to a boy, James Alexander. I was able to fly to Illinois to spend a few days with them two weeks after James was born. I had fun seeing Karen and Jason, holding James, and playing with three year old Miranda and two year old Abby. Then in May, daughter Christine had a little girl, Hannelore Jade. Again I was able to fly to spend time with Dan and Christine and Gwen and Hannah, as the newest little one is called. It warmed this grandmother's heart. I only wish we lived closer.
In August I flew to Iowa to attend my 50th high school reunion. It was wonderful to reconnect with so many people from my youth, and sightsee in Clinton, my old home town. We toured the high school, and several former classmates and I found the seats where we sat in high school choir 50 years ago. The room looked almost the same. Talk about nostalgia.
Then in September our whole immediate family (the Rempes, Robersons, Dukes, and Friedrichs) got together in South Haven, Michigan, for a four day weekend. We stayed at two vacation rental homes; enjoyed a kids' park; played with the kids on the Lake Michigan beach; cooked hot dogs and smores over a fire; watched the sun set over Lake Michigan; and had family worship service where Ron baptized James. A little piece of heaven.
In November the hard part of aging hit us in the face as we traveled to Michigan to attend a memorial service for Ron's brother, Paul. I will let Ron tell you more about that.
Here in the DC area, I remain active in the Spina Bifida community, at Christ Lutheran Church of the Deaf; in two Bible studies, a book club, and babysitting Rempe grandkids. I'm thankful for all the people in all these groups.
May you have a wonderful New Year.
News from Ron
God is good. That's not news, but it proved to be true again this year. My year was filled with family, ministry, and reminders of our daily dependence on Him.
My work in Deaf ministry continues unabated with Christ/Deaf church, Gallaudet University, and the Maryland Dept. of Corrections. I am grateful for the help I have received from Rev. Dennis Konkel, a retired Deaf pastor who has returned to his home turf in Maryland.
This year's chief distractions in ministry have been programs celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation and upgrading online church leadership courses for the Lutheran Deaf Mission Society (deafjesus.org/courses).
In April 2016 all my siblings and spouses stood outside the memorial chapel at my father’s funeral for family photo. Little did we imagine how soon one of us would be taken. In September of this year my brother Paul (two years older than I) was told he had cancer -- a kind that metastasizes quickly and does not respond to any known treatment. I am grateful for the opportunity to be with him the first week of November during his final days with us.
This experience has reminded me that nothing on earth is certain. The only certainties are the promises of God. Let us enjoy each day as His unique gift, be a blessing to each other, and glorify Him.
News from Mark
This year has been another eventful year. I was at an internship program for people with disabilities called Project SEARCH earlier this past year.
As an intern I worked for the Montgomery County Executive's Office, the Montgomery County Department of Recreation, the Montgomery County State Attorney's Office at the Montgomery County Circuit Court Building, and the City Clerks Office at the Rockville City Hall.
The duties that I did at those sites were scanning, data entry, shredding, and sorting and folding T-shirts. I graduated from the Project SEARCH Program in June. I am now volunteering for a nursing home here in Rockville And I am currently volunteering for a store that sells products for deaf and blind people.
Another huge event happened in my life earlier this year. I got a new wheelchair with a power assisted device called a "Smart Drive." The Smart drive goes on the back of my wheelchair and it gives me the power to go up hills and across streets, which in many ways is a lifesaver for me.
Earlier this past fall, my family and I went to South Haven, Michigan for a family reunion. We had a great time at the beach, and the local park. I had so much fun being with my family. And I took lots of pictures.
God has blessed me this year. I hope you have a blessed Christmas and a happy New Year.
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