Sunday, January 02, 2011

"Then He Smiled at Me..." (Christmas Letter 2010)

Scott and Becky
We took our annual trips with grandkids and student teachers to Mount Vernon, George Washington’s home. Becky spent two heavenly weeks with her Aunt Jo and cousins in Bonita, AZ. They all attended the Gila Valley Temple Dedication where their pioneer ancestors settled (in Pima, AZ). During that trip she met up with her childhood best friend, Nancy, after more than 20 years. The family all gathered together in June for Sydney and Mike’s wedding. While Sydney and Mike were on their honeymoon, we took the Carrie, Scott and their boys to a Baltimore Orioles baseball game at Camden Yards, and did a “heart attack” on the newlywed’s home. We hosted an Australia Sydney Mission Reunion in Washington D.C., an amazing 3-day event with President Earl C. Tingey and Sister Joanne Tingey. Carrie and Scott had another baby boy on Sep. 21, named Cade Ellis. Cade’s middle name, Ellis, is after Becky’s Grandpa Ellis (EJ) Hunter who built a beach house in Laguna Beach where Becky fell in love with the ocean, beaches, rocks, cliffs, seashells, and marine life. We were delighted with a surprise visit from Colin Rogers, a dear, dear friend, who Scott taught and baptized in Australia in 1975. We spent Thanksgiving weekend in Williamsburg, Virginia enjoying Colonial history, food, dress, and events with historic actors… and a little shopping. AND, we, along with Sydney and Mike, spent Christmas with Carrie and Scott and our four grandsons in Lincoln, CA.

This year Becky joined the world of Facebook and is enjoying reconnecting with family and friends near and far. She teaches Gospel Doctrine--finished the Old Testament and will start the New Testament this Sunday. She also serves as shift coordinator on Thursday evenings at the DC Temple with President and Sister Earl C. Tingey. Now both of us have served with them. (Scott in 1973-75, and Becky over the past two years.) What a privilege! And, she still works as Coordinator for BYU’s Student Teaching Program in DC Public Schools.

In September Scott was one of the speakers at a conference on chiasmus in Utah. He still serves in the bishopric. He is executive vice president for a software firm. Scott’s blog:

Sydney and Mike
In June, Sydney married Michael Kearns in the Washington D.C. Temple. They live just south of Baltimore. They both serve in the DC Temple on Becky’s Thursday evening shift. Sydney plays the organ for Sacrament meeting, teaches the youth in Sunday School, and is a counselor in the Young Women organization. She has now formally started her photography business ( Mike is elders quorum president. He works for the Department of Defense. Sydney’s blog:

Carrie and Scott (and the boys)

Carrie gave birth to Cade in September. They now have four boys, Cade (3 mo), Kyle (2), Sean (5), and Ryan (7). Cade sleeps and smiles and coos. Kyle pulls cute/funny faces and is the life of the party. Sean tells funny stories, has a heart of gold, and pals around with his big brother. Ryan reads all sorts of stories, including the Book of Mormon with his family every evening. He leads the way, caring for his brothers, with a special love and attention for baby Cade. They love their new home, north of Sacramento in Lincoln, CA. Carrie teaches Primary. Scott serves as ward executive secretary. Carrie’s new blog URL:

"It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!" (Christmas 2010)

… The Son of God cometh in his glory,
in his might, majesty, power, and dominion.

Yea, my beloved brethren,
I say unto you, that the Spirit saith:
Behold the glory of the King of all the earth;
and also the King of heaven shall very soon
shine forth among all the children of men. (Alma 5:50)
“This joyful season brings to all of us a measure of happiness that corresponds to the degree to which we have turned our minds, feelings, and actions to the Savior, whose birth we celebrate.

“There is no better time than now, this very Christmas season, for all of us to rededicate ourselves to the principles taught by Jesus the Christ. Let it be a time that lights the eyes of children and puts laughter on their lips. Let it be a time for lifting the lives of those who live in loneliness. Let it be a time for calling our families together, for feeling a closeness to those who are near to us and a closeness also to those who are absent.

“Let it be a time of prayers for peace, for the preservation of free principles, and for the protection of those who are far from us. Let it be a time of forgetting self and finding time for others. Let it be a time for discarding the meaningless and for stressing the true values. Let it be a time of peace because we have found peace in His teachings.

“Most of all, let it be a time to remember the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, that we may share in the song of the angels, the gladness of the shepherds, and the worship of the Wise Men. May the spirit of love which comes at Christmastime fill our homes and our lives and linger there long after the tree is down and the lights are put away for another year.” (President Thomas S. Monson, First Presidency Christmas Devotional, December 5, 2010.)

This has been an amazing year for our family. Sydney married Mike. Carrie and Scott added another son to their crew of boys. A Merry Christmas to you all, hoping this sacred season brings you joy and the New Year many more happy memories.

All our love,

Scott & Becky Vanatter