Hello to our family and friends! This year we have gone to a paperless Christmas letter by posting a 2014 update here. If you saw the note in our Christmas card and chose to visit, we are sure glad you did! We think fondly of so many of the friends we have met along the way and family that are instant connections when we are able to visit. We deeply appreciate each of you for being supportive, kind, funny and encouraging at some point in our lives. We are truly blessed!
This past year marked the second year for Juaquin and Sandra’s country living. The journey continues to be an enjoyable one, but not without the hiccups of reality. Insects, for example, can appear in great numbers practically overnight. Seems neighborhoods with lots of houses and people serve as a fortified barrier of squishing and spraying that may help keep spiders, beetles and grasshoppers to a minimum. Not the case when a little land surrounds you. Fortunately, this year the creepy-crawler numbers are lower thanks to a posse of chickens on patrol. It is truly amazing how effective they can be!Predators have been another hiccup…rather a BURP as some rascally raccoons took out many of our chickens. It was a very upsetting event for me. I never knew I could get so emotional over the loss of chickens. I realized that my reaction had more to do with feeling responsible for not having them secure. The outside coop they were locked in each night turned out not be raccoon proof and I felt bad about that. Juaquin and I immediately sorted out new ‘sleeping arrangements’ and have our chickens in a stall in the barn each night. So far so good!
Juauqin continues to work for a nearby school district in the technology department and managed to create a successful little summer and fall garden. Digging in the dirt is fun at any age and we are still picking spinach for salads! I stayed busy as a substitute in the spring and hoped to get hired on as a full-time teacher, but there are simply plenty of teachers to fill those positions. As much as I enjoy working with students there was a need to weigh ‘being on call’ as a sub for full-day jobs at low pay or pour my time and energy into keeping up with mowing, chickens, barn cats and the never-ending household chores. For now, I am focusing on the latter, but keeping an eye out for “Now Hiring” signs at local businesses.
Adjusting to the empty nest gets easier with each passing day. Having our children nearer would be ideal, but we know all too well that life choices can send you to all sorts of places! Our thoughts and prayers are with our children every day.
This past year Joshua decided to exchange the walls of work at the Texas state capital with the open air. He is completing courses to be a Surveyor. He works for an Austin surveying company and really enjoys it. Sarah continues to enjoy her work at the capital. They moved closer to Austin city center and are minutes away from their work. Always a plus in traffic-heavy cities! Getting home faster means more time together and with sweet dog, Bear and their kitty George.
We are so happy and proud of our children and treasure every moment and visit we have with them. Modern technology definitely helps stay in touch!
We also enjoyed a couple visits from our nephew, Felix. Nothing like having a 5 year old around to keep the day busy!Throughout the spring and summer we were happy to have Juaquin’s father, Delbert, come out for some fishing. His health has been on the decline and throwing a line in helps keep his mind on something he enjoys. Labor day was spent in Brady for the annual Goat Cook-off! It is always nice catching up with the Torrez side of the family. My dad would have loved it! On a sadder note, we said a final “goodnight” to our dear, sweet dog Shadow. What an absolute treat it was to have this pup in our lives for 14.5 years. She was textbook border collie and just an absolute joy! The world seems quite topsy-turvy these days and in need of constant hope and an embrace of wisdom. May the everlasting Hope of this Season sustain you and yours throughout the coming year! If you are ever in North Texas please let us know. It would be great to see ya!
Sandra and Juaquin