Christmas Card, Life Lately, Update, Year in Review

Consider This Our Christmas Card for 2016

After trying to get into the Christmas card tradition a couple years ago, I decided the stress it caused me wasn’t worth it.

So consider this the yearly update for the Meidell fam.

Update on Work:

This was a big year for us in terms of work decisions! This year, I decided to quit my job after four years of teaching and stay home to be with Raven. Meanwhile, Matt’s job at the small animal food company where he’s been working went full-time right around the same time that I quit, which was beyond perfect. Additionally, we started buying storage sheds up for auction as a little side job in October (which is SOOO much work), and I’ve continued doing my photography business part-time. We’ve been very fortunate this year to have everything work together to allow me to stay home, which is a blessing I don’t take for granted.

Update on our Living Quarters:

We’re still living in our two-bedroom apartment that we moved into a few years ago, and, while we love it in general, we’re looking forward to the day when we can afford a house of our own. To that end, we opened up a down payment savings account at the end of last year and have been diligently putting some money into it every month. We don’t have a super specific goal yet in mind of when we’ll buy (or how much we’ll try and save before buying), but we’re hoping that as Matt gets a little further on in his job, we’ll be in a better position to make some more specific goals as far as a house goes. For the time being, we’re enjoying the low utilities cost of apartment living and trying not to log onto Zillow *too* often to look at real estate.

Update on Church:

Our ward (church congregation) went through a huge change this year, as we were split into about three parts and combined with three other wards. As a result of this split, Matt was released from his calling in the bishopric, and I was released from the calling I had as a member of the activities committee (which I’d only held for about 3 months before the split). Now, in our new ward, Matt’s been called to serve in the high priest group leadership, and I’ve been called to serve as first counselor in the Primary. The funny thing was that Primary was always one of the callings I’d most dreaded getting, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised that it’s not nearly as difficult/crazy/time-consuming/chaotic as I thought it would be. (And I’ve discovered that my classroom management skills from four years of teaching seventh grade are definitely still coming in handy!) Also, as Raven turned 18 months in October, she entered nursery for the first time, which she generally seems to enjoy.

Update on our Health:

The biggest news on the health front was that my autoimmune disease was declared to be in remission in November, and I went off my last medication at the end of that month. I also managed to get down to my pre-pregnancy weight earlier in the year and ran a half marathon in August (and crushed my previous half marathon time by more than five minutes!). Other than a nasty bout with strep throat in May, I’ve been hugely blessed with great health this year. Matt has been able to more or less maintain the 20-pound weight loss he had towards the end of last year/beginning of this year, and he even (willingly) went on his first run since the marathon we ran together four years ago. And luckily for us all, Raven has been the poster child for healthy and thriving as she rarely gets sick with even a cold.

Update on our Personal Growth:

Both Matt and I have continued working on our novels, and while we haven’t made as much progress as we feel we should, we both have written more this year than we did last year (Matt’s book has over 200 pages!). Matt has also gotten a little more into woodworking, which has been a dream of his for a long time, and I’ve been pleased with how much I’ve grown as a photographer as I’ve continued my photo-a-day project and have taken on several paid jobs that challenged my skill set. Raven experienced the biggest growth of all as 2016 was the year that she learned to walk, run, jump, play games, talk, and basically turn into a full-blown toddler right before our eyes. I’m sure every parent says this, but she really is a smart kid—she talks a LOT, has a great memory (especially when it come to books), and loves to go outside (unless it’s cold, which apparently she hates more than anything, it seems).

Overall, 2016 has held many, many changes for us, and while we’ve had some hard things to go through, it’s largely been a very happy, fulfilling year full of joy and blessings.

We’re so thankful in this holiday season for the extra reminder to look toward our Savior Jesus Christ and contemplate his perfect, exemplary life and his matchless gift for us all. I absolutely know that He knows our struggles and that only in Him may we find true peace.

May you have a wonderful Christmas season filled with many beautiful moments with family and friends and in moments of silent contemplation. Happy holidays to all!

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