Philippians 1:6 "Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you WILL perform it until the day of Jesus Christ"



Friday, November 23, 2018

Christmas 2018

I am very ready to say goodbye to 2018 and look ahead. Each year I think that this one is harder, or busier than the ones before and I am surprised that it gets...harder and busier!

In January, we started looking forward to graduations. Paige and Peyton would be finishing high school and I would be finishing my MSN program at the University of Southern Indiana. I was deep into clinical's for the Advanced Nursing Practice program and still working part time. James remained on third shift and Paige and Peyton had opposite schedules for dual enrollment classes at DACC. So most of the time Reese and I got dropped off during the day. I had three places I was going so no one was ever quite sure where to pick me up from!

In February, Paige and Peyton turned 18..yes 18! For my final act of signing permission for them, we went to Iron Tide and both girls got a cute piercing the day before their birthday. After that, my tiny babies had to sign everything for themselves! EEK! Reese was busy playing Upward basketball, James and Peyton coaching. She loved it and had a great time. In the meantime, Paige was going to Future Soldier's Training to get ready for Basic Training and working to complete the fire department qualifications to become an interior firefighter (as opposed to probationary) as soon as she was graduated and no longer a cadet. Also, although I have worked in the same building for 24 years, I am now employed by OSF Sacred Heart.

March brought Spring Break. James and all three girls drove to Texas to see Grandpa Steve and Grandma Connie, Paige and Peyton flew from Dallas to Tampa to spend a few days with Grammy and Poppa and then flew back to Dallas to drive home with James and Reese. I waved goodbye and studied and went to work and clinical. Ironically I never left the house over the weekend as I was completely snowed in!

April, honestly I don't remember..

In May we attended lots of graduation open houses, opened the pool, I think I had a week off of clinical. I was embarking on a quest to improve my health by improving my diet. I started using Optavia meal plans and health coaching. Some of the brain fog I was having lifted almost immediately.  Graduation present for Paige, Peyton and myself..matching tattoos! Mom and Jamie got them as well. We had so much fun and Jett at Iron Tide was a good sport putting up with us all evening!

June was a blur of clinicals, work, softball games, church camp, swimming, etc.. but the graduation party for Paige and Peyton was at our house and so well attended and I was incredibly proud of them!

July hit and I was in panic mode. Clinicals would be over soon, the big 4th of July bash was at my house again and I was planning for that, and I was starting to get serious about studying for my board certification exam. But the biggest thing was the countdown to Paige leaving for basic training. She tried to prep me by literally never being home the entire summer! July 24th arrived and the five of us drove to Peoria, prayed over her, and watched her walk through security and onto the biggest adventure of her life. We then drove home and almost immediately replaced her with another 18 year old girl that I love very much..my 2000 yellow jeep named Sunny!

August..James and I went to Florida and I studied on the beach, by the pool, on the lanai...but I did find the time to go on a deep sea fishing trip with James and did very well for myself! The rest of the month pretty much involved stalking the mailbox to wait for letters from Paige, who was in South Carolina in Basic Training. Oh, and I had another birthday (yuck) and passed my certification exam..(yay!)

September brought more stalking of the mail box and one measly phone call from our soldier in training. Our "South Carolina or Bust." Messenger group was very busy making plans to attend her graduation the first week in October.

October arrived on a Monday and it ranks up there in the top 5 most difficult days for me ever. I took Brittany (my friend and Paige and Peyton's aunt) to the hospital for a surgery to help relieve the pressure on her abdomen causes from her cancer. She was not well enough for the surgery and had to be admitted. She wanted so badly to leave with us the next day to go to South Carolina to see Paige graduate. She had helped me plan, she had written faithfully to her niece and prayed for her I know. I spent that day with her, the early part just the two of us as she was being admitted. Over the past few years we had laughed and cried together. In all honesty, we have done that for over 30 years. But this was different and we both knew it. That night there was a full room singing happy birthday to Brookelyn, who would turn 17 the next day. The whole family was there, Paige only in spirit and her "mini Paige soldier." We left the next morning for South Carolina. Brittany was fully healed early Friday morning when she went home to be with Jesus. Graduation was incredible and I was so proud of Paige. It was bittersweet and I don't get to understand why these events had to coincide until I can ask God face to face.

James, Reese, Peyton, Paige and I traveled from South Carolina to Virginia where Paige would spend the next 10 weeks training. It was a tough day but I was so very glad to be together with those 4 people. Leaving her behind to travel home was almost more difficult than leaving her in Peoria (don't worry, I did not buy another car!) The day we drove home was James's 40th birthday, I did surprise him with a gun that he wanted..and I felt pretty proud of myself as I never pull off surprises!

November has involved working to get my licensure to start a new job. I signed a contract and am supposed to start in January (eek, again!) Reese turned 9, Christmas shopping started..and it was actually the quietest month I had experienced in a few years. (Might account for the 5 new pair of boots in my closet!)

We are now a few days into December. I am leaving tomorrow to accompany Paige home. Both girls have full loads at DACC in the spring. They are planning to go away to different universities in the fall. Paige will have weekend drill for Army Reserves. I am looking forward to the Christmas season and the new year. I know that this Spring and summer will most likely be the last stretch of having all of us live here together and I plan to enjoy it as much as possible (even with my first full time job in 19 years!) I am blessed more than I could ever imagine. I ask that if you are reading this, that you pray for Brittany's children, husband, parents, and all who loved her this Christmas and for grace for the coming year. I ache for my loss, but I think I ache for their loss so much more.

Verses this year that struck me:
Hebrews 12:1-3
 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.


Matthew 17:20 

20 He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
Quote that I sent Paige:
"Kid you'll move mountains! You're off to great placed! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting so get on your way!" Dr. Seuss

Casting Crown-Oh My Soul (click link for song)

Sandy





Thursday, November 23, 2017

Christmas 2017 from the Snyder Family


2017 has been another busy year around here. Peyton is taking classes as DACC and Paige is taking classes as Bismarck in the morning and at DACC in the afternoon. This leaves me (Sandy) to catch a ride to work most days! Reese finished 1st grade and is halfway through 2nd at First Baptist. She is starting to read everything in sight. 
Paige and Peyton both went to prom in the spring. It was a beautiful day and we got some great pictures! The girls flew to Florida for their spring break to stay with my parents and during my short break from classes, James, Reese and I headed down there to enjoy the beach with my parents. Reese had not been to the beach since she was a baby and had a great time. 
I continue to work Recovery at the hospital (which is changing names again, saying goodbye completely to USMC!) and James is still on third shift. We keep busy with calls and activities at Bismarck Fire and at the church. I started my last year of school through University of Southern Indiana, so the girls and I will graduate at about the same time!

I
Thankfully, 2017 has been busy, but without any huge major changes. I know 2018 promises to be a big year of change. The girls will graduate, Paige is leaving in July for Army Basic Training, Peyton will go to DACC full time, and I have absolutely no idea where I will be working after I finish school. Yep, you heard that right, Paige will be in..sniff...Basic Training. She spent the fall going through the process to join the Army Reserves and she leaves July 24. We will miss her and she will miss her dog and her iPhone!

(oh, and Peyton met this boy..and he is kind of a big deal!) We like Brennen and he has been very good for Peyton. 

Thankfully, Reese is still only in love with her Daddy (James and Reese at the Festival of Trees.)
Senior picture taking was one of the absolute highlights of my summer! Natalie Shipman did an outstanding job for the photo shoot.
Paige did a quick photo shoot with Reese on the day of her 8th birthday. I think they turned out pretty good too!

This is Cooper! While he really does not car for strangers he is little doll (this was right after we got him, he has topped out at about 11 pounds.)
Reese enjoyed her year of dance...but she was glad when it ended..we were too!
Bismarck Community Fire Protection District has continued to be a big part of our family. The men and women there give of their time and talents in order to serve the community. This group has been a blessing to us. As you can see, Reese loves being a part of it.



James and I had an opportunity to go to Las Vegas for the EMS expo in October. This was a fantastic trip and a learning experience.
As soon as we got back fro Vegas we attended the police union Convention.
This is Koda! He is a super friendly pound puppy and even now that he is almost full grown, he is cute as a button and loved by all of us.






We are very excited to see what 2018 holds for our family! We ask that you pray for us with this upcoming year of changes, especially having Paige gone for almost half the year for training.

Merry Christmas from the Snyder Family!
   

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Christmas 2016

Merry Christmas!
from 
The Snyder Family
  
Paige and Peyton 
2016 was an eventful year. Paige and Peyton turned 16...and that means they drive. Crazy! After the initial fear of having them drive wore off, we realized how very convenient is is to have two more drivers in the house. We are still looking into second jobs to pay for the car insurance increase! 

James was on day shift all this year in a year long detective position. He enjoyed it way more than he thought he would. It is coming to and end and he is moving on to new things! James is still active in the volunteer fire service. James and Paige have been involved in Bismarck Fire for quite awhile now. I joined them this year by completing a Pre Hospital RN (PHRN) course, enabling me to volunteer for the ambulance service. I still have tons to learn, and am enjoying (still terrified) at the prospect. James is also active with Kickapoo fire Department and recently took a Captain position in the department. 

I am in the third year of a four year program to complete my master's degree. Looking forward to starting clinicals this summer. Looking forward to several weeks without classes even more! Paige started taking an art class every morning at Bismarck high school and loves it! Both girls took advantage of dual enrollment and took
a class at DACC this past fall. Reese started first grade at First Baptist School (my Alma Mater) and is as social as ever! She is playing Upward basketball this winter and has been taking dance classes. Reese loves going to the fire department most Thursday nights and playing with friends everywhere she goes. 


James and his friend and supervisor Josh
Most recent news...James got promoted to Sergeant at the Danville Police Department. He will more than likely be going to third shift, so that will be a change as he has never consistently worked that shift. In October, we attended the PBPA Conference where James received the 2016 Officer of the Year for Illinois. James also received a life saver award at work and the fire department (related to the same, miraculous event). These awards, accommodations, and promotion ceremonies have got to stop or James will start thinking he can get out of doing laundry!
James's swearing-in as Sergeant ceremony

The girls spent a few weeks in Florida with my parents last spring, and then returned and were kind enough to take me with them (along with a friend for each of us). My parents' condo was beautiful and we had a fantastic girls trip. James and I took a quick trip to Wisconsin and also to Galena. James, Reese and I spent a week around James's birthday in Texas visiting James's dad and his wife in October. We had a fantastic visit and bought a new truck! (happy birthday to James!) 

We lost Ella, our Shih Tzu, the last week in October. She was thirteen, she could not see, her hair was falling out and she was losing weight. As the weather turned colder it was harder and harder for her to go outside. It was a difficult decision, as Ella had been a huge part of our lives for the last 10 years. I will say, that Jackson, the 13 year old lab, has never gotten as much attention as he is right now!







Brittany and I in Zion
We started the year with the unbelievable news that our dear friend, my sister-in-love, and Paige and Peyton's aunt has colon cancer. We have had the opportunity to be part of her support team, as a family. Being able to walk along side my longtime friend, Brittany as she travels this road, as well as Paul, Nathan, Lauren and Brooke. I have had an opportunity to spend time with, and be encouraged by her as we have traveled together for her treatments in Zion. Please be in prayer for Brittany and the Powell family!

As I have been looking back through pictures and memories this year I have felt overwhelmed with the blessing in my life. Day to day, life is hard and sometimes overwhelming with how difficult it can be emotionally and physically. Late night talks with the teenagers, coffee dates, listening to my husband pray with our daughter before bed every night, last minute lunch with my parents, a multitude of hotel rooms with Brittany, days by the pool, chats with friends, chats with coworkers, car rides after school with Reese, getaways with James, a car trip to St. Louis with my parents....I don't want to take any of it for granted. I am excited for 2017 and whatever God has planned for me! ~Sandy












Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Christmas 2015


2015 has been an adventure, as always! Peyton and Paige turned 15 and took driver's ed. They have been driving us around most of the time since March. I am not sure if we are more scared to have them get their licenses this next year or relieved. Paige and Peyton, James and I took a quick trip to Chicago in the spring. It was a fun few days of walking, shopping, fighting public transportation, fighting, eating, etc....


The girls did not go to summer camp this year but kept very busy. Paige did some babysitting and helped out a few weeks at Camp Assurance. Both girls enjoyed spending time with their friends. They ended their freshman year and Reese completed Thursday school. There was much time spent in the pool this summer, late nights with teenage girls who didn't care that the water was cool at night. We had a dog adventure. Our 12 year old Shih tzu, Ella wandered away one sunny day when we were out by the pool. We looked for her frantically and had given up on seeing her again when TWELVE days later a neighbor called and had found her in her yard. We were thrilled to get her home. Strangely, her skin was in the best shape it had been in for years! (James thinks it was a Paleo diet). Both dogs are showing some age, we are blessed to still have them both with us. We had a few projects this summer. For the first time we painted the huge living room. We hired this done, and I am very happy with the orange and tan walls. We (James) also put new flooring in the downstairs bedrooms, making the house less stinky and more (old) dog friendly. Late in the summer, Grandma Joyce Snyder's illness took a toll on her. She had been on hospice for awhile (but still driving herself everywhere). She took a fall in August and then grew more short of breath and weaker in the coming weeks. On August 17 one of the family started staying with her 24/7. It was one of the most difficult but rewarding month we spent together and with her as she went through the stages of readiness to go to heaven. She was very ready, she was not scared and she was at peace. She had a sweet testimony of God's grace in her life and we couldn't help but be happy for her to be at Home with her Lord, her beloved husband, son, and other family members she had lost. It was a blow to us, though. Grandma Joyce had been very active and was very important to Reese. The transition to not having Grandma with us has been hard on that little girl. I am so proud of the entire family during her illness. One of my girls seemed to always be at her side. Peyton stayed nights with me there and often helped me to move her. Aunt Cheryl, who completely put her life on hold to care for her mother, was a trooper and learned so much about hands on nursing care in a short time. I can't say enough about the supportive hospice nurses, CNA's, chaplains, etc. I am so proud of my husband as he cared for his grandmother and spoke of her at her memorial. Such a blessing!

In November, Reese turned 6 and we surprised her with a new bed and new bedroom furniture. James had built the bed for her, a beautiful loft bed. The best part of the year was the secret James and I kept from the girls since early in the summer. We planned a trip to Tucson to see our good friends, Dan and Jess. The girls were told we were going to Florida, just the 5 of us. We surprised them the night before our plane left in the hotel in Chicago. They were thrilled to go and visit the friends they loved and missed. While Tucson was strangely cold, we still enjoyed the beautiful scenery and many exhibits for locals and visitors. You could go somewhere different for weeks and not see the same thing twice there. Of course, spending so much time with friends was the favorite activity!






I am still in graduate school. I was happy to finish the first year and am now halfway through year two! The program is a four year one, so there is still plenty of time to go. Paige joined the fire department as a cadet and is spending time with James learning at the fire station in Bismarck, she continues to study the guitar and also took horseback riding lessons this past fall. Peyton continues to be part of the praise band at church and practices her drums. Peyton is an avid reader, also. Reese started kindergarten at the home of a friend who is homeschooling her son. It is a good arrangement, plus she goes to Bismarck Grade School and participates in music and PE. Reese is highly social and enjoys all the time with friends she can get!




Now another Christmas and new year is upon us. I am excited for the holiday. While I love July 4th the best as family holidays go, Christmas Eve is a close second. I love the day with extended family at my parent's house. My Uncle John always reads the story of Jesus's birth from the Bible and we sing, laugh, eat and enjoy the time together. For those few hours, it is like my childhood is back and I relish it! This year, James does not have to work so we will complete our Christmas festivities all on the Eve with Christmas day being low key, with James working. Prayers for all Law Enforcement, EMS, Fire Departments, and hospital staff who must give of their holiday to be available for others. Also for their families who must be flexible.

I close with two of my favorite quotes from this time of year:
"And, lo, the Angel of the Lord came upon them....Shazaaaaaammm!"
(Gladys Herman, The Worst (Best) Christmas Pageant Ever)


And in despair I bowed my head: 
"There is no peace on earth," I said, 
"For hate is strong, and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men."

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor does He sleep,
For Christ is here; His Spirit near
Brings peace on earth, good will to men."

When men repent and turn from sin

The Prince of Peace then enters in,
And grace imparts within their hearts
His peace on earth, good will to men.

O soul amid earth's busy strife,

The Word of God is light and life:
Oh, hear HIs voice, make Him your choice,
Hail peace on earth, good will to men.
(I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day)