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"

Saturday, December 04, 2021

Snyder Christmas Card Letter 2021

 2021..or as I like to call it, “2020 the Sequel.” This year started out a few hours before the new year began with the surprise return of the missing piece, my Baby B, Paige. She returned from nearly a year deployed with her Army unit. There is a pretty good video of the shocked look on my face. I was wearing my “2020 was still better than my first marriage” shirt. Apparently he had the same shirt, so at least we agreed on something! Early the morning of January 1st Paige and I headed out for her to see her new rental house and do some shopping. There was another moment caught on video (security video this time) when Paige forgot that freezing rain causes the ground to be slick and totally wiped out in the driveway! 

Early March James and I and Paige and Peyton did a weekend in Indy for their birthday. The hotel room was not ready when we got there, when we came back later the girls’ room had someone else’s belongings in it and clearly had not been cleaned. We got some more humiliating video of Top Golf. It is super fun but I  very bad at it. 

Spring break we headed to the Dells. Reese brought her friend Lily and we went with Stephanie  and Gary Tidwell and Micah and his friend Max. The resort was super crowded but the trip was great fun. Steph and I headed to the outlet mall and my shoe shopping was interrupted by a call from my sister telling me that our pool was gone. Gone! She sent pictures. It was crazy. Our dog sitter assured us the pool was right where he left it a few hours before! Thankfully the DVR on the security cameras caught the moment the 18 thousand gallons of pool water spread across the yard . (Can anyone tell that our luck on trips is traditionally not the best?) 

We tried our luck at a trip again at the end of May. This time we increased our chances of better luck by going on vacation with Matt and Kristin Shuey. They are the good luck charms of trips. We spent 10 days split between Orlando and Bradenton. Both part 1 and 2 of the vacation were fantastic. The weather was amazing. It was a great trip to have fun and then recharge with some beach downtime. The only drawback, besides having to leave our absolute favorite place, was the poor fishing luck. And we won’t forget the Chinese Fire Drill and my apparent obsession with hot sauce!

We stayed close to home the rest of the summer, definitely no swimming! Reese had a great time at church camp and basically running around outside all summer. We occasionally saw the twins, they have the audacity to have their own lives at 21 and are super busy. 

Summer turned to fall and Reese was back to school, sixth grade has been a little easier (for James and I at least) than fifth grade. Reese continued with
Gymnastics and dance. She attends Sunday night youth group at Connexion and spends as much free time with her friends as possible. I am loving having all the pre-teen girl giggles in my house again. James went from night shift to day shift this fall. This has been a huge change! He is not particularly happy about all those pesky cars on the road during the day that get in his way. 

It is December now and I am writing this year in review recap quite late. My Facebook memories from two years ago today are pictures of us relaxing around a fire pit at the same Orlando resort that we are currently staying at. I walked around the grounds and tbought back on that last family vacation with the five of us together. It really was a great trip. I am so very blessed with amazing memories and am excited about making new memories in the future. This trip just started, but the Shuey’s  did not come with us. So it is not a surprise that the room that we were assigned to and tried to enter with two twelve year olds and our luggage was ALREADY OCCUPIED! Lol. 

Seriously though, God has been so very good. God has been teaching me, or trying to teach me about having faith and to be content in my circumstances, not in spite of them. I am also learning that my responsibility to others is to love them. 

Hebrews 11:1-40 is worth a read to challenge your faith by reading about examples of faith. 

“Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.”
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭11:1‬ ‭NL

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Christmas 2020

  2020, not overly exciting, right?

We ended 2019 with a family trip to Disney. First time to Mickey Mouse Land for Reese. We stayed at a great resort and enjoyed some family time. 

January:  I don’t remember much about January.  Who does?🤷‍♀️

February: Paige, Reese and I took a quick trip to Florida to spend a few days with Gram and Pop. Coldest days in Florida in over 700 days!  

Paige and Peyton turned 20 the last week in February. We then attended a pre deployment ceremony for the 236th Inland Cargo Transfer Company. This deployment would take Paige to the other side of the world for the rest of 2020.  My parents flew home for the week, my dad’s reaction to flying for the first time in 40 years was comic relief for the difficult week. Oh, and we were starting to hear about some virus that could make it’s way to the US...

March: by the end of March the world was shutting down. Working in Healthcare started to get extra challenging, and by the end of the month Peyton and Reese were both home and close to full remote learning. 

April: we went pretty much nowhere. The end. 

May: thankfully it was getting warmer! Remote learning was ending. Paige was doing well and we would hear from her at odd times of the day and night. 

June: well, there were no murder hornets! 

July: we had a nice, but low key July4th, with fireworks at home. We did take a fantastic trip to Florida. Tons of beach time, boating and fishing. 

My calendar does mock me with the dates of concerts we were supposed to attend! 

Reese went with her “2nd family,” the Longs,  to Michigan for a great week spent on the lake. Peyton had plans on and off all summer, Paige kept us up to date on the “dry heat” of the sandbox...

August: Peyton started her senior year at ISU, and Reese was able to start school in person at First Baptist.  My job continued to change on a weekly basis with the increase in COVID-19 patients. 

September: I spent a weekend BACK in Florida for a class. Mostly rainy, but the class was good, and a I loved the  quality time spent with Betsy Shallenberger!  

October: James and I took Reese and Katie Long to the Dells for a few days of fun at the water parks and remote learning. We were now starting to look forward to Paige coming home.


November: more changes at work, starting to do more patient care remotely and ordering Covid testing nearly every day. Took the time to add a new tattoo, an awesome American Traditional nurse drawn by Paige.

A small (less than 10 people, Covid approved) Friends Thanksgiving was spent with the Shueys and just a bit of family. It was a pretty nice day. 

It is now December again of the weirdest year ever. Which is saying a lot, as I have had some pretty weird years. 

Personally God has taught me so much this year. I have had to take a look at how I feel about personal rights, about truly loving others, and about whether I trust God to walk me through the tough days.  My faith has been deepened. So much about 2020 has been tough. The quick look back through my calendar and photos reminds me of the blessings in my life. It is humbling how blessed I am. 

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Snyder Family Christmas 2019

2019 flew by so quickly! I will try to remember the highlights:

January: I started my new job at the Danville Polyclinic. Still working for OSF, but now in an office and officially as a Nurse Practitioner. This has been a huge year of growth and learning and I am super grateful for the the experience thus far as well as the pretty terrific people I am getting to work with. James continues to work third shift as a sergeant and both Peyton and Paige went back to school at DACC. Paige settled into weekend drill for the Army Reserves and Peyton continued to work at Mad Goat Coffee. Just before the college semester started, we spent a few days in the Dells and had a great time!

February: Paige and Peyton turned 19, I really remember nothing else from that time!
March: Peyton and Reese got to take part in the wedding of Logan and Ash-A-Lee. It was a beautiful wedding and my girls looked not quite as stunning as the bride!

Later in March we drove to Texas to visit with Grandpa Steve and Grandma Connie and Paige and Peyton flew to Florida to be with Gram and Pop for a few days.

Peyton Graduated with her associates from DACC in May. This is an accomplishment as she had just turned 19 and was only a year out of high school. Paige continued to spend weeks at a time doing Uncle Sam's bidding...somewhere in there she jumped out of plane just for fun!
Over the summer Reese went to camp, James and I went to Florida and relaxed (NO studying!), and the girls worked, traveled and basically spent no time at home!

Late August we moved Paige into Eastern Illinois University where she attempted to attend classes between her part time jobs, military obligations and social engagements! Peyton lived off campus and Illinois State and finally learned to cook for herself! Peyton became active in a fantastic on campus ministry called Encounter and started playing drums in the praise band. Both girls had busy, fast paced semesters with a steady stream of ups and downs. It has been a learning experience for their momma to let them figure out life without my constant interference help....In all seriousness, I am crazy proud of the girls and all they are accomplishing this year!

Job 1:21 The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;  may the name of the Lord be praised.”

Reese and I celebrated her turning 10 with a few of her best buds and their moms on ANOTHER trip to the Dells. This was a great girl's trip and a fantastic way to celebrate a birthday!

The week before Christmas was spent in Orlando checking out the Disney Magic. The weather was mostly beautiful and the togetherness was mostly pretty awesome. We recognize that our days of a family of five going on a trip together are likely a thing of the past and I remembered that each day of the trip. We stayed at Bonnet Creek resort and it was beautiful and added some relaxation to an otherwise activity filled trip. We were able to spend some of that time with some old friends and their kiddos and ours became FAST newer friends. It was time absolutely well spent. My family put up with my anxiety and obsession with the planning pretty well!

And here were are closing out another year...another decade. Paige and Peyton turn 20 in just two short months. Paige's unit is deploying sometime this late winter/early spring and she could be gone for a year (still no perfectly exact date to leave or an exact location). As we get closer to this time it is easy to get anxious to fit in all the "moments," but I am trying to relax and enjoy our time together.

I am finishing up this letter on Christmas Day morning. James is still working, and the girls are still sleeping. We will make breakfast together when he gets home and then open a few things that Reese picked out in Florida and wrapped herself (that sounds terrible!) Christmas was more about the experiences this year so there is no much to do in the way of unwrapping today. I do feel a bit sad for the days of huge morning excitement for what awaited everyone under the tree! We met together with The extended Reese family yesterday afternoon and it was truly a great time. James and I and Reese visited with his Aunt Cheryl and her family last night for (amazing steak) and a quiet time of catching up. I came home to my bonus girls Lauren and Brookelyn here spending quality time with their cousins.

Asking for prayers for us this year specifically for James and his safety on his job, for myself in year two of seeing patients, and for Reese here at home and Peyton as she goes back to college. More specifically for Paige and her deployment and how that affects her and her unit and all the family members left behind.

Isaiah 6:8  Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Upcoming...I feel that I worried my way through 2019 and I just don't want to do that again. My prayer for 2020:

Reese's verse this year: John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life."

Lots of love to all as we look forward to 2020,
Sandy & Family

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 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)


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!

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!
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