All I can say is WOW. I have been thinking about writing most every day, and life gets in the way. I want to blog about my son turning 16 and learning to drive; my transition in my new job and the challenges; and my current relationship, where I can honestly say that I have gone on my last "first" date....
For now, here is a copy of my holiday letter that goes out with my Christmas cards. I will be writing more soon.....
Schappell-holiday letter 2011
“Do not be afraid, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2: 10-11
Greetings to you and your family during this Christmas Season….it has been an incredible year in many ways and I wanted to share some of what God has been doing in our lives.
August 20th marked one year in my townhouse, and working on a weekly rotation with my kids. I am slowly working on improvements, first doing landscaping out front in the spring, and then re-doing my patio over the summer. I am in the process of finishing the basement for additional space.
Drew and Ariana continue to do well in school and sports activities. Drew recently turned 16, is in 10th grade, and now has his permit. We are slowly teaching him how to drive and recording the 50+ hours he needs before a license. Drew has been playing soccer for over 8 years now and played JV on the HS soccer team and was a varsity “swinger,” attending all the varsity games and getting some playing time. He continues to play school lacrosse in the spring. Between videogames and his girlfriend, he worked over the summer and is a regular teenager in all respects.
Ariana is 12 and started middle school this fall. She received a 4.0 in her first semester and is transitioning well. She continues to play club soccer almost all year round. Her team finished first in their league and won their 2 tournaments. The core of her team has been together 4 years and is exciting to watch. Her skills as an artist continue to improve and she is a wonderful young lady.
Our vacation was our annual roller coaster trip to Cedar Point in Sandusky, OH. For 3 years, I have found something that my kids will do together. This year, we traveled to Kings Island in Cincinnati for the first time; hit the Cincinnati Zoo, back to Kennywood Park in PA and Knoebel’s Grove Amusement Park. It was whirlwind week. We had a change to meet old friends and make new ones.
For me, it has been a year of change and growth. I was in a 5 month relationship (my first since the divorce) that ended in January. I focused on work and the kids, while enjoying my alone time. My next change came in August, 2 days before my 2nd anniversary at the Credit Union, I was let go as the Branch Manager due to management changes. I dug deep, pressed into God, and 6 weeks later found work 2.5 miles from home and working weekdays only. I was able to pay off my car a year early and adjusting to a new reality of lower salary and building myself back up.
I am grateful, because God is faithful and has promised to meet our needs and he did. I was fortunate not to fall behind, and happy to be driving less and spending more time with my kids...being able to attend their games and activities. I am still the manager for my daughter’s soccer team and in the process of writing my first novel.
The job change also opened up a new door, and that is my current relationship with a wonderful woman. We met online through a friend (Facebook no less), met in person Labor Day weekend, and have not stopped talking ever since. She lives across the state in Beaver, PA, so we see each other about 2x a month. God is working in a big way and I am blessed to have found someone I love very much.
My prayer for you is that you will continue to be blessed during the coming year. Tell your kids you love them…remember what you have and be thankful…every day is a gift and know that life is meant to be shared.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Steve, Drew and Ariana