Tuesday, December 08, 2015

2014 New Years Letter (2013 Christmas)

Dear Family and Friends,

We hope you had a wonderful Christmas and wishing you the best 2014.  2013 was a blur for us as you can tell from the New Year letter instead of a timely Christmas card like we received from many of you.  It was enough of a struggle to get this out while the year was still relatively new.

Kristin is back home after completing an intensive program in discipleship and Christian living at Northwest Bible Training Center.  She is returned to us a new creation, Alleluia!  Kristin is working on some volunteer projects and embarking on the next phase of her life.

In addition to the usual demands of her Junior year in high school, Grace has taken on an exciting but demanding volunteer project with Amigos De Las Americas.  This is an incredible project that sends high school and college students to volunteer in Latin America.  In addition to training to be part of these projects, there is a huge fundraising component to pay for travel and training for all the volunteers.   Many of you have received a letter from Grace.  We appreciate any support you can give her and the rest of the Portland volunteers.  Please send donations to Grace at our address with the check made out to Portland Amigos.

We are looking forward to learning what country Grace will be sent to and what the general project is in February.  Many specifics of the project will be determined with the community she will be working in.  

Tim is in 7th grade and is fortunately not involved in any big fundraising or intensive international volunteer projects.  He is playing in the band for his school and is really enjoying the church youth program including attending camp, rafting in the summer, and a winter retreat.  

We enjoyed a visit from my family in July.  Jeannette and Al were up for a car show driving Al’s ‘32 “Deuce” Sedan to Deuce days in Vancouver, BC.  Carolyn, Derek, and Jesse were up on their own trip to Vancouver, BC.  When they stopped in Portland on the way back to Southern California, I took them all to Multnomah Falls and the Columbia River Gorge.  I also took Mom and Al out to the Pittock Mansion in Portland.  We got a little more visiting in this fall when we were joined in Reno and Lake Tahoe by Richard and Renee’ (my brother and sister-in-law).  We enjoyed several days of sightseeing and little a gambling.  Renee’ managed to win some.

We get to visit with Michele’s family more often because we are fortunate that Bill and Barbara and Michele’s brothers (Kevin, Greg, and Paul) are all here in the Portland area.  We gather on important holidays such as “combined birthdays” in February, Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Another advantage of having family nearby and ready to help is feeling comfortable getting out of town with just the two of us.  We went to Puerto Rico in January which was a great getaway.   For my birthday, we went to Kauai for a relaxing, fun week.  Our wonderful neighbors, the Ritaccos, helped make the getaways possible by taking Tim to school and keeping some eye on Grace who is now a licensed driver and quite independent.

Michele left Viewpoint and joined a new company, Huron Consulting, this Fall.  One big plus is that Huron is in Lake Oswego, about 3 miles from our house.  That is the shortest commute she has ever had.  Michele is programming database conversions to migrate new customers to Huron’s product.  It is similar to the work she did at Viewpoint only it is health care management software instead of construction ERP software.

I am still at DAT as product manager for the RateView software for pricing freight.  I am also helping out with the youth program that Tim enjoys so much at our church.

Our big project this year started when our refrigerator had a slow leak.   It went something like “If you give a mouse a cookie…”.  If you have a leak, you are  going to want the insurance to pay for the damage.  If the insurance is paying for a new floor, you are going to want to change the layout of the kitchen a bit.  If you’re changing the layout of your kitchen, you are going to need new cabinets.  If you’re getting new cabinets, you will want some new appliances.  If you are getting new cabinets and appliances, you will want to raise that old drop ceiling with industrial style fluorescent lights from the 70’s.  If you are going to change your ceiling and lights you are going to need an electrical permit.  To get an electrical permit in this house, you need a new service panel.  Here it is several months after the leak and we just moved back into our kitchen.  We are loving the new kitchen and enjoyed hosting Christmas with Michele’s family in it.

A lot of blessings in 2013 to be grateful for.  We’re hoping for a happy, healthy 2014 for ourselves and for you.

Ralph, Michele, Kristin, Grace, and Tim

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