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The Michaels Monitor Happy Holidays! Well, here we are – the Michaels family in 2008. We kicked off the holiday season with our annual family tradition of attending the Tonic Sol Fa concert at the Washington Pavilion (www.tonicsolfa.com) – and that’s we had this picture taken. If this talented musical group is ever in your area, check them out! You can also watch your local PBS listings this month, as their special will air across the country. Mary was first in line for ticket sales at the Pavilion doors this past September, so we enjoyed front-row-right-up-at-the stage seats for the concert and didn’t tell the boys where we were sitting until we got there – it was a load of fun!

Sports News Still Working Hard… Since May, we have been enjoying a great deal more “quality time” with no more retail hours, as Gary took a Account Executive position with our local ABC affiliate, KSFY-TV. He is having a great time being out and about in the community meeting people from a wide variety of businesses. In August, Mary celebrated her two-year anniversary with the American Heart Association. It was another busy year as the Grassroots Advocacy Director for South Dakota and Nebraska. She now turns her focus to the coming legislative session and the hopes for a smokefree South Dakota!

Hiking is a new favorite sporting activity for us. We did some rock climbing at Palisades State Park just north of Sioux Falls, and we also found some good trails at Newton Hills State Park and the Big Sioux River Recreation Area. Great “stay-cation” spots!

Although October wasn’t what we hoped it would be in the world of Major League Baseball, we did enjoy a family trip to Minneapolis at the start of the summer to see our New York Yankees play the Twins (and win!). There’s always next year…. We were able to enjoy the “thrill of victory” this year, with Luke’s baseball team taking the city 10-year-old championship. Josh participated in the T-ball program of the Sioux Empire Baseball Association (which is the younger version of the league Luke played in). Mary & Gary assisted the coach, who is now Josh’s PE teacher at Harvey Dunn, so Gary helped with hitting and fielding, and Mary can now write a lineup with batting order and fielding positions with her eyes closed!


Our Thankfulness Page We’re so very thankful for our boys… Jake is 16 (to be 17 in April) – a Junior at Lincoln High School….home of the 2008 state football champs and lead band in the 2008 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade! Jake is independently mobile now with his own “wheels,” has a part-time job and is busy working on the LHS Statesman newspaper and preparing for the ACT test! Hard to believe that a year from now we’ll be on the high school countdown to graduation. Luke is a 5th grader – just celebrated his 11th birthday in November. Middle school is on this horizon for him next year. He tried his hand a speaking part in the 4th-5th grade play this fall and did a great job. And, he’s also picked up the trumpet this year – just performing in his first band concert this month. Josh had to have surgery in April to place a piece of titanium in his skull because part of his soft spot had never closed. We were thankful everything went well. He was thankful the hospital room had a flat screen TV with movies and video games. He turned 6 in July and started Kindergarten in August. It was nice that many of his T-ball teammates go to the same school. He loves recess, even more now that the school finished successful fundraising for new playground equipment that made it in before Thanksgiving. He seems to like the fact that his Mom comes to volunteer at school, especially when it involves a holiday party!

We are also thankful for opportunities to enjoy music. Gary and Mary still sing with the Jubilation Singers at St. Michael’s Church, and Mary plays piano there as well. This summer, when the high school honors choir convened in Sioux Falls, the organization also held a 20-year reunion for anyone who has ever been part of the select group. Mary reconnected with her high school best friend and many others she knew to take the stage at the Washington Pavilion for that reunion concert. Gary & Mary were lucky enough to take a couple of date trips – one to see Michael Buble and the other to see Neil Diamond. Lots of singing in the car during those trips! Finally, we’re thankful for a world of God’s wonders and many blessings.

P.S. from Zoe Life is good for me, too. I’ll be 4 in February. As you can see, I’m already nestled and snug in my bed while visions of Milk Bones dance in my head….

We know that so many of our family and friends have faced different challenges over the year, and we continue to hold all of you in our prayers. Whatever comes, we try to live by remembering that if God brings us to it, He will bring us through it. If we may quote Neil Diamond, he has an awesome song out now called, “Pretty Amazing Grace.” Speaking about a difficult time, the lyrics say, “You overcame my loss of hope and faith, gave me a truth I could believe in. You led me to that higher place. Showed me that love, and truth, and hope, and grace were all I needed.” During this special time of year, we wish you Love ~ and Truth ~ and Hope ~ and Grace.

P.S. For those of you who are so inclined, Gary and I each have pages at www.facebook.com!


The Michaels Monitor 2009