Joe’s birthday request in 2016 was a pair of running shoes because he said the coming year was going to be his “year of running.” He wasn’t kidding! In 18 months he’s completed two 50-milers, two marathons, and two half marathons; paced a friend through a third of his 100-miler; ran 43 miles from one rim of the Grand Canyon to the other and back again; and finished his “first and only”100-miler. He found something rewarding in testing his physical limits and forging friendships with running companions. Off the trails, he continues to help clients buy and sell homes at Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, the local brokerage he owns and manages.
Heidi is cherishing infancy with our baby, toddlerhood with our tot, public school with our kinder, and the fleeting days of childhood with our pre-teen. She leads children’s singing time at church—an unexpected opportunity for one with little musical experience. She loves the messages in the songs and spending that time with Kate and Anna. She’s dabbling back into the art world she studied in college by teaching The Great Artist Program in the girls’ classrooms. Her parents live just down the street, which is a huge blessing to our family.
Kate (10) and Anna (almost 6) appreciate being at the same school. They come home thrilled when they’ve gotten to see each other in the halls. They participated in running club and, inspired by their dad, jointly completed a 50-mile cumulative mileage goal. They put our craft room to excellent and frequent use— mostly making gifts that get stashed under their beds for upcoming holidays and birthdays.
Ruth (almost 3) has no tonsils following a recent surgery, but does have big girl underwear that she keeps clean and dry! She likes to listen to music, and any time there is a male vocalist on the radio she’ll say tenderly, “Mom, I love this guy,” or with great admiration, “Mom, that’s Johnny” (the gorilla with a soft heart and bad-boy image in the musical, Sing). Precursor to teenage lovesick days to come? TBD.
James (born May 10), with his heart-warming smile and deliciously kissable cheeks, is as pleasant as they come. He’s eating solids, growing in all directions (before Ruth ditched the diapers, they were both wearing a size 4), and not drinking bottles (alas!). His cuddles are unrivaled, though our Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Wilson (almost 2), who sees every lap as an open invitation, provides some competition.
While troubled by the natural disasters, religious and political divides, and hateful violent acts frequenting headlines, we are buoyed by our faith and by love of friends and family. “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of the darkness, hath shined in our hearts… We are troubled on every side, yet, not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; … cast down, but not destroyed… though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4: 6, 8-9). May you find light shining out of any darkness you face.
The Willis Family