This is the blog edition of our Christmas Letter!
For those of you who are new to my blog or who came here just for this letter, this will get you up to speed on the Quiring happenings! If you visit this blog regularly or are involved in our daily lives this may be a repeat of what you already know.
January brought HUGE change to our life. It was the beginning of all the changes we've encountered this year. Jason was let go from his youth pastor position at South Mountain Community Church due to economic/financial issues. They consolidated several positions and the youth position was one of them. After 10+ years of ministry to youth as a profession, it came to an end. Before this we were beginning to process the end of youth ministry and discerning what would be in the future but we didn't know that we wouldn't be the ones in the driving seat of that decision and we felt certain it would still have involved ministry in Utah with SMCC. After being let go, we started to pursue a passion, that had been under the surface, for church planting. We attended a national Church planters conference in Florida and went through a weekend of extensive evaluation for church planting. Both were very positive events for us and gave us confidence in our direction.
Jason had many odd jobs during this time and should get a medal for his hard work to provide for us! God's provision was and still is amazing. We have seen God provide in ways that many of you would not believe. We also took that time to visit other churches in the area. We weren't looking for a new church, just finally had the opportunity to see what other believers were doing in the area. We were worried about the kids in this process but surprisingly they loved it and became great at evaluating a church through the eyes of a visitor. We should hire them out for their services. They could give great ideas if you are looking to attract a new young visitor.
After walking in the direction of planting a church, it became obvious that it was not the time for a Utah church plant. Once that was decided we knew what we needed was TIME. Time for us to HEAL, time for us to LEARN, time for us to STEP BACK, time for us to EVALUATE, and time for us to PROCESS the future. Not to mention TIME for us to get a steady income again.
In June, amongst a whirlwind of events, we decided to put our house back on the market and made plans to move to Nebraska where Jason would farm with his brothers and dad and would begin seminary online through George Fox Evangelical Seminary out of Portland, OR. This made our July VERY busy as we packed up our house and spent as much time in Utah loving on our friends, neighbors, and doing the things in that beautiful state that we knew we would miss. Our goodbyes were very bittersweet.
August brought new beginnings . . . .
By Fall we were in FULL SWING of CORN HARVEST and SEMINARY! Two very time consuming events. We survived them both, with a few bumps.
Though this was not plan A . . . Jason and I have both said countless times this is an AMAZING plan B!We have enjoyed living by family. This was a first for us. Our kids have been able to deepen their relationship with many cousins and Grandpa and Grandma (us too). Being able to "stop in" at Grandma's instead of a 14 hour drive is amazing! And we are only 3 hours from Grammy and Gramps! We are living in a 1950's farm house surrounded by corn fields and we are slowly improving on the house. We are still trying to sell our Utah house but recently have had friends move in to help out with the mortgage while continuing to keep the house on the market.
The future still holds more questions than answers but we are doing what we set out for . . . . giving ourselves TIME!
Throughout the year we've each stayed busy with our own activities and hobbies.
Jason enjoyed playing basketball in Utah within our neighborhood and for a church team and is now just starting to play once a week here in Nebraska. He did some hiking before we left Utah and hiked to the peak of Mt. Timpanogos. I think it took him 2 months of seminary before he could walk around without a look on his face that seemed to say, "I'm thinking right now!" He's reading and being challenged with all of his classes. It's been a very positive experience for him. Time consuming but positive. He is having flash backs to college when he'd get projects finished just by the buzzer and would slip them under his prof's door. Now he presses send on his computer just in time. He has enjoyed getting to farm with his dad and two brothers. All the things he learned as a child are coming back to him. He is adjusting to being alone (in a truck or tractor) more than with people. For such a relational guy this has been a new experience. He never has down time; when he enters the doors he's got to have his "A" game on for wrestling or a mean game of Battleship. Someone (including me) always wants his time and attention. We are all thankful to have him leading our family in this time of change!
SCIENTIST PARTY. His teacher even came! Ian loves all things science, art, sports, legos, and star wars. He will sit and watch Myth Busters and Discovery for hours with Jason. He played in a winter basketball team early in the year with Jason as coach. He's adjusted well to moving to Nebraska and starting 2nd grade; he has another good teacher and is in the same class with his cousin. Out of all four kids, he's the one that is aware that another transition will be in the future at some point. He is so social and was sad to say goodbye to friends in Utah but has LOVED living by his cousins. In his words he has said, "There are two things that are okay with me. If our house in Utah doesn't sell by the end of the year then we can move back to Utah. If it does sell we stay in Nebraska."
I put these two together not to overlook that they have differences and are individuals but because so many of their hobbies and interests are so similar. They still confuse people, even those that love them the most. It's very common for their friends from preschool (and teachers) to say "Are you Carter or Coleson?" I couldn't convince them to tell their teacher on Halloween that they had dressed up as each other. They turned 5 in August and had a Basketball Party with all their Utah friends before we moved. Their hobbies include coloring/drawing for hours, building with legos, jumping on my couch (though it's not allowed), doing "tricks", wrestling, playing Star Wars, building race tracks, and dressing up in costumes as early as 7:15 in the morning.
Strawberry Shortcake party with her cousins. She seems to have acquired my trait of having a mind that never stops. She jumps from one thing to the next within sentences. Most of the time Jason and I look at each other and say "that doesn't make any sense?" I'm sure in her mind it does make sense. She plays all morning with the twins and doesn't miss a beat - as I'm writing this all three are in pj pants with no shirt and are "in battle". She's the girl that gets to say "ding" for the battle to start. Most afternoons it's just her and I for a couple hours but she's always thrilled when "her boys" arrive home.
-----------------------------------------------You are now caught up on the Quirings. Come back and visit our blog anytime. Each day brings excitement, a new adventure, and a new challenge. We pray you all have a Merry Christmas celebrating the Savior's birth!
Jason, Nicole, Ian, Carter, Coleson, and Tatum