We considered skipping this year’s Christmas letter. It was a difficult 2015 for my family, and something inside me felt as if a family letter should be “perfect.” Wendy told me to push through that resistance, thumb through our 2015 memories, and post the truth. I’m so glad she encouraged me so.
Because the truth is this: Our family has had a mountain-moving year. We may have withdrawn a lot from much of an online presence, but it was good (you should try it sometime!). Much of the year was difficult. Extremely difficult. The most difficult of our lives. But the year was far from wasted.
As I thumb through last year’s experiences, I can’t help but see glorious stories of redemption and love throughout. We retreated and reflected, but we also reconnected and rebuilt on those relationships that needed our love and attention. Come with me as I share with you the true blessings of 2015.
Winter of Reflection
For a family who makes speech and debate their livelihood, it’s a big deal to take a year off. We poured time into nature hikes and family counsel. Read my article on this, “Three Mistakes in Family Counseling.” It was exhausting at times, but reflection on family has been most revealing and rewarding.
The best therapy of all was our new enthusiasm for hiking. Can you believe that we have lived just a mile from Pike National Forest but spent very little time exploring its trails? We know them well now! Below is Finger Rock (in the background), barely a mile from our home. If you ever visit, it is worth the short hike. Our family hiked more in 2015 than we have in our 15 years in Colorado.
Here is an awesome discovery on one of Wendy and my hikes: a rock magically shaped like a heart! And we discovered it on our Valentine’s Day hike, no doubt. We definitely felt God’s presence in our life at that moment. Honestly, we can’t make this stuff up.
Spring of Retreat
“Retreat” is a good word for our 2015 springtime. Not only did we retreat from speech and debate, we retreated from much of work and busyness. Instead, we focused on relationships.
Like Alissa and her husband, Asaad, living on the other side of the world in Australia. In March Wendy and I flew to Melbourne for a two week visit. There were so many breakthrough adventures on the trip! Very little compares to the mountain-moving that went on.
We continued our season of retreat, and in a way we still “retreat” more often than we used to. We’ve made it a solemn vow for 2016 to spend much more time in the Rocky Mountains camping as a family. It has truly brought us together more than we could have imagined.
Summer of Reconnecting
The Summer was an interesting season. We got more rain than ever in Colorado. It may sound weird, but our family was feeling somewhat of a “baptism” in life.
Though we didn’t have Jeub kids hopping all over the US for tournaments, Monument Publishing (our business to speakers and debaters) roared on. I traveled to three national tournaments, more leagues than ever before. On my journey, I was able to connect with my nephew, a niece, my sister and a childhood friend. Let’s hear it for business write-offs to reconnect!
Connecting with family in South Carolina inspired Wendy and me to send our sons there for hot summer work. It turned out that only Micah was able to go, being that the summer crops were not plentiful enough (all the rain ended up in Colorado this year!).
It was a shocker for many when we decided to send our kids to school. It has definitely been a huge change for our family! All-in-all, we are very much enjoying our decision. Ironically, charter schooling has helped us be better homeschooling parents.
Autumn of Rebuilding
What a year! Wendy and I feel more restored than we have in years. We feel we are ending 2015 on a most powerful foot forward.
In October we traveled to Minnesota for my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. It was so much fun connecting with family and dear friends. All four siblings made the trip (myself and my three sisters) and pretty much all the grandkids. What a celebration!
Can you believe that a year earlier Wendy and I had honestly considered never speaking again? An opportunity presented itself for Wendy to share her most incredible story of her youth when she was invited to keynote the Pine City Pregnancy Center Fundraiser. Her story is incredible!
Can Thanksgiving be a “multicultural” experience? We think so. This year we had guests from Syria, Italy and India. Our son-in-law Asaad is native of Syria, a most devastated part of the world. Please pray for his family, many of whom are seeking refuge in Europe, Turkey and Australia (and I wish America was more open to the idea, read this).
Perhaps the best news of the 2015 year is the rekindling of our relationship with our daughter, Lydia. Her boyfriend, Skip, has been a huge encouragement in this. We were super excited when he and Lydia announced their engagement to be married as well as their expecting a baby in March. More posts will surely come as both days approach!
My temptation was to skip this year’s Christmas letter. I’m glad for Wendy’s motivation to overcome that feeling. In many ways, 2015 was the most “perfect” year. God has the Jeub family on his heart, as He has on all of our families. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
“Eagerly desire the greater gifts. And yet I will show you the most excellent way…Love.”
(1 Cor 12:31-1:1)