This year I, Wendy, the mom, thought I’d give this Christmas letter a whirl. The kids say it’s because I’m the one who has the most time on her hands. (I fool them nicely.) There’s a raging blizzard outside today, and I’m sitting here at my computer clicking away. Let’s go in chronological order throughout this busy, thankful year, listing the many blessings of our 2012…
Papa Jeub, Chris, weighed 20 pounds heavier than he does now. No kidding! He applied his amazing wife’s Love in a Diet methods and is enjoying the lost weight. The guilt, he said, was starting to become overwhelming.
You might remember last year Chris was in the hospital with a heart problem that nearly killed him. It was my turn for trauma in January. When Chris was away on a business trip, I had to go to the hospital because a carrot got wedged in my throat. Chris joked later, “Healthy eating almost killed you!” But seriously, a dilation and several tests later revealed a tumor large enough to require surgery. Later, more tests were needed.
I continued to have tests, and the ultrasound showed the tumor to be growing, though slowly. The ultrasound cost $7,000. Gee. The test results were puzzling to the doctors, none seeming to have seen this kind of tumor in the throat before. The experts didn’t know, but God did! We had a wonderful – though worrisome – February.
March came in like a lamb and we moved on with school and speech and debate competitions. It seemed that every week we had either a competition or another procedure. We kept waiting to get into a surgeon, and we finally did on March 26. We all pulled out our calendars to see when would be the best time to get me in – I looked at my calendar as a busy mom, Chris looked at his calendar as a very busy self-employed dad, and then there was the surgeon who seemed to be the busiest man in the room. So there we were all looking at our calendars, and the doctor asked, “How about tomorrow?” Great!!!
The next morning, they put me out and my faithful rock, Chris, was waiting for me when I woke. The surgery involved cutting into my right side and collapsing my right lung to get over to my esophagus. The surgeon took out the tumor and sewed me back up. Ta da! All done. I was back home within 36 hours.
Busy month! We also had a major tournament in Denver that included a junior tournament, where most of the kids took home trophies. Horse camp counseling training started up for the older kids, too.
In early April we went back into see the surgeon and he told us that the tumor they removed was totally benign, praise God! He also told us the reason why all the experts were so puzzled. The tumor was a Schwannoma tumor in an awkward place in the neck – one of only 15 found in that spot! Very rare, but very glad that ordeal was behind us.
The kids did a judge-a-thon to bring in judges for the national speech and debate tournament, which Chris was in charge of running in June (more on that in a little bit). Chris and I also flew out to Georgia for a Ken Davis conference on public speaking, called the SCORRE Conference. We met some of the neatest people in the world, and I overcame one of my biggest fears, public speaking. So much so that I have actually scheduled myself to speak once every month in 2013. Public speaking is second nature to my speech-coach husband and speech-and-debate kids, but VERY unusual for me! But today, thanks to SCORRE and the support of my family and friends, I’m actually starting to enjoy it.
The smaller Jeubs – Tabitha, Keilah, Hannah, Josiah, Havilah, Joshua, Priscilla, Zechariah and Elijah – all went to the Homeschool Field Day through their phy-ed class, PE Plus. They did very well in their sports activities. Chris worked nearly full-time on preparing for the National Invitational Tournament of Champions, scheduled for the first week of…
We were very busy with the tournament. Chris not only ran this tournament, but he also ran the training camp the weekend before in Manitou Springs. The tournament turned out to be the largest homeschool tournament in its 16 year history! And from the testimonies of the attendees, was considered the best. Chris led a staff of 70 volunteers, welcome 600 students and their families from 26 states around the country, and solicited over 1,000 judges to make the tournament happen. What an accomplishment! After months of planning and hard work it was finally happening.
Our kids did quite well in the competition (and believe me, Chris pulled no strings in the tab room!). Lydia took 7th in Persuasive, and Micah took 1st place in Original Interpretation. Our local club, Monumentum, did well too with alumni taking other top awards. There was pride in the accomplishments, especially from this very proud Mom!
As if that didn’t make for a busy June enough, we also had horse camp for two weeks. Cynthia, Lydia, Isaiah, Micah, and Noah were camp counselors, and Tabitha, Keilah, Hannah, Josiah, Havilah and Joshua were campers. Special treat: Grandma and Grandpa Jeub were here for a visit and got see the final horse show performance, which involves horse vaulting.
Then the Waldo Canyon Fire hit, and we had to evacuate for at least a day, on alert for over two weeks. The most damaging forest fire in Colorado history hit Colorado Springs just a few miles from our home. Some of our friends were victims to the flames and lost their homes. But despite its devastation, no firefighters were hurt and only two casualties were reported. That is an amazing testimony of God’s protection! We are so thankful for your prayers and support during this scary time.
By the 4th of July we were completely exhausted! But thankful for so much, and life didn’t slow down. The annual parade was cancelled because of the fire. The ministry we run, Training Minds Ministry, hosted a debate camp for students from all over the country. At the time of this letter, those alumni are getting ready to head into a year of competition, and Training Minds was a big part of their launch. Including the Jeub children. Lydia, Isaiah, Micah, Noah and Tabitha are all competitors who went to camp and are now heading into 2013 competition. But July wasn’t all debate camp. Later that month, the kids also attended Dodgeball Camp – which they insist is more fun, but they don’t tell dad that.
August was our month to relax. Everyone but Cynthia. She started her second year of college and was hired on the school newspaper staff, a dream job for her aspiring journalism career. We decided to take it easy and travel 1200 miles with a van full of kids for a vacation (oh, the slothful relaxation). We ventured to northern Minnesota to Aunt Kate’s and Uncle Jerry’s resort, Birch Haven. We enjoyed swimming, fishing and boating for a week, along with visits from my mom and sisters, Chris’ parents and sisters, and a whole bunch of cousins. I stole away from the fun and visited some old friends from where we used to live – what a treat!
It was most fun because these friends were the first to hear that I was expecting another child, but shortly thereafter I began to miscarry. Chris put me on a plane and I flew home and he traveled by vehicle home with all the kids. Cynthia picked me up at the airport. We were grieved, and still are, at the emptiness of that lost life, but we look forward to seeing our lost child in heaven when that day comes.
Life marches on! I started a brand new teaching method – a classical educational curriculum – and joined a homeschool co-op. And big news met us in August: a special man in Alissa’s life proposed to her in New Zealand! Assad and Alissa got engaged and are planning to be married in January in Turkey. God bless your new life together, Assad and Alissa!
Speaking of New Zealand, we welcomed pen-pals from the country, Aaron and Ben, who became part of our family for a week of fun in the States. They buddied up with our teenagers quite naturally, and they went paintballing, to the Air Force Academy, and spent a fun day at Elitch Gardens. We also hosted our yearly Birthday Bash with about 150 people this year. Chris took up bow hunting for the first time, bringing Lydia and Micah on two expeditions into the mountains. What a month of fun!
Chris tolerated a tiny office in the basement for nearly two years since he moved his office home, but he decided enough was enough. He flew his dad, Bernie, out from Minnesota to help frame out the garage and turn it into his Sweet Home Office Suite. Bernie was home for the twins’ birthday, who turned 7 this year. Wasn’t it just yesterday that they were born? Time flies in our home!
Chris took all the teenagers elk hunting – this time with rifles – where the older, more experienced teens went in deep to get the big elk. Chris hung back with Noah and Tabitha, and who do you think got the elk this year? Noah, with a very nice cow to help fill our freezer for the winter. A 300 yard shot – nice job, Noah!
We ended October with what has now become a tradition, the Jeub Pumpkin Dance, on the 31st. The kids cleared out the living room, invited about 30 friends, and danced the night away. What fun!
Chris was broken hearted that his childhood friend, Paul Ryan, didn’t get into the White House, but was thrilled to be able to connect with him twice during his rallies here in Colorado. Though that competition was lost, the competitive season encroaches, and we attended a junior tournament for this school year: Keilah, Hannah, Josiah, Havilah, Joshua and Priscilla all performed for the judges. Keilah won 2nd place in Dramatic Interp, Hannah and Keilah both broke in Impromptu, and Josiah and Joshua both placed in Humorous Interp. Zechariah (3) was the cutest Jeub because, though he didn’t have a speech prepared, he was known to jump up in front of the room after his siblings’ speeches and deliver a 10-second impromptu. The judges loved it!
How did we get to the last month of year already? We have so much to be thankful for in 2012. The Christmas tree lights up our home all this month as we prepare for celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. We’re revving up for a busy 2013 (more tournaments, more schooling, more family outings, more business deals and opportunities), but it’s all good busyness. Why? Because of the relationship we have with the one birthday we are celebrating this month: Jesus Christ. What an exciting life and home He has blessed us with, and we look forward to walking in his loving and gracious ways into the future.
Merry Christmas, friends, and stay in touch!