Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone from the Clarke family

It has been another busy year. I can hardly believe that Emma will graduate this year and that Rory will be a Star Scout – and going to high school next year. Some of the highlights from this last year include Cindy and Emma going to Northern Tier, Rory and I going to Mine-Con, Emma’s time at Venturing Rendezvous, Rory’s appearance in two plays, Cindy’s physical training, and my continued writing.

This last summer Cindy and Emma went to Northern Tier in Manitoba Canada. I’m not sure if the months of preparation or the actual trip was harder. Northern Tier is one of the Boy Scout’s high adventure camps. Cindy and Emma went on a week long canoeing trip with seven other scouts. The primitive setting and physical challenges of lifting their canoes over beaver dams and portaging through the mud took them to the breaking point, but they both came back stronger for the experience.

Rory and I traveled to Las Vegas in the early morning to participate in Mine-Con, which is a convention based around the game of Mine Craft. Cindy and Grandma Arlene made Rory a costume which as was a hit with the other attendees. Rory got to spend time with one of his new friends and meet many of the celebrities he has watched on Youtube the last year. Rory is already trying to figure out how to get to next years convention – possibly in Europe

Venturing has been a big part of Emma’s life this last year. Besides being elected as the president of her crew last the spring, she was also elected the president of the San Diego Imperial County Venturing Officer’s Association. For her the highlight was the Venturing Rendezvous. The theme this year was Island Adventures. Besides helping to plan the weekend activities at camp Fiesta Island, Emma found great enjoyment in the sense of community she has found.

Rory was in two plays this last year. In “Willy Wonka” he played the head umpa lumpa – both interacting with the main characters and joining all the other umpa lumpas in many songs. In the play “13”, Rory was cast as Eddy. He had both speaking lines as well as a number of songs he sang in – including a duet. His many long hours of practice paid off in great performances.

Cindy’s greatest challenge this year was physically preparing for the trip with Emma to the back country of Manitoba Canada, Because of her long time of inactivity the challenge was huge. She was blessed with a wonderful personal trainer that was both sensitive to her emotional issues as well as being very good at pushing her physically. In her months of training she became stronger and gained the stamina required for the trip. Emma joined in some of the training and then through the preparation and the week in the wilderness they have formed a much tighter bond.

I have continued with my writing. I finished the two line a day stories I had been working on and published my 28th newsletter. I wrote another Christmas story and continue to work on revising my novel. I spent a while this year working on an iPad application with a young woman I met a Comic-Con last year. Unfortunately we had to stop working on it as she started working a full time job.

Cindy and the kids spent two weeks in Sedro Woolley with her parents and her brother’s family. The trip to Sedro Woolley is always one of the favorite of the year.

We continue to reach out to others to share our gift of hospitality. We had a young man from Germany live with us for six months and he even joined us on our yearly trek to Mexico to build houses and joined us for Comic-Con the weekend that he left.

We spent Thanksgiving with my Mom/Bill and my Brother’s family this year. I have been working to improve my Dutch Oven cooking skills and this year for I cooked seven Thanksgiving dishes in my mother’s backyard for our feast together.

We wish you a very Merry Christmas and hope that the New Year will find you have many happy times with family and friends.

Doug, Cindy, Emma, and Rory Clarke