Here’s the web-version of our Christmas Letter we sent out to our family. After reading a few this season, we realized what a year this has been and it only seemed appropriate to share how God has led and blessed us this past year.
In January, Laurie was diagnosed with breast cancer. Thankfully God allowed the doctors to find it early and she began immediate treatments after her February surgery. We were both very thankful her mom was able to come and help out the week of her surgery. Her radiation treatments started in March. Her last treatment was May 13th. She is cancer-free but will continue with regular follow up visits.
Just two days after Laurie’s last treatment we made the trip to say goodbye to my nephew Zac. We saw him briefly on Sunday morning, and that afternoon he was able to see Jesus face to face. It was an added blessing to see several family members for his amazing memorial service at NewSpring Church. I miss him on a regular basis. You can watch a part of his story here.
A huge highlight from our summer was a few days in Mammoth Lakes, CA. It was our first time there and Laurie had it planned out very well where we simply enjoyed down time in a beautiful setting. At the end of our week, we did a quick drive through Yosemite and came out the western side so we could have an afternoon visit with Laurie’s Grandma Clarice. We were both so glad we made that trip. Grandma died just a few months later. Laurie was able to join her mom in Three Rivers for a brief visit for Grandma’s memorial service. An added blessing was reacquainting with family.
In October I learned the reason for some unexpected weight loss was a condition called Graves Disease, a form of hyperthyroidism. Though the name sounds morbid, it appears this is not terribly uncommon and it is very treatable. My good doctor has me on a medication with regular blood work to monitor the progression. So far so good.
Thanksgiving gave us the opportunity to see several family members in Mesa, as Stacey hosted the main event. We had a great Christmas Eve service with our largest crowd ever. We were blessed to share the holiday with two of my sisters from Tucson, Janet and Sandra.
As we’ve exchanged gifts and shared precious family time together, we clearly think of our gift to God first and foremost. What is it? To give to God the praise and thanks He is due. We are so blessed. And above all, we give Him thanks for Jesus, His Son. “For unto us is born this day in the City of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.”
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,
Mark and Laurie Smith