I'd like to highlight for you what happened in our Hayden home this year.
- We took our summer family vacation to Cartagena, Colombia, in June. We were there for a week enjoying the warm ocean waters and site seeing. Mirdza
had not been there since, she was in her teens (she will be 50 next year!), and Dana, Emmanuel, and Ziedite had never been there. It was definitely a wonderful vacation. Some of Mirdza's childhood friends met up with them - "Galo Lando" met up with them
in Bogotá for a few hours, Laura and her nephew Nico, as well as Kico met up with them for a few days in Cartagena, and Laura Sofia met up with them at the airport for about an hour on their way back here to the States.
started 10th grade at Rancho Alamitos High School in the fall. We celebrated her 15th birthday at the end of September with a semi-big quinceañera party which was held at the Our Redeemer Lutheran church event hall; it was definitely bigger (and
I think more memorable) than Mirdza's was. Jim and his family flew in from Colorado to celebrate - literally! They flew in Friday night, celebrated the next evening, and flew out early Sunday morning. John and his family attended - they still live in Diamond
Bar - so about a half hour from us, using freeways, so it all depends on traffic. Dana's sister Karen and her husband drove down from Riverside to attend; her son Tommie and his girlfriend also were able to attend. And then she had several of her friends attend
as well. I've posted pictures and videos on Facebook in the album titled "Ziedite's Quinceañera" if you would like to check those out. We've also experienced some crazy times with her as she fights for independence; we've had to work with a counselor
to help us with some behavioral issues, but it's all working out just fine. The good thing is that she will carry those coping skills into her adult years, and we are learning some more parenting techniques. It's all a learning experience!
- Emmanuel continues to work at Knotts. He got a job in the entertainment department, so he works in different areas in Ghost Town - sometimes Pan for Gold, sometimes the museum, and at times at the jail. He's had to work some cold nights, which isn't fun
for him, and he's had to learn to deal with some disappointing and frustrating moments, which is also all part of growing up. We all need to learn those kinds of skills. He's becoming a more skillful piano player by the day and still enjoys acting.
- Dana has had steady work in his HELP Heating, Plumbing, and Air Conditioning business so our income has been steady, thanks be to God. He continues to work hard and is very reliable; his health has been good, which is a true blessing. He
celebrated a year of being sober this year, so that is a big milestone for him! He attends meetings at least twice a week and really enjoys meeting up with the people there. He enjoyed going fishing with friends this summer once again on most weekends - his
favorite hobby when the weather is warm.
- Mirdza continues to be a stay at home mom and wife and continues to work as a leader in Young Living helping people get fit, healthy and energetic. She mostly works online, posting things on social
media that could be helpful to others, and holding a few helpful classes on Facebook. She loves doing Bible Studies now to learn more about Bible heroes and has been in awe of everything God has taught her throughout the year. Her personal relationship with
God has gotten stronger by the day, for which she is very grateful. During this final month of the year, she got the chance to work on a big translation job for the UNESCO to help her friend Sandra out, who has had her translation company for 12 years now;
it's been quite a challenging experience (and we are still not done!)
- Dana Jr continues to work with his dad and live on his own; he is still dating the same girlfriend (Marlie). Dylan continues to live in the same apartment, is working
as a photographer at a car place, and is still dating the same girlfriend (Berenice)
- For Christmas, we met up with Johnny and his family on the 24th, as is our tradition, and made piragi (traditional Latvian breads) and Christmas
cookies. On the 25th we got together with Dana and Dylan and Dana's girlfriend Marlie for lunch and fun afternoon. We also got to have brunch a few days before Christmas with Dana's sister Karen and her husband, Aaron. On Christmas Eve, Mirdza got to sing
with her church choir once again at the candlelight service (at 9 p.m), which is always a special treat for her.
Here we are at the end of 2017 already! We will soon be celebrating Christmas and then we have a week to reflect on our year before we start a new one. There have been quite a few changes around here this year, so let me highlight them for you.
- We had a small high school graduation event for Emmanuel at the beginning of the year at Our Redeemer. That's the beauty of homeschooling! We get to choose when to graduate them.
- Ziedite had an 8th-grade
graduation ceremony from CHEP - the Community Homeschool Education Program - in June. It ended up being a "graduation from homeschool" itself as well. In September she started attending a public high school near our home - Rancho Alamitos. She is constantly
busy with cheerleading activities, school work, and friends. She sometimes still goes out to lunch with us on the weekends or goes camping with her dad, but it's not as often anymore.
-Emmanuel auditioned for and was accepted as
a scare actor in Knotts Scary Farm, so he worked there for six weeks, from the middle of September until Halloween night. He loved it! He is now working a seasonal job as a cashier in a Kohls department store and will be accepting a full-time position there
starting in January. His desire to entertain people as a comedian continues to increase, so he also actively studies at home on how to be a stand-up comedian and has taken the first level Improv class with the "Improv for Life" group; he will be taking
the Level 2 course starting in January. He continues to play the guitar and sing, and he helps out with the Audio Visual projector in church on most Sundays, though sometimes he gets to sing with the Praise Band, in which case, Mirdza now takes over with the
- In May we took a family vacation to Hawaii to celebrate Dana and Mirdza's 15th wedding anniversary, as well as Mother's Day. It was loads of fun and very relaxing! Next year we have reserved two rooms in a De Cameron
hotel in Cartagena, Colombia in June, when Ziedite finishes 9th grade. The De Cameron hotel, which is an all-inclusive resort, so super-excited about spending a week there!
- Dana continues to work in his own business - HELP Plumbing,
Heating and Air. He is in good health, except for a hernia, and he will get that operated on at the end of this year. It should be a simple out-patient procedure.
- Mirdza continues on her path to Royal Crown Diamond in Young
Living, helping the people that God puts in her path. It brings her so much joy to serve people in this way! Her faith and trust in God steadily increase day by day as she perseveres in spite of rejection and other challenges. She knows full heartedly that
God always keeps His promises and that He is with her every step of the way, as it was He who called her and asked her to go on this journey. As with Joshua, He constantly reminds her "Be strong and courageous. Do not fear, for I am with you."
- No major changes in Dana Jr and Dylan's lives. They continue to live on their own and they each have their same girlfriend, but no plans yet to get married for either of them. DJ continues to work with his dad, and Dylan's job changes pretty regularly.
It's all good.
"And now to Him who can do ABUNDANTLY MORE then we could ever ask or imagine, to Him be the glory now and forever." (Eph 3:20-21)
This year was full of testing. My faith grew stronger through all the difficult times. I am reminded that difficulties and hardships are not a a time to "grin and bear it", but rather a time to come closer to God so that HIS POWER AND STRENGTH
may be shown even more powerfully, and so that the peace that God gives us through it all will point to God as the source of hope in the midst of despair.
- I broke my wrist on January 2nd rollerskating at the beach
with Dana, and had to have surgery to get the bone realigned, and then through physical therapy to get it strong once again. God gave me the wisdom to know what to do so it woud heal quite quickly... within 6 weeks. The doctor was amazed! I continue to be
able to exercise daily. Only wasn't able to exercise for a couple of months!
- My mom' health started downspiraling quickly around February. She ended up in a rehab center without being able to stand any longer.
She could not control anything anymore. She went from being completely independent to being completely dependent on others. She was in pain most of the time. The Lord took her to her eternal home on my anniversary day... May 17th. Her body was cremated and
her ashes with spread in a beautiful area that looked kind of like the mountains in Colombia. I look forward to the day I see her again in heaven.
- Dana's mom's health kept downspiraling, but she stayed home during most
of the year. The last part of the year she spend in a nursing home though. She ended up passing away peacefully on Dec 4th. Dana had been with her for a couple of days. Her body was cremated and they had just a small ceremony with immediate family (her husband
Ray, Dana, and his three sisters)
- Ziedite continued her homeschool studies through CHEP so that she can graduate from elementary school next June. She plans on going to Rancho Alamitos for highschool next fall. She will
walk daily to school with two of her neighborhood friends. She continues to do gymnastics, actually Tumbling 2 class, at Kidnastics. She recently expressed her desire to become a gymnasticcs teacher once she finsihes high school. She also added ballet; she
is quite the gracefull little ballerina.
- Emmanuel got the opportunity to travel to Colombia for a month in the middle of November. He still got to participate in the youth musical at church, along with Ziedite;
he sure did not want to miss out on that. He will graduate from high school on January 7th next year; we will be having a party at church in his honor with a few of his friends and the church youth group. He continues to love music, and he loves film making;
he actually went to film camp for a week this summer!
- Dana and Dylan are still living on their own. Both have steady girlfriends, but no talk of marriage as of yet.
- Dana continues
working in his own plumbing, heating and air conditioning business and is doing quite well, thanks be to God. God always provides enough money to pay for all that we need, sometimes through his business, and sometimes in other ways that help us remember
that HE is the provider of all that we have.
- I continue to build a business with Young Living, which I actually see as a ministry disguised as a homebased business. I love the personal development journey I've been on
since I started the business back in 2007. I have grown so much! I love learning about essential oils and about the network marketing profession. I love helping others in any way I can so that they can be fit in every area of their life. It's truly a very
meaningul profession, which I can do alongside being a stay at home mom.
- We took our first cruise ship in May! We celebrated our 14th anniversary by going on a famiy cruise down to Mexico from Sunday to Thursday. I
also took the kids to Colorado Springs in August to see my brother James and his family. Dana did not go since a week before that he traveled to Maine for a week with Ziedite to visit his family. We had gone together last year, so we try not to travel
to Maine all together every year.
So there you go! Those are the main highlights of the year. Through all the good and bad times, I learned to trust God more daily. My relationship with Him gets stronger each day, which
gives me so much peace and joy, even through the hardest of situations. God is good all the time. I look forward to many more learning opportunities in 2017.
It's been a year filled with ABUNDANT blessings from the Lord in every area of our lives. Even obstacles have become stepping stones to success for us, and for that we are grateful.
God has taught me amazing lessons and I'm
sure glad He has. Afterall, we can't move forward without a good foundation laid down. The book I am reading this month of December, "Never Give Up" is FILLED with awesome advice and encouragement. I am certainly loving it and recommend it to everyone! Another
book I am reading (and rereading once a week for the entire month, as they say to do in the last chapter) is titled "The Prayer of Jabez". It is a most amazing little book through which God is teaching me to become a prayer warrior that is open to God's abundant
blessings in my life, my family's life and in the lives of each person in the Messengers of Hope team, of which God has made me the leader. I have learned that on my own I can do nothing, but with His mighty hand upon me, empowering me and leading me all the
way, He works in my life, through me and around me in the most AMAZING ways. Can't wait to see what He will accomplish the rest of the month and throughout 2016. I am so excited! I am blessed
beyond measure in every area of my life, that is for sure. All praise be to God alone!
Dana continues to work in his own business - HELP Plumbing, Heating and Air. God has always provided work for him so that, by simply being available,
he can help people in our area with all their plumbing, heating and air conditioning concerns at a good price. Never once has He had to advertise! God blesses him with good health, strength and wisdom to know what to do in every situation.
Emmanuel finished 10th grade at Rancho Alamitos highschool and started 11th grade there. However, he came to a decision in October, that he prefered the unschooling lifestyle, and so he is back home. He still visits his friends at the highschool almost
every weekday, though, since he enjoys their friendship and doesn't want to lose touch with them. He will continue to enjoy learning at home and the plan is for him to graduate December of 2016, after returning from a 3-week trip to Colombia, South America.
He plans to get his driver's permit by next June. He continues to attend youth group on Sundays and enjoys singing in the youth choir at the Lutheran church we continue to regularly attend. He will perform once again in the musical that choir is putting on
for us on Christmas Eve.
Ziedite started 7th grade in September and continues to do it at home through the homeschooling state program called Community Homeschool Education Program, or CHEP for short. We do most of her work at home,
but she goes on Wednesdays to the building about 10 minutes from home where she attends 7th and 8th grade Club classes, as well as the yearbook group. She really enjoys all the activities CHEP puts on and enjoys meeting up with friends from there. She is a
very outgoing little girl who loves hanging out with her friends, that's for sure! She now is old enough to attend youth group and youth choir at church, so she has been doing that since September. She will also perform in the musical this year and will even
be able to do a small solo!
Dana Jr continues to live in the little room he rents from a family not too far from us. He continues working as Dana's apprentice. Dylan rents an apartment nearby and is currently working as car salesman.
We meet up with them once in a while for special ocassions like Thanksgiving and Christmas, and Dylan stops by pretty regularly to say hello and to wash his clothes.
We had our 10-day family vacation in Maine and New Jersey/New York
this year in August. In New York we met up with one of my friends I had met online many years ago, but had never met in person (Yvonne Osinga-Bisk and her husband Howard); we also met up with my childhood friend, Jorge Abril and his brother Oscar. The idea
was to meet up with two of my other online friends in New Jersey, but unfortunately that did not work out this time around. Then we headed to Maine, where we met up with some of Dana's family - his mom and stepdad, his niece and nephew and their kids, and
his sister Susan.
We plan to meet up on Christmas Eve with my brother John and his family, as well as with my mom this time around, for our annual piragi-making and Christmas celebration event. They will all attend the Christmas
Eve service at 5:00 p.m so that we can all watch Emmanuel and Ziedite perform in the musical.
That pretty much wraps up the highlights for our year! I look forward to all the amazing blessings God has in store for each of us in 2016. "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." (Ephesians 3:20-21)
This year Dana turned 50 in February! His health is great and getting better each day.
A wonderful goal we accomplished this year: We finished paying off the mortgage on our house. Now our only payments in this area are the $250
monhtly dues and the yearly taxes. Our monthly bills are lower than ever now so we can easily save for future years, when Dana stops working.
Emmanuel started his 2nd year of highschool at Rancho Alamitos and continues to participate actively
in the youth at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church as well in the youth choir there; December marked the end of his Boy Scout years. He enjoys doing tumbling at Kidnastics on Tuesday afternoons.
Ziedite continues to homeschool, with Mirdza as
her guidance mentor at home as she follows the program laid out for her through CHEP. She also started playing the violin again in January through the OCMA, and added group Voice lessons as well. She is actively involved in one of the kids' choirs at Our Redeemer
Lutheran, and is active in the American Heritage Girls Program as well, which meets Monday evenings. She wil be starting a year of Kidnastics again on Tuesdays this month of January, 2015.
Dana Jr. continues to live in a room away from
us and works as an assistant to his dad. Dylan moves around quite a bit apartmentwise and jobwise, but hopefully will settle down soon in the apartment he is currently living. He is workinng about 30 hours a week a a restaurant in Irvine.
Dana's HELP Plumbing, Heating and Air business is thriving; God has blessed us immensely by bringing customers to him reguarly without him having to ever advertise. He just does his part, which is to help people as best he can and give them the best price.
He does not work evenings or on weekends, so that's a definite blessing as well.
Mirdza continues to be a stay at home mom and works as a network marketing professional helping people see how this profession can benefit them immensely
now and in the future. She stopped representing Team BeachBody in September and also stopped being a Beyond Organic mission marketer earlier this year. She is focused entirely on telling people how Young Living can radically improve their lives if they make
using their products a regular habit.