(From the 2011 Newsletter)

We have found ourselves settling into a “normal” life with ups and downs and quiet days and busy days. We thought moving out to the country would keep us home more, and even though that may be true to some degree, for some reason we still find ourselves leaving our “carbon footprint” between our home and either Moriarty, Edgewood, or Albuquerque. John continues to put in the most hours on the road as he travels to work in Albuquerque. This year, though, found him taking the plunge and changing careers. The housing market slump had saturated our banking account long enough, so good-bye to mortgage lending/banking after 22 years and hello to Northwestern Mutual Financial Network as a financial representative. After spending weeks studying and taking tests, he has enjoyed spending his time helping people prepare for their futures and do whatever they can to keep more of what they make. The family has enjoyed learning all about insurance, annuities, stocks, etc, as we never could understand who Freddie and Fannie were……

Cathy has given up trying to enjoy those bon-bons and daytime television as she gladly spends the days working math problems, discussing history, reading great literature, and trying to remember how the Kreb's cycle works as she homeschools the younger three.  For some reason, she also felt compelled to join the blogging community.  She'd love to have you keep up with the daily happenings at www.jcangus.blogspot.com.

Rebecca graduated last year and has enjoyed delving into other projects and activities. Between helping grandparents, family, running errands, babysitting, cleaning houses, and taking classes at the local college, she wonders where her days go. This year has also found her enjoying photography in a new way. In February, she was asked to help a friend shoot a wedding. That has turned into other weddings, family photo shoots, engagement shoots, and so on. She has now ventured out and has been doing some shoots on her own as well. It’s been a great adventure, and you can keep up with her photography at her blog site www.aprairieprincess.blogspot.com .

Sarah is finishing up her last classes and will be graduating later this year. She plans on staying home and pursuing her writing as she has discovered she thoroughly enjoys writing children’s books. She’s in the process of editing some children’s stories and getting them ready to present to a publisher, etc, etc, as she hopes to have a few books ready for next year. She is also excited about taking on a few fiddle/violin students this year as music is definitely one of her passions. As writing is one of her passions, it didn’t take long for her to get her own blog going as well. Her sense of humor and passion for writing have found a great venue at www.throughthelilacbushes.blogspot.com.

Joshua just pointed out that he learned in his science that boys between 15-18 need to consume about 3000 calories……..and we’re living that right now. I guess you do need to eat when you are just an inch shorter from Dad’s height – which happens to be his goal for 2011. The girls and I have enjoyed having his muscles around, and he has become such a huge help around the ranch that we don’t mind keeping the kitchen open 24 hours to keep him happy. When he’s not eating, though, he stays busy with school, learning about guns and blacksmithing, and working in the shop.

Caleb is still our chicken guy and would much rather spend his time outside with the chickens or inside studying hatchery catalogues. He enjoys reading and most of his school work, but his face especially lights up when Momma says he’s done for the day! He has become a great ranch hand when it’s time to check water tanks, and with those young eyes, he can spot the cows a mile away – or at least faster than Dad can.

As you can see, the Herd really does have much to be thankful for. We especially want you to know how much we are thankful that God has brought each of you into our lives. Your friendships through the years have meant so much to us – even when time doesn’t allow us to fellowship as often as we’d like.

Our prayer for all of you as we celebrate CHRISTmas is to know Him who came to ransom us all as the Prophet Isaiah foretold, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders, and He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”(Isaiah 9:6) Let us close now with our Family Motto as a reminder to all of you near and far that our door is always open.

Come by anytime for a visit – the house won’t be clean, but the food is good, the coffee is hot, and the entertainment is always free!!!

In Christ’s Love,

The Heckendorn Herd