DSC_0001Excitement was high as we flew north to Juneau in late November.  Rick Slater welcomed us home with a scrumptious italian meal of spinach lasagna.414903_10151276463893944_1955038109_oAbby was so excited to be turning fifteen and birthday festivities were in the works.  IMG_0738After watching several episodes of Cake Boss – we were experts.   So we whipped up this yummy birthday cake.  Any guesses who was boss?478086_10151277974413944_124864422_oUncle Steve and Aunt Christine welcomed us to their home for turkey bird on Thanksgiving day.CSC_0210Melissa became properly acquainted with her grand niece.DSC_0209Temperatures dropped and dormant roses dreamt of coming spring.  DSC_0224DSC_0218One chilly December morning a startling thump at Abby’s window caught her attention. Slipping outside to investigate she discovered a tiny bird lying stunned far beneath her windowsill on a freshly fallen blanket of snow.  DSC_0128Abby soon tucked her little friend into a small box which she positioned in a toasty corner near the wood cookstove.  Slowly consciousness returned and the little bird perked up.  Abby joyfully watched her brief companion flit away into the surrounding forest.   IMG_1106At the Governor’s Mansion, Governor Sean Parnell and his wife Sandy hosted the annual Christmas open house.  Hundreds of Juneau residents look forward to visiting with the Governor each December while holiday cookies are served and local musicians play Christmas music. IMG_0057Quinn was a frequent visitor to our pantry as it began to fill with holiday treats.  DSC_0063Melissa brought out some of her favorite things…..lamp light and chocolate.DSC_0054DSC_0015Stockings were hung with anticipation.DSC_0065Cedar dog decked herself in lights.Cedar and Christmas Tree lightsLaura chose the perfect jack pine in a nearby meadow.laura finds treeQuinn approved.34696_10152345537965191_1767346176_nQuinn cutting the Christmas Tree7527_nSanta’s elves?xmas dwarfsSparkly stuff twinkled merrily on the tree.DSC_0047IMG_1125Abby enjoyed quiet walks on the wetlands.DSC_0045Cedar and Asher are buds.IMG_0774Frosty came to visit.snowman388237_102943899828229_1707845397_nIMG_1761Shopping with Laura.IMG_0170IMG_1687front yard view from homeA big snow and a Subaru make for a brilliant day at Eaglecrest.skis and subaruquinn and abby skiquinn skisquinn biffsWhen it comes to head plants Quinn is a professional.front flip from warming shackski eaglecrestQuinn and Jacob enjoy the last rays of the day.skiing on top of worldquinns shieldWhat do five guys, a ton of duct tape and a sleep over produce?  The party favors of choice for Quinn’s 19th birthday bash.

12 swords  –  5 daggers  –  4 throwing axes  –  2 hand axes  –  1 double bladed axe  –  1 mace  –  2 flails  –  1 nun chuck  –  1 trident  –  1 halberd  –  4 shieldspreparing weapons for warLemon meringue pies for Quinn.DSC_0025DSC_0040Year 2012 rapidly drew to a close and we reflected with amazement and gratitude at the fullness of God’s continuous blessing in our lives.  And in that season of sheer joy with family and friends, as we feasted and gloried in breathtaking days and silent nights and sang the Christmas songs that we all knew and loved best, our family was suddenly stricken with one of life’s most unexpected and grievous moments.  Our beautiful niece Madeline was tragically taken from this life.  481763_4907311090096_1700861114_n Madeline Michelle Nance        June 26, 1994 – December 13, 2012MadelineHow do you adequately express in words the beauty of one of God’s precious children that passes from this earth so swiftly…..so quietly?  Waves of grief and laughter, regret and pride washed over us as we drew close together in a beautiful place which was carefully and lovingly prepared in her memory.  As Madeline’s mom and dad, family and friends offered up reflections, images of Madeline filtered through our minds.  Flying in from San Francisco and Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts just a few short weeks before, Madeline had joined us for Thanksgiving and treated us to a dazzling array of gourmet confections.  Our favorite was her melt in your mouth, send shivers up your spine, salted caramel ice cream.   Gifted in a myriad of ways (one of our favorites…her singing and dancing), highly intellectual, inquisitive, compassionate and confident…..Madeline has left an indelible print on our hearts.  img_1247

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life.  He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.  And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.  John 11:25

Madeline you are loved and missed, rest in peace.