I started writing a Christmas letter the first year we were married. I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a blessed 2016. I hope that like Linus you all find the true meaning of Christmas! Here’s Chapter 26! Ho Ho Ho!
Jonathan and Jawanda
A Modern Day Comedy/Tragedy
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a blessed 2016 to you and yours.
This year baby Rachel celebrated her 16th birthday. In my blog I said that I blinked and she was 16. I blinked twice and Jonathan and I have been married for 26 years. Both seem rather impossible. We’ve had another adventured filled year. Many of you see our lives lived out on social media but in case you aren’t on social media, a little update.
Where else but New York City to celebrate Rachel’s Sweet 16. We had an amazing adventure to NYC. A wonderful friend who is a native New Yorker treated us to several great days of sight-seeing and insider info. The highlight of our trip had to be “Wicked” on Broadway. On top of that we had a backstage tour by one of the Wicked Ensemble members. That was arranged by a sweet friend here in KS. It was a magical few days for all of us and we are so grateful for all who made it such a beautiful celebration.
Rachel is a sophomore. She still loves school. She has a hard time deciding on her favorite class but this semester it has probably been Parenting and Child Development. She is busy with CYT classes, auditioning for shows, high school, student council, volleyball manager, Friends of Rachel Club and many church activities. She has a great group of girlfriends from church. You may remember that Rachel has had a couple of ear surgeries over the past two years. Trying to repair a hole that had created some hearing loss and discovered skin growing on the back of the ear drum. Solved that issue but it didn’t improve her hearing loss. In August she was fitted for a hearing aid (ear aid as she calls it.) She wasn’t thrilled at first but has adjusted quite well. She also had her tonsils out in July. Hopefully, we are done with all of that for a while.
Jonathan keeps running ultra-marathons but he always comes home. He really loves his job as Director of Social Media for Sedgwick. He has travelled quite a lot this year and always has the most interesting things happen to him.
My big news for the year is that I am again employed. In August I went to work for the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) as the Manager of Grassroots Advocacy. I have the honor and privilege of leading our efforts with our network of Down syndrome ambassadors across the US as we work to develop relationships with federal legislators. Our goal is 435 DS-Ambassadors in all of the 435 legislative districts across the US. So if you are interested in working on public policies that will impact the lives of individuals with Down syndrome, let me know and you can be one of The 435!
Last year when Rachel started high school, we claimed Joshua 1:9 as her verse for these high school years. She has embraced the verse and often shares it as an encouragement to others. Rachel almost always has a positive attitude and a word of comfort for others. I learn so much from her example. As we say so long to 2015 and say hello to 2016, I want to leave you all with a word of encouragement for the trials and triumphs of each day and the year ahead. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid for the Lord YOUR God is with you, wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
Jonathan, Jawanda and Rachel Mast
NOTE: – When I wrote this and printed them, we didn’t know about the latest development with Rachel’s Bionic Ear!