Merry Christmas from the Pinkstons!
Wow. More than ever, as I look back over the last year, I'm amazed at how blessed we are. It's been difficult and complicated and frustrating, and joyful and hopeful too. Pretty much how life tends to go, yes?
If you recall from 2014, we moved from Orem to Bountiful in a very quick series of events (put the trailer up for sale in June, got an offer August 25th, and were out of there August 30th). After staying with a friend for two weeks, we found a cute redbrick house to rent, but things . . . well, we'll just say that things didn't go so well. There were multitudes of issues with the house that weren't being resolved by the owners, and the final straw was the third flood, which took place in April of this year, and completely saturated our basement. Anyone with a bedroom downstairs was now sleeping in the living room. All those issues, plus the fact that Matt was now working in American Fork and commuting, strongly encouraged us to move back down to Utah County. We found a great house in American Fork and moved here in May.
Now, in case that slipped past, let me point it out - we moved from Orem in a week's time, moved in with my friend, moved to the Bountiful house two weeks after that, stayed in Bountiful for eight months, and then packed up the Bountiful house and moved three weeks after the flooding. In the space of nine months, we moved three times, each time in a big ol' hurry. It was crazy and filled with madness and mayhem, but we had some good friends who were there for us, and my sisters were amazing.
We had a fantastic experience in Bountiful before we moved - our daughter, Caryn, was attending a single young adult ward and was a member of the choir, and their ward was asked to send some singers to participate in the regional choir of young adults that was to perform in general conference. Caryn's bishop asked her to be one of those who went, so Saturday's afternoon session, she got to be there. Because she's so short, she got to sit on the front row (I told her that there are blessings to being petite), and so she was just behind and to the left of the pulpit. What a great experience for her. Her choir also performed in a musical event about the life of Joseph Smith the following week. She was truly blessed by our time in Bountiful. Many things didn't work out for us there, but we believe we were there for her, so she could have those experiences.
So, fast forward to May. Our new house in American Fork is great. It's a little bit older and has gold carpet and orange counters (not a fan of orange), but it's huge. Four bedrooms, three bathrooms, a family room in addition to a living room, and it's cheaper than the Bountiful house was - without the constant issues. We love our ward, we're close to the Timpanogos Temple, and we can see ourselves staying here until we're ready to buy. It's crazy to think that we've now been here longer than we lived in Bountiful. It's been a whirlwind.
Now for a breakdown of the family and their doings ...
Matt - He was working for a company here in American Fork, but was let go in June. That was scary for a minute, but we stopped, evaluated the situation, and decided to have him start working from home. He runs his genealogy business, and has also been brought on board as my business manager for Trifecta. I know you'll be shocked and stunned to hear that he's a genealogy consultant in the ward (a calling he holds almost everywhere we go), but his assignment this time is a little different, as he's training some of the young men in the ward to be junior consultants. It's been a fun thing. He and Ammon are home teaching companions, and he walks/jogs to the temple nearly every day for exercise. He's been a huge help to me with the home and family.
Tristi (that's me!) - I've been working hard on both my own writing and as the owner of Trifecta. I decided a few months back to retire from freelance editing so I could concentrate more on those other aspects. It was a hard decision to make, but I now have more time to build my company and to write. Thanks to the hard work of my sisters, I didn't hurt myself too badly with this last move (hooray!) and was able to get the house mostly put together before August, when everything kind of went crazy - bad bronchitis followed by hurting not just one, but both my feet and hairlining one, followed by gastroenteritis. I was basically bedridden from the middle of August until about the middle of October. I'm up on my feet again, but toddling around gingerly, as I'm still getting flexibility back in my feet. Matt and the kids were awesome, taking care of me. I'm serving as a teacher in the Relief Society and loving it.
Caryn - You got to read about some of her cool things this year already, but there's more. She's working hard on her writing and illustrating, having written another novel during National Novel Writing Month in November, and she's taking temple prep courses at church. She's also studying alternative health care and will be a Body Code Certified Practitioner. She's really skilled (I'm her chief guinea pig, so I know) and once she's certified, you should all come see her. Belle, her dog, is still a great companion. Caryn is now nineteen.
Ammon - Well, the kid's over six foot three now and just turned seventeen. Don't ask me how that happened - it just did. He's gotten involved in our ward taking the sacrament to the shut-ins every Sunday afternoon, and he goes to seminary over at the high school. He spends a lot of time working on learning computer programming, and he's learned a lot about it over the course of the last year. He's currently looking for a job, so if anyone local to me knows of anything good, yeah. Pop me a note. The upheaval of this last year was a little hard on him, but he came through it with his typical good humor.
Joseph - Just today, Joseph was set apart as the secretary in his Teacher's quorum. He's been attending his first year of seminary at the junior high and loves it, and he's made a good friend here in our neighborhood. He went to Scout camp for a whole week this summer (a whole week! It about killed me) and loved it. He's now taller than I am and doesn't show any signs of slowing down anytime soon. It's like he's making up for those couple of years where he didn't grow much at all. Caryn's perturbed because now Benjamin is the only one shorter than she is, but he's growing too. Joseph is doing really well in our new home, and is now fourteen.
Benjamin - Hard to believe, but this kid, my baby, just turned eleven. That doesn't make me feel old or anything. He went on his first camp-out with the eleven-year-old Scouts this last weekend. He and Matt were super cold the whole time, but they had fun. Benjamin and Joseph both are into Lego Mixels, and like drawing and telling stories about them. He's been going through some adjustment phases with this move too, but he's getting more involved in Primary and the neighborhood, and he's doing great.
We've had a ton more happen to us this year, but it's impossible to put everything into one letter. The upshot is, we've had some trials and things have been a little tough from time to time, but the hand of the Lord has been in everything, and we've been blessed and supported even during those hardships. We are so grateful to have the gospel in our lives and bear you our testimonies of the divine role of our Savior, His power to heal us all, and His infinite love for each of us. We love you all and wish you a very Merry Christmas!