Merry (almost) Christmas

The next few days will be quite busy for us, and so I’m taking my chance now to say Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones! Below is the Christmas letter that Josh and I sent out (the one some of you may be receiving this very day!). Have a blessed Christmas and a marvelous New Year! We love you and hold you close in our hearts always.

Dearest Family and Friends,

Merry Christmas! We are humbled as we remember the day that our Lord was born in order that we may have the chance to live with Him eternally. What love He has for us. May we all be joyful and rejoice in His tender mercy and love!

We thank you for your continued prayers throughout the year of 2011 – we have truly felt the graces of your prayers! We can hardly believe that it has been nearly a year since we got engaged and 5 months that we have already been married… God has been so good to us. The transition into married life has been a beautiful and humbling experience – you sure do learn a lot about yourself. And not always good things… But thanks be to God, he has given us each other to lovingly help the other undergo the refining, sanctifying fire. But we have a long way to go!

Josh is working as a Project Manager for Civil Engineering at the Grand Forks Air Force Base. This is the position that Josh wanted, and he’s thankful to have it. He gets to use his degree and he will gain experience within engineering. That being said, he is learning a ton and he is also pursuing some additional engineering education that the military offers: Civil Engineering 101, Project Programming, Project Management, HVAC Analysis and Design.

I am continuing to finish up my English Literature degree at the University of North Dakota (I really never thought UND would be the college on my diploma!). I didn’t get to take any literature classes during the fall semester… but I am taking several this spring, and I am thrilled to start. Because of the transfer I will not be able to graduate in May; however, I am hoping to complete my degree by next December. This means I will have to have a pretty full schedule, (19 credits, 6 courses) but I think it will turn out alright.

I was recently able to spend 5 days in Boston. It felt like going home! Oh, it was so good to be back in the city. My reason for going was a dear friend named Mother Olga, and her new religious order, The Daughters of Mary of Nazareth. There was a Mass held in the Cathedral at which Mother Olga renewed her vows and 4 young women were blessed as Candidates for the new order. Mother also had a Mass celebrated at the convent. It was so beautiful…please keep all of these women in your prayers.

Currently as I type, my mom is visiting and it has been a blessed trip! I am so thankful that she flew out here to spend a week with us in the Great Plains. It did snow a little for her, but not much (yet!). We are upholding out tradition of watching The Muppet’s Christmas Carol and making Christmas cards. Also, many adventures with baked goods have taken place…and I haven’t heard any complaints from Josh 🙂

Originally we thought that we would be spending Christmas in North Dakota, but it worked out that we could visit our family (Josh’s parents and siblings) in New York! It will be my first Christmas away from my Oregon family, which will be hard…but we are so excited to go to New York for Christmas. And we will spend New Years in New Jersey with the extended family from Josh’s mother’s side (the Hammers). So many blessings!

We love hearing from all of you; please keep in touch – be it letters, a phone call or email. Also, we have a blog: I usually post an update every couple of weeks, if you’re ever wondering what we’re up to out here!

Thank you for your friendship, love and kindness. May you grow ever closer to Jesus this year, through prayer and Sacrament. May He give you the graces to love every soul with unconditional love. When you are tired and frustrated, may you look to Mary who will always point you to her beloved Son. May thanks, praise and glory be ever and ever His. Amen.

With all our love,

Joshua and Ashlie

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