Thursday, December 13, 2012

It was a year of transitions and milestones for the Murrays

This was a year of transitions and milestones for the Murrays. We have new schools, new jobs and new adventures to share.

Dave and Julie reached a big milestone in October, celebrating 25 years of marriage! It's hard to believe so much time has gone by. We're blessed to have each other -- and our kids.
Speaking of which, we’re proud of Andrew, who graduated from Grand Rapids Community College in May. 

He transferred to Grand Valley State University in nearby Allendale, working toward a degree in social work.

Andrew loves the coursework, which has included working twice a week at Heartside Ministries, tutoring the homeless and others with struggles to earn their GEDs. 
Caroline was sad to see Andrew head off the live on campus.

He’s also living away from home and in fine style -- Grand Valley’s residence halls are apartments with full kitchens. He comes home many weekends, and, with classes downtown, joins Dave for lunch about once a week.

We're also so proud of Caroline. She embraces high school, making the most of activities inside and outside of the classroom during her sophomore year. She’s humble about her 4.0 grade-point average, but Dad tells everyone. 

Caroline was busy helping Dave cover the Romney rally in Commerce Township. She slipped out of the press area, worked her way to the front of the crowd then brandished her press pass and camera to snap this photo of the GOP nominee and his running mate. The editors liked the photo so much that they used it on
She’s still very excited about being a part of the marching band, playing flute. The band did well in state and national competitions, and she traveled to Detroit’s Ford Field, the Pontiac Silverdome and Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis for events. That’s not counting the week-long band camp at St. Andrew’s University and playing in the pep band at football games.

School and marching band keep Caroline very busy. That's her on the left.
Caroline was sad to see Andrew head off to college. But she didn't waste too much time taking over his old bedroom, which was larger than her old one. New paint, new carpet and a beautiful quilt from Nana makes it very much a teenage girl's room.

Julie has a new job, working in Grand Rapids Community College’s communications department. 

She’s writing press releases, using Facebook, Twitter and other social media and telling the college’s story. She also works part time in a local scrapbooking store, a fun way to keep her hands in her favorite hobby.

Julie enjoyed a week with Mom Nelson in the summer, traveling with her to Iowa for Mom’s high school reunion and to meet relatives and friends.

Mom Nelson, Kris, Jeff and Zack came up from Illinois to celebrate Thanksgiving. The trip included a visit to Meijer Gardens to explore the Christmas trees from around the world.
 Julie also somehow manages to help keep everyone in the family on schedule and chronicle everyone’s adventures with those beautiful scrapbooks.

Julie also is an avid knitter, and a highlight of the year was attending the "Wine and Wool Fest" at a winery in Jackson, Mich. 

Dave’s role at work has changed several times this year as The Grand Rapids Press and Booth Newspapers changed into the MLive Media Group. 

Dave spoke about the Michigan presidential primary on CNN and C-SPAN -- and "The Colbert Report."

He spent much of the year commuting to the state Capitol in Lansing, covering education and politics for the website and its eight member papers.

He enjoyed working in the historic Capitol, being on the House and Senate floor for big votes and covering the big State of the State speech. Gov. Snyder even let Caroline sit in his office while Dave interviewed him for a half hour. The political beat lead to some surprise national exposure in the days before the Republican presidential primary election.

Julie enjoyed attending Gov. Snyder's Christmas party.
Dave appeared on CNN, then reported live on camera for C-SPAN from Sen. Rick Santorum’s election party. A portion of that report appeared on “The Colbert Report” – a favorite show of Andrew and Caroline. So Dad is cool now.

Dave also got to travel a little for work, attending events in Chicago, Philadelphia, New York, Minneapolis and Washington, D.C. He's on an advisory board for the Education Writers Association.

He also continues to teach journalism at Cornerstone University.

We had a massive family celebration and reunion in Florida. Dave’s parents celebrated 50 years of marriage, and friends and family from across the country gathered for the party.

Just about everyone in the family was able to attend the big party to celebrate Mom and Dad Murray's 50th anniversary.
 It was a year of some challenges. But we recognize that the Lord has blessed us in many ways and are looking ahead to celebrating Christmas in Illinois.

We’d love to hear from you. All of us are on Facebook now, and the family email is

Wishing you a very merry Christmas and a happy, healthy new year.

Santa came by the MLive - Grand Rapid Press Hub for a live chat.

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