Sunday, December 21, 2014

How did 2014 pass by in an instant?

Julie and Caroline enjoyed Lansing's "Silver Bells in the City" festival, which includes a light parade, lighting the state Christmas tree and fireworks over the Capitol dome.

How does a year pass by in an instant?

As 2014 comes to a close, we look back at a busy year, with big transitions and plans and exciting times and travels.

Caroline had the busiest year. She is wrapping up at Rockford High School and making the most of her senior year. There have been homecoming dances and senior photos and all the other activities of 12th grade.

She was super-active in the marching band, serving as co-section leader for the flutes. The band had a triumphant year, closing with its best performance at the MCBA State Championship at Ford Field in Detroit. After finishing third in each of the past five years, the mighty Rams finished in second place for the first time!
Caroline and friend Maddy P. show off their medals!
Caroline and band director Brian Phillips after learning about her special award.
But the best surprise came a couple of weeks later, when Caroline was named the 2014 National School Marching Award winner, an honor based on student and staff votes, for her skill, leadership and overall contribution to the band. Her name goes on a plaque that will hang in the band room for years to come.

This video gives a taste of this year's awesome band show, "Before I Wake." Each year, the band performs a version of the show in the auditorium to show seventh- and eighth-graders what they can do once they are in the high school. You get the music, but not the marching. Caroline is the second flute, in the third row from the right.

When not playing the flute and piccolo, Caroline keeps busy as one of the leaders of the school’s Interact Service Club. She’s the blood drive coordinator and is pretty relentless and convincing as she goes door to door in the neighborhood and to local businesses distributing fliers. We’re all a few pints low, but it’s for a good cause.
Caroline was active with Special Olympics, mentoring and coaching athletes and designing their shirts.

Dave's friend Cory Olsen shot Caroline's senior photos and did and amazing job. Thanks, Cory!
She also had some fun travels this year. Our awesome neighbors, the Hills, invited Caroline to join them on a wonderful spring break adventure to Hilton Head, S.C. Jordan and Caroline have been friends since we moved to Grand Rapids in 1999.
Caroline loved going to South Carolina with Jordan and the Hills during spring break.

Caroline later spent a week in Florida with Grandma and Poppy – her first time changing flights as a solo traveler. Later, she and Dave went to St. Louis to climb to the top of the Gateway Arch and see the Cardinals.

With high school winding down, Caroline is looking ahead to selecting a college and plans to major in economics.
Dad and Mom Murray were able to attend Andrew's GVSU graduation.

Andrew is making the big transition from college to the real world. He graduated from Grand Valley State University with a bachelor’s degree in social work. He’s very excited to be out on his own, sharing a house in Grand Rapids with his friend Christian. Andrew started his career helping troubled adolescents and continues working as a lifeguard at the YMCA, interning with the Y’s social workers. We’re very proud of him.
Julie and Mom Nelson went to check out one of nephew Zack Horve's football games on a cold and windy afternoon. Zack also pitches and is very involved with Boy Scouts. 

Julie is an avid knitter, working furiously on projects for people who are “knit worthy.” (Dave has been deemed “not knit worthy” and hopes to someday be redeemed). 

Julie is in her second year working in Grand Rapids Community College’s communications department, overseeing social media, writing press releases and drafting speeches for President Ender. Highlights of the year were keeping pesky reporters in their media pen while President Jimmy Carter spoke at the college and all the festivities surrounding GRCC’s 100th anniversary.
Julie represented Grand Rapids Community College at a special ArtPrize event. 

Julie and Dave were able to attend the Detroit Auto Show charity gala while staffing the governor.
Julie’s also an avid cropper, chronicling the family’s adventures and milestones in scrap books, usually accompanied and supervised by Tug, the cat.
Naturally, there were some baseball adventures in 2014. Julie made her first-ever trip to Wrigley Field. 

Dave went from covering politicians to working for a politician to becoming a politician. He appeared on the August primary ballot, running for precinct delegate – the lowest possible elected position.

Naturally, this effort required a full campaign, with Caroline designing buttons and a yard sign. 

Technically, he was running unopposed, with two candidates vying for two open seats. But the hard-fought campaign successfully turned back any potential challenges from write-in candidates!

The successful election granted Dave a seat at the Kent County convention, where he was part of a slate elected to the state convention to determine the candidates who appeared on the November ballot.

Of course, the person at the head of the ticket was Dave’s boss – Gov. Rick Snyder. It was a pretty exciting and exhausting year to be deputy press secretary, visiting all parts of the state with the governor, including a first-ever trip deep into Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Naturally, the Gnome of Victory and Celebration joined us to experience the UP and a traditional UP meal -- the pasty!
That journey was quite the adventure, including a time getting lost in the wilderness with no cellphone reception or GPS service and hungry bears no doubt peeking around every tree. The rest of the trip was safer, including fascinating tours of a copper mine and a lumber mill, plus visits to Marquette, Menominee, Escanaba and the U.P. State Fair.

You can read more about these adventures and see the photos here in the Mets Guy blog.

The family returned to the U.P. for Labor Day weekend, exploring beautiful Tahquamenon Falls State Park and dining on pasties. Dave and Caroline joined Gov. Snyder and other members of the team leading the Mackinac Bridge Walk, a 5-mile trek across the span that connects the state’s upper and lower peninsulas.
You can see the Mackinac Bridge off in the distance!

Caroline was able to catch up with Gov. Snyder after the 5-mile walk.

The governor was triumphant on Election Day, and Dave is thrilled to be a part of the “Nerd Herd” and continuing to work on making our adopted state a better place. Come visit!
You meet some colorful folks on the campaign trail, like Kid Rock.

The Detroit News captured the deputy press secretary in action during this election night "scrum." It was a night filled with relief and exhilaration. 

The governor's communications team after the victory speech: Ken Silfven, Jess Brown, Dave, Sara Wurfel, Jarrod Agen, Laura Biehl.
Looking back on an eventful year, we realized we worked through some challenges and stressful times. But we also know that the Lord has blessed us in more ways than we can count and we cherish the special times we can spend with special people.

We love keeping up with everyone on Facebook. (Dave has two pages, one for family and friends and the other for people interested in the activities of Michigan state government.) The family email address remains, and, now that the campaign is over and life slows down a little, Dave can get back to writing about baseball and bad postcards on Mets Guy in Michigan.

Wishing everyone a very merry Christmas and happy, healthy new year!

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