Sunday, December 18, 2016

Closing out 2016 in better places

To be sure, 2016 was a year of transitions and challenges. But as we close out the year, it is nice to see that we all are finding ourselves in better places.

Andrew had a very exciting year. He became engaged to Aubrey Williams this summer, and we are thrilled to have her as a future daughter-in-law.

Aubrey graduated this month with a master’s degree in speech therapy from Grand Valley State University, and she accepted a job with the Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District  -- starting Jan. 3.
Dave and Julie were able to travel a little this year to see the Mets, and other things! They went to Cleveland and Milwaukee and later to Sault Ste, Marie before joining the traditional Labor Day walk across the Mackinac Bridge. Dave also saw his beloved Mets in Detroit. Of course, they lost all four games he attended.
Andrew has been working as a recreational therapist at Samaritas Senior Living in Grand Rapids, and was able to transfer to a similar role at the organization’s Traverse City location.

Traverse City is a beautiful community in Northern Michigan. If you do our Michigan hand thing, TC is located at the tip of the pinky. It’s famous for magnificent bays that lead to Lake Michigan, cherry farming and nearby Sleeping Bear Dunes, once recognized as the most beautiful place in the United States.

It’s also just about two hours north of Grand Rapids, so Andrew and Aubrey will never be too far away.

Caroline’s year was just as exciting. She’s a sophomore at Central Michigan University and was hired to be a resident assistant in Lazelere Hall.

Caroline is interested in government, and successfully ran for the Student Senate. She also worked as an intern this summer in the office of Michigan Rep. Andrea LaFontaine, learning about constituent service and attending legislative committee meetings.

Caroline and Dave had an epic trip to Washington, D.C., and did just about everything imaginable, including enjoying a staff-directed tour of the U.S. Capitol. They also went to the top of the Washington Monument, attended a Nationals game, toured the Supreme Court, multiple Smithsonian museums, the Archives, all the memorials on the National Mall, Ford's Theater  and more -- a wonderfully exhausting adventure.

Caroline also co-founded a nonprofit organization called Pack Your Back that collected school supplies for children in Flint, Mich. The group drew some financial and in-kind support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Walt Disney World and others.

CMU liked what the kids were doing and featured Caroline and co-founder Galen Miller in a series of ads and profiles. Caroline also was featured in an ad to recruit future resident assistants -- she was surprised to see her image on table tents in cafeterias across campus.
The whole family was fired up for the Chips!
Caroline is still playing piccolo in the Marching Chips and briefly escaped Michigan snow to perform at the Miami Beach Bowl.

We all are excited that Julie’s Mom, Alberta Nelson, moved this year from Champaign, Ill., to Rockford. We love having Mom nearby, and she hosted Thanksgiving dinner in the new place. Making the day extra special, Mom and Dad Murray made the trip from Florida – the first time both sides of the family were able to celebrate the holiday together!

Julie also keeps busy with her knitting projects, with several mentions of her handiwork on knitting podcasts. She also manages to keep the rest of us on track.
One of the highlights of the year was attending the wedding of friends Will Christensen and Laurie Larson on the shore of beautiful Torch Lake. Everything was perfect!
Dave’s new role in Gov. Rick Snyder’s administration keeps him on the go all across Pure Michigan. 

As the communications director for the Department of Talent and Economic Development, he oversees a team of 10 and focuses mostly on the challenge of developing talent and making communities stronger.
The Pure Michigan campaign is part of Dave's new department, so he and Julie attended the Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR race at the Michigan International Speedway, and had some pretty neat experiences, from walking on the track to watching the pit crews up close  to meeting a driver and cheering in the Winner's Circle.
He’s working on a project in the Upper Peninsula, learning about the challenges faced by the communities of Ishpeming and Negaunee after one of the region’s iron mines closed.

Alas, despite spending time in the UP for both work and pleasure, a moose sighting remains elusive.
Will joined Dave for an awesome Kiss concert in Grand Rapids in August. We thought we were appropriately dressed until we encountered these members of the Kiss Army!
There were some difficult moments in 2016. But looking back, we recognize the Lord has blessed in so many ways. 

It’s wonderful to see the kids succeeding, and we’re so proud of them. Mom Murray endured some pretty tough health challenges, but none were are tough as she is! It’s so nice to have Mom Nelson nearby. 

We treasure the time we were able to spend with family from near and far. As we flip the last page on the calendar, we’re all in a good place.

We love to keep in touch. Everyone has a Facebook page and the family email is

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

1 comment:

meegan holland said...

So happy that you're all happy. Merry Christmas and a promising New Year to the Murrays!