With the new year just around the corner, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on 2013 and the blessings it brought. Since I never manage to send out a Christmas letter, maybe this can serve as the van der Sanden/MFT year-in-review.
Many of you have met our youngest daughter, Emma, whose presence is just as precious as can be (and yes, I’m biased, but it’s true!). She’s the kid who begs for kiwis and star fruit in the grocery store, and who asks for a yo-yo or a 15-piece colored pencil set for Christmas. Truly, a one-of-a-kind little soul. Emma is a very serious fan of Phillip Phillips, and we were so excited to surprise her with her very first concert to see him at Universal Orlando!
Here she is on Martin’s shoulders, hearing him sing her favorite song, Gone Gone Gone. SO SWEET. <3
One of the most exciting things as a parent is to watch your child flourish, and this year our oldest daughter, Brianna, has done just that. For those of you that have met her, you’ll agree that she is as unique, determined, and spirited as they come. She is an unstoppable force, and I love watching her grow. This year, at 20, she purchased her own home. With very little help from us, she did it all on her own. Here is a picture of her at her closing, as a brand-new homeowner.
We call our home the van der Sanden zoo for good reason, and this year we added 3 new members to the family. Here is a picture of Hugo and Ty, both of which we adopted from the Cat Protection Society,
And here is a picture of Boo, my new little fur baby adopted from Candy’s Cats. <3
Here is Annie, our *lap dog* with her papa.
We have a thing for black animals as they are always the least likely to be adopted. But since black is a classic, we will always be in fashion.
This year was filled with exciting adventures as well. We visited Alaska and had an amazing trip of a lifetime!
I know I’ll be in the doghouse for posting this picture, but it’s so adorable I can’t resist!
As soon as we came home from Alaska, we moved into our new home. A series of miracles took place to make this a reality, and I am beyond grateful and thrilled to call this home.
This year MFT has much to be thankful for as well, including all of YOU. We continue to grow each year, and are blessed to now have a staff of 13, including us. It’s so hard to wrap my mind around our growth and our blessings!
We held our first annual Workshop Retreat in May of 2013, and here is a group shot of our amazing guests and instructors.
And here is a team member group shot of our local staff members during the Deliver the Difference charity event, which provided Thanksgiving meals to local residents who otherwise couldn’t afford them.
And last, but certainly not least (although it is my least favorite news), we are saying goodbye to Karen Motz. I always find it hard to say goodbye to a Design Team member that is leaving the MFT nest, but I am finding it especially hard to say goodbye to Karen. Of course I will miss her talented creations, but mostly I will miss her joyful personality. Having visited with with Karen IRL as well as online, I can truly say she’s a pleasure to spend time with. Funny, easy-going, always smiling, and always FUN.
I know she has a busy year ahead and is looking forward to traveling and exciting adventures, but I know you’ll miss her as much as we will, so I hope you’ll join me in sending her off with a big, warm hug!
Whew! What a busy 2013! I can only imagine the blessings and good times that are in store for us in 2014, and am looking forward to seeing what the new year brings. I hope it brings you peace, health, prosperity, and joy beyond measure.