As usual, I didn’t get Christmas cards or holiday letters sent out. And it has been quite a while since I talked about my family here. So I thought I’d take a moment to catch you up on the latest Garfias gossip.
All in all, 2015 was a good year for our family. We started with high hopes and finished with a bang!
David started his own soccer club, the first competitive (non-recreational) soccer program in our city. This has been a dream of his for many years, and he just loves every minute of it. The Rowlett Fusion Futbol Club is growing faster than he can keep up with it. He already has four teams and is looking to add even more this spring. There are two talented coaches working with him, and a couple more are talking about joining the program this year. So our weekends are plenty busy with soccer games.
David also directs our church AWANA program, one of only two full programs (preschool through high school) east of Dallas. Since he changed how verses and lessons are handled, the club has seen tremendous improvement in verses learned. This coming year, his focus is on evangelism, so we are excited to see God work.
Gian, our oldest, has probably seen the most changes in our family besides me. In 2015 he took the ACT twice (drawing scholarship offers from Ivy League schools), landed a full-time job, got his driver’s license (and a truck from his grandparents!), chose his college (Liberty University), and brought up his GPA. He’s incredibly busy, but he still finds time to practice viola and piano, play video games with his friends, tutor high school and college math students, and participate in church Bible study. I think he’ll manage college life just fine. He’s graduating from high school this spring. He will be studying math in college.
Adana, the only girl, started her freshman year of high school this fall. She is learning to balance her naturally social nature (understatement of the year) with studying. But in her defense, she is quite busy with soccer, orchestra, visiting neighbors, babysitting, and accompanying the church choir. In her free time she handles admin work for her dad’s soccer club, volunteers at the animal shelter, and works birthday parties and referees games at the local indoor soccer facility. She is hoping to be a veterinarian when she grows up.
Leandro is in seventh grade now (I can’t believe it!). He is the athlete of the family, taking soccer very seriously. He took second place in his age division this summer in the Rowlett Freedom 5K. He sings in the church choir and plays his violin in the church orchestra, but he really loves making YouTube videos with his friends across the street and working odd jobs for neighbors.
Xzavian is…Xzavian. It’s hard to describe him if you don’t know him. But if you’ve met him, he’s still the same, just taller because he’s eight now. He’s an avid reader who attacks his school work with gusto. He’s quite proud to have written his first books this year, including The Leaves in the Breeze, which sold several advance copies. He’s constantly giving me writing advice.
As for me, I am very happy to have found my rhythm at long last. Besides joining the New Life Symphony Orchestra, I’ve had several opportunities to play with the Allen Philharmonic. Those two have kept me busy practicing and performing the last several months, and I’m loving every minute. I feel like the more time I spend holding my violin, the more truly myself I become.
I also started up my church’s adult choir this past spring, and the teens and adults in that ministry are such an encouragement to me every week. We have a lot of fun. And my daughter is the pianist! How cool is that?!
I was approved as a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR) last spring. That was so gratifying, because I had started down that journey over a decade ago in honor of my mother. I’m so fortunate to have a chapter that is very ministry-focused, and the women there are a great example to me. This fall, I was nominated as an officer for this coming year.
In addition, I’ve finally found my voice as a writer, which is a huge relief. Every hour I spend at the laptop pounding on the keys brings greater peace and serenity within, even if the words never make it past my own growing drafts. I am quite gratified, though, to have passed several writing firsts this year:
- my first viral blog post (well over 100K views),
- my first self-published book,
- my first article rejection (after half-dozen years freelancing, I finally have a rejection! I laughed with relief!),
- joining my first writer’s group, and
- my first signed book contract (with New Leaf Press. I’m over the moon).
Our family had a lot of great memories this year, including my trip to Michigan to visit friends, visits from my husband’s mother and step-dad, and even a rare visit from my husband’s father for Christmas. My husband and I accompanied Gian to visit the campus of Liberty University this fall and then spent a few days honeymooning in Washington, D.C. We ended the year with gratitude that we survived the Rowlett tornado with little damage.
So while we all are grateful for new opportunities and achievements this past year, we are most grateful for good health, happiness, and safety. And we pray the same for you, that God be near you in 2016.
What are you grateful for this year?
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