Monday, January 1, 2024

2023 - Reflections

2023 Grubb Family Letter

As we start the new year, I am reflecting on the last with thankfulness.

2023… The year our kids turned 21! 20. 18! & 16! – some big birthdays and indications of big life decisions being made regularly in the Grubb house. We are so thankful that our kids are all walking in Truth and still seek wisdom from us and other trusted adults. The decisions they make as young adults (school, calling, jobs, vehicles, moving out) have the potential to have big consequences. We are feeling the gravity of each one and with 3 young adults it seems there is always a big life choice being prayed about in our home!

2023 in a nutshell… Air Force. IT. Cancer. Civil Air Patrol. Teaching. Motorcycle. Senior Thesis. 50-Mile Race. College Graduation. High School Graduation. Camp. Family Reunion. Senior Thesis. Encampment. College drop-off. Hollywood Show. Motorcycle Accident………. College Graduation. Job Offer. Virginia. Kaden walks again! Christmas. 50th Birthday. The Lord’s hand was on it all.

For the more detailed version, see below.

January… the year always starts with people leaving – the holidays are over. Jonas heads back to the U.S. Air Force Academy (USAFA) with 3½ years left. Scott is still running his IT business. Ellen (Scott’s mom) is told she has 6 months to live due to cancer in her leg that is now also in her lungs. (spoiler alert: she is still with us!!!)

February… Silas attends SNCOS (senior non-commisioned officer school) as he is promoting in leadership at Civil Air Patrol (CAP). Tara continues teaching in our home and at the homeschool group one day each week – dissections, debates, dual enrollment, GenJ club, alongside Algebra 2, Latin 2, Biology, Western Cultural History, Socratic Dialogue, and British Literature. Grandma (Ellen) turns 75! Major Miller, a man instrumental in Jonas & Silas enjoying CAP dies unexpectedly at the age of 82. Kaia & Tara visit Liberty University in Virginia as Kaia expects to attend in the fall. We sneak in a day in D.C., too.

March… It snows at our house (first time since the 90s). Jonas turns 21 & Scott heads to Colorado to take him out for his birthday and experience a day in the life of a cadet at the academy. Kaden buys a motorcycle in central California prompting a roadtrip with his mom & grandma to pick it up. His license did not permit freeway driving yet, so we drove home on the byways (not the highways). Kaia turns 18. Tara has a birthday and subjects the children to a traditional birthday hike when Jonas is home for spring break. 

April… cousin Alison, took Jonas & Tara to Disneyland (first time in almost 20 years)! We enjoyed Easter Sunday sunrise service on the hill at our church, Kindred Community Church. Jonas was “recognized” – a huge deal for cadets 4th class at the academy. Kaia defended her senior thesis: the first amendment right to free speech on college campuses. Jonas completed the Falcon50 – a 50 MILE race on his base! (What?!?)

May… Kaia attended a super fun high school “grad nite” with other homeschooled students from our church. Silas turned 16 and got his driver license! Kaia graduated from Cypress College with an A.A. in Kinesiology (she was pursuing physical therapy) and an A.S. in Criminal Justice (she is pursuing a B.S. in this field).  She went to her high school prom with her small group of senior girls from church. Silas went to CAX – cadre assessment exercise – and was selected to be on cadre (leadership) for the CAP summer encampment. Kaia left for Ironwood Christian Camp for the summer. Kaden applied for a job with homeland security.

June… Jonas came home for 3 weeks – the academy gives them one of three 3-week periods off each summer. Jonas got the first period this summer. Kaia came home for a day to attend her high school graduation. This was the last time we’d have all the kids home until Christmas. Kaden, Jonas, & Tara worked VBS at our church.

July… Kaden & Tara fly to Kansas City for the 4thof July Thibodo family reunion! Kaden turns 20. Kaden finishes his last college class, writing his senior thesis: the effects of social media on mental health. Silas & Tara go to CAP encampment for 12 days where Silas serves on the logistics team and Tara works in mess leading a team of 15 cadets and 4 adults to make & serve breakfast and lunch to 600 people each day! We both got to fly on a Blackhawk on the last day of camp – so amazing!

August… Kaia returned from camp and was home for 9 days before Scott & Tara flew along to drop her off at college in Virginia. We stayed a few days as Scott had not seen the campus and to make sure she got settled. In contrast to the 1 backpack Jonas was allowed to bring to college, Kaia brought 4 HUGE bags! Grandpa turned 77 while Kaia was home. Kaden found out that he made it through the extensive homeland security hiring process and was waiting for a date to report to FLETC (Federal Law Enforcement Training Center). As it usually takes 9-24 months to get through the process, it appeared the Lord was really opening doors to get Kaden through in less than 3 months! Kaden’s metal band played a final show in Hollywood before one of the members moved across the country. Scott & Tara visited Jonas at USAFA for parents’ weekend.

August 31… Kaden was in a bad motorcycle accident. He was on his way to work early one morning and we woke up to a call from the hospital. We are so thankful that the Lord spared his life, but also that there was a surgeon willing to attempt what other surgeons thought was not possible – to repair his left leg. Kaden, though still in much pain, looks and walks like normal now – praise the Lord!

September… Kaden was in the hospital for 9 days with a grandparent or parent by his side every moment. I am so thankful that Jim & Ellen (the grandparents) stood in when we couldn’t be there and just to give respite throughout the time. The day Kaden came home from the hospital, his degree came in the mail. (He had already chosen not to attend graduation in New Jersey.) Kaden graduated from Thomas Edison State University with a B.A. in Communications. Hooray! Our church family, homeschool family, people from all parts of our lives shared in our difficulties as we nursed Kaden back to health. We were gifted food everyday so that I could give my full attention to nursing. Kaden was home but in a wheelchair with 2 broken arms as well as the leg, he could not move himself at all. He needed crazy amounts of meds at all different hours. I had to learn to give him shots twice a day. And the whole time the Lord sent his people to love us, solve logistical problems, encourage us, and care for us. In the meantime, we tried to shield our out-of-state kids from the extent of the challenges as we didn’t want them to be too distracted other than to pray for their brother. Silas rose to the occasion, as much fell on his shoulders with mom tending to brother. It was a sad day when homeland security called and told Kaden to report 10/23. The timing of the accident was interesting as normally people are looking forward to getting back to school or back to work and Kaden was in the midst of change, so he is just diligently working to heal, not sure what comes next. 

October… Once Kaden’s shots & meds were done, Silas & Tara flew to Virginia for a weekend to attend an event with Kaia! Scott & grandma were able to handle Kaden’s care. He got the casts off both arms and his leg in a brace so it could bend just a bit – woohoo for progress! Crutches after both arms broken was challenging, but eventually, he was able to use them.

November… Kaden is allowed to walk! Only 9 weeks after the accident – incredible! There is still a lot of pain and therapy to happen, but the amazing progress makes us hopeful! Silas & Tara again went to a GenJ student action team in Virginia. Thanksgiving was different without Jonas & Kaia, but precious as mom (Ellen) was still with us and based on her diagnosis in January, we didn’t expect that. Tara started working at Samaritan’s Purse with Operation Christmas Child (OCC) – a job that would last only a few weeks, but was very enjoyable and fulfilling.

December… Everyone was home! Jonas & Kaia both flew in on the same day. Everyone loves volunteering at OCC, so it was fun to have the 4 kids work together and bring me dinner. (: Christmas with extended family was lovely with lots of food and fun. For Christmas, all the kids got suits and it was perfect timing because we all attended the All Academy Ball on 12/26. It was a fun event to get dressed up and to celebrate Jonas. We celebrated Scott’s 50th birthday! He enjoyed time with family at a movie and his favorite restaurant.

What an incredible year! Looking forward to seeing what the Lord has for us in 2024!

On the horizon… Kaia will graduate with a B.S. in criminal justice from Liberty University in May. She has been accepted to graduate school but also applied for several jobs – may the Lord continue to guide her. Silas will graduate with a A.S. in aviation from Cypress College in May. He will still finish his senior year of high school (24-25) before moving on to ??? Kaden continues to heal and is working to get back to the physical condition he was in before the accident and would still like to pursue a law enforcement career. Jonas has spent 2½ years in Colorado at USAFA and has 2½ years to go!