2019 Annual Family Letter

Happy 2020! 

Just our annual letter about what life looks like for us these days. 

Stephen – wonderful to have Stephen home over the holidays.  He is still working in China for a crypto-currency company called Saito.  We do try to keep check-in regularly (WeChat) and we are thankful for technology that can bridge the miles so easily.  With the 12 hour time difference, it can be a bit challenging to line up our time.  One time, after a couple of failed attempts to talk, we asked what’s new. His reply was – “oh I’m in Thailand.  Sorry I should have mentioned that.  We’ll be here for a few weeks”.  We did request that although he is an adult – could he at least let us know when he travels to different countries.  It has been a great adventure and although it can have its unique challenges, he has enjoyed it.

Benjamin – living in Ottawa and enjoys living closer to downtown transit and much better internet.  He’s working part-time for Auctria (same software company as Tracy) which he’s enjoying. He has varied interests and we love when he comes homes to visit- and we draw on his culinary skills to help with meals. 

Meg – graduated grade 12 from Carleton Place High School and we are thankful that it was a good high school for her.  She finished off her H.S. sports career by playing Rugby!  A bit of a Peterkins’ tradition here.   It was as rough and tackling as we were expecting.  She headed off to Queen’s university for Kinesiology.  She is really enjoying the school and her program.

Tracy – So, our kids moved out and we’ve become  “empty nesters”.   Based on advice from our friends Shawn & Andria, Mark and I took a trip out to Cape Breton after Meg went off to school to ‘adjust’ to not having children at home.  It was a great trip and we highly recommend it!  The landscapes are incredible and travelling without a schedule was very fun. I was especially thankful that I could do some hikes on Cape Breton trails.  I hadn’t been able to hike for a few years after tearing my rotator cuff (and other injuries) and it has been slow for me to regain my core strength.  I have this age thing where I just seem to have regular aches and pains too.  

Skyline Trail – Cabot Trail – Cape Breton

I still split my work time between One Way Ministries and Auctria (a great charity auction software company).   I love the challenges, diversity and flexibility of both jobs.  

Mark – some of my highlights (aside of being away with Tracy of course) includes an annual golf get away with my siblings, Sandra, John and Thanos. This year we stayed and played near The Thousand Islands on the St. Laurence. In past years we chose some pretty dumpy courses and well, this was a definite step up for us. We were treated with wonderful weather. What a great time!

My family continues to gather together at different times of the year, Greek Easter, Cottage Weekend and Christmas time – which we thoroughly enjoy. This Christmas had all the nieces and nephews together, not as easy with kids living in so many different cities. We get to see Tracy’s family too – with dropping in at Mary Ann’s, Lisa & Colin moving to “the Nap”, and Vince lives downtown.

I’m enjoying playing ice hockey, golf, squash and running. I’ve struggled with arthritis over the years which at times has really limited my mobility. I’m deeply grateful for some of the newer meds (called biologics) which really have changed my life.

I continue to work with One Way Ministries. I love our team and the work we have the privilege of engaging in as we support our leadership community in Ottawa.

We haven’t moved yet. Last year we wrote that we were planning to move and that has been put on hold for now. However, a highlight is we put in a furnace, thank you Dan R., and enjoying the luxury of propane heat. After years of burning wood as our primary heat source, it’s not lost on our kids that we installed this shortly after they all left. 🙂

Another highlight is that we’ve had opportunities to re-connect with some family and friends that we haven’t seen in a long time. Mark got together with some University friends that he hadn’t seen in over 25 years – celebrating Murray & Bernice’s engagement. Dan & Nancy Germo visited Ottawa with ACCI and Tracy & Nancy had a great time walking around Ottawa and catching up. They hadn’t seen each other since 1996. Mark spent a week with some old and new trusted friends on the Sunshine Coast, BC where they shared life’s highs and lows and help each other discern God’s work in their lives. We love time at our family cottage and the celebrations over the summer – Labour Day and the Kevin Saunders Memorial baseball tournament for MD which has been going on for 25 years (congrats to Terry Fleming and his nieces/nephew – Jenna, Shauna, Nick & Farron Smith)! A get together of Tracy’s 1st (female) cousins on the Kelly side – it had been years since we’d all been on the Rideau together. Cottage weekend with Mark’s family with some memorable moments that still make us smile.

We have a lot to celebrate and be thankful for. We know that for many of us, 2019 had some tough, hard & sad things too but we’ll save that for another time. Hopefully we’ll see and hear from many of you in 2020 which is always a highlight!

From our family to yours, may 2020 be full of joy and deepening relationships around you. God Bless.