We hope this note finds each of you happy and healthy. We have been truly enjoying this Christmas season and are thrilled to currently find ourselves in the midst of a foot or two of snow with more on the way. We made the trip to Michigan this past weekend (about a twenty hour drive), and have been enjoying the snow -and family, of course- ever since (we don't get much cold weather in Wichita Falls!). The picture above is our "Christmas card". We opted to send it through blog and email to save a little money. You can click the image to view it full size.The past year has been new and interesting. This is our second year of marriage, which has been quite the adventure. We don't know if we could have ever predicted all that marriage would be, but it is a blessing to be happily in the midst of it. We are still living in Wichita Falls, Texas and will be for about the next two years. The area of Texas in which we live is not our favorite climate, but there are a few recreational opportunities that make it enjoyable. We love to camp and mountain bike, so we have started a tradition of camping and biking at Palo Duro Canyon near Amarillo each spring. The canyon is beautifully filled with colorful cactus, wildflowers, and red rock formations. There are some biking trails closer to our home as well as nearby in the Wichita Mountains of Oklahoma, where we also enjoy camping. In the sweltering summer months though, we find refuge on the lake in the boat we bought last summer. We go there as much as possible and are lucky that the boating season in Texas lasts from May through October! We were also able to spend a wonderful week in Colorado this summer. We were a part of Beth's wedding, and also backpacked through Rocky Mountain National Park for a few days. It is always great to be back there!
Last fall Matt began his T-37 "Tweet" FAIP (first assignment instructor pilot) assignment at Sheppard AFB. He started teaching his first flight of students last January and is now beginning his third flight of students. He comes home every night with great stories about all the crazy manuevers the students tried to pull. Basically it is the perspective Brooke never heard when Matt was in pilot training, as now the roles are reversed! Matt also started a masters degree in Aeronautical Science through Embry Riddle this summer. Overall, Matt is really enjoying teaching the new students, is proud to be a part of the 89th flying training squadron, and is thrilled to have flown over 500 hours in his first year on the line. Oh, one more thing, Matt expects to go to transition training for the T-6 (the new trainer plane that is gradually replacing the T-37) in March. He will be in San Antonio for about two months to complete the training.
Brooke has been teaching two-year-olds at School for Little People since we moved to Wichita Falls. This fall she has also aided for a four-year-old class at the school. It has been a really good experience, and she has learned so much about children and education. She really hopes to teach elementary school, though, which is why she began a teacher preparation program through the state of Texas in August. The program lasts less than a year, and consists of a set of classes, which she finished in November, and student teaching, which begins in January. Brooke will student teach at Sheppard Elementary (the on-base school) in both kindergarten and first grade classes. She is really looking forward to this change, and hopes to land a teaching job next fall.
Through all the seasons of the year and changes in our lives, it is the peace and joy of Christ that sustains us. In Him we gain strength to live and love based on His example. This freedom is invigorating and freeing. We pray you, too, carry it with you always.
Much love and God bless,
Matt and Brooke Keilen