June 2009

Dear Family and Friends,

Wow, what a year! We’ve had quite a few changes since last summer, and are looking forward to what God has in store for us this coming year.

Following our third anniversary last June, we celebrated the fourth of July with family and friends at Alison’s parents’ new property in Elkhart, Texas. The area is beautiful, and their forty acres provides plenty of exploring opportunities. The atmosphere creates a feeling of retreat, which is very often just the thing so many of us need. Many improvements have been made to both the log cabin house and the fishing cabin guest house throughout the year, and many more projects are still to come.

Alison’s birthday came and went without too much fuss this year. We still enjoyed the experience of the circus with family, however.

This school year, Alison began her new “career” as a stay-at-home wife with several opportunities for earning a little extra income along the way. Throughout the summer, Alison was busy learning more about her role as co-coordinator of MOPPETS, the children of MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers). She has really enjoyed serving on the steering team for this ministry and loves traveling with friends to go to conventions, training seminars, workshops, etc. During the MOPS year, Alison kept herself involved with the kids as well as overseeing all the classrooms and workers.

Alison also filled time by babysitting a kindergartener after school, occasionally having her younger siblings during the day as well. Several other opportunities for babysitting found Alison busy, too. She even spent a few tutoring sessions with one of her church preschoolers preparing him for kindergarten.

At Fellowship Bible Church, Mark and Alison remained very much involved. Mark continues as the regular pianist, while Alison serves in the toddler nursery. We both work in Sunday School, this year with the four-and-five-year-olds on their way to kindergarten this fall. In addition to Sunday morning duties, Alison also found the time to work in AWANA with the 2-year-old Puggles.  In addition, she was able to help around the church more often throughout the week, getting creative with painting murals on the walls in the children’s department. She found enjoyment in helping plan the annual fall Farm Fair and preparing for the spring Easter Egg Hunt, too.
Dressed 50's for Farm Fair
The holiday season was very busy for us this year, as both Mark and Alison, along with niece Taylor, earned roles in the local children’s theatre production of Seussical the Musical. Weeknight and weekend practices made us feel like we never saw each other even though we had the honor of performing together in the same show. Mark played the Mayor of Whoville, Alison was a stilt-walking clown in the Circus McGurkus, and Taylor became little Cindy-Lou Who.


Alison with Horton the Elephant
and the Cat in the Hat


Mark and his Who family preparing for
the Christmas feast with the Grinch

 The holidays were spent with Alison’s family at the new property in Elkhart, festive with a fresh Christmas tree cut from the woods. We had the family gathered around the television taking turns playing Guitar Hero on the Wii, and enjoyed a visit from extended family learning new table games.
In February, Alison’s brother Justin married Sabrina at the church in Duncanville where the Gell children grew up. Just two weeks prior, Justin had a serious motorcycle accident, making the details of the wedding a little interesting. In the end, everything worked out with no big problem, and by the end of the day, the bride and groom were happily married (and headed back to the military hospital for further surgeries and recovery). Welcome to the family, Sabrina!

Due to the economy, LeTourneau University was forced to make minor cutbacks this spring and also reorganize some departments. As part of the restructuring process, Mark was asked to leave the Information Technology Department and move into the Marketing Department to take charge of the university’s web development group. In addition to the programming and server administration tasks that have been part of his job for a number of years, he’s now involved with determining creative direction and interacting with outside agencies, developing policies, and will even manage some student workers when the next academic year begins. It’s been a major learning experience (and will no doubt continue to be), but he’s also having a lot of fun — and also recently moved into a new office with a great view of campus.

Alison stayed busy throughout the spring, serving on the planning committee for the church’s annual Ladies’ Retreat in April. She was the one in charge of games, and had a lot of fun planning battle themed games for the women of FBC.  She and her friend Janette again put together a team for the Gregg County Relay for Life, naming themselves JARS of Hope.  This year'sRelay theme was Celebration Destination, and our chosen destination for our campsite was the North Pole, so decorating for Christmas in April was a fun and challenging task.

After taking a semester off to participate in Seussical, Mark returned to the East Texas Community Chorus for their spring Masterworks concert, which this year focused on works by Joseph Haydn in recognition of the 200th anniversary of his death. He also again had the opportunity to perform as a chorus member for Opera East Texas in their production of La Bohème. Mark even got his first opera solo (only one word, but still…)

The summer began with Alison working VBS, making crocodile-themed crafts with the preschoolers.  She continues to babysit on an occasional basis, although her after school care is no longer part of the weekly routine. 

For several months, Alison’s brother-in-law Bill worked in our bedroom at building shelving and closet space, and we finally got moved back into our room. Shortly thereafter, we told our families that we were glad to be finished with that home improvement project, and were going to work on the next one: adding two feet to our home...and two little hands, and two little eyes…yes, we are expecting our first child! We’ve had one sonogram so far, and are due the first week in January.

June 3, 2009:  Our first look at Baby Roedel

Around the same time, Alison’s grandmother LaNelle Gell (a.k.a. Gran) passed away after a very long battle with Alzheimer's. Although the occasion was not necessarily a happy one, it was nice to get together with family to remember and celebrate a life that had such an impact on our family’s heritage.

Back to the babies, we welcomed new niece, Kirsten Joy Boozier, to the world on June 17, 2009, weighing in at 6 lbs 13oz. She is a beautiful, easy going baby, and very loved by all of the family, especially big sister Taylor.

Uncle Mark and Aunt Alison already starting 
to dote on Kirsten just hours after she's born.
Aunt Alison gives newborn Kirsten 
a kiss on the forehead.

For our fourth anniversary, we took a quick day trip to Caddo Lake and enjoyed a steamboat tour of the beautiful area, followed by a delicious lunch at the café with homemade swamp pie for dessert. The year has been full of blessings, and we are excited to know that our lives will change forever next year with a growing family. We plan on keeping family and friends updated on baby’s progress through online resources, so check out our web page at www.theroedels.us every so often. It’s a new work in progress, so please be patient as we get it up and running.

Mark and Alison