June 2006

Dear Family and Friends,

At Christmas, we found ourselves quite busy with the holiday season (as most of you were) and discovered that we didn’t really have that much to share since our wedding in June, so we have opted to start a tradition of sending the Christmas family newsletter nearer our anniversary instead.  We hope no one will object.

To begin with, we want to express our deep gratitude for the generosity and love shown us as we began our life together.  We were so overwhelmed with blessings surrounding us last summer, we didn’t even know where to begin with the thank yous.  For those of you who made it to the wedding, if you experienced just a portion of God’s presence that we did, we know you were blessed.  For those who were not able to attend, you can view pictures of the day’s excitement on our website, www.andalligotwasthislousy.com.

Our honeymoon was a wonderful week of fun and relaxation.  Our first night we spent at a pleasant little
bed and breakfast in Lufkin, Texas called The Storybook Inn.  Then we enjoyed ourselves at The Brown Pelican, a nice bed and breakfast on the bay at South Padre Island.  Our varied activities included snorkeling, a day in Port Isabel at the lighthouse and other museums, time with sea turtles (Alison got splashed by the one named Mary Christmas) and other marine life, kite flying on the beach, and a bunch of relaxing.  Again, more pictures are on our website.

We returned home to a house full of boxes.  A huge thank you goes out to Alison’s mom and to Lori (Alison’s best friend), for completing the packing and cleaning out of her apartment and moving the remaining things into the house.  The rest of the summer was spent working on emptying as many boxes as possible and storing the rest in the garage to get the house livable before school began.

Mark went right back to work at LeTourneau University in the Information Technology Department as a web programmer/analyst.  He earned his 10-year pin last year, and remains happy in his work.

In August, we celebrated Alison’s 29th birthday with her family by going to the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus in Dallas (a birthday tradition for Alison). 

Alison returned to Bramlette Elementary for the fourth year, making it her seventh year as a kindergarten teacher.  The end of the summer brought a new class of five-year-olds to Alison, along with a new name to get used to (Mrs. Roedel).  As each year begins, the challenges present themselves in different ways.  This year’s class had Alison ready to quit after the first day of school, but her stubbornness proved to be a determining factor not to let the little ones get the best of her.  As her principal has said, not only should you not allow your students to get your goat, you shouldn’t even let them know where you’ve got your goat tied.

We spent the holidays with Alison’s family in the Ellis County area with a few side trips.  Alison’s cousin was married Thanksgiving weekend in Houston.  Mark was sent to a computer programming conference the first week in December in Austin, and Alison was able to take a couple days off work to accompany him.  Christmas stayed in Midlothian where the family spent an evening caroling in a local neighborhood.

As the new year progressed, the nieces and nephews grew in number.  In the spring, Alison’s sister-in-law had her sixth child and Mark’s sister gave birth to number four.  Altogether, that makes five nieces and six nephews to love and spoil.  Taylor, only child of Alison’s sister, tends to get extra attention from us, as she is “our” only kid in town.

Fellowship Bible Church is growing, and we are happy to be a part of it.  The new building has been taking shape before our eyes, getting everyone excited and anxious about the completion of it this fall.  Mark and Alison both help with the two-year-old Sunday School class and enjoy their antics immensely.  Mark plays the piano each Sunday with the worship team at church, and Alison is a nursery volunteer every few weeks (she calls it her “baby fix”).  We joined a new Mini-Church of young married couples and have enjoyed making new friends within that group.  In addition to serving within the church body, each spring we both enjoy helping a team of workers frame a house for Habitat for Humanity, and feel like we can contribute more as we learn with each experience. 


Outside of church involvement, we are still a part of the planning committee for the American Cancer Society’s Relay-for-Life event.  This year, our title is “chair-elect,” with the intention of becoming the event chair for 2007.  In addition, Mark sings with the East Texas Community Chorus, performing several concerts throughout the year.  He also enjoys being a member of the East Texas Opera chorus, but was limited in his involvement this summer due to a work-related trip.

With summer came another computer programming conference for Mark to attend, this time in Vancouver, British Columbia.  Alison was more than happy to accompany her husband for a vacation marking the end of a challenging school year.  While Mark attended his sessions, Alison enjoyed the time to walk along the harbor and sit in the park reading.  We did have the opportunity to visit the aquarium at Stanley Park together and would recommend it to anyone looking for good vacation outings. Following the conference, we drove down to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho to spend a few days with Mark’s parents.  It was a fun and relaxing visit and one we were glad we could make.

During the summer, Alison spends her time helping with Vacation Bible School, attending various staff development workshops required by the district, and picking up some sewing projects that may have been neglected while school was in session. 

So, we are celebrating our one-year anniversary, and we can’t decide if it has been that long or if it has been that short.  We eased into our marriage so naturally and have had such a blessed year together that we have no doubt God prepared us for each other and timed our relationship just right.  We do worship a good God!  We are celebrating this special occasion by going back to the Storybook Inn for one night.

In signing off, we want all to know how special it is to keep in touch, so please do.

Mark and Alison