Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Our Christmas Newsletter

Christmas, 2014
From New Journey Farm Nestled in the Rolling Hills of Blue Mounds, Wisconsin

Just before Christmas and after this newsletter went to print,
Sabine fell while hiking and cracked her femur. After two
weeks on the couch with a walker she sees her Orthoped
tomorrow. We are hoping and praying all has been
Another year of amazing changes! The saying that stayed with us this year came from our summer family get-together, “Life doesn’t have to be perfect to be wonderful!” Sabine’s mom, Charlotte, is still doing great in her 90th year, Sabine continues to fight her cancer and David is still the best dialysis nurse ever. Thankfully, for the last half of this year, Sabine has been on oral chemotherapy and avoided the twice-weekly IV infusion lab. She begins her 8th year fighting this nasty blood cancer in January.

At the end of 2013, we built a dialysis room in Charlotte’s basement and put the cottage in Mazomanie up for sale. We were fortunate to have it sell within a few months but vowed to always avoid moving in winter at all costs (thanks Josh and Rachel!).

Sabine’s piano lessons went on the back burner as she suffered a chain of injuries including falling down the hay chute in their barn. The time was quickly filled up with trips to Lake Lawn Lodge, Lake Ripley, a local spa, Minneapolis, and an over-night at “Headless Woman” B and B in Fennimore. She found the best rehab was playing disc golf at courses we came across (including one in Dubuque).

Granddaughter Gracie and her mom, Heather, made their usual winter trek and David and Gracie found a frozen lake is the very best place to fly their kites (no trees!). They also joined us in the summer with Gracie’s sister, Heather, when Niece Teak and daughter Malea came for a visit. Everyone was introduced to Mallard’s baseball on the coldest day of the summer. On our new 6-hole disc golf course the game became a new field of family battles.

The remainder of the Couper clan made it out in June. Cut-throat games of not only disc golf filled the days (and nights), but also competition in bowling, archery, and kayaking the Wisconsin River.

David was thrilled by the summer farm projects after three decades of waiting for the outbuildings to be painted and new fencing installed.  Then they got a notice that this was the year they must harvest timber according to their Managed Forest Program they enrolled in over 30 years ago. After consulting with a forester and having their plan approved by the DNR, they decided to have the logging done by draft horses! They said it was an amazing sight to see them working. Hopefully, the logging will be done by Spring.

The longest and farthest they travelled this year was up to Mackinac Island in the Upper Peninsula. They took to ferry from Manitowoc to Luddington. David was disappointed that Sabine didn’t schedule a dialysis center while travelling Lake Michigan. They attended a weekend dance workshop with sister Barbara and Ken at the famous Grand Hotel. No motor vehicles are permitted only horses and bicycles! The four of them danced and biked around the island and had amazing meals at the hotel.

The really exciting news from New Journey Farm came at the end of summer when David forged a new retirement plan and bought an older 32 foot river boat which was berthed in nearby (a one hour drive) Dubuque, Iowa, called “Kokomo.” Remember the Beach Boys song by that name? They took a lot of trips to Dubuque this fall and their boat was the last one out into dry dock on a cold, windy day in November!

This fall, David has been taking some on line power boat courses to get him acquainted with a larger, twin engine craft.  I think we will know where to find David this summer. Rainer and Rannae were visiting with them when they closed the boat deal. David thought he saw a boat-glimmer in Rainer’s eyes. Hmmm.

With all the police use of force problems that erupted this past year, David’s blog has never been more active. Along with his blog “Improving Police,” he has written op-eds, given interviews and publicly lectured. His book, “Arrested Development,” and his work was highlighted on the national Rachel Maddow show. It’s been an exciting year for our nation’s police. Pray for major changes.

Sabine and David’s church life continues to be centered at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church about 90 miles east of the farm. David leads Sunday worship and does a couple of book/Bible studies each year. Sabine did a great job leading three of our youth through Confirmation and manages a one-room Sunday school each week. It seems to re-energize them for the week to come. They also managed to squeeze in dance lessons at Arthur Murray’s this fall.

In this Christmas letter, they have often in the past shared what their kids were up to – but they didn’t have time to do so because they are so busy themselves. Their kids will simply have to start writing their own letters.

David and Sabine noted, “Well, that was our year and, remember, it all doesn’t have to be perfect to be wonderful.” David and Sabine send their love and blessings to all of you and those whom you love. They ask your prayers for peace around the world, a cure for the Ebola plague, and an end to economic and social disparity. While celebrating the birth of Jesus, and as Cosmologist Dr. Steven Hawking reminds us, “Where there is life there is hope!” -- From The Hill Scribe

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