2010 in Review… A Christmas Letter of sorts

Dear Family and Friends,

Grace & Peace to you this Christmas! This year has come and gone faster than I can believe and as I look at all it’s contained I think we’re crazy to have crammed it all in. A few highlights for you…

New Year’s Eve last year saw Mike & Susan enjoying the full moon on the Atlantic coast after a delightful wedding shower at Susan’s parents’ home in Florida. January was full of snow, last-minute wedding preparations, and Mike’s junior recital at St. Olaf.

On February 6 we were married on a beautiful, calm, mild winter day in Northfield, Minnesota, surrounded by several hundred dear friends and relatives. It was a glorious day of worship and joy for us that we will never forget. We honeymooned for a few days at a quiet bed and breakfast only an hour away and then got to work settling into our new home and life while trying to keep our heads above water with the pressure of school at St. Olaf.

In March Susan spent several weeks battling mono while trying to put her recital together in the aftermath of stolen music. Mike did the lion’s share of work for both of us in a difficult Renaissance music history course and continued his work as a manager and delivery driver for a local sandwich shop…and lost his job. In April Susan gave her senior distinction recital at St. Olaf–an event that proved to be more stressful than a wedding. In May we flew to Tennessee to see Susan’s brother get married to a lovely woman named Leigh. Three weeks later we graduated together.

The summer was busy with lots of fun, including a visit from Susan’s brother, Peter, the release of a new CD, a week of vacation in Kansas City seeing Mike’s family and friends, internships for the second time with a bunch of friends at St. Olaf’s bi-annual Conference for Worship, Theology, and the Arts, and a joint all-Bach noontime recital as part of a Northfield community series. That marked the end of life as we knew it, and just after Susan landed two part-time food service jobs we found out we had a baby on the way.

This fall has been exhausting and rewarding. In September & October we enjoyed visits from both sets of parents, who were happy to hear news of Baby Powell. Susan has found work wherever she can, while trying to keep Mike fed and supplied with clean clothes. Mike has finished his last two college classes and practiced more this semester than most undergraduates do in their entire four years, preparing for his senior distinction recital coming up on February 15, 2011. Our days often began before 5:00 a.m., first for a short-lived bakery job and then for an early-morning nannying job.

On top of all the mundane chaos, Mike visited two graduate schools in October & November, Susan got a children’s choir piece published with Chorister’s Guild, Susan’s 14yo sister, Grace, spent a week with us for intensive music study, we played as substitute organists at several area churches, and we designed, rehearsed, and led an evening hymn festival at our church, Good Shepherd Presbyterian.

At Thanksgiving we enjoyed a visit from Susan’s sister, Kilby, who is about to marry an Englishman who lives in Uganda. The three of us spent the day with our dear friends, Josh & Bryonie, and several other young couples. Christmas was ushered in by the St. Olaf Christmas Festival, which Mike sang in for the last time. We got enough exercise for the entire year shoveling our way through the December 10-11 blizzard in Minneapolis. Christmas morning we set out for a month of adventure, beginning with a lovely day of celebration at the home of some church friends.

This letter comes to you from Kansas, where we are spending New Years’ with Mike’s family and friends before flying to Florida for a wedding and a cruise and a couple weeks of warm poolside rest with Susan’s family.

We anticipate 2011 being a year full of God’s blessings and provisions. In February Mike will officially complete his undergraduate work with a final organ recital and he’ll travel three out of four weekends to audition at graduate schools. In March we hope Mike will be able to settle into a full-time temporary job and Susan will work her last days as a nanny. In April we will welcome our first son and receive word about the graduate organ performance programs Mike’s been accepted into. We’ll spend the summer adjusting to life as parents, probably planning a cross-country move to New York, Connecticut, or Indiana, and hopefully visiting family.

We are so thankful for God’s blessings to us this year–for giving us each other and walking with us through our first year of marriage, for giving us a son, and for our precious church family in Minnetonka, MN. We are also thankful for the countless friends across the country who’ve enriched our lives this year. It is truly amazing to look around our new home and see a friend’s face behind nearly everything we own. What a joy and privilege! Most of all we are thankful for His sustaining grace & provision and His boundless mercy in Christ, remaining faithful to us though we are often so faithless. We pray His blessings on each of you this year, that you may know the riches of His grace to us in Christ, who gave His life so that sinners like us might have fellowship with God and with each other.

Love to all of you,

Mike & Susan Powell

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