I love Christmas letters from family and friends around the country but we are mixing it up this year and having folks come visit this post instead!
Welcome and we're so glad to have you :)
Here is a look at what 2014 was like for the Erskines.
2014 started out pretty rough with a national scandal that rocked Malmstrom. No one was left unaffected and it was one of the most stressful points in my life. Despite the insane amount of stress that situation brought on our family, we came out stronger than ever and I relied on my faith in God to carry me through. I don't know what I would have done without God, Ryan, Brittany, the Sheltons, and so many others who went through this situation. One of the good things that came out of this was the opportunity to get to know other missileers in a way that we were not able to beforehand. We truly bonded with our co-workers through the situation. It was nuts but maybe secretly a blessing. I also got the opportunity to temporarily work at the base chapel and it was awesome getting to know all of the chapel's staff. The chaplains are rockstars and I met my first female military chaplain from the Reserves. God blesses us in so many ways, even in the darkest of times.
Ryan started his teaching career with a summer position at the Boys and Girls Club where he taught young folks throughout the week. He taught math, science, and English, and also had the opportunity to go on a lot of field trips with some pretty sa-weet t-shirts. He also got caught up on a ton of children's movies and watched Frozen six times (ask him if he "wants to build a snowman").
I started volunteering with an organization called CASA, otherwise known as Court Appointed Special Advocates. It's a team of volunteers that advocates for children who are abused and neglected. Ever since my days in Theta, I have been wanting to actually be a CASA for our chosen philanthropy. It is so incredibly rewarding and opened my eyes to the importance and desperate need for more GOOD foster parents in our communities. This opportunity also exposed me to situations that I never pictured myself being in, such as coming up with a Plan B for a child's permanent home situation. It's such important work and incredibly humbling. My experience with CASA had me praying throughout the year about fostering and I felt a strong call from God to become a foster parent. I'm just hoping now that God will see in His way to call Ryan as well.
We celebrated two marriages this summer...all in the same week! Our wonderful friends Matt and Ashton did a vow renewal in Great Falls and I had the privilege of helping to plan their wedding and reception. Ashton is my battle buddy and one of my best-friends and I even put together a fun, Girl Scout-inspired bachelorette party for her! The wedding was gorgeous and we topped off the night with a s'mores bar and dancing. Ryan and I also made a trip to Glacier National Park for the first time to celebrate in a reception for our friends, Kate and R.J. It was one of the most beautiful receptions I've ever seen! It was so much fun celebrating with friends throughout the week and a great opportunity for us to see more of this beautiful Big Sky Country.
As summer wrapped up, Ryan started his sophomore year of college at Great Falls- MSU. His classes are challenging and he also introduced an online science course to his rather full schedule. This semester had him starting his teacher observations. As of right now Ryan is still interested in teaching middle school students.
I've continued being a Young Life leader for the local area and I am OBSESSED! I went to camp for the first time this year and it was an amazing experience. The young women that I had the privilege to work with are so fun, witty, and hilarious. Being able to share in the wonderful and awe-inspiring power of a relationship with God was one of the best experiences I've ever had. Our area leader, Katie, also asked me to speak about my experiences at our annual Young Life banquet. It was a very cool opportunity to speak in front of such a large group of folks about why I love Young Life.
Speaking of Katie, a group of us gals decided to bless our wonderful friend with a couple's co-ed baby shower as she and her husband are expecting their first baby in December. Y'all know me and I was thrilled to put together an UP! themed baby shower with some of my closest friends. It was my first time planning a baby shower and I may be hooked! Whenever Ryan and I are blessed with a baby, we definitely want a co-ed shower. It was TOO MUCH fun! =]
Not long after I promoted to 1st Lieutenant, I completed my upgrade sequence to become a missile combat crew commander! It was a very exciting experience and my awesome deputy and I received an EQ rating. To put that into perspective, I never in my wildest of missile dreams thought I could get an EQ and I did. It's an incredibly high rating and rare...and totally awesome. I couldn't have done it without my kick-ass deputy Alex and all of the commanders who taught and trained me.
Whewww and that was basically 2014! We are so thrilled for 2015 and who knows, maybe there will be a new addition to the Erskines? Here's hoping that God will continue to bless our little family.
Much Love and Christmas Blessing,
Kim, Ryan, Holly, & Blu