Yes, our life is full of beauty and the great satisfaction of knowing, no matter what happens, our children are on track to good life, doing the right things for the right reasons.
When a dear friend told us she had missed our annual letter, it occurred to us that some people might be interested in hearing from us occasionally.
It is a New Year already—Chinese New Year! With the hype of Y2K past, where Ken stood by ready with his ham radio to come to the aid of a jittery Emergency Operations Center, the family celebrated with family and friends, it is time now time to reflect.
Reed our eldest son, in a white shirt and tie, is serving a two-year mission in Uruguay. He still manages to play a little violin and soccer. In a year his mission has seen over a thousand people transform their lives. "I now know the difference between being a rebel and a revolutionary," he said. "I always wanted to be a revolutionary. Now I am one." His return is less than a year away.
In the meantime, our one-time foster son Tim Schmalbeck returned to BYU from a successful mission in Jamaica. He went from crying repentance and thus knocking heads figuratively to again literally knocking heads as a rugby player.
On March 30 our eldest, Rachel, gave birth to our second grandchild and her second daughter, Megan, joining Ashly and moving with her wonderful husband, Brandon Mills, into a their very first "own home" in Farmington, Utah, near the shores of the Great Salt Lake.
Julia kept up a really tough schedule of early morning water polo and seminary, and now swimming practice. After school she also had water polo and now enjoys swimming practice, as well as two figure skating teams in the evenings. She is working toward early high school graduation.
Young Keith graduated into high school, practiced piano, swam competitively and spent the summer on a working ranch near the Grand Tetons. Keith has mastered the unicycle.
When not serving in some needed volunteer activity, Sue spends countless hours preparing for her daily early morning seminary class. She so loves the youth, and they love her.
Ken can be found spending his free time from a fulfilling Silicon Valley law practice writing family history or making videos for the community. Some of his most popular are high school sports and youth performances.
Thanksgiving found nearly our entire extended family Amy surrounding a bounteous table at the historic Relief Society Hall in Washington, Utah. To mother Mary Grace it was a great reunion. Just weeks later, on January 14, Ken’s stepfather Daniel L. Wade, 88, passed away in St. George, Utah, leaving Mary Grace, who is strong in spirit but weak of body, to adjust to widowhood for the second time, with the help of devoted children, a concerned Church community and a faithful extended family.
Our parents laid a groundwork for us and set an example. We are humbled that our children follow that example.
Sue and Ken Allen; Julia; Keith
Brandon and Rachel Mills, Ashly and Megan
Elder Reed H. Allen