Greetings from the Roberts!

                  As you can tell from the photos, we’ve got a new addition to our family.  Her name is Sandy and she is now 6 months old. The color photo was taken in late August when she was just 9 weeks old. The one to the right is current. Sandy is our biggest story this year. We got a Golden Retriever puppy in April and named her Mandy. We loved her very much. After exactly 4 weeks with us, she had a freak accident. She choked on a piece of kibble and after a night in intensive care, died. It was very sad for our family. It’s amazing how attached we became to her in just a month. In August we found another Golden Retriever puppy and brought her home. We named her Sandy in honor of Mandy and because of her “sandy” color. She’s a great dog: mellow, loving, and smart. We’re having a wonderful time loving her.

                  Nathan is 12 years old and is in 6th grade. He’s busy with schoolwork, choir, and piano.  But the joys of his life are playing with Sandy, writing stories, and making movies on the computer. He loves to edit, add titles, sound effects, and music to movies. The other joy in his life this year was 2 weeks at Yosemite Sierra Summer Camp near Bass Lake. He can’t wait to go again. This year he’ll get to hike up Half Dome!

                  Kara is 10 years old and is in 4th grade. She’s having a wonderful time in school this year.  She loves her teacher, friends, and learning. She’s had the chance to be in some plays and musicals this year and LOVES acting and singing. Kara loved camp at Forest Home this summer and wants to go to two camps next summer! Kara has a real passion for life and it shows in everything she does.

                  I’ve been busy being a mom to our puppy, which is a little like having a new baby. But I’ve loved it and can see how much Sandy has added to our family. I still help with art at the kids’ school, and work one day a week as a marriage and family therapist in Newport Beach.  Mark and I got to go on a Mediterranean Cruise in May and had a wonderful time!!!  We celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary and feel thankful for the many blessings we’ve received in these 20 years.

                  Mark’s website and blog have been his biggest news this year ( He launched his website on Christmas Eve 2003 and has written a blog entry almost everyday this year. It’s been a wonderful way for him to write about things he cares about and to have a broader influence in the world. He’s had over 200,000 visitors in a year! Things at church continue to go well.  The new administration building is just about finished and a new third Sunday service will be added in January.  This service is meant to reach younger people and will be mostly . . . louder J!  (We’re getting older!)

                  Our family vacation this year was a driving trip to Bryce Canyon, Yellowstone, The Grand Tetons, and Zion National Park.  We rented an RV and met 3 other families for the Yellowstone and Grand Teton portion of the trip.  Our hike up the Narrows in Zion was a great family adventure!  It’s a hike through a high narrow canyon and much of it is spent walking through water.  We loved it!

                  With the experience of Mandy’s death, having several friends with serious illnesses, and the continued turmoil in the world we have been learning about the fragility of life.  Our kids have been learning about grief and prayer and we’ve been learning to savor the gifts we are given.  May God’s presence sustain you in these times.  We are thankful for the gift of your friendship. 

With love,

Note: The underlined words are links to pictures and other things. Of course you can’t click on paper! To access the links, go to Mark’s website ( and click on the blue “Happy New Year” hat.