Happy 2021

I will start this year I have started some years… With our Christmas letter from the year which just closed behind us.


HIHI

What a year we have had! I’m sure you’re tired of hearing that expression. Yes, we have had an unprecedented year where the world was held captive by something which can only be seen under a microscope, and we found our lives dictated by the rise and fall of the number of people infected by this virus called Covid-19.

But that’s not all that happened, the year is not all about the pandemic. Under these strange and difficult circumstances, lives were still lived. We hope and pray that your year has been filled with more good moments than bad ones. At this Christmas time, let us think about the small precious gifts of a positive word, a smile shared, a heart warmed, a Saviour come to earth.

In 2020, we have carried on with life as best we could.

Sandra went, on her own, in January, to visit her family in Singapore because her father had been very unwell and in hospital for many months. Walter and Tobias, along with Lexi, managed quite well by themselves for 10 days. It was good for Sandra to have been able to spend this time with her family as she tried to help as best she could in that short time. The good news is that Sandra’s father was discharged shortly after she returned to Switzerland. While he did spend more time at the hospital in August, he is now better and at home. We would like to especially thank family and friends who have so helpful and supportive through this tough time.

At the end of February, our church welcomed our new pastor and his wife, but 2 weeks after that, lockdown happened. Everyone had to find new ways of doing things. It really makes you realise the things we take for granted, such as the ability to meet whoever we want whenever we want. It makes you miss simple things like walking into a store without worrying about the limit on the number of persons allowed inside.

Being shut-in gave us the opportunity to learn and polish skills such as mask-making and baking. Walter worked from home and Tobias attended classes online. For Sandra, home was always where she worked at, so being home is the norm for her. However, we did have to find a new rhythm of working and playing as there were now 3 persons in the house all the time; each with a need to have their own space and time to do what needed to be done. One family member did absolutely love having all at home – Lexi! She could run from person to person all day along to get the attention she wanted. She is a happy girl and fills our days with joy, barks, cuddles and laughs.

Tobias spent his 16th birthday at home as everything was closed but we made birthday cupcakes and delivered them to his friends. Then at the end of July, when restrictions were eased, we were able to celebrate with a paintball afternoon with some of his friends. A rather painful but fun experience.

Walter went from travelling a lot for work to working from home, to working short-time; where the office was officially closed for a couple of days a week, pay was pro-rated to save the company money. Then in September, he went back to the office 100%. But that was short-lived and now he is working from home a couple of days a week. It’s worth noting that this is the first time in all the years Sandra and Walter have been together where Walter is NOT constantly flying off for work.

We thank God that almost everyone we know has remained healthy, although a few did test positive in Tobias’ class and he had to quarantine for 14 days at the start of November.

Tobias is now in the second year of Gymnasium (junior college in Singapore) and seems to be enjoying his classes and time with his friends. Unfortunately, he has not been able to play squash for several months now. His squash teacher is in the at-risk group so he has stopped teaching. Tobias is thankful that his violin lessons have carried on as that’s done through his school.

Church went from being online in March to being in-person again from the beginning of summer but with limited numbers in the sanctuary and online streaming. The work to rewrite the church constitution, which Sandra was involved in, was paused during lockdown but restarted in June and we are glad that it has been successfully concluded with the church adopting the new constitution in November. Sunday School classes are also functioning again; Tobias attends the teen class. The Sunday School even managed a fundraiser for missions in the last couple of months. Walter continues his work with the worship team and eldership, as well as helping our new pastor to settle into his role in these unusual times.

Another church member and Sandra had arranged for a speaker to come and give a seminar about Revelations 2-3 but it had to be moved online due to Covid restrictions which prevented the speaker from flying in. It was slightly stressful and quite educational to have to make adjustments and coordinate such an event.

Speaking of flying, we could not go to Singapore for our annual visit in summer this year because while there were flights, we would have had to quarantine for 14 days on arrival and in a specific quarantine facility, which would then leave only a week to see family and friends. So we stayed here and did a couple of overnight trips to nearby cities in Germany.

So much upheaval in 2020 and maybe life will not go back to exactly what it was pre-pandemic, but the one constant in our lives is God; Jesus has been, is, and will be with us through all our ups and downs and we are so thankful for that. We pray that you have been able to and will continue to see His Love manifest in your life always.

Faith makes all things possible,
Hope makes all things work,
Love makes all things beautiful.
May you have all three this Christmas and always.

Do keep in touch and let us know what’s happening for you.

With love,

Walter, Sandra, Tobias and Lexi


Looking for Winter…

It has been a non-winter this season (reason? in my opinion, it’s climate change – it can not be denied) so, during the winter-sport holidays, we went looking for some snow. And we did find some, but high up in the mountains. The road leading up is usually paved in snow but not this time (actually, it wasn’t last year either). Still we managed to enjoy a snow day out.

Here’s a few photos for you to enjoy:

All is not lost – winter has made an appearance in the last 2 days – late but at least it felt a little more like winter. But it was really just for all of 2 days, we are back to sort of spring type weather now.

What does this mean for spring and summer? i am not sure. i do hope we will have a decent summer because i am a sunshine person. Are you a sun-seeker or does the cold suit you better?

syc

Last Day of 2019…

Today is the very last day of 2019! The year has just flown by! i hope your 2019 has been good; filled with joy and laughter, successes and harmony, and even the not-so-good parts, i pray you will be able to look back upon them with wisdom and peace.

Here’s our reflection on our 2019:

Hihi

How are you? Hope this finds you well and enjoying this festive season with loved ones. Do remember to say a little Thank You to Jesus because He is the reason for the season.

Various changes in our own situations and at church have meant that 2019 has been about finding our way through some uncertainty. But by the grace of God, we have managed to get through the year, and things are looking well.

In January, Sandra increased her involvement in SCBWI (Society for Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators); managing their blog and being part of a conference planning team. Tobias and Sandra, together with Lexi continue to attend dog school. At the same time, we started looking for a dog sitter for when we would be away in summer.

February saw us in Laax for our annual ski trip. This time we brought Tobias’ friend with us and it was the first time we had a dog with us. Due to issues with her knee, Sandra did not ski but enjoyed lots of walks with Lexi. As Tobias is going into the next stage of school, called Gymnasium (junior college for people in Singapore), we also attended a couple of school meetings and Tobias had to make a decision on which core subjects he would like to take in the next school year. Walter also spent some time in Singapore with his family.

Lexi went into her first heat in March and it was a learning experience for us. But it was not as terrible as some had described to us. For Sandra, conference planning for SCBWI kicked into high gear. Sandra’s poly classmate, who was travelling with her mother, come to stay for a few days. It was such a nice time of catching up.

April was a difficult time as Lexi had an accident; her tail got clamped in the door which leads to the garden. We rushed her to the emergency vet. Repeated infections saw our poor little dog go through 3 operations, ending with a much-shortened tail.

The SCBWI Europolitian Conference took place the first weekend in May and Sandra was away, helping in that conference for 4 days. Walter and Tobias, together with an injured Lexi, managed quite well by themselves. We also celebrated Tobias’ 15th birthday. It was a quiet celebration; he chose to go watch a movie with a couple of good friends. Good news came at the end of May, when the vet gave the all clear for Lexi’s injury and she didn’t have to wear the cone anymore.

Inspired by the conference, Sandra took part in her very first writing contest in June. She didn’t win but it was a good experience. Lexi got to go back to dog school and spent a trial night at a pet hotel; it all went well.

Just before we left for our summer holidays in July, Tobias met his new violin teacher and he has been quite happy with his new teacher. His previous teacher would be retiring and said it was good to move to another teacher as he is also moving to the next stage of school. Our annual visit to Singapore was very eventful this year as we took Tobias’ best friend with us. It was interesting showing him around and watching him enjoy all the food. This year we only stayed 3 weeks because Lexi was at the pet hotel and we didn’t want to leave her for too long and could not really afford pet hotel for longer.

In August, Tobias was, finally after all these years, able to go to his other best friend’s birthday celebrations (usually we get back from Singapore much later and miss it). Walter started taking on a bigger role in the Pastoral Search Committee at church, as well as continuing as an elder and worship leader. Tobias started his first year in Gymnasium in the middle of August and likes it. He is in the bilingual track (German and English) with biology and chemistry as his core subjects. Tobias has continued with his squash lessons and of course, violin with the new teacher.

Sandra was able to catch up with her university housemate, whom she had not seen since leaving uni, in September. Her housemate was travelling with her parents and was only in Switzerland for one day, but they managed to meet up; it was lovely.

In the middle of September, Sandra’s father was warded into hospital (he had been in hospital a couple of times earlier in the year but only for short periods) and has been there since there had been a couple of complications. But now it seems that things are stable and there’s a positive outlook. We would like to thank all our family and friends for their wonderful prayers and support through this difficult time.

October saw us spending a quiet time here during the school holidays. Sandra started making blackout curtains for the church and became part of the constitution rewrite committee. Throughout the year, Walter has been travelling for work (not as much as last year, thank God) but this is the time when it gets hectic for him.

As always, November is a busy time. This year made busier by the sewing of curtains, many meetings for the constitution and search committees as well as fundraising activities by the Sunday School for our missionaries in India. Sandra has continued as missions coordinator and as a Sunday School teacher so she does her best to combine the two whenever possible.

And finally, we are here, in December, getting ready for Christmas and the end of another jam-packed year. We are grateful for all that we have experienced, the good and the bad, and we pray that we have learned from these experiences and become better for it.

A Christmas Prayer for you and your loved ones:

We pray your spirit is light with hope, your heart is filled with joy and your days are blessed with the glory of God. May His Love bring you peace at Christmas time and always.

Do stay in touch and let us know what’s been happening for you.

With love,

Walter, Sandra, Tobias and Lexi.

We wish you all a most blessed and fulfilling 2020! Let’s make it a year filled with love and kindness, with many moments of shared happiness.

syc