Thursday, December 17, 2009

2009 Family Christmas Newsletter

Greetings from the Shumates! 2009 has been another great year! We’re pleased to be able to report to you how our family is doing.

Matt’s family continues to enjoy life in Spokane. We were able to take a couple trips to visit and really enjoyed having the girls spend two weeks with us in the summer. Reagan is turning ten in February and is such a sweet girl. She loves to read, excels in piano and is a wonderful big sister. Kelsey turned seven at the end of their at the end of their summer vacation with us on August 1st. She loves lots of activities and also takes piano lesson. Gwyn turned three on December 1st and is very sweet and loving. She is definitely a grandpa’s girl. Gina works nights at Safeway and volunteers at the girls’ school. All this while keeping up with her mom duties keeps her very busy. Matt continues his job as a graphic designer and has started his own photography business. His photography keeps him very busy and he is very good. Check out his work at

Devin and Dacia have big changes ahead of them in the real near future. They are moving to Columbia, South Carolina in January. Devin got a big promotion and this is a wonderful opportunity for them. We will really miss having them live five minutes from us. We will be saving our money for plane tickets. Dacia has an unbelievable amount of talent and hobbies, and makes use of each of them as she spends nearly every waking moment raising four children. Tanner is seven and is a very sweet and gently boy. Anson is five and loves to be the center of attention. He is also a gifted reader. Both boys played soccer and baseball this year and are also taking piano lessons. Ella is 2 ½ and is an active, busy little girl. She loves all things pink and girly. She has also learned to say "South Carolina" with a Southern accent. Joseph Palmer was born on April 9th. He is a loving and calm baby. Learning to crawl is taking up his attention right now.

Cory continues his property development business, Sustainabuild. Check it out at . He is also drawing up plans for their own house to be built in an historic part of town. It has been thrilling for us to watch his drawings develop into actual houses, which he built. Danielle is back at school with plans to become a teacher. Actually, she would like to be a middle school science teacher. She volunteers in the classroom and enjoys it quite a bit. She will graduate next year and work on her master’s degree. They have been spending their free time this year snowboarding, hiking, and enjoying nature.

Travis got a promotion at his job. They love him and the creativity he brings to the job. As a supervisor, he is able to inspire others to be more creative, as well. His band, Colonies, just put out a new album. It is excellent. Listen to it at Jaqui changed jobs and is now working at a dentist’s office, instead of the craziness that was the real estate office. Jaqui and Travis also have a photography business, which keeps them hopping. Go to their web site,, and look at their work. It is very good.

Alan’s dad passed away this year. He lived a long and full life and his passing was a sweet experience with lots of opportunity for time with family. We are thankful for the example he was to each one of us. Our lives haven’t changed much. Alan still works for the city at the Tacoma Dome and Stella is still the cashier at an elementary school cafeteria. We have really enjoyed spending time together and with our family. Our church responsibilities have changed, with Alan working with the teenagers as the Young Men’s President and Stella working with six year-olds as a Primary teacher. We enjoy the opportunities that come to us from serving in those capacities. We also appreciate the many people who have touched our lives over the years and consider ourselves lucky to have people as you as our friends. But most of all, we are grateful for a Savior who gave His life for us and continues to love us even when we least deserve it. Merry Christmas!

Monday, April 20, 2009

And a Child Shall Lead Them

Just a couple of Anson's cute events. On Friday, Stella took the day off so she could help Dacia, who had given birth to Joseph just a week ago. She dropped Anson and Tanner off at school in the morning and then picked up Anson from school a little before lunch, when his school day was completed. Stella took Ella with her, and after picking up Anson, they went to MacDonald's for lunch. Just as they were turning in to MacDonald's, Anson said he would rather go to Burger King. So, they went to Burger King, where each of the kids got a kid's meal (which included a little toy).

As they were sitting there, Anson heard a couple of little kids saying that they wish they could have gotten a little toy. They weren't complaining loudly, just kind of verbally wishing. Anson asked if it was all right, and then took one of the little toys over to them and gave it to them. What a wonderful, charitable act.

The second experience of Anson was that at school, each of the kids was given a piece of paper to draw on. Anson asked if he could have an additional piece of paper, as well. He took the two pieces of paper and stapled them together. On the first page he wrote (spelling corrected), "by Anson" and "the Book of Mormon."

He then gave it to his teacher. That's right. He gave his teacher a book of Mormon. She has had contact with the church before, and thought it was very sweet. We should all be so bold.

Book of Mormon cover

Inside his Book of Mormon

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Miracle of Life

"There are two ways to live your life.
One is as though nothing is a miracle.
The other is as though everything is
a miracle."
--A Einstein

We had the opportunity to experience the miracle of life Thursday when Joseph Palmer Shumate was born to Devin & Dacia. The birth of a baby is full of tender mercies of the Lord. What a sweet blessing it was. He is perfect and beautiful. We took Tanner, Anson, & Ella to the hospital to see mom and dad and brother. We were going to the room even before Dacia got to her room (she had been in the recovery room until then). As we were walking down the hallway to the room, we turned around and saw Dacia in her wheelchair and Devin alongside her. The kids, especially Ella, just squealed with joy and went running to their parents. What a beautiful sight. The nurse was touched by the scene. As were we all. The nurse was impressed by their family. Two wonderful, loving parents with nice, cute children. How could she not be impressed. It was very sweet to see the children crawl up onto the bed with their mother and baby brother (one at a time). It brought back memories of when each of our children were born and what special times those were.

Proud siblings!

Tanner-biggest brother and exemplar

Anson will protect him

sweet Ella...her world is about to change

Joseph Palmer Shumate-one week old

Monday, April 6, 2009

Anson Shumate--master photographer

Yesterday after General Conference, our family gathered together for dinner, as we do every Sunday. While we were sitting around, Anson (Devin & Dacia's five year-old) wanted to borrow my camera. These are the results.


Devin (thinking)

Jaqui & Travis

Danielle & Cory (Zombie pose)

Alan (giving Anson the eye)

If you know of someone who is getting married, keep Anson in mind. His rates are very reasonable (due to the child labor laws).

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I Love Family Photos

This is our latest and greatest family photo. It was taken at the beginning of the year when Matt and his family were here. Stella and i enjoy it when we all gather at Cory & Danielle's to have family pictures taken. Luckily we have people with artistic ability in our family...photographers, graphic designers, and all those who make our family look like it could be on the cover of a magazine.

And quite the photo shoot it was. With all the equipment, you would have thought there were visiting celebrities and paparazzi gathered for the occasion.

And no photo shoot is ever completed until all the grandkids are gathered together and trying really, really hard to sit still for the photographs.

This is how we bribe them to sit still for the "formal" photos....we tell them that the last picture will be one of them acting silly. I'm not sure if Gwyn and Ella appreciated having their pictures taken upside down.

Now this is the photo of what we seem to do and enjoy best. Eating Sunday dinners together. Now when we are all together, there is an actual children's table. And by the way, the right side of Danielle's face is just as beautiful as the side you can see.